Hey girls, glad to have a meeting place where we can discuss and share. So I thought that I would get more trouble from the old timers when I joined, but they've been very mature and nice. It has been the young guys that got on after me that seem to be all full of attitude. I am only the 2nd female to be on the dept in their 125 year history. I am wondering if you all have any tips for me? I always feel like I have to work 200% harder than the other guys because I will always be under scrutiny. I do want to move towards a higher position and a leadership position but I am unsure how to do that when many times, I feel like the equal oppurtunity mascot who no one takes seriously. Many times I feel coddled and like the higher ups see me as more of a risk than an assett to the organization. I feel that I would have alot to bring if any one would let me. Maybe some of you more experienced ladies can weigh in on this? I know that I can't be the only person going through this. Thanks

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That's really unacceptable Megan! There are times when you need to just work and suck it up and times when you're right, you need to speak your mind and say your piece. Maybe a nice subtle... "if you don't mind, I'm not finished" when being cut off, you know, it usually comes up dripping with attitude, but you can pretend you didn't mean it to... haha... works for me when it has to. Or ask the Capt for the floor... as long as he isn't as bad as the rest of them. If the Capt gives you the floor, any interruption is a slap in his face as much as yours.

I feel for you. I've had times like this as well, but it does get better. Stand your ground without giving back the shit you're taking (so hard to take the high road sometimes, I know)!

And there is nothing wrong with venting!! :) Remember you are always going to be stacked up against the women who can't cut it and really shouldn't be there and that's the biggest problem with hiring these days. The ones who want to work and will work are going to be painted with the brush of those who are there for the so called "glory" of it all (I've yet to see the glory... lol). Keep your head up and keep at it. Remember that the road we pave will help those later on who are worthy of this job.. unfortunately there are going to be as many, or maybe more who will knock down our work, but that doesn't mean we can't keep trying, right??
Thanks so much for sharing this. I am right in the middle of this mindless childishness. One of the FF's I get along with went out on a limb and invited me to his Bonfire. NONE of the GFs said Hi or talked to me the entire night. In fact, they sat in a huddle, whispering like a bunch of high school girls. I went to talk to the FF that had invited me and his GF called him out in front of all his friends just b/c I was talking to him. They then proceeded to go inside for the duration of the night and she chewed him out for inviting me. As you said, I cannot believe just how insecure some of these women are. They act as if this is the first time their BFs have interacted with another female... The funny thing is, I have not given one iota that my intentions are bad, and in fact have been friendly and gone above and beyond trying to make friends with these girls. As I have said before, I am by no means a vixen, don't dress revealing or act inappropriate. I can't imagine the stir it would cause to have a Female FF like that around. Sooner or later, more are bound to come and some of them just may be young, attractive, single and friendly and oh, the drama that will ensue...they feel threatened now, just wait. LOL.
My captain's wife has never spoken to me, ever. The only time is when she calls the station and asks to speak to him. She happily talks to everyone else, just not me. It bothered me a lot before, but not so much now. I am very lonely at my station, I'm the only female... there are others but I rarely ever see them. I absolutely hate the station that I'm at, I want to move now, but I think it would be smarter to wait until promotion time so I don't end up booting someone out of their home. I work with a person that never speaks to me, I feel likehe doesn't want me there. Everyone else likes me but with 'that guy' there, I feel so uncomfortable and stressed out. I really need some advice. I am liked by most everyone but I have hated coming to work and now people are seeing the bad side of me. :(
Lilfish,
I understand where you are coming from, when you talk about the loneliness at the station. It's so unfortunate, because I know a great many of us were looking forward to the "brotherhood" and "comraderie". It is discouraging when something that you once loved feels like more of an obligation and going to the station gives you more anxiety than excitement. You must be career? I am volunteer and have been on for two years. I myself have recently been struggling with the decision of whether to move on to hopefully bigger and better things or if quitting would be like letting them win? I wanted to make a dedication to the department and the community, but don't want to wake up 20 yrs from now and say "What was is all for?" when I haven't even gained one close relationship out of it. At the same time, I don't want to get the "Grass is Greener" mentality, only to find that these challenges may be ever-present where ever I may go. I myself am not very good at confrontation, but maybe before you consider going through all the trouble of changing stations, you could try asking your partner what his problem is. Many guys value straightforwardness and unlike girls will usually give their forward, honest answer if you ask them. It might be something really simple or stupid where if you placate him, he'll be cool. As far as the captain's wife, well, you don't have to work with her, but if you have the energy or the care, just keep killing her with kindness. That annoys the heck out of ppl when they are trying to be haters!
Megan,

Thanks! I was thinking that when the right moment presents itself, I'm going to confront him. I really don't know for sure what his problem is. I asked another female (because she has worked with him before) and she told me that she understood what I was talking about and just told me she thought that's "just him". I talked to my supervisor about it, he told me that he would speak to "him" privately. I don't really think things are going to change unless I try to fix it myself. I have decided that I can't run away from it anymore. I don't really trust anyone that I work with. I hide my personal life from everyone, I am afraid that if they know too much about me, they will talk about me. I guess I am selfish, angry, and afraid. I am not interested in developing any type of relationship with anyone I work with, to me, it's just work and then I go home, back to my real life and forget about them. I try to have a good time at work. So, Is there something wrong with me for feeling that way? I'm also scared when I think that I may work there forever. I don't want to.
I have also been getting that "Grass is Greener" mentality. I live a good while away from where i work.
I like it because I don't have to worry about co-workers seeing me on my days off. I just don't want anyone in my business and it seems like there is too much of that crap that goes on in the fire station. My hometown has a nice fire department, the pay is a little better, the uniforms are so much nicer and the Fire Cheif is great, (so I have heard). I'm not so sure I could deal with living so close to work.
Hello Megan, I also am the only female firefighter on my dept. You probably will always be under scrutiny because you will be the only female on the fireground and at many fire schools. You will have to work hard at your credibility- harder than many of the men. I put a little of the blame on many of the women that have gone before me- their attitudes and actions have done me no favors. I'm now an officer and worked hard to get there as you already know. If you pay attention to the "news" you know that some women have made waves at the depts. they were in. Its no wonder you are treated with "kid gloves". Stand up to some of the guys you need to, learn from the guys you can, and don't be afraid to tell the other ones to **** off. Just make sure you pick the right ones. Let the crude stuff roll off your back, and go to classes and learn, learn, learn.
Anita, thanks for the reply! Lilfish, I really do know how you are feeling and can relate. I have also come to the place where I don't trust many of the guys. I brought this up to my Asst. Chief with the point of view that: some of these guys would rather cross the street than say hello to me, but I am supposed to completely and utterly trust my life and safety to them? Am I wrong in thinking that there are departments that do have that kind of trust and friendship that I could expect that? Or is that just a fairy tale? I also am hard to get to know, and don't really open up to ppl, but this is because of personal issues that stem from my childhood. I think that fear of rejection is a big thing too. Just recently, I heard something that I will have to take to heart and live up to: Friends are a necessity, not a luxury. I guess that I had really looked at them as a luxury and that I was "strong enough" to do everything and handle everything myself. But is gets real lonely up on my pedestal, LOL. The angriness, introversion and fear that I sometimes carry around all stem from getting burned too much in the past and not wanting/having the energy to try again. But then I think about it and decide, each day is what I make it, and no one, no matter how horrible they are has the power to effect me or change my mood or emotions, unless I give them that power. And with that light-hearted attitude of come-what-may people usually respond in the positive to it. As far as sharing personal things, that was difficult for me to, cuz I am a very private person, but I've found you can start with some pretty shallow stuff (like if you have a pet, your hobbies, what you've always wanted to try) and keep it positive and people will usually react well. You don't have to open all the dirty closets or dump the negativity from your life on someone. Those were my fears in opening up, that I would have to share private or negative things or I wasn't being "honest" but there is nothing wrong with "creative selection" and it is probably advisable at least until you know that you can really trust someone. Just because things have been bad in the past doesn't mean that they need or will continue to be. You never know what tomorrow will bring, and if things do turn around for the better, you may just end up WANTING to be there for your working lifetime.
Hello all. You will never figure out why guys think the way they do because you are not one. Thank god. Guys think -or don't- about things in ways we never do-or don't- us girls analyze things and read into situations that guys never give a thought to. Men and women are not created equal and are not supposed to be. We process things differently, learn differently, and feel differently about most things. I am lucky to be at a dept. that can appreciate those differences from time to time. The officers will teach me things in ways I can understand better- all I have to say is "translate in women speak" and that helps. Sometimes a job is not the right fit no matter if you are a guy or girl. Maybe a change of stations is a good thing unless you find out the hard way the change is worse. We have a tendancy to want everyone to like us and sometimes you sill meet people that just don't. Sometimes you find out later that the reason is really dumb and has nothing to do with you. everyone has baggage no matter who you are.
this has been a great source of comfort and understanding for me.
I have decided that I won't let this get me down in a hole. I'm way stronger and smarter than how I have been acting lately. Instead of asking for a transfer, I'm going to stop running away from it and just be myself around the guy and so far it has been working... And you are RIGHT guys usually never think in the complicated ways that we do. I'm starting to think that his reasons for 'not speaking to me' could be something as simple as intimidation, unsure of how to approach me, or just keeping his distance because he may be attracted to me, who knows... being a female gets annoying sometimes. I overcomplicate a lot of things... I feel like I need to, but maybe all that crap I dig into really is a waste of time. Agh.
Meg,
I hear you loud and clear. I too was the 2nd female in my company and dept. and I have seen women come and go from dept for various reasons. I have been a member in my company and dept for the past 22 years and I was the first female officer in my company and my dept. While being 2nd though the first female spent most of her time in school so I kind of felt first and the old timers would mixes us up all time and it didnt help that we both looked alot alike. Don't work harder work smarter this business is not all muscle you need to use more of your brain. As far the younger guys they are inexperienced and think they are immortal dont worry that will change you will just need to give it time. As for moving up in the organization take as many classes as you can get your hands on and attend ever function that your dept puts on ie drills, clean ups, fundraisers and meetings. All you can do is your fair share and the us will fall into place. Good luck.

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