What Working In A Female-Dominated Industry Has Taught Me

You don’t often hear the stories of men working in the healthcare field. Even just trying to do some research and find inspiration for this piece, I found pages among pages of articles discussing the nuances of women in male-dominated fields. But nothing of the reverse. While my story may not be of triumph or overcoming the odds, it is still one that is worth being shared. 

If you had asked me as I was a child what I wanted to do when I had grown up, my answer would have been like most, I wanted to be a sports star or a police officer or do whatever my father does for a living. Most, if not every job I once believed or dreamed I would have, can all be drawn back to one common theme—they are male-dominated industries.

If you are reading this and you know what Plan A is, then you know I took a turn somewhere and ended up in the opposite field. Though my background of Human Resources is also a predominately women-run industry, it is nothing compared to the healthcare industry, in particular, Plan A Peterborough and Plan A Timmins. 

I have the honour of working with and working for four women who make me feel very welcome in the office and a part of the team. But what is it like being the only male here? It is a unique experience that I learn from every day. Every job has different ratios of men to women, but for me, it is not implausible to think I could go a whole day without speaking to another man. Not only do I work with women, but over 90% of the clientele I have had direct contact with are women as well. That is not so shocking knowing that I help recruit and hire PSWs, RPNs and RNs. 

My days consist of interviewing, speaking and connecting with women from all walks of life. From the receptionist at the business hub where I am located, to the RPN applicant, to my co-workers and boss, it is almost all women that I see and interact with. When I go home, that does not change. A direct effect of all of this is that I can honestly say I have learned a lot about myself in the past year and more importantly, how to better myself.  

While everyone could always be trying to improve their listening skills, that is something I have tried to take to the next level. Part of my position with Plan A is to interview people. To me that means listening to people. If an applicant likes to go off on a tangent while answering a question, I will let them. I will learn more about them in that five minutes than I would have asking other questions. When we have our virtual staff meetings, I can often be seen sitting quietly smiling at the interaction going on between my co-workers. I certainly like to chime in with a dad joke or question every now and then, but I learn more about the topic subject from listening and observing. 

Working among women on a regular basis has also shown me how meaningful some interactions and stories can be. While my male friends were excited for me the day I announced my wife and I are expecting our second child, my co-workers and boss nearly broke my computers speakers with their excitement and joy. If there was ever a time to ask for a raise, that was it. What I assumed would be a quick announcement and back to work as normal turned into a series of 20 questions that I was ill-prepared for but rather enjoyed. 

Connections in the workplace are especially important and having things in common with your peers goes a long way towards that. Typically, in my past positions elsewhere, sports and video games dominated the discussion topics. But now, working amongst women and the clientele typically being women, the connections seem to be more sincere and meaningful. That is not to say it cannot be or is not that way in male-dominated fields. But, in this industry and with this team, you must open up and you have to be vulnerable at times. That is how you grow and that is exactly how I have grown within the past year. 

When I was younger, I never saw myself having anything to do with healthcare or even office work. That is in large part because I did not know enough about the industry and how many different avenues there are. I certainly did not see myself working exclusively with women but that was because I was led to believe they all had cooties. There have been a lot of things in my life that did not go as planned or how I ever imagined them to. Ending up at Plan A, being a part of two predominantly female-run industries and spending my days discussing the intricacies of nursing and Long Term Care tops the list. But like most things in life, you end up where you are supposed to be. 

The connections I have made are more genuine, the atmosphere is encouraging and my basic life skills such as listening and learning how to communicate are always being utilized. Plan A has given me the opportunity to not only work in my field for the first time but do it with a staff and organization that helps people of all genders become the best versions of themselves. 

~Aaron McMillan, Recruiter, Plan A Peterborough & Plan A Timmins

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