I’m a Woman of Great Conviction

The other day, I was talking to one of my colleagues about the projects that I was currently working on.

  • Donna: So, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the dredging of this creek and it looks like we’re going to try to get some funding for it. Apparently, it’s only 8 feet deep right now and it hasn’t been worked on since the 1950’s. It’s too shallow for newer barges and they can’t fill their cargoes to their maximum potential.
  • Broworker: What the hell is dredging and why are you doing projects on creeks and harbors?
  • Donna: Oh.. well, I like it.
  • Broworker: You like projects like that? Don’t you like Foreign Affairs or Women Right stuff?
  • Donna: Those are all fine interests but, they don’t interest me. I like other things.
  • Broworker: What other things?
  • Donna: I like rocks.
  • Broworker: You like rocks… like, as in geology?
  • Donna: Why, yes. I also like earth materials.
  • Broworker: What are earth materials?
  • Donna: Rocks and earthly elements.
  • Broworker: You’re a strange girl.
  • Donna: Thank you.

My social interactions may be strange but, I enjoy the awkwardness and comfortableness it brings.

Some of the things that I’m working on are very interesting and very male-dominated. I’ve been going to a lot of briefings about sea ports, harbors, manufacturing, and military material affairs. At about 80% of those briefings, I was among the few women in the room. I guess I can’t say that I’m not use to that. I’ve been doing the all-guy-work-thing for a long time. So, it’s nothing new. One time, I went to a briefing about the U.S Army’s material and supplies planning budget and it was probably the most weirdest experiences I’ve encountered since I’ve been on the Hill. I was running late to the briefing and I stumbled into the meeting room and I basically felt out of place. I quickly scanned the room and the room was filled with military personnel in their formal gear. They all stared at me when I walked in. Thankfully, they had a usher and he seated me promptly. As I sat in the briefing, I looked around the room and noticed that I was the only girl in the room. All the Hill staffers that were in attendance were sharp, well-dressed, males.  I’m not going to lie, I felt a little uncomfortable. Thankfully, that feeling went away when the presenters were speaking about specific materials that I had knowledge about. It only got better from there. After the briefing, I talked to the presenters and asked them some questions about upcoming projects that the Army was implementing. I have to say that I did well because I’m still assigned to that area for my office.

Looking back at that moment, I’m not too anxious when I’m working on projects that are traditionally dominated by males now. I have to say that I feel like I’m more empowered to be in those situations because I know that I can perform even better than my cohorts. I’m not intimidated or disappointed about the projects that I work on. I actually have a great interest in them and I enjoy learning more about the projects that I work on. If anything, I try to have an open mind about things because it would be unfortunate to believe something before you actually tasted it. I’m not one to read a restaurant review and believe the food critic. Why? I believe that by doing so would lead me to live a false life. I detest being told what to like and what to love. This is where I get in trouble.

I believe thoughts like that get me in trouble and it makes people feel uncomfortable around me sometimes. It’s true that I live a ridiculous and unorthodox lifestyle but, you either go big or you can go home. I don’t think I would be who I am today if I didn’t think like that.

Donna

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