In today’s New York Times Roxanne Rivera offers great advice for women in business–even in traditionally male-dominated industries such as her own: construction. In the Business section’s Preoccupations column, she shares her own career story and provides a few pointers for young women aspiring to industries where women are still a relative novelty. Rivera is the chief executive of the Associated Builders and Contractors of New Mexico and the author of There’s No Crying in Business: How Women Can Succeed in Male-Dominated Industries.
Here are Rivera’s main takeaways. Consider what one thing you can do this week to strengthen your own career positioning, no matter your age or your industry:
1. “When you demonstrate outstanding performance and communicate effectively, your male colleagues will admire you, and you are more likely to flourish.”
2. Focus “on establishing solid relationships with male colleagues. Relationships are more important than ever in business, and women tend to fare better when relationships and relationship-building skills take a front seat.”
3. Get your hands dirty. “Nothing helps you succeed like knowing a company from the ground up.”
4. Develop a thick skin. “When a woman works in a business dominated by men, a sense of humor is vital. Joking and teasing is often part of the culture. [ . . . ] To defuse crude behavior, I nipped it in the bud. I would simply say, ‘that is unacceptable,’ and move on.”
Even though Rivera suggests that this is a great time for women to enter fields like construction, she also acknowledges that patriarchal culture is deeply embedded. Only when more women enter male-dominated fields will the workplace really change.