Friday, August 26, 2011

Observations of the Female Engineer

As one of only a handful of women at a fairly large engineering company, it's pretty easy to feel like an outsider. Also, throw in the fact that I'm the only one on my team who's under 30, it can make for a pretty unique work day.

Now that I've been working full-time for almost six months, here's some of my observations.
  • My coworkers are very understanding and nice when I make a mistake because they think of me as their little sister/daughter.
  • No one takes my ideas or opinions seriously because they think of me as their little sister/daughter.
  • Skirts confuse people. Men automatically assume that if a woman wears a skirt, there must be something special going on. Sometimes it's 110 degrees out and I just like a breeze on my legs. 
  • Yes, I get dirty, too. A good portion of my work involves repairing broken down robots, most of which covered in a thick layer of grime and dirt. For some reason, my coworkers are amazed when I'm coated up to my wrists in the gunk and have accidentally smudged it on my nose. Do they think that just because I'm a girl that dirt doesn't stick to me?
  • They expect me to be upbeat and smiley all the time. For some reason, the older guys think it's ok to tell me to smile if I'm not while strolling in the hallway. Sometimes I'm thinking. Sometimes I'm pissed off. But independent of the reason, just because I'm a young girl to them doesn't mean I need to be all giggles and dimples.
  • You almost always get the entire ladies room to yourself.
  • It's ok, I have heard cussing before. You can see it in their eyes when they're censoring themselves. What's even worse is when they turn away from me and whisper the word to someone else. 


    1. That is so annoying! I work in a field of almost all women, and only rarely does someone treat me like a "son" or something-that must get extremely old

    2. That very interesting. I can see how that would be frustrating, although at least they're not discriminating towards you in an openly negative way, at least from what I can tell by this post. It seems like they're just trying to be considerate rather than making it seem like you're not worthy. You must be a great engineer! =D This post was insightful. Thank you for sharing! It's great to see you preserving in this field, even if it is male dominated.