I have been in my industry of work for about three years now, I’ve been trying to work my way up, because otherwise I don’t feel like I am accomplishing much. My personality is that I constantly need to prove myself, be more than what I am now and I’ve been stagnant with that for the past year and a half. It doesn’t help my case that I just happen to work the office of a construction-type business.
Like most jobs, I tend to hate it. It’s hard to deal with my co-workers and I endure most days with the biggest scowl on my face. The worst part is that it’s only one person that gives me grief, and he’s one of the laziest people I’ve ever met, just the fact that he considers himself a manager gets my blood boiling. It’s probably not the most professional thing in the world to be complaining about the people who pay me, but this is just me proving a point of how hard it actually is to be a woman in the workforce still to this day.
1) You have to work ten times harder to be taken seriously. It’s a second job in itself to show to your male counterparts that you aren’t a little sissy that will just roll over and die at the drop of a pin. The fact that I am a woman, still under 25, and I’m not “unattractive” doesn’t help my case. I have to always be stern, always be direct, and I work my ass off to try and show my co-workers that I can handle anything. I purposefully take on more than my recommended share of the work because I want that manager’s position, but that then leads to the next point.
2) You get overlooked and more is expected from you. I can say that not always does my extra effort go unnoticed, a rare few times I’ve gotten recognition, but since I do the work under my “manager,” they get the credit outwardly when it comes to other companies seeing the job get done. But also, since you are working so hard and taking on more than you can even process – but since you are a woman, multitasking is a given trait from God – they decide you can just keep doing MORE work. For instance, I’m working on about 6 different projects at once, all with their own criteria’s, and flawlessly keeping track of them, just to prove to my boss that I can do my own job, and that of others. In reality, I’m just allowing my counterparts to be lazier and take advantage of the fact that I am a proficient worker, therefore getting no credit of my own, just letting them take all the recognition. Sounds fair right?
3) You are still viewed as a body, not a mind. Like I stated earlier, I am not unattractive, and while my work ethic often goes unnoticed, unfortunately my outward appearance doesn’t. Being in this business, someone “like me” – as I often get – should be a teacher, a nurse, or working in public relations, or marketing or journalism…the typical classification. Apparently because of how I look, I don’t fit the whole construction women criteria, which most of you are immediately thinking of the smoker who has a ton of tattoos, not in the best shape and has the mouth of a sailor. As a human being, we all have those classifications, so I’m not offended. On a whole, my entire office smokes except for me and my other office worker, I constantly get snide comments and continuously get hit on by the guys that come in and out of the office. I know there are die hard feminists out there, so I’ll add that it’s harmless enough, yet irritating, and while I always tell them off, it doesn’t stop. While you are working so hard to have a hard outward appearance and working exponentially more to prove your worth, you are still viewed by your body rather than the content of your mind.
4) You are the center for verbal abuse. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason the “older” men feel the need to vent and raise opinions that no one wants to hear, yet you always are on the receiving end of. You would think that the older men would be more respectful, but that’s not the case in the slightest. While not all are the same, a few I’ve dealt with are. Men just love to always voice their opinions and I’ve always ignored them, letting them just vent out their problems to me while I continue to work, sometimes giving a non-verbal nod or acknowledgement. This method is much easier than getting completely pissed off at work, which as all women know who are reading this, would ruin your day entirely. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot more to be worrying about than the fact that some doctor or other is a crack-pot, or that the office is dirty, or that I must yet again sit on the phone for hours to take care of your job, because OF COURSE you just have much more important things to be doing. I guess computer games are a chore in themselves as well, my mistake.
5) You are constantly being underestimated. Meeting with new clients is the most dreaded part of my job. This goes hand-in-hand with outward appearances, but also because of the way your managers present you to others as well. For some reason, this same one has worse PMS problems than I do, so if I pissed him off the day before I am classified as a typical secretary, which isn’t my job title whatsoever. If that’s not insulting enough, that title then sticks with other companies. Emails, calls, they all go unanswered, you are no longer that strong individual to them that you are working so hard to show everyone you are. Then, when you start actually showing them, they are confused, you have been underestimated and it takes twice as long for you to become reputable. You have officially worked three times as hard at this point, but outwardly it doesn’t phase you because you are used to it, while inwardly you want to curl up into a ball and cry.
6) You are always an assumption. Whether it’s my age, my appearance, any of those factors I am always assumed to be the daughter of my manager’s, and therefore another reason I am not taken seriously. Apparently “daddy” just handed me the position, and everyone couldn’t be more wrong. While I am a daddy’s girl, my dad lives states away from me and I got this job on my own. I’ve never been handed anything in my life, I’ve always worked hard for what I have. I was raised by my parents that hard work leads to big rewards, but because of the fact that I was respected by my dad, I have always had high hopes for myself and future success. Not only that assumption but the absolute worst one, which you all can guess at. I can’t even voice that one because it is completely disgusting. You will always have other’s judging you, hating you for being in a higher position than they currently are. While I am the only female in my office, I know other females who come in are in hurry to think the absolute worst of me, and I won’t let that hinder me from furthering my career. I didn’t work this hard to let petty assumptions ruin the outlook I have for myself.
Being a woman is hard, that fact is just plain and simple. There is still prejudice, still assumptions, and I will always have to work twice as hard to prove myself to others. While some aspects of my job are the absolute worst, the content of my job is what I like. I won’t say I love it, but it is a great job with amazing future opportunities even if it takes me longer to achieve them. While I may not get this next promotion, I will still work hard to prove that I deserve the next one….
I am pushed to the edge of sanity every day, my temper is tested, and my patience, but that’s just the price you pay for being a woman in today’s workforce. A lot of women went through much worse than I have and hopefully it will be even easier for future generations. But I can tell you one thing, my age is just a number, I love me for who I am, and my work ethic is efficient and thorough; no one can take that away from me.