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Banging My Head On A Brick Wall – Women In Construction

Banging My Head On A Brick Wall – Women In Construction

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.

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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?

Nicole xxx

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14 Comments

  1. I feel for female in these ‘male dominated’ jobs – it’s bad enough as a client when they act like you have no idea, but to deal with it daily when you’re probably better at the job than half of them? Must drive them nuts!

    1. It sure is a difficult task! xx

  2. This would drive me spare. Good on you for finding a silver lining while also changing attitudes as you go.

    1. It does my flipping head in most days, occasionally I can find a silver lining 🙂

  3. Good on you Nic. I don’t work in a male industry anymore but when I did it was very difficult. Mine was white collar but still very male dominated so the language was good it was the lack of respect that killed me. I love your professional and mature approach.
    #teamIBOT

    1. Thank you Natalie, that means a lot to me. xx

  4. Yay you for finding a flip side and continuing to pave the way for the women who will come after you. You’re a trailblazer!

    1. And you Miss Sammie, are very kind. xx

  5. It’s not unique to tradies, believe me. When I used to work on a customer service counter for my local council, I worked with one fellow almost retirement age (I was in my 20’s). Many was the time customers would turn to HIM for advice or confirmation of what I’d just said … yet I was the boss! They just assumed because he was an older male he knew everything. Actually, couldn’t have been further from the truth, more fool them I figured if they listened to his rubbish.

    1. Janet, you are so right! I was watching parliament yesterday and thinking what a difficult place it must be for women to work in!! It is infuriating how often women are looked over for a mans point of view.

  6. It’s a bit like de ja vu reading this post. I wrote about similar issues on my blog a few years ago when I was on the tools. I remember experiencing this through out my career – even when I was qualified and knew what I was talking about. In hindsight, yes it made me persistent and stronger, but some tradesmen you will never win with and you have to work out a way forward and it can be simply not working with them again, getting someone else in the company to deal with them or just persist and hope their attitude gets better. I think you also need to back yourself and remember you know more than you think and you are definitely paving the way for women who come into the trades after you. Keep persisting. Just look at the amazing house you have created and the people who believe in the work you do. xx

    1. I felt like de ja vu writing it 🙂 I can’t believe how often we as women encounter this attitude. This is one tradie I will be letting go, once this obligation is filled, then he can go and work for someone else. Thank you for your kind words xx

  7. You are a patient person. I think that the grace you show is something I can learn from.

    1. That is such a kind thing to say Robyna, thank you.

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