Friday, October 31, 2008

Surrounded by Men

One thing that I have not mentioned previously is that I am surrounded by men.

  • At home, I have Simon and Jake.
  • In my group at work, the men outnumber the women by about 5 to 1.
  • At school, there are 8 women in our program of 100 students. We are further divided at school into two classes and into work teams- my class of 50 people has 3 women. My team has 5 guys and me.

What is different about being surrounded by men, rather than being surrounded by women? Well, I suppose there is a lot less drama. Generally, men - at least in a group setting- tend to not get so wrapped up in the frivolous details of a situation. Conversations tend to be very concrete, less about feelings. Most conversations with men (when not directly related to the technical issues at work- or the latest project or assignment at school) are fairly light and external. (as opposed to very heavy and internally driven)

I am not making any judgments here. The point of bringing this up is not to weigh the merits of male company versus female, but rather to explore the current environment to determine what , if anything that I may be personally deficient in as a female in the male domain.

Right now there is a lively conversation taking place about a sports team. Earlier they discussed Global Warming and the merits of using MSN Live Maps versus Google. In conversation- at least at work- Men talk to show what they know. There is a lot of information laid out. A lot of opinion, stated as fact.

Functioning in this "other" world is interesting. At home, I have it down. Simon is very supportive of sharing the roles- he is actually a "dream husband"- he cooks, cleans and does laundry. Honestly, sometimes I would prefer if he handled some of the more traditional guy things and left the more traditional women things to me (like washing delicates!), but you can't have it both ways...we have to work as a team.

At work, things are a bit more competitive than I would perfer. There is a lot of posturing and problem solving. There is no room for female venting. If I vent, I get solutions. When as a female, what I want is understanding- not answers.

At school- I struggle with math, and in the grad school business program there is a lot of math. The guys on my team love math. I was actually really excited when we began working on our first Marketing project. Marketing is very qualitative, right? No math! I was going to be a the star of the team- working this marketing stuff! Well, we got started with our sections and, wouldn't you know it? The guys on my team turned this into a math assignment. We had a complete market cost analysis in our report.

I have very little girlfriend time right now. Prior to starting school I got together with 12 girlfriends to play Bunco each month- but this group seems to have disbanded. I speak to my sister and my mom almost daily, my mother in law once a week. There are a few old school friends that I have become reacquainted with lately, but they live a long ways away- so our relationships are primarily virtual. I have a great hair stylist! I do grab girlfriends for coffee break at work during the week as well-anything to get in some female conversation time. Once school gets out I will definately have to work on this more.

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