Question of the Day

John Gray

Dear John,

I am a 38-year-old woman entering the world of commercial real estate, which seems to be dominated by men. I haven't found a professional association for women in my area, so I haven't yet found other females with which to network. My boss has made comments that lead me to believe he is very traditional about women. I like my work, but the thought of an uphill battle against men's attitudes in the profession—and the fact that I can only work through a "Good Old Boys" network—discourages me. What should I do?

~ Needs a Break, in Orange County, CA

Dear Needs a Break,

You're absolutely right: it's not easy. Before you faced the problems that you're facing, women who came before you were confronted with many of the same realities. Let me give you a few suggestions. First, don't forget your role models. The business bookshelves are filling up with stories of women who have made their mark in mostly male dominated fields. You may find one such story on commercial real estate so check it out. Second, Use the Internet to find some of the wisdom you are seeking. If there is not a strong businesswomen's community specific to your field in your area, you can still find such a group on the web, or join a group of women from a diversity of industries. It's a good way to generate leads. Third, please know that men can and will be your allies if you let them. Although many men are not great at asking others for their opinions, remember that you don't have to wait for an invitation.

Just jump in at the appropriate moment. If you have something of value to share or if you know you can do the job or if you have a contact or lead that can be a solution to their problems—by letting them know this you'll make yourself a valuable team player. To gain a coworker's respect, or to impress a potential client, your good work is the only proof they need that you can get the job done for them.

John Gray

1-888-MARS-VENUS - Relationship Advice