Everything is more complicated in a male-dominated world, but gender roles should never get in the way of job satisfaction. Finding a middle ground between complete silence and utter annoyance can be a challenge. With emotions from both sides running rampant at all times, it creates a seemingly unbreakable wall. There are ways to fix that feeling.
Speaking from personal experience, these three suggestions will improve working conditions and strengthen the professional relationship between women and their bosses.
1. Write everything down
Whether it's on a sticky note, a legal pad or an email, record every word your boss says. It may sound elementary, but it helps in the long run. It allows you to remember what needs to be done and gives you an opportunity to help your boss remember what he requested. Ensure you capture the essentials you'll need to accomplish all the required tasks.
2. Listen closely and ask questions
Participate and ask questions vital to completing the task being discussed. Don't be afraid to be wrong or sound unintelligent. Trust me, you won't. In fact, your boss will appreciate you asking an abundance of questions to ensure you're solving the problems addressed.
3. Speak your mind when necessary
When asked a question, answer to the best of your ability. If you're not sure how to then make that clear. It's more about communication than being correct and receiving a compliment. In every situation, remember to be respectful and well-mannered. You don't want to lose your job over something small.
When I began my first architectural internship at a small family-owned firm almost a year ago, I never thought that I'd be dealing with so many prominent issues. As a woman with a male boss in a male-dominated office, I was outnumbered. Stereotypes surfaced and it was assumed that I couldn't accomplish the same tasks as they could. There was a clear line of tasks that I would be handling and the men would complete the rest. In many instances, my boss would assume that I was an airhead of sorts because he would unnecessarily repeat basic instructions. There was also the issue of my appearance.
As soon as I would walk through the double doors of the office, my boss would comment on my hair/clothing/shoes/nails. Anything fundamental to being a woman, he would point out. It happens every so often to this day. He has, however, stopped commenting on my capability to complete my given tasks. Utilizing these three pieces of advice allowed me to prove to him that I had beauty AND brains. He began paying more attention to the work I was doing rather than my appearance. These three pieces of advice will help women of all ages and professions to show their bosses they can succeed in their workplace.
Slowly but surely, women are climbing their way up the ladder to break the glass ceiling.