A few weeks ago I did a free teleseminar for soon to be college grads about what to expect after graduation. At the end of the call, we opened it up for questions and a man on the line jumped in and asked the below question about what it is like for a woman to work with a bunch of men. I thought it was a great question that I should share with all of you and fits in perfectly with what I have been busy writing about in my book coming out in a couple of months!
Question (from a man):
It’s good to get a viewpoint from a woman about working in a male oriented environment. I was curious what it is like from a woman’s perspective. From what I have seen, women aren’t always treated fairly.
Have you worked in a field where you had to work with a lot of men, such as an industrial field or engineering field? As a woman, how did you get along with more “rough necked men”? Were you always professional or did you have to cut back and joke around a little bit more with them? How did you get results but also build a working relationship at the same time with the men?
I work with the military so I work with a lot of men. I was once the only woman in a group of five older military men. They would say different (and rude) things that would be more normal around other men, not women. I always kept a professional poise and confidence. But, I did sometime dish it out. I would joke around here and there with some witty comments. I wouldn’t be afraid to throw out a comment here and there and joke around. I would never say anything rude but I think my ability to laugh is what helped me maintain a good friendship with them, which ultimately made working together much easier. You don’t have to be funny or comical either, just smiling and laughing shows that you are fun to be around.
They were able to see that I wasn’t all workaholic all the time but I also could hang out on a more fun and competitive level. Also, I would have to go out to dinner with the men I worked with when we were on travel. Because of this, I had to be on more of a friendly level than all-professional all the time.
It’s definitely tough to be the one woman working with a bunch of men but you have to learn how to stand your ground and be confident in yourself. You also have to tune out sometimes when there are things being said that are just very inappropriate. I pretended I did not hear some things and they would later apologize and say “There’s a lady in the room!” But, I would just go about my business. That’s just what you have to do.
If you want a step by step guide to working with and managing men, make sure you are signed up for my weekly newsletter (sign up here) so you can get the latest and greatest information about my new book coming out in a few months! This is truly a book I wish I would have had before I started working with men and I hope my stories will help you!