No Pigtails (10 Tips on How to Make it in a Male Dominated Workplace)

we_can_do_itTo answer your question, yes I do usually post blogs that are applicable to no ones life but my own and I’m trying to turn that around by blending the two into a short series of useful blog post about how to make the most out of a job and everything that comes with it. Today’s lesson comes straight out of my experience working in male dominated work places and from a quote I LOVE from Tina Fey and her book “Bossypants”.  Here’s her advice:

“No pigtails, no tube tops. Cry sparingly (some people say ‘never let them see you cry’ I say, if you’re so damn mad you could just cry, then cry, it terrifies everyone’.) When choosing sexual partners remember, talent is not sexual transmittable. Also, don’t eat diet food in meetings.”

This is all very sound advice and I have to admit that I have done all of these several times, just in this job alone (except for the sex/talent thing that apparently I completely understand that it’s applicable because it’s simple, but making it in a male dominated workplace is a lot more complicated than that. Tina goes on to in a later chapter to throughly explain her advice making it in show business and working under Lorne Michaels with some things that are useful to any woman climbing her way up to the top but for most part, being a twentysomething is a little different. Here’s my advice:

1) Be confident in what you’re doing. Don’t end your statements with that girly high voice question mark at the end, it irritates everyone. If you’re the boss of employees or interns don’t second guess what you’re saying (BTW interns smell fear, they’re like small dogs and/or children) be firm because if you give room for someone to second guess you, believe me, they will.

2) Try Not to be Sassy. It’s hard, especially when people send you emails like this:

photoI have to admit I did send a sassy email back but it was a lot less intense than what I originally wanted to send which was “Are you fucking kidding me, I know how to do my job, thanks for breaking it down for me douchebag” but I didn’t because as much as you’re going to want to “enlighten” them, men honestly think they’re doing you a favor by “breaking it down” for you. Take a deep breathe, ignore it if you can, and continue working circles around them. Don’t give them a reason to see you as a “hormonal” woman. This is applicable for crying as well.

3) Don’t try to be one of the guys. Yes slacks were invented so men would stop thinking of women as pretty faces in a skirts BUT that doesn’t mean you need to play down your femininity in order to be taken seriously. It’s 2013 for God sakes there are some really cute summer dresses that should be worn! We’re at the point now in shattering the glass ceiling where men actually forget that women are… well women. Put on some make-up, stop putting up with dumb guy innuendoes that make you feel uncomfortable, take that hair dryer you spent too much money on and do your hair. If you walk in and everyone goes “You look nice today” take that as an indication you should do the above steps more often.

4) Become close to your female co-workers/counterparts. You already have enough problems to be worried about without competing or being jealous of the other females in the office, so band together! Who else is going to get what you’re going through if not the other ladies in the ladies room?! Our generation has the biggest problem with this. We’re suppose to be working together so that we can have moments like these:

5) Don’t lose your compassion. Guys don’t care if your sick, they don’t care if you locked yourself out of your apartment, they don’t care that your cats not eating, they just don’t care in general (I’m generalizing, of course, I’ve had gay male co-workers who cared about my well being, I’d say it’s like 10/90 60/40). That doesn’t mean you should become a cold hearted bitch. Some women think that the best way up is to pull a Anna Wintours and become an ice Queen, and it does work for some but getting to the top shouldn’t mean losing your humanity. That compassionate touch will get you places too.

6) Don’t be bitter. Yes, the day will come when a younger, fresh out of Columbia- Size 2 – I just moved to the big city, girl will come in and garner all of the atention out of the office, don’t become bitter of this naive new shiny play thing. You were once that play thing and now you’re you. Don’t worry her time will come, but in the mean time the worse thing you can do is walk around the office like someone just stole your favorite Pashmina. The only thing men hate more than confident women is insecure women (also crying women but I’ll get to that in a minute) remember #4 and lay low.

7) Cry Sparingly. I’m not a great example of this because I cry at even the slightest raised tone. Blame it on my parents for not yelling in my direction more. I’m with Tina on this, if you’re so fucking mad/annoyed/irritated/UP TO FUCKING HERE with things, then cry, it will make you feel better and every guy feel like “WTF should I do.” HOWEVER, if you cry, know what the fuck you’re crying about. Be ready after you cry to get the things you want from the people your crying about, otherwise you just wasted a perfectly good cry. There is no crying for the sake of crying when you’re a women in the professional world. Be solution orientated and use it to get what you want. I’m not advocating making yourself cry just for that purpose but if you’re driven to the point of insanity, unleash it a bit and get the shit you want done, done.

8) Don’t sleep with your boss, your co-workers, your interns, your employees, not even the janitor. DO NOT. I feel like females forget this ALL THE TIME AND IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP. You’re going to want to, they’re going to want to, just do the opposite of the Nike ad and DON’T JUST DO IT. It will complicate anything you’re trying to accomplish and put you in an emotional compromising position that you just can’t be in if you’re trying to be taken seriously. The women in the office will talk, the men in the office will talk, it will not be good. Now remember, this is applicable for sleeping with not dating. Dating is a whole different minefield but it isn’t the worse thing in the world. I recently read a survey that said up to 40% of in office relationships end in marriage, which is pretty high, so if you think it’ll end in that then go ahead and be my guest, but if not, STAY AWAY. Friends with benefits barely works outside an office environment so why would it work in one?! If you’re not sure which category you belong in, then you belong in the latter. That is all.

9) Do your job better than anyone else. Be there 45 minutes before and 45 minutes after everyone else has left. Be sharp, be efficient, be all the above things I’ve already mentioned but above all else good at what you do. If you’re good at what you do then even if you accidentally ignore any of my other tips you have that to fall back on. Does it suck that you have to get an A+ on everything while everyone else can skate by with a B-, yes, but I’m not here to argue the fairness of being a young woman in the workplace. This goes triple for minority women. #SorryNotSorry

10) Remember they’re just men, fuck them. Honestly don’t let them get to you. Unless your blessed to work in a woman dominated field than at some point you’re going to have deal with the “higher up’s” and unless you work in Sweden, only about 10% of those “higher up’s” are women. In 20 years maybe that won’t be true but for now, that’s the reality. Try not to take anything they say personally (remember I said try…). At some point you will have to be their work wife, therapist, secretary, mom, waitress, teacher, and all the above and it will make you mad but at the end of the day they aren’t thinking about you, so you shouldn’t think about them.

P.S. I’m thinking of being Rosie the Riveter for Halloween, thoughts?! 

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One thought on “No Pigtails (10 Tips on How to Make it in a Male Dominated Workplace)

  1. Pingback: Dear Me: A Letter for my 22 Year Old Self | God, I Hate My 20's

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