Being Male in a Female dominated Industry
I should have realised the route that I was going at 21. I really should. If I had sat down and had a good think about it, I would have realised that all the jobs I had done up until now were working beside women. That isn’t a bad thing. But it should have said more about myself. At a certain age I should have had a good think to myself about the direction I wanted to send myself and what I would blossom in, rather than stagnate.
I’m not a manly man.
I find myself rolling my eyes at some of the things I see other men doing and getting up to. I mean, I don’t really play fight, or look at women in a predatory way, or even feel the need to dominate an entire room. I’m not saying all the above is wrong, because it’s what a lot of men are like, but it’s just not me.
I sat with one of my Sons classmates Dad the other week, and whilst he was quite a respected member of his work and community I found myself itching to talk to someone else. I just wanted away from him. Because to me he was doing things and saying things that were completely disrespectful to women. His wife, other women in the vicinity and women in general. And yet whilst he probably had me pegged as “another guy” and he could talk about “safe guy shit” with me without having the fear of being judged, I still found myself rolling my eyes into oblivion.
I don’t like manly man stuff.
It would come as no surprise to you that the area I’ve prospered in and gained the most experience from was the caring and mental health industry. When a person needs to be open, patient, caring, empathic and understanding. I’m great at all those things. I blame being raised by a strong woman and a loving Grandad. My Mums Dad involved himself a lot in my life. He was like me. A compassionate and caring man, which I guess has rubbed off on me.
So what’s it like being Male in a Female dominated industry? Last time I checked when our operation was bustling with people there were fourteen of us. Twelve of them were women. And just me and another man were blokes. You could laugh and joke that I was homosexual. Well, you could. But you’d be far away from the mark. You could also say that I was extremely lucky, being only one of two men surrounded by women in their prime. Well, again, no. I find working with women is quite similar to working with men, just with lots more rainbows, unicorns and fluffiness. But I don’t think that’s a female thing I’m slowly learning. I think it’s a female to male thing. I could be wrong, though.
A woman will add a ton of nice, chatty text when she wants something done.
“Lorraine – please can you go down to the Town Hall and see what’s going on in there? Oh, and see if you can pick up those T-shirts we ordered last week. I bet nick will look great in them!”
Whereas a man is just straight to the point.
“Raymond. Go scope the town hall out and pick up those t-shirts on the way please”
My manager worked out early on how I best accepted my instructions, to the horrified onlookers that were my colleagues. They just couldn’t believe their eyes.
“Raymond, do this now please”
And see, I preferred that. I kept telling everyone that it wasn’t personal, it was just my boss giving me clear and concise instructions of what to do and when. We had a job that we had to prioritise our workload on our own with no interference from others, and if my Manager asked me to do something I could have prioritised it with less importance. But she said now, it meant now.
I liked that.
The women in the office couldn’t get their heads around it. To them, it was outright rude and disrespectful to me. Yet to me it was comforting to have clear and concise instructions. Some people are just like that. Me, for example.
I like to watch people. And it gives me a clear insight into how the other gender works, and, helps me deal with them on a better level. Working with a group of females is nice, too. Because women nurture, and that’s good for the health, to be nurtured now and again. In my opinion, anyway.
Yet that’s not to say that I don’t like working with men. Because men are fun to work with too. And usually when I’m working with other men I find that my child comes out to play. That my serious side steps back for a moment and out comes me as a twelve-year-old, ready to laugh and joke, and throw things and joke around. I like that also.
It sets people back sometimes. Those that are not used to coming to receive wellbeing advice and how to cope with their emotions better, and then are presented with a 6ft 2″ guy that’s built like a brick shit house (colloquialism for well built). Sometimes I can put people off. But I blame society for that. The perception that women are carers and men fight and destroy. It’s just simply not true. A stereotype that needs to be thrown out the window.
Perceptions soon change one they realise that I’m open, warm, truthful and sincere.
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