I know how difficult it is for a woman to work in a male dominated office. I have faced this situation right from my graduation days. Since I chose Mechanical Engineering over the other traditional female friendly courses and then later joined a manufacturing firm, I have always been surrounded by male colleagues during most of my professional career.
Now making a mark in a male dominated environment is somewhat difficult, but with some efforts and strategies, you can surely succeed in it.
#1 Be an Expert in Your Work Area: There is no excuse for non-performance. To make yourself visible in the office, you have to be an expert in your work area and let your work speak for you. The management is generally not gender biased, it just values the work.
#2 Speak up during the Meetings: Sometimes in a meeting, where all men are putting across their points and discussing in the loudest of their voice, you may hesitate to speak up fearing that you may not be heard. Never have such kind of thoughts, instead stand up to seek everyone’s attention and then speak up.
#3 Formal Meetings with Manager: Men generally have lots of discussions with managers over a smoke, drink etc. You may feel like missing out the opportunity to have a quick talk with the manager on such occasions. So, if you are not able to have quick discussions with the manager, set up a formal 10 min meeting with the manager every month. Update him with your progress and seek his advice if required.
#4 Become a part of the Group: If you find yourself in an all men team, always try to be part of that team instead of running away from it. I have seen many women having lunch and coffee breaks with women from other teams and not joining her own team as there is no female in it. Never make such mistake. Always let your colleagues know that you are also the part of the same team like to work with them. When you will feel comfortable to hang out with them, they too will feel comfortable in accepting you in the team.
#5 Join the after-office parties: Always try to be the part of the after-office parties, even when you are the only female in the group. Such parties are a great way to develop a good rapport with the team and make others also comfortable in having discussions with you. You may excuse yourself a bit early if you have any time constraints, but make a point to join them.
#6 Believe in yourself: Lastly, believe in yourself and your capabilities. Your strong belief with give positive vibes to others and make them believe in you. Your faith in yourself will help you succeed on your own merit.
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