Career Talk: How To Survive In A Male Dominated Field


In your last large work meeting – were you the only female? When you attend conferences or seminars, does the testosterone overwhelm you? Perhaps you hear inappropriate conversations, and you are left wondering how to survive in a male dominated field.

Working in a male-dominated field can be intimidating for young professional women. There’s no reason to run screaming to another field. You can succeed and be happy right where you are, if you keep these 5 things in mind.

#1 Know Your Worth

It’s no secret that women are often paid less than their male counterparts; this seems to be especially true in male-dominated fields. While the hiring manager might not consciously think that a female engineer is less capable than a male, it creeps out during salary negotiations and pay raises. Stay on top of your industry and know what you should be paid.

#2 Speak with Confidence

Women tend to soften the impact of their statements by using “please” and “I think”, making them appear less confident. However, their male counterparts speak matter-of-factly. Instead of saying “please have this report by Friday”, a male manager probably says “have this done by Friday”. Instead of saying “I think we need to consider overtime on the project”, say “it’s time to consider overtime”. The tone can still be friendly and polite, but eliminate any wishy-washy words.

#3 Embrace Your Strengths

Whatever strengths you have as a woman, use them to your advantage rather than hiding them. Typically, women are better at reading people than men are. If people at work are buckling under the stress of a project, you’ll be the first to see it. You could tell yourself that people will complain if the stress gets too bad. On the other hand, you could raise the issue to management (preferably with a solution). Management will begin to see that you are the person with the pulse on the people – and will look to you as a leader.

#4 Stick to the Job

Yes, the break room is dirty. The refrigerator is disgusting and things are growing in it. Someone needs to make a new pot of coffee. Mop up your own spills but leave it at that. Do you have one coworker who insists that you make copies of presentations? Or that you schedule meetings? In other words, is he using you as his personal secretary? Politely and firmly put a stop to it.

Becoming the office maid or the secretary might lower your technical reputation, preventing you from getting ahead.

#5 Make Non-Work Friends

Being friendly in the workplace is a must, but being close friends with your male coworkers can be dangerous for your career. Understand that rumors get started, especially when a woman hangs out with male coworkers. Even though the rumors aren’t true, rumors about your personal  life sometimes affect promotions. Is the risk worth it to you?

By Kirsten

If you work in a male-dominated field, you could learn to become one of the guys. On the other hand, you can simply be you and show the guys how it’s really done. Before you know it, you’ll be counseling other women on how to survive in a male dominated field. If you need more career advice, here’s how to remedy an office crush or check out these ten most annoying things that happen in the office!

Featured photo: Vivaluxury

  • Bianka

    This looks like some really sound advice! Good to know for future reference, thank you!

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