I am a female in a male dominantly field and I need advice on how to progress effectively, professionally.
Good Day Ms. Delk,
As you are continuing forward in your chosen field, I would go back to the basics. Consider this, while you served in the Navy, you wanted to learn everything to get your knowledge and survive the process of making rank. It doesn't matter who you are working with now, its what you bring to the table, is it of value.
Male or Female you can be the SME, dive back into the specs, tech manuals and anything else you can find in your field. Locate courses that will enhance your knowledge, see if the company will pay for you to go or release you on your time to do so.
Consider it just like preparing for the PO3 exams, in doing so you might find things that have been overlooked or are no longer applicable. Remember knowledge is power.
Find the one person that inspires you and sit down with them and ask for their help or direction. many of us are fantastic mentors, but if we do not know what your goals are we can not assist you.
I hope that helps and provides some direction forward.
You did not mention your education.??? I today's employment environment, education is the key. It sounds like you are a wonderful person whose seems to be advancing. However without formal education, career advancement opportunities will be strictly limited.
If possible, at least enroll in some night courses at a community college or a four year college. (Oh I know, "it's hard",
"I really do not have the time" etc. etc. etc. Take some courses in Management, Purchasing, Contracts, etc. That will indicate to management that while you are adapt at your job, you are putting forward the effort to improve your education and knowledge.
Please don't give me "I am a women in a man's world - poor me, poor me" excuse. Get out there, get in the mix and tough it out.
Jossie, review this
PSS. If you already have a position and want to learn a fool proof way to get promoted watch this.
This is a thirteen- minute presentation on some of the best guidance you will ever receive. It explains the differences between a Mentor and a Sponsor and why you need both. It explains how to select a Sponsor and get them to support you for a higher-level position. I wish I followed this information about forty years ago. Watch it once and if you are exited about the possibilities, watch it again and build your plan on how you will implement what you have learned. Feel free to share it with people you care about and have a need to know.
This is what you have been looking for.
Warmly, Bob Molluro
Remember networking is an important tool. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, create one and update it with all your experience. Communication is important use opportunities to speak in meeting and out in your everyday life.
I looked at your profile overview and see that you’ve been promoted twice- so you must be doing something right! ???? I wouldn’t focus on being a woman in a mostly male industry, but rather the position/role you are seeking to attain. Are you seeing certain obstacles to getting there, or is it more a matter of gaining more experience or additional learning (certifications, leadership coaching, etc) outside of work? But if you do want to connect with people specifically for this, I’d recommend looking into local womens’ clubs or meetup (meetup.com) groups. If you aren’t able to find a mentor at work, you might be able to find one there.
This may sound obvious, but you need several mentors. One to help with technical skills (that can be a peer or a level above you); one to help you with professional skills (persuasive speaking, writing, leadership - can be anyone); and one to help you navigate the organization and build your network. This last one needs to be fairly senior and preferably female.
I started and have run my business in a male-dominated industry for the past 25 years. I have worked in situations where it didn't matter and also plenty where it did.
As for mentors, I agree they are important, however, use caution when selecting mentors. Gradually share information and ensure the mentor earns your trust and demonstrates their ability to advocate on your behalf. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
I recommend two books to you that provide polar perspectives on how to manage working as a female in a male-dominated corporate setting.
1) Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is a 2013 book written by Sheryl Sandberg the chief operating officer of Facebook and Nell Scovell, TV and magazine writer. The general premise here is when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
2) Lean Out: The Truth About Women, Power, and the Workplace by Marissa Orr. The general premise here is that women have a powerful and different perspective to bring, that is don’t do as the Romans do, do better.
Feel free to private message if you’d like to chat.
Jossie, It is important to remember that women make much better employees than men. Women tend to much more pleasant, easier to get along with, more of a team player mentality. A women in a male dominated work place is a breath of fresh air. So as a male in a male dominated field I'm a bit jealous and confused. All you have to do is show up and do the job to the best of your ability. Your military experience puts you in awe of all the guys who were not able to serve. Just be yourself. Keep an eye on where you want to be. You'll get there much faster than all the guys.... Make us all proud!
As a female who has worked in the male-dominated oil business for 39 years, I can share with you some strategies.
First, join the relevant professional society and volunteer. I joined the Society of Petroleum Engineers and served as scholarship chair, membership chair, secretary, and ended up being Chair of the local section. This gives you lots of leadership experience that will help in your climb up the career ladder at work, but you have to make sure your bosses know about such skills, through appreciation letters from society leaders.
Second, volunteer for various committees at work, whether for the safety inspections or as a floor warden or organizing inter-department activities. This gives you name recognition in other departments at work and expands your network.
Third, learn how to play golf or go fishing or play soccer and participate in such activities with coworkers. Watch (or read about) a sports game each weekend so you can converse in the elevator about a particular play. The boys will be much more comfortable around you. I have been the only lady in a golf tournament, and by default was the prettiest one there!
Finally, be the alpha dog. Take the seat across from the boss to be seen at meetings, and speak up if you have a good idea. Don't let the boys take advantage of you, ignore you, or cross your boundaries. Be firm, be warm, be knowledgeable - bring value to the company and make sure people know about it, and you will be rewarded..
Jossie, you have received really good input. I am also in a male dominated field- I don’t focus on whom my coworkers are, as I have my goals defined and focus on those. I understand that we all have innate strengths and weaknesses. I know my strengths and hone those, while also spendIng time on developIng those areas I’m deficient in. I utilize mentors and search for other learning opportunities (online groups or In local community). I volunteer to take on difficult projects or deal with difficult customers/clients. This gets me outside my comfort zone and stretches my skill set.
I refuse to engage in focusing on the female/male stigma and focus on how I can improve myself. I also mentor others and encourage those I interact with on a regular basis. It isn’t always easy, but it has changed my mind set and allows me to use my gifts to shine.
Let me know if you would like more ideas. Thank you for your service! I am grateful.
I totally understand and thank you. I do have a fear of public communication and so I'm looking into a Toastmasters group. I was told it would help. Actually, there is someone, senior female i can reach out to within my community. Thank you.
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