FOR WHOM YOU ARE AS A PERSON! Not for what people see you as.
This was a big issue for me when I stepped onto my first ship 5 years ago and it somewhat still is today when I join a new ship for the first time. Picture this:
‘An environment which is male dominated has just had a woman join them. She’s not joining them by starting at the bottom and working her way up, No, she is joining them close to the top of the pecking order.’
How do you think the guys below her would feel? I mean in today’s world the workforce is seen as a man’s world.
Many people think that men should respect woman right from the start. How that would be nice! But from what I have learnt from the past 5 years of working with men at sea is that the only way to achieve this is to earn their respect. Earning guys respect can be as easy as working together to get to know what kind of person the other is and also listening when each other has something to say.
For me, being respected for being a woman working on a ship full of guys, it’s totally out of the question. I have had to earn each guys respect one at a time and continually work at it. Now I could have changed to be ‘just one of the guys’ or ‘a high nosed chick’ but instead I just decided to be myself. It required less work from me and I was comfortable in the process. The guys therefore respected me for who I was and not for what people saw me as – a woman.
Everyone is unique in their own personal way. For some people it takes years to earn others respect and for the rest of us it just comes naturally!