As a woman who has worked in both the sports industry and the tech industry, I have a unique insight into what it takes to thrive as a woman in male-dominated industries. Here is my advice for other women in similar situations:
Be Willing to Stand Up For Yourself
Even if you quiet and compliant by nature, be sure to stand up for yourself whenever you might benefit from doing so. For example, if you want a promotion and feel like you deserve it, tell your boss why you’re the perfect candidate for the position. If you want a raise, ask for one. If you get the raise but think you deserved more, communicate that. Don’t keep quiet and expect your employers to know what you’re thinking. Do great work that speaks for itself but also be willing to stand up for yourself when no one notices.
Our careers are most enjoyable when we make strong connections at work. Don’t be afraid to make friends with the guys at work. You don’t have to hang out with them on the weekends, but do your best to form some relationship with your coworkers. If your coworkers frequently get together without you, ask if you can join them next time. The chances are that they hadn’t invited you before because they thought you weren’t interested. They may be pleasantly surprised that you want to be included.
Get a Mentor
One of the best ways to thrive in your career is to have a mentor. Your mentor doesn’t have to be a woman unless you want someone who understands the struggles of being a female in a male-dominated workplace. Mentors should be people who have accomplished what you hope to accomplish, who see your potential, and who are willing to dish out constructive criticism as needed. A good mentor will work on challenging you to be better and will push you out of your comfort zone when you get complacent.
You must trust and believe in yourself to thrive as a woman in a job that’s run by men. Don’t be easily offended by criticism or harsh remarks, but instead, use it as fuel to improve. Remind yourself of your strengths and the determination that got you to where you are. Admit when you make mistakes, but don’t allow yourself you be deflated or defeated by them. Continue to hone your skills, work hard, and trust that you are every bit as capable as your male counterparts.