“I Was a Woman. I Was Skilled. I Had a Doctoral Degree and [I Was] a Foreigner“. Migrant Coping Strategies of Women in Highly Qualified Areas
How do these normative expectations - which are, partly, contradicting each other - determine the process of her professional identity formation? And how does she, as a female migrant, working in a highly qualified area, deal with experiences of xenophobic discrimination?
Professional identity is formed through accumulated individual experiences within a profession over time and is strongly influence by norms, attributes, and motives for the profession (Ibarra, 1999). Biographical narratives make individual and institutional processes as well as their interrelation visible. They depict the continuous negotiation process how to deal with different role expectations and the question how to integrate them in the own biography. A particular focus on the self-presentation of Elena (cf. Rosenthal 1993; 1995) demonstrates that narrating and thus constructing the own biography are closely related with the process of professional identity formation. In her account we learn about the way how she used her biographical experiences to develop a coping strategy how to succeed.