An article titled “Another Woman Makes It In Construction” caught my attention. The article was about a woman who was retiring after a successful career in construction industry. Cool! As I read further into the article, I learned that her career was not as I expected. She was the Treasurer and financial manager for a construction company and not directly involved in the construction projects. She did not estimate projects or go out to the construction site. I was disappointed in the article.
Even more so, I felt misled. The title said she was “In Construction” instead of “In the Construction Industry”. To me being “in construction” means you have construction expertise.
In the months since reading the article I’ve been experimenting – what response do I get if I say “I’m in construction.” Most of the time I get a surprised look and get asked if I am a trade worker. So I don’t think my response to the article was unreasonable.
This article got me thinking though – How honest are we being about how women are progressing in business? Are we painting a rosier picture than reality?? And if so, why??
But when I read about her “success” it also makes me question why I am having such a hard time?! Why don’t I have a VP title?! It makes me question myself and as sad as it is to admit, it erodes my self-confidence. What is she doing so right and I am doing so wrong?!?!
Is it me?
Wait a minute!!! Let’s be honest about her “success.”
A woman who is the Treasurer does not face the same challenges as me. I am a woman who is in a traditional male role in the most male-dominated department in my company.
The difference between her and me is that men are not coveting her position. The men in her company don’t want to do her job – they gladly let her do it!
But me – I compete with my male peers. They challenge me on my success. If I am getting ahead, then they aren’t and I must constantly prove myself. I am engaged in a completely different work environment and my challenges are ugly.
So please let’s make the distinction. Don’t try to make me feel good. Don’t rah-rah me. Warm fuzzies and cheerleading isn’t going to help me!
I know I am in a tough business and I want to know as much about it as possible. I NEED to hear the cold hard ugly truth about what I am up against!! Don’t belittle me by thinking that I will slink away if you tell me the horror stories. I just need techniques and strategies to deal with it. I need to be smart and prepared.
I know I am tough enough. I believe in me. I need you to believe I am tough enough to handle the truth!!
This is dedicated to all the tough women who have written me thanking me for telling the truth.
Empowered women are tough enough to handle the ugly truth.
I want to hear your thoughts and opinions so leave a comment!!
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