19 March 2015

Cardinal Rules for Women in Trades

So you have chosen a career in trades and you want to be amazing in your profession. They are lofty goals and many of us who have gone down that road have a real appreciation for what it takes to be someone who is respected in that workplace. What kind of person do you need to be to achieve that goal? You need to be the type of person who imposes rules upon herself even when those rules are not stated.

Here are my three cardinal rules for women in trades:
  1. “Don’t get your honey where you make your money.” Show up on Day One as a professional. You’re not in a meat market. It’s not a pick-up joint. It’s a work place. Act accordingly. When we were young women in the army, we had a strict rule against fraternization. We tried to break it, of course. We also saw what happened to the people who did. If you ignore the rule, there are consequences. Maybe you won’t be called back to work next time you’re laid off because too much drama is hard to deal with. Women always get the blame; you don’t have to like it, but it is the truth.
  2. Don’t tell dirty jokes, use sexual innuendos or comment on people’s body parts. Don’t open that door. You give them an inch and they will take a mile. Actions escalate. Today it’s a joke, but six months from now it’s a charge of sexual harassment with him saying, “She started it.” Don’t get yourself in that situation. Don’t accept the rope and you won’t hang yourself.
  3. Observe the 3B rule: no breasts, no bellies and no bums. People who know me know that I’m well endowed in certain areas and I am proud of the girls, but when it comes to the workplace, it is minimize, minimize, minimize. Not the time or the place to be a diva.
Seems like common sense, but people who get in trouble have often ignored one of these cardinal rules.

photo by expertinfantry / Flickr