I have just had yet another pointless call with a tradie who thinks it is ok to talk down to a woman within the industry. After extremely firmly putting him in his place, I am reminded how often this has happened in my short career within the industry and usually I would complain, but today I have had a positive reflection of this encounter I seem to have time and time again. Women in construction face men who don’t feel construction is a place for them all the time.
Today I am reminded that these encounters, actually provide me the opportunity to grow and learn. To understand that this primitive attitude that some have in the construction industry, is not actually a reflection of my skills or attributes, but a reflection of theirs.
Today I am reminded that this actually gives me an opportunity to sharpen my negotiation skills and of course my communication skills. It also reminds me of all the women in construction who have had to do this before me, paving my way, and those that will come after me, whose journey hopefully I make a little smoother.
Being spoken to like you have no idea what is going on, actually provides you an opportunity to learn to be sure about the conversations you are having, prior to having them. There is rarely a conversation I go into, without an absolute understanding of what I am talking about.
But it also teaches you to be humble and respectful, to be ok with not always knowing everything. For many years I was embarrassed about my lack of trade based knowledge, but now I understand there are many things my tradie counterparts don’t understand about my job also, and that there is a time and place for knowledge.
I have learned how not to judge (although this is an ongoing lesson) I have learned how to impart my knowledge with no sense of superiority, without talking down to anyone.
So while at times, I might feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall, with a change in reflection, it is actually my greatest teacher and an opportunity for growth.
What part of your job could become a positive with a change in attitude? Is there anything you do day after day that drives you crazy?