I have been employed in a primary dominated department for almost three years and it has by far been one of the best experiences I have ever had. Obviously, at first, it was kind of terrifying because I was the only girl in the workplace always working with a group of guys, most of which have significant experience and are expected to know what they're doing.
Let's give a little bit of background, I work within a sports statistics and media department. And to be honest, there are not a lot of women working within this field, and in the last three years I have learned so much about myself it is incredible. Plus now my department is split really evenly between male and female and I have a bunch of great male peers!
It totally is a win-win.
Working within sports, alone, taught me to do what I love. I absolutely love sports, I will watch football all day on Sunday's, hockey whenever I can find it, baseball during baseball season. Not just professional either, I love college basketball, football, and softball. Trust me to get to College Softball World Series in June and you won't see me for weak.
However, I never imagined working within the sports field. I always thought it was just something that would be a past time for me. And boy was I WRONG! After working for the first year I knew more, that I loved sports and I was going to shape my career into working with sports. Now, I am going to graduate school in the fall studying my Doctorate of Chiropractic and Masters in Sports Medicine to work with athletes!
I learned to have confidence in my knowledge, and myself. The first year that I was there, it was a lot of people explaining stats and what they mean, even though I already knew the answer. Don't get me wrong, I have made many mistakes, and learned so much more about the statistics and rules behind each sport that I work, but I felt like they didn't have confidence in my ability.
One day, I got the game, was asked to take stats that I had never done before and had no idea what to expect. But I did it. Successfully. I had confidence that I was going to be able to follow the game and take the correct stats. My department throughout the game complimented me on how fast I learned and the accuracy of my statistics.
I believed in myself, and now they do too.
I truly learned the meaning of hard work pays off. I have worked in this department for 3 full years, and am probably the oldest out of the people with my job description. This past year, my bosses were in a scramble because there were too many games at the same time. Due to working incredibly hard and being good at our jobs, they sent two of us to work a home game at a mutual location.
We traveled with the team and got to see what it was like to have a big position. It was an experience they would not have given to anyone else and an incredible one at that.
The last major this working in this department and field has taught/given me is to be yourself. Do not put on a big front, to try to impress everyone at work. 1. It is exhausting to try to do that. 2. There is no need and 3. They can probably see right through it.
If you have a question, ask it. They're not going to think anything less of you for asking. Honestly, they will probably be super glad you did ask, it will avoid mistakes AND show you are confident in yourself and not perfect. You do not ALWAYS have to be perfect.
Literally last night, I was confused about a statistic I was taking and asked a question, not only did the explain it to me, it prevented me from making a mistake messing up all the stats. AND they were all super duper nice about it.
DO NOT BE AFRAID.
This goes for all aspects of life, not just work, it's important for relationships and school too.
By being myself with my coworkers I have gained so many great friends, and always have a pleasant time at work because we are all comfortable with ourselves and each other. It makes for a much better shift, and people on your side outside of work. You basically have your own team.
Yes working in a male-dominated field can be intimidating, but it is honestly not scary at all. You learn so much about yourself and have a group of guys who are going to be super honest, helpful and always have your back.
Working in this field has made me grow tremendously as a person.