Being a Woman in a Men’s Profession

To be clear, my previous job isn’t exactly assigned specifically for men. But when I got the job in my office, I was one of the two women working in the profession. The other women was in a different sub division. So, technically I was the only woman in my sub division. What was awkward was the other men were in their 30s and already have families (I was in my early 20s and single, not that I was looking, but the gap just felt bigger). Most of them have worked for over 5 years in the office and perhaps 10 years in the profession. I was fresh graduate, very ‘green’ and still have my ‘college girl’ aura. One of the older employee thought I was an intern! You can imagine how awkward it could be.

The video editor job mainly dominated by men because it usually have demanding hours (more than 9 hours when it is deadline or first launch product). Many of them even sleep in front of the computer screen or anywhere in the office (I never done that because…I just never, I rather go home). It is harder when video editor also join the out of town production. We should be ready to edit video right after shooting, which usually at night when everybody’s work is done. And, from what I experienced, we could also have ‘homework’ when we’re over the shooting. So, it demands the physics to be strong. Many ‘tough’ women are comfortable being a video editor, and they usually quite tomboy.

pp dai
This group shot is printed on one of the company’s magazine and we were dressed adjusted to one of our program.

The men could be intimidating you or helpful to you. They could underestimate your skill, or impressed that you are working in ‘their’ field. Doesn’t matter as long as they aren’t discriminating you for your gender. You just have to remember not being a spoiled brat or whiny when your job have a problem. You could lose their respect and you forever will have the label ‘spoiled’. Even more crucial, never cry in front of them, not even once. You don’t want the label ‘weak’ or ‘crier’.

If you do your job well, they could either think of you as a threat or respect you even more (I guess it also applies in a regular job/have woman as your colleague). They will think of you as ‘their team’ or one of the group. They will happily help you with things, like lifting things or other. But the negative point, sometimes they can forget that you are a girl and do ‘men’s jokes or things’ that are disgusted to you. You just have to be more flexible with their language, saving your ears to just let the joke pass. But surely have firm response if they aren’t being appropriate to you.

Once when I have night shift, the group of editor (including the supervisor) were sitting hanging out in the couch with the producers and director. It was time for me to go home and I have to pass them to go to the stairs. One of the director joked that he’ll take me home and ‘escort’ me to the stairs while almost take his hands on my shoulder. The other laughed hard when I dismissed his hands. I was already uncomfortable being the only girl that night and having to pass them knowing that they will tease me. If they did that now, perhaps I’ll be more easy going but cautious if they are being inappropriate. But I was young and uncomfortable.

I was very annoyed for being teased like that, because I felt like an object while maybe for them it was just a joke. So when the director chatted with me on social media, I decided to be frontal to him and said that I didn’t like what they were doing that night. I know that he would listen, he just likes to goof around. And then he understood and apologized. I was relieved. There was a bit of worry because we were working together and that might make things uneasy. That was it.

That is just one of the many things that could happen when you’re the only girl. It was easier when there’s finally a girl or man that are in the same age as me joining the team, because I felt we’re the same ‘generation’. Of course, the demanding hours were the most uncomfortable thing for me, especially when the production team revised a lot or even worse, they didn’t have a fixed concept in the first place.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.43.26 PM
working with the lights out brings out the color of the video more vivid to preview, but bad for the eyes

Being a video editor is known to be a frustration because we are in the last chain of production and could be a disaster if the production isn’t done well. What’s worst is when the other underestimate the time we ‘cook’ the videos, thinking that we could do it fast. Also the worst when they expect us to be a ‘magician’, could cover any impossible flaws like making an outdoor day shooting to be a night shooting. It also not helping if they keep revising things, could cost time and energy. That’s why it’s important to have a fixed concept before the shooting.

Anyway, working in a job dominated by men makes you have less drama in your life. They usually quite easy going and cool, while (pardon for my kind but it is true) girls tend to get too sensitive and create more drama. It does happen later in my working life. Girls can exaggerate or gossip, which creates more problem. Besides that, men tend to step back for you because ‘ladies first’ culture. So you get the easiest way/things because you’re a woman and should be treated well.

Now my office division already have equal men and women employees. Everything seems more balanced and organized because when I got in, the division was still new. But sadly, the video editor felt less like an artist but more like an operator.

There’s always a good side on everything, so if you happen to work or want to work in a job dominated by men or in a men’s profession, don’t feel intimidated just yet. Men can be great partners or team and you might just feel special among them.

Do you have similar experience? Or, what kind of office you’re in?

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sunglow mama

Jakarta (Indonesian) based blogger, 33, loves beautiful things and to write about them

2 thoughts on “Being a Woman in a Men’s Profession”

  1. I work in the construction industry, as a bookkeeper for a drywall company. During the day it is just me and the boss in the office, but most mornings it’s me and 5 other men getting ready to go out in the field. I love my work and that they are all respectful of my office. I never had a problem with any of them.

    Previously I worked as an office manager/bookkeeper for an IT department in a bigger company. I was the only woman working with 6 men (being their boss at times too hehe). The whole company, at the time, had me and 3 other ladies working. My spouse still works at that company, in the IT department – it was the only time I could tell him what to do and him to listen hahahhaa The company grew bigger after I left and they are more mixed now.

    I don’t know much about video editing, but I can only imagine the troubles that could arise if the men really believe that you are “invading” their territory.

    1. I also don’t know much about bookkeeping but it sounded good and perfect for you. I was overwhelmed with the men at first, there were perhaps 7 of them back then.

      Yes they could get easily intimidated (just some of them),but others can be very helpful and brotherly/fatherly

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