February 25, 2019 by Mitch Maguire.
As a bloke coming from a trade career, stepping into an office with a significant number of ladies was definitely an experience!
The entire first half of my career was spent working with the boys. I’m a horticulturalist by trade and spent all my time in civil landscape construction, an industry dominated by males.
However, in 2001, it was time for a change. I got a job with Novaskill as a Trainer and Assessor and then later a Group Training Field Officer. While I still taught and mentored mainly young men, all of a sudden I found myself in an office environment made up of mostly ladies.
I learned quickly that things were going to be challenging, interesting and I would have to be a fast learner to keep up. While it was a completely new experience for me, I did (and still do) consider it a blessing, because working with women has taught me a lot!
So, if you’re thinking about transitioning into a new office environment or a job with lots of females, this is for you.
1) Women always have each other’s backs
All the women I work with seem to really support and empower each other. Female managers take time out of their day to help younger female trainees and they all really take the time to help each other.
2) You always know where you stand with a female boss.
When I came to Novaskill, I had my first experience with a female boss. Since then, I’ve had other female bosses too. I found that when you have a strong woman as your leader, there is never any confusion. I love this because you always know where you stand and there are never blurred lines. Everything is black and white and that makes it easy to get on with the job. This trait is as effective as it is efficient and is something I’ve taken on board as part of my management style.
3) Women are full of good advice
During a tough situation, one of my female bosses taught me to not get too personal with staff under you. You can be compassionate but there always needs to be a line drawn and not crossed. She showed me that as a manager of young staff, you need to wear different hats and regularly use these hats to show where you stand, otherwise people will take advantage of you. You have to be “hard but fair”, another trait I have taken with me on my working life.
4) Working mums have it tough
My wife and many of my colleagues are working mothers and it’s not hard to see that these guys have it tough! As a husband but also as a colleague I believe it’s imperative to give these strong women as much support as possible. However, it’s nice to see men helping and becoming more involved with their kids these days.
5) Girls can do anything!
When I did my apprenticeship the thought of a women doing the same trade as I did was unheard of, but not anymore. Women are just as capable and shouldn’t discount a trade career because it might be dominated by males. I now encourage all my female apprentices to just embrace it and make it their own. I find that this passion and will to succeed usually makes women in non-traditional trades some of the best apprentices I’ve seen in my time in the VET sector.
6) Women are better at drafting emails
My emails are short, sharp and to the point. Often my colleagues have been kind enough to take the time to help me draft important emails to make sure host employers, apprentices and business partners know that their needs are being addressed thoughtfully. I’ll happily admit it, they are way better at expressing ideas and details in email—and even probably in person—than I am.
7) Reality TV and the latest Netflix series is a must.
First and foremost, you MUST stay up-to-date with what’s going on with MAFS (Married at First Sight). I would suggest you must either learn to like it (or at least tolerate it) or accept that you’ll be completely left out of conversation in the lunch room.
Believe me, these are not the only things I’ve learned from working with women, but I just wanted to share a few that stood out to me.