Post # 1
Evidently I am SPAM HAM? Trying again.
I feel somewhat defeated.
I went to school for something pretty complex but ended it with a B.S. I didn’t want to go to grad school. Without much detail the degree involved a ton of research and advanced mathematics. I felt completely out of place for 6 years being the only girl in classes of 40 men or sometimes just me and one other guy. But I trekked on aimlessly. And did great if not better than my peers in classes.
I applied for a few jobs in my field and honestly the interviews were just terrible. For one ex: One was inappropriate and awkward. Awkward as in a greasy headed nerd-mouth breather sitting next to the interviewer and not saying anything the entire interview… Just staring weirdly at me the whole time and at my buttoned up blouse. The interviewer asked me unrelated job questions like “do you know how to change a tire and/oil?” After that one I was so done and just looked for a job period. I needed one and didn’t have the financial situation to wait.
Here I am 5 years later at the same company, and pretty happy. My job is pretty unrelated to my degree but is lax, great pay, can work from home, and a lot of freedoms. Logically would be smart to stay put for when I start a family. But I sometimes feel I need to try again. You know… use my degree which was some pretty intense sh!t to begin with. I worked my butt off. So I keep looking for jobs that involve similiar skill sets. Lots of math and critical thinking. Etc.
So I apply all the time. Mostly internally because I want to stay where I am just move up. EVERY job I apply for that is most relatable to my degree… lands in a weird and uncomfortable interview. And ALWAYS a ton of men involved (not once a female). 7 total to be specific in my last interview. I did well considering the circumstances.. but then they sent my resume off to some other guy and he wanted an immediate interview. Another waste of time awkward interview with him being a little rude and asking strange unrelated questions.
I just feel like this “dream career” or extension of it… is idiotic to pursue any futher. It is like a man’s world and I need to just stay in my corner or something.
Don’t get me wrong. I have had tons of great interviews and feedback within the company (even when I didn’t get the role). I hear I am a wonderful interviewee from men and women… I just don’t have enough experience compared to the other canidate etc. I understand. But this part of the business just… sucks. I HAVE experience in it. But I have weird interviews with these guys and no feedback is given. It is like that particular department (which someone commented that they were weird because they were math nerds… great thanks -.-) are impenetrable. Like you can’t join the club.
Post # 2
I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but if you really enjoy your job now, it pays great, you get to work from home and it’s laid back it sounds like you found something about as good as it’s going to get.
Now depending on your financial situation, I think if you are really feeling that you need to make a change it would be worth it to apply and/or interview and see what’s out there. But the number of people that have jobs they enjoy and pay well are few and far between.
The only job I’ve loved was nannying and I made about 28k/year so obviously that wasn’t sustainable. I have worked as a recruiter the past 3 years and I’ve gone from varying degrees of liking my jobs. But the job market is tough.
Bottom line I would go with what your gut tells you and explore how happy you are. No job is worth feeling like you aren’t growing as a person.
Post # 3
Who says you have to work in your field of study?
I can’t even tell you how many art history, Russian literature, linguistics, therapeutic recreation, history, and chemistry majors I work with and my field is none of those.
College, for the most part, is a means to an end. That end is a job. Some people have extreme passion for things they then specialize in, but for most college is equipping you with skills for a variety of work. Someone who is an art history major can work in a variety of settings because much of the course work requires research and thoughtful analysis. They did that through the lens of art because it interested them, but those are skills that can be transferred to almost anything. The majority of art history majors are not working in museums or teaching art.
Are you passionate about the field of study? Cause you aren’t sounding like it. At the very least you weren’t passionate enough to pursue an advanced degree. You talk about it like you feel obligated to do it or you will somehow feel like you wasted your degree (spoiler alert: in most places outside of acadmia, no one actually cares about your field of study). You don’t seem passionate enough to tolerate the environment. You don’t appear passionate enough to forge your own path and be a conduit of change within the existing environment. And that’s ok.
Are you happy or happy enough with what you are doing? Can you support yourself? Does it meet your needs?
That’s the stuff people around you care about – not whether you are using your degree.
Now if I’m off base and whatever this field is leaves you with some aching hole in your life and you’re feeling blocked from pursuing your life’s passion – then feel free to disregard. Maybe find some women in the field (surely you aren’t the only woman in the history of this field) and ask to talk with them. Ask if they would mentor you. Go back to your school’s department head and see if there are some alumni events to get you networking.
Post # 4
Is there a professional or alumni association that would be worth sharing this with? If it feels like your gender is causing barriers to you actually working in this field, that’s a concern that needs to be addressed in the industry. I know that doesn’t necesarily help you right now, but it’s important.
You shouldn’t be made uncomfortable in interviews. You shouldn’t be asked irrelevant or weird questions. You shouldn’t be walking away from your job hunting / career development attempts feeling defeated about not being able to edge into the “boys club”.
Post # 5
I don’t know if this is an option for you, but could you apply in more progressive cities for this field? Where I live, I can’t imagine coming across this extent of gross sexist behavior. Some, sure. But not this much.
That being said, I really don’t think you should give up on your dream career because of these pricks, but I get feeling defeated and not wanting to deal with it anymore. And it is worth considering if you want to deal with this after getting hired, too.
I think @sboom’s advice is really solid. You really shouldn’t be treated this way.
Check out AskAManger.org. The writer is a woman and posts tons of career advice and might have written about a situation similar to yours.
Post # 6
Given your description, I assume you’re talking about math or physics (or maybe p-chem or certain areas of materials science or engineering). It’s true that these fields are male-dominated both at undergrad and professional levels, and it’s not easy for women. Your interview experiences do seem extreme nonetheless. I might try connecting with women’s organizations in your field, or women’s groups within your professional organization (I’m sure the AMS, APS, etc. all have them).
If it’s any consolation, the majority of people who get undergrad degrees in STEM fields do not end up working in STEM fields. This is true for any STEM major, although it’s nearly 50-50 for engineering. In part that’s because (despite what you may hear) we don’t actually lack for workers in these fields (with a few exceptions for certain subfields). In part it’s also because the skills they have a really transferrable (critical thinking, explanation of technical topics, data analysis, mathematical modeling, etc.).
Is it possible to find some fulfillment in your field through a hobby? Also, are you fairly sure you’d find fulfillment with one of these jobs you’re pursuing? Technical field jobs for those with bachelor’s degrees tend to be relatively limited, with most of the creativity and project leading done by those with advanced degrees. They can still be rewarding, but talk with people in those fields to gauge their day-to-day. If you didn’t have a cushy job already I’d be pushing you harder to pursue your field. But if you really want to pursue this field to find fulfillment, go for it. Whatever field it is, there are women in it, and finding them and connecting with them could go a long way toward helping you overcome what you’re facing.
Post # 7
Coming from someone working in a STEM field, I can relate to the gender ratio however I cannot really relate to it being uncomfortable as much as it seems like you are. For me, I LOVED when I was the only woman in classes in school because I would school them with my grade in the class and it was a lot of fun for me. Only woman in calc and highest grade in the class? Heck yes.
But even if it does make you uncomfortable, I wouldn’t give up on your dream. STEM fields NEED more women and you could be the person to pave your way in and make changes in your specific field. Not all STEM workplaces have creepy greasy men so maybe you just need to find the right fit. Have you tried looking on Glassdoor.com for other employers? You can read reviews and find one that seems like a better fit for your personality maybe.
Good luck! I’d love to see more women in STEM, don’t let the good ol boys club discourage you!
Post # 8
Could you shut down the “can you change a tire” questions by preparing a response such as “Gee, that isn’t going to be part of the job duties, is it? I’ll tell you what I can do, which is XYZ related to the position, as evidenced by the time I blah blah blah.” And maybe add on a “But if you’re looking for a mechanic, I’m happy to refer you to my guy!” The idea being, you’re politely pointing out the irrelevance of the question, selling your own skills, and demonstrating you can hold your own amongst the guys.
Post # 9
MollyCatherine : this. Why don’t you shut down the inappropriate questions? “Can you change a tire?” “Is that what I applied for?” . When someone is constantly staring at your blouse /chest, straight out ask “do I have something on my blouse?” . No reason to be treated inappropriately and to just sit quietly through it. Speak up.
Post # 10
You are a smart and intelligent woman. USE YOUR VOICE. Interviewer (or weird interviewer sidekick) being inappropriate? Call that shit out! By using your voice, you may show them you should not be underestimated and/or make them more self aware of how to behave when interviewing other women. As sad as it may be- you are going to have to work 3x harder and be 3x more motivated to break the sexist glass dome that is over your field. If you want it (which it sounds like you do), KEEP TRYING. Stay with your current job until you find something else and leave on great terms. Break the glass.
Post # 11
I would encourage you to apply to positions outside your company. Maybe you need to think creatively on this. Ex: if you have a math/science degree, it could apply in healthcare related fields. I’d also try different enviornments, corporate parks for example.
If you’re applying to other positions then there is something you’re missing professionally. Other modern companies can be less gender specific and will have a balanced, socially healthier workplace. I would give it a real try at other companies where you have the opportunity to grow and feel comfortable before quitting on your career dream. Don’t let crappy interviews or bozos at your job discourage you, forget them
Last week I had an interview that went GREAT, except for 1 guy who said to me “your resume had too many core competencies, I mean you can’t be skilled at all of those”. I regret being too polite in my response to that. Next time I get some craphead like that, I’ll pick up my portfolio, coat and leave without a word