Whether you work in construction or finance, the sad truth is that working in an all-male office as a female is not easy by any means. You just want to go about your day, do your job, and go home, and sometimes having any sort of friendship with your co-workers is just not an option. Not all men are the same, but when you are completely outnumbered the best thing you can do is look out for yourself, your family, and your career. Especially if you are the breadwinner for your family, it’s important to avoid any sign of unemployment, and unfortunately male dominated careers are usually the ones that produce the most income. So if you are brave enough to take on a job where you will be working in an all-male office, it’s important to consider following some of these tips to make sure you make it to lunch hour without pulling your hair out!
1 Don’t Take Anything Personally
More than half of the things people say while they are stressed out, they don’t mean, and I certainly cannot think of many jobs that don’t create some kind of stress at some point in the day. With that being said, men are known to be not emotional creatures and very blunt, terse and straightforward in some cases. So if the dude in the cubicle next to you didn’t say hello to you this morning while you saw him getting coffee, do not take it personally. Working in an all-male office requires a bit of backbone and a thick skin, so don’t let the robotic-like men get to you, they usually don’t mean the mean things they say and do.
2 Dress Conservatively
All women’s bodies, regardless of shape or size, are very beautiful, so dressing conservatively when working in an all-male office is important because you don’t want your co-workers to focus on you more than they probably already do. Think business casual but shoot for an extra size up if you are a bustier woman, and avoid short skirts or dresses. Avoiding skimpy clothing is crucial not just because they are inappropriate for the office, but because you don’t want to attract any unwanted attention. Even more importantly, you want your co-workers, and especially your bosses, to focus on what you have to say and do, not how low your cleavage is or how sexy your hair is.
3 Do Not Date Anyone You Work with
This also includes not being set up with brothers, friends, and family members of co-workers! While I would like to think that men mature as they go through adulthood and become older and wiser, most of the time that’s not the case. In fact, most of the time men are just as immature as they were during their college fraternity pledging years, unfortunately, and that means lots of gossip and snickering in the office if you choose to date someone from there. This may seem like a no-brainer to some people but I hear of so many girls who have affairs with their male co-worker, and when working in an all-male office that is just a recipe for disaster and unemployment.
4 Stand Your Ground
Working in an all-male office is not meant for women who are afraid to speak up and say what is really on their mind. Although it’s important to not take anything personally, it is also important to speak up, stand your ground, and not let your co-workers walk all over you with insults and inappropriate jokes. If you are in a more senior position, do not hesitate to let your employees know this is not okay.
5 Stay Calm
Many people tend to get very riled up on the job, and unfortunately for woman working in an all-male office, this is just not an option. The worst way to fight fire is with fire, and although men tend to have this obnoxious tendency to overreact, be aggressive and sometimes even domineering, the best thing you can do as the only woman is stay as calm as possible. Sadly, the truth is when you are a minority in an office of all men, there can be childish bullying. In some awful cases co-workers will gang up on each other professionally, sabotaging any chance of promotion. Do not let that happen to you. If it does, let the other person get worked up in front of everyone and make a scene while you just sweetly apologize.
6 Do Not Tolerate Sexual Harassment
Working in an all-male office clearly singles you out as the only female, and whether you are just out of college or a mother of three, it’s important to remember you’re a lady and some men will always check you out like a piece of meat. Everyone was raised differently, and if you happen to be working in all-male office where your co-workers like to get a bit too touchy and prey on you constantly, to the point where you are vulnerable to be taken advantage of- do not let that go on! No one deserves to be sexually harassed ever, especially at work, so report that kind of behavior immediately. Just because you are the only female working in an all-male office, it doesn’t give anyone an excuse to violate you or make you feel uncomfortable.
7 Talk about the Things You do Have in Common
Every office is different, and within smaller companies it’s hard not to get to know everyone you work with, especially if you have been there for a while. Whether you realize it or not, there are probably many things you have in common with your co-workers. For example, some of them might be fathers with a newborn at home, and could use some advice on getting them to sleep from an experienced mom. And similarly, a co-worker may want help searching for a good jeweler to buy an engagement ring. Conversely, if you are a lover of professional sports, feel free to join in the discussion about the weekend’s games. It’s important to keep an open, nonjudgmental mind and relate to your co-workers. If you are in close quarters with them, it is inevitable. After all, you are going to have to conduct business together at some point so you don’t want to ruffle any feathers.
There are so many male dominated careers out there that women are lucky to even get their foot in the door working entry level positions. Nevertheless, many women today work long hours in offices surrounded by only men and it’s hard. Do you have any tips for working in an all-male office? Can you think of anything that bothers you about male dominated careers and salaries? Do you think more women should work in careers that are usually reserved for men? Please share your opinions!