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Customer service manager combats sexism with professionalism and hard work

This female customer service manager with more than 14 years experience in the high-tech industry shares how she has been treated differently in the workplace because she is a woman. She also explains how the death of one of her team members was life-changing.

What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in that field?
My job title is Customer Support Manager in the high-tech industry, and I am in my fourth year in this position.

Would you describe the things you do on a typical day?
Aside from reading and answering the flood of email, my most important job responsibility is to build effective professional relationships with my colleagues. Most of my peers are in other geographic locations, and we have never met face to face. Since our job responsibilities are interconnected, we spend our time solving various problems and finding solutions that benefit multiple groups. Meetings take up roughly half of each day and the rest of the day is spent ensuring that my team has everything they need to support the customers who call us.

What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what response worked best?
I am a Caucasian female and have always worked in the male-dominated high-tech industry. Discrimination has impacted me only a couple of times in a 14 year career, and I handled it by confronting the person who believed they were superior to me. The most important facet of responding is self respect. I will not allow anyone to treat me unprofessionally, and the ones who have tried, never do so again.

Do you speak any language other than English? If so, how has it helped you in your job?
I speak English, and I am very careful to speak it very well and without any expletives. Communication skills are the single most important job skill because every person is judged by their writing and speaking abilities.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What would it take to increase that rating?
I would rate my current job satisfaction as a five because I have not yet reached my goal of becoming an operations manager. I enjoy working on the business operation side because process improvement makes every job easier and more enjoyable.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and how did that happen?
I have learned that the good old boy network is still alive and well in the twenty-first century. Women still have to work twice as hard as our male counterparts, and the conversations that happen in our absence do not resemble the ones when we are present.

What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?
The fine art of influence would have been immeasurably valuable because every workplace has a currency of cooperation. People who are good at working with other people are effective because they know how to exchange help to someone else for what they need. Mastering this art can revolutionize a professional’s effectiveness in the workplace.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
I was willing to start at the very bottom for a lower salary than I had to because of the company that hired me after college graduation. In a slow economy, those stepping stones are critical to the subsequent steps. The one decision I would change was the location of my first job which greatly impacted the first two years of my career.

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
The strangest thing that ever happened in this job was when I walked into a fellow manager’s office and found one of his team members lying on the floor writhing in pain. I walked out of the office door just as the ambulance team walked down the hall. About an hour later we learned that he had a kidney stone.

On a good day when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?
I really enjoy watching my team take care of a day with a high volume of phone calls when they do not need my help at all. Each person is very good at their job, and they have been trained well. When they handle the customer calls without me, I know that I have done my job.

When nothing seems to go right, what kind of snafus do you handle and what do you dislike the most?
When every computer and phone system fails on the same day, I want to close my door and ignore the frustration out on the floor. Multiple internal support groups are responsible for maintaining those systems, and the days we are unable to respond to customers because of technical issues on our end are the most frustrating.

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?
Stress on the job comes from allowing other people to imply too many expectations. I have not maintained a healthy work-life balance because of my own inability to say “no.” One of the best ways I could take back more of my evenings is to have more commitments outside of work that cannot be avoided.

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough considering your responsibilities?
Salaries in the high-tech sector of the technology field run higher than most other management positions, and the range is from $60,000 to $95,000 depending on experience and geographical location. I would like to be about $10,000 above my current salary in the same position.

What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced in this position? Of all the things you’ve done at work, what are you most proud of?
We did a voluntary project as a team, and it took more than a full year to complete. When we did complete the work and the Vice President presented letters of appreciation to the team, I knew we had done something very special. The team was the driving force behind the process and the final completion of the project. Monetary rewards were not a part of the final “thank you,” but the entire team knew they had set the precedent for other teams to follow.

What’s the most challenging moment you’ve experienced? What would you prefer to forget?
The most difficult moments as a manager are always related to difficult life events in the lives of employees that report to me. Standing next to a casket changes the life of a manager more than any other experience. Laying a team member to rest leaves a sense of loss that never goes away. Another difficult situation is when an employee is fighting cancer for the second time, and the prognosis is not good. Privacy policy says that you must endure the walk alone, and the team wonders what is happening. On the other side of the coin are the life events where people get married and healthy babies are born. All of these events remind even the most business-minded manager that everything we do is about people.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
A business degree with a technical emphasis is my educational foundation. I spend time every year in classroom training, and I love to read books about business. Relying on formal education will be a limitation on the longevity of a career because every industry moves so quickly. Passion for reading adds joy to life and makes people wonder how you know what you know.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
The highest priority anyone can hold is to balance life and work. Work hard and play hard to find the joy in life to make everything worthwhile.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
I learned a number of years ago that the key for me to be rested is to take a full week of vacation at a time and be completely out of touch with the office. Even if I stay at home and work on the house or yard, I avoid speaking to anyone from work when on vacation.

Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?
The greatest misunderstanding about any business field is that the only way to get jobs is by knowing the right people. Hard work and mastering every position is the key to being successful for years to come. The person who plays the system is well-known and eventually washes out completely and must go back to the bottom and start over, which is called a career-realignment. Recovery takes years, and the result is usually not fun.

Does this job move your heart? If not, what does?
I have found that managing a group of individuals is not my cup of tea. I love to work with people as individuals and be able to find the ones who want to excel. This job is about personalities, which means that a lot of time is wasted on the least important issues of the day. My passion is to help others achieve their goals.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
I would like to be consulting with small business owners on an individual basis and training them to use smart business practices to make their companies profitable and healthy.

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
The most unique aspect of my situation is that I worked very hard for every promotion and recognition that I have received. I can look back at specific accomplishments that were the result of working well with other people and communicating like a professional in every interaction with others.

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33 comments

  • I worked as a customer service representative and found the practices of the company I worked for horrible. I tried to do the best I could, but found many moral issues that had to be overcome on a daily basis. The choice of working to help my family and overlooking the horrible things they were doing to their customers has been something I continue to deal with.

  • As a customer care manager I too understand how important it is to work in unison with peers, however there are times where a a manager you feel like a psychiatrist. With an open door policy my employees know they can talk to me in regards to anything they are coming to grasp with from death, to happiness, holidays etc. Good bad or indifferent.

  • I remember when I worked at my old job, which was working in a warehouse. My job was to pull orders, load the trucks, and deliver. But when we were expanding, I asked if we could get one more person in the warehouse, the owner of the company said no because if he hire a person he will let me go, just to save him money. Well I kept on working and One day I got hurt on the job, the owner of the company saw me walking funny and asked what’s wrong, which I replied say I think I hurt my back. He ignored what and went back upstairs, so I was looking in the phone book for a doctor to go see, my supervisor came and asked y I wasn’t doing my job, in which I explained what happened and she just said it’s nothing and go back to work. I disagreed and told her I’m leaving to check it out, she then replied and said we will have you go to so I went.
    When I seen the doctor he didn’t even check my back and said I was fine to go back to work. Which I went to another doctor the next day and found out I torn my disc. After I got hurt and when I came back after 8 months they had hired 2 more people to work in the warehouse. So I feel that they wait until someone gets hurt before doing what one worker thinks would benefit the company.

  • I work in the retail industry side-by-side with male and female coworkers and customers. I was recently promoted to assistant manager two weeks ago, and for the first operations meeting I attended, I was the only female. Many times male customers will bypass me and head straight for a male associate to ask the questions because I am stereotyped at the level where many men do not see women as knowledgeable in home improvement stores. I work hard to master communication with my immediate supervisors, peers, and subordinates, and essentially develop myself to perform my job better and grow the company. 12 years in the industry has enabled me to achieve a work life balance, although it is everchanging because I attend an online school and raise three children. Nothing feels better than being aligned with the company’s philosophy where the values are reciprocated. The best experience I ever had was making an emotional connection with a customer and having my team go to the family’s home and install flooring at no charge for a boy with autism and father with Lou Gehrig’s disease. It was heartwrenching to witness the pain, but quite life changing to see the love and devotion this family has. I love my job and the people I work with. If it wasn’t for the people, I would have changed my career path. I believe I am very lucky to work for such a great company and conquer obstacles and challenges that continue to motivate me.

  • As a male I’m a rarity in nursing, so naturally it is hard to stay out of the way of rumors. This is something that I have had to fight since becoming a nurse. However, never as much as I have lately. Upon starting at my current place of employment I was not any different from any of the other nurses on the floor. As I had been there longer and started to be noticed by my upper management I started to hear rumors that I was sleeping with this person. As more time passed and I started to make my way up the chain of command I started to hear it more and more. When I became a charge nurse of one of the units for my shift a Unit Manager came forward and said that i was sleeping with her. For what reason I don’t know.
    Then when I became a Unit Manager it was that I was sleeping with the director of nursing in my building. I think that this is something that you can’t escape, more so in this profession when you are one of like six males that work in the building.
    The best thing I have found is to just put my head down and let my productivity and experience speak for who I am and not what people say about me.

  • I am in a position where I supervise a few people, but even just a handful is a lot. Their problems become your problems, their issues become your issues, and their ever changing attitudes become overwhelming at times. However, the ability to deal with everyone and handle my own job is a task in itself. It also does not help when my director will not let me attend the various training that I need to better myself because she thinks that I will either leave my position and get another job or take her job. It is competition everywhere you go, but if you are not grounded and encourage yourself, you will have a hard time adjusting.

  • The last job I had I worked as a customer service representative in a bank. I was also the head teller supervising four other tellers. I know what it means to not have the proper training for the position you are in. I had very little training in the begining. It was not until I had made a few mistakes that management decided to give me the training I needed. The other issue I had was not having the right amount of employees for the job. Needless to say, he stress levels were very high and in the end was the cause of me being let go.

  • I have worked in both customer service fields and in a male dominated company. Both of which are hard. While I was in customer service, I had the communication skills to be able to talk with my customers and ensure that their experiences were smooth. In the male dominated work place, i found it difficult. No matter how hard I worked, tried and completed my bosses work, I could never get ahead. It is difficult to continue to work in places such as this becasue it will always be a dead end position for a female. My current position, I am constantly striving to better myself and learn all of the different aspects of the accounting department in hopes that when our controller retires I will be chosen for that position. Current goal: Work hard, always smile and pay at least two people a compliment a day.

  • I am a caucasion female who for almost twelve years I worked in a male dominated manufacturing position. It was very hard for me to go to work and do my job everyday and enjoy it. I started out in the lowest position that they could offer me and gradually worked my way up in the same department.

    Several times a week, I was having to confront different men and even going as far to my boss` office because of some comments that were made. I eventually moved to another department at the same company. There I was treated the same way….and also had some “inappropriate” comments that had to be taken care of by human resources. After several years here, I decided it was time to return to school to be in the position that I wished to be in. In doing so, I would makes a better life for me and my family.

  • I am originally from Africa and have been working in the computer industry for the last 10 years on a customer facing position. I can identify with this story on the level of having to work twice as hard to get to the same position as someone in the majority race here in America.

    Often most people who meet you first will wrongly assume that because of the color of your skin and ‘accent’ that you are not competent to handle the same responsibilities as them. It takes a lot of hard work and a heart of steel coupled with dedication to prove yourself. I have been fortunate to have bosses who can look beyond race who have challenged and given me opportunities that have got me to the level that I am at. Unfortunately this is not always the case with some co-workers and customers which is where the working twice as hard to prove yourself comes in.

    And because just the above is never enough I have decided to quit my job to pursue further education. In the words of English author, courtier, & philosopher Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626), “Knowledge is power”. I am hoping that this can help me achieve my life dreams of being an inspiration to my young daughters as well as other Africans like me hoping to pursue their American dream!

  • I am a young Black woman in an industry that is male-dominated. I know how it feels to have a desire to do more with your career, but find yourself hitting roadblocks very often.

    My company is very diverse as a whole, but in Memphis, TN where I live, many of the areas I am most interested in are male-dominated. Currently, I am in Customer Relations, but prior to this, I was a forklift driver in the hub area; that was where I got my daily reminder of being a young woman in an area with mostly older men. I found that I had to go above and beyond while the men could slide by with “just enough”. I also realized that I wasn’t just working, but competing. My manager was very supportive of me, and allowed me to attend any and all training classes I wanted. This allowed me to “wear many hats” in my area. Even though I was as trained if not more trained than my male counterparts, I still found myself being overlooked for positions.

    After four years of working in the hub, I got my current position. I anticipated that being in an office environment would give me a leg up, but again..many of the management positions are male-dominated. I found that I had no choice but to return to college because I need that ability to “wear many hats” again. Many women here are in administrative assistant roles, and that’s not something I want to do. With a Masters under my belt, I hope to finally get to the point where I’m so qualified and competent that my age and gender aren’t important.

  • This is article is very interested because this happens in an everyday basis. Our society is changing instantly and many cultures as long as with peoples ways are changing with it too.

    I have worked at a retail store before and the biggest value to our customers is our customer service. Men and women come along everyday and our job is to help them out the best we can. Most of the times a male is not going to ask a lot of questions or admit to himself that he needs help as in a female would but even though we are different people we should not be treated like if men are in a higher position than women. Females should have power, freedom of speech, and many more things that a men can do or say. Many of the times it is amazing how hard a women would work instead of us men. So when a company puts a women as a manager, that should be a great rewarding thing for our eyes to see that even though we are different at the end of the day we are equal.

  • As a young woman in the workforce, sexism at work is something I can relate to. Combating sexism is very difficult because there is often no hard evidence, and no one to report things to. In a large corporation, you are a small piece of the puzzle and if you do not fit they will find another piece that will. This females hard work and professionalism is inspiring. Her article has taught me that sometimes if you can’t do anything about injustice, you can continue to be the best you. You can work hard and in the end you will find reward, even if only intrinsic.

  • I greatly admire such a woman. Indeed, not only are the phenomena of sexism and racism detestable, but when they are brought into an atmosphere which is supposed to practice equal opportunity and professionalism, the workplace can become a highly discouraging environment.

    When examined at length, this situation proves how such primitive biases as gender, ethnic and religious discrimination can supersede a person’s qualifications and skills in both the professional and academic worlds. As one of many targets of ethnic and political discrimination at my university, I can honestly say that my fellow students and I frequently find the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel mindset of Berkeley’s faculty immensely frustrating and oftentimes, even discouraging when it comes to grading fairly. The fact is–particularly for those students majoring in an area where the work is highly subjective–you simply don’t know anymore if the marks you receive are based solely upon the quality of your work or on pre-conceived biases based on the simple spelling of our surnames.

    So while sexism in the workplace and ethnic discrimination in the classroom are slightly different matters, they both represent extreme obstacles in life which stem from judging an individual on an aspect which has absolutely nothing to do with quality of work and, most importantly, which the individual has no control over.

    It is my hope that as more employees and students at universities all over speak out against sexism, racism and other types of prejudice, the assessments we receive from our superiors will be taken into question. After all, speaking as a university student, I can honestly say that many encounters my fellow minority students and I have had based on racial and ethnic discrimination have greatly affected our GPAs–an aspect which we all know counts for a great deal on graduate school applications and, in many cases, on professional endeavors later on.

  • While there are some obvious times where women are treated differently by men in the workplace, I think it is extremely important to remain confident and strong in your position as an equal, and not to spend too much time paranoid that you are being treated differently. I feel fortunate to be moving into an age where women are common in management roles and appreciated more equally, but some of the natural inclinations of the human body will never go away. Women will almost always react submissively to an aggressive male figure, and some men will always be too touchy.

    I am fortunate to work for an organization which has mandatory diversity and sexual harassment training. I found this training to be empowering because we had lawyers describe exactly what was crossing the line and also what powers anyone who was discriminated against had by the law. This was great, because I think we often think there is nothing we can do when we are discriminated against, whether it be gender, race, or even religion. The truth is that those things which people often judge are protected classes, and we always have recourse. I hope that those who receive unfair treatment can step forward and be appropriately aided by HR, or if not receive their due.

  • This woman is a great woman and greatly represents the struggle women have to face in today’s world. I myself, while not experiencing this directly, have witnessed it.

    I had a summer job at a camp. At this camp was a store called the trading post. At this store there where 3 employees. One man, one woman, and one teenage boy. One night I went in and the female member of the store was obviously distressed. I wondered what was going on but the man, who was the manager, said everything was fine. Later that week the manager had the night off and the woman requested me to cover for him. Apparently, she trusted me. I should also state that this woman was a much harder work than the man and did everything 10x better. Well as I was there that night she told me a lot. Apparently the manager just sat around and didn’t do anything while she did it all. Also they where sexually harrassing her. She wanted help. I told her that the next day I would be in the store quietly and observe what was going on.

    Well the next day came and I saw that all this stuff was really happening. After cash out that night I took her to the Camp Director. From that point on things went uphill for her. The manager was fired and so was the teenage employee. I was promoted to store manager (she asked the camp director for that to happen) and given another teenage employee. From that point on we all worked together and doubled the store’s profits. However, I thought the woman deserved more. So I talked to the camp director and got her what she really wanted….her own classes at the camp. She was thrilled.

    This summer she plans to come back and be the director at the handicraft area at camp. Through her efforts and my own we helped to get rid of a corrupt group of people and improve the system for female staff. By the next year 50% of the staff had become female.

  • I relate in a slightly different way. Over winter break I worked at Michael’s as a cashier, this was my very first job. Since it was so close to Christmas the store was extra busy. As a cashier, the manager expects you to ask if they found everything okay, scan the items quickly, ask for their e-mail and then hand them there receipt saying “have a good day.” Well one morning I get a call that Leo, my dog, had passed away. Leo was my best friend, as I’m sure any dog lover can attest but I had work so I pushed the thought out. Well, I was checking a lady out, I asked her all the questions we’re suppose to and as I handed her the receipt I told her she has a coupon for next week. she says, “oh well you know I had a coupon for this week, can I still use it?” I replied, “The only way you could use it is if we return the items and then sell them back.” There was already a line and only one other cashier but she says, “oh okay that’s fine.” Well, I let out a sigh. Worst mistake of my life. She was so offended that she wanted to speak to my manger and as soon as she said that, a wave of heat rolled over my body, I couldn’t believe what I heard, I’m not the trouble maker type, never had a detention, never been sent to the principles office. After she talked to my manager and left I had tears in my eyes, my throat was burning and I could hardly breath, all I could think about was what my manager was going to say. He took me to his office and looked at me and said, “It’s alright, sometimes people expect certain things from other people they think are beneath them, you know? It happens. So I want you to take a little break, cause I can’t have you crying all over my customers,” He said jokingly “I need you to have thicker skin.”
    I had a very bad day after that and though my experience wasn’t necessarily gender related and I too was at fault, I do feel that people look down upon you in the service industry, something every person can work on is just being polite, cutting people some breaks because you don’t know if that persons been having a good day or not.

  • I think that when you are a woman and have the responsibility to work with man as their boss it is a very hard situation, because they tend to disrespect your position as the leader. Also, coming form a country where men hold powerful positions, women are delegated to a lower ranked jobs, even if they have to work harder than man.

    When she expressed that she encountered somebody “who believed they were superior to me,” I remembered when I was in charge of 20 people and I was designed by the director to be the one with the last word. I found that one man that tried to flirt with me all the time, was jealous of my position and wanted to make me seem that I did not know what I was talking about. Finally, I demonstrated to everybody that the guy’s attitude was because I did not want to go on a date with him, instead of a mistake that I made in the professional arena.
    In my country most of the man held the positions of power and it is very difficult to stand out as a woman, because we are normally delegated to secretarial jobs, being very difficult to stand out in a leadership position.

    I also agree with the interviewed when she says that she “has to work twice as hard as our male counterparts.” Because in the twenty-first century and we now have to work from the office as well as doing house work that our partners refuse to do. Even if we work and contribute to support the family budget, we still have to work more at the house, doing laundry, washing dishes, cleaning the house and other activities that should be divided between the couple, is delegated to women.

    Another point in the interview that I think is relevant, is that the lady does not seem to have a lot of advantages by speaking other language than English. In that sense, I think that what she expressed that sometimes for jobs is better to have more skills in English than to know another language. For that reason I think that is more difficult for nonnative speakers to reach the level of a native speaker to develop the necessary skills to achieve their professional and academic objectives.

    In that sense, I believe that for a women who comes from a macho culture is more difficult to become a leader, because men will always see her as sexual object, and not for the professional qualities that she has. Also, until there is a cultural change where boys learn to do house work the same way that their sisters do, there will not be a substantial change, in the division of labors. Because, now females work double shifts at the office and in home, and becomes harder to divide those tasks when husbands have not been used to do house work since they were kids.

  • I admire a powerful woman that holds a position and works hard in it. This story makes it well known to other women that is indeed possible to have a succesful career in any industry. I can relate to the story. I am not the only woman in my position, but I am the youngest and I lack the experience of others on my team. However, my work ethics are so strong I believe that I have everything it takes to lead a team of professionals to success.
    In my position, I started as a Cash Poster that many consider a data entry clerk but recently transitioned into a Billing position. At times it is hard to feel part of the team when in some areas the knowledge is minimal. I have been in many situations where I have used my analyzing skills and process of elimination to figure out things within my position. I believe the hard areas I am experiencing will indeed be a testimony to other women or part of a team building exercise I speak on with coworkers or management teams.
    I see a lot of discrimination in different work places that include age, gender, race and experience. It would be beneficial to employers to perform surveys to see if these types of issues exist to minimize high turnover.
    This story is motivational and gives hope to many struggling with the harsh aspects of discrimination.

  • I am an African American female. I also have always worked in a male-dominate environment. I have been discriminated against due to race, age and gender. In male dominate working environment I have been expected to carry out traditional gender roles. In fast service, I was expected to be the cashier because women were suppose to be friendly and flirty with the customer while the men stayed and cook in the back on the grill.

  • I can appreciate a hard working woman. I am a woman in my 50’s can have worked hard for 8 years where I’m at and don’t get a lot of acknowledgement for what I do. My other overnight associates do come to me when they have any questions. They don’t seem to go to management because more than likely they will send them to me.The customer want a man to answer their question and most of the guys come to me because they don’t know the answer. I have worked in Sporting Goods, paint,hardware , automotive for over 10 years. It is very hard work and I’m getting older now and have a husband that is disabled.I would like to start my own business. I have done Taxes with H&R Block for two years but It was only part time. I believe there is a lot of women in my position. We can do better for ourselves with a little help from co workers and management if the would see what we really know and not look at us like we women so we can’t know.

  • This story not only correlates with minorities in the United States, but also the Aviation field as well. Coming from the perceptive of a Black Male, I have always been taught to be strong mentally because there are adversaries out in society waiting to catch me up and now that I am older and have experienced first hand discrimination from multiple cultures, including my own, I continue to move in the right direction by being respectful, standing my ground professionally, and treating others how I would like to be treated.

    In this scenario of the woman who works in the male dominated high tech industry is has and will continue to experience what foreign cultures and minorities experience on the daily basis; however, I was never taught to be sexist and with all due respect I give women the upper hand to a certain degree because depending upon the culture of people, women often take full responsibility in taking care of the family while dealing with the negatives of society that are against them on the daily basis.

    This leads me to the Aviation field, back in time women were only allowed to be housewives, it was rare to see a woman working daily on a job unless it was as a teacher or secretary. However, in this day in age women are Airline pilots, Air Traffic Controllers, etcetera; in a field that was once and still is dominated by caucasian males, it is a wonderful change to see that women and many minorities are slowly but surely migrating to this field. In addition, women are doing hard labor type jobs that a man is usually doing such as a construction worker, forklift operator, Fire fighters, Police officers, Chefs, Sport commentators, Politicians, and so much more.

    In essence, although women in particular are dominating the job force to a certain degree, their are still discriminating factors that still being addressed in the twenty-first century which is the pay rates being lower from women versus their male counterparts. However, I truly believe that things will never stay stagnant in this world, rather things will continuously change.

  • I love to see a woman excelling in her career even when all odds are against her,
    as anyone that faces some type of discrimination. I do feel that most women do
    not get the recognition they deserve because of their gender. I have also
    experienced sexism in the work place as well. Back when I was in high school I
    was employed at a shoe store in a local mall. Most of the time, I worked with
    the assistant managers, which were all men, and I often found myself excluded
    and picking up the slack of everyone else. I also felt unappreciated since I
    was the one that came in every time they needed help, even on my days off. I
    completed every work project on time and in great condition. I never saw it as
    a sexism problem until a new male employee was hired; he did half the work I
    did, if even that much, and he was constantly complimented on his “great work
    effort” and I could hardly ever get a “good job”.

  • I admire the courage and wit . I have been faced with similar situations and it is always difficult to fight your way through. I also worked in the hospitality industry and it is tough to go through with little experience. From my experience i would encourage that hard work and principles will always get you through because it is tough for your voice to be herd and easily pushed around.

  • It’s very refreshing to see a women excelling in a male dominated occupation. Women account for more than half the college graduation rate, but do not hold high profile jobs. It is harder for a women to succeed, but with determination, women as a whole can overcome these obstacles. My field of study being criminal justice is mostly male populated. I anticipate and welcome the challenges this field is going to take me. Reading articles like this will keep me motivated to continue my pursuit to achieve a high profile job in a male dominated field of study.

  • Its unfortunate that this woman is not excited to get up and go to work every day. However, it is admirable that she has a goal to become operations manager. I can relate to this woman in that sense that I am also not in the place where I would like to be in life, but I do have serious goals and I am working very hard to meet them. I also believe that balancing social life and work life is incredibly important for a healthy well-being. The volunteer work that I do is a great way for me to get out of my work and school setting and participate in things that I really enjoy while helping the community.

    I appreciate her honesty and her advice to women everywhere about the dangers of gender discrimination. She thinks that it is important to maintain professional relationships and make sure that everyone is treated with respect.

  • This idea of sexism parallels that of racism. It is an inherent, false belief that a person or group is inferior
    in some way. As a double minority in medicine (African-American female) I have made it my personal responsibility to change the way people with my background are viewed in the medical field. Also, as I prepare to enter a residency position in orthopedic surgery where all women (regardless of race) are
    minorities, I would be remiss to remember that my performance will build a foundation of expectation for all those who follow me. It is my intention that my dedication to this role be reflected everyday in my work ethic and focus.

    When you bring into reach your own dream (one that nobody else has dreamed for you and one that rests outside of the umbrella of expectations that others have set for you) you have a freedom to do with it as you wish. Whether you inevitably fail or succeed is irrelevant. It is your moment to own and your personal sacrifices attest to this ownership. You should find immense satisfaction in knowing that nobody can ever take that away from you. Although, I will say that, personally, I feel that there is even greater satisfaction in sailing in an uncharted direction and landing with your own two feet on shore.

    When commenting on the responsibility that women in male-dominated fields have to other aspiring
    women, Amelia Earhart once said, “Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.”

  • This is slightly different from my experience, however I have still been apart of the discrimination. I am a server at a restaurant and this discrimination is seen in that only females work as servers and bartenders. In this industry it is seen that the females will attract business and that through our looks more customers will come in. It was even mentioned that we should wear “skimpier” clothing so that we could make more money and attract more people. In the hiring process it seems that they hire people who look alike. I was even once told by a guest that they were confused and thought that someone else was their server since we all look alike. The majority of us are females of average weight, brown hair, side bangs, and average height. I believe this teaches people that looks will get you money. In this industry people believe that you are there to serve them and tend to their every need and they can treat you however they would like. This I feel also has to do with the fact that the majority of us are female and we are looked down upon. I am trying to further my education to continue to prove that women are equal and that there is no reason to look down on us. This article helps to keep me motivated and shows that women can also have a successful career.

  • Reading this article I could see myself in many things she said. As a woman in the business field the good ol’ boy network is alive and well, even in small town Nebraska. As a middle aged, plus size woman I also have experienced discrimination because of both my gender and my size. It is only after proving myself to be knowledgeable of the job that I earned the respect of those around me.

    I am also supervise customer service as one of my duties in my job and can relate to many problems and joys she mentioned. Working with a group and finding those individuals who stand out is always exciting. Helping those people to become better and more successful is a good feeling.

    Maintaining a balance between work and home is very important, and something I strive to accomplish. I limit the number of people in my business that have my personal cell phone number so only important calls interrupt my family time.

    I have been in my current position for five years. I enjoy most aspects of my job, but am looking forward to going back to school and finding something I love just as much that pays me what I am worth.

  • A team that communicates well is one that will always succeed. Like this woman, I find being a part of a team of motivated like-minded individuals to be extremely fulfilling and rewarding. Unfortunately, as she points out, not everyone will be as appreciative of the hard work we do, due to gender. As a Medical Assistant working in a doctor’s office, I am part of a specialized and highly motivated team which intends to help the physician facilitate the highest quality patient care possible. We must work together, and communicate with one another, and always be aware of our actions and the words we speak. Working with patients, like working with customers, can often be very stressful, and communication is key to helping the patient understand the doctor’s instructions, and helping the physician understand the patient’s symptoms.

    Working in a doctor’s office, I come into contact with people from all walks of life, naturally there are those who think women and minorities are inferior. One patient that I can remember distinctly, told me that the only reason women should go to college is to find a husband. I’ve had other patients make comments about minorities, saying things like segregation should come back. As a professional woman, the most I feel I can do in these situations is shrug or say few words. However, I can combat these opinions when co-workers say them to me, and I have confronted the physician when he makes racist comments. Racist and or sexist comments are not conducive to an environment of high quality patient care. In order for a team to be working together at high productivity, there needs to be an environment free from prejudice and hateful speech.

    I hope to one day manage my own team of health professionals as a doctor, where I can demand a high level of professionalism and ensure a supportive and prejudice-free working environment. I want to work hard to achieve my goals, and part of the journey will be to perfect my communication and soft skills. By providing clear, concise, courteous, and complete interactions with patients, supervisors, coworkers, and the physician will ultimately establish a higher level of patient care, patient satisfaction, and involvement in their health management.

  • Its great read about successful motivated women in the high tech industry. I think it’s a very competitive field that is strongly male dominated. Women are entering the market and are competing for high positions which makes some individuals fearful. I know from experience how women are perceived in the work force with a dominant male presence. I was raised by an African American single mother who I struggled throughout her years in the car industry.
    She often complained about how she worked harder than her colleagues. It was hard for my mother because she was forced to balance being a mother and career driven. Many times she didn’t get the credit she deserved. I believe it’s because she was marginalized as if her work would never be good enough. Sexism is something that is every open and pushed under the rug in the work place. However, the only way to fight it, is to confront it. People will call you sensitive but in the end they know you will not go down with a fight.
    Its great to read that women working harder than counterparts to prove themselves equal.

  • I have currently been working as a Lead Customer Service Representative (CSR) for four years now, reading your post has changed my perspective on as a CSR. In many ways, I felt it was too stressful for the income I am currently being paid but you’ve helped me remember that this is not my final goal. This is just a step up the mountain and as along I have self respect for myself and demand it from other, do not allow myself to give too much time and effect to others (my job) and remember I need time to and for myself. Those few things will help me be happy but not comfortable.

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