Blending In Can Be a Good Thing

I like the limelight. A lot.

So it makes sense I am most comfortable when I am the only woman in a room full of guys. They focus their attention on me. Plus, we talk sports, which is something my girlfriends don’t really enjoy doing. I don’t need another girl in there to make it less awkward. I’m the happiest being the lone she-wolf.

Thus explains my career path in life.

blending in, women in male dominated jobs, women in the workplace, nontraditional roles, wandeleur

I grew up knowing I was going to be a sports reporter. There weren’t a lot of women covering football when I was a child, so I was ready to break the mold. In college, I had several men tell me I was wasting my time. No one would ever take me seriously, and I didn’t have any right covering something I’ve never experienced for myself.

So, I guess my flag football days as an awkward fourth grader don’t count? That’s another story we’ll save for later… maybe.

Anyway, I was going to pursue my dream. There was a problem though. I wasn’t the only woman with this idea in mind. In fact, I was one of what seemed like hundreds of females just like me; women with a passion for sports and a passion for proving the naysayers wrong.

I felt like I did just that. I was promoted to sports anchor after one year in the business, and I was well on my way to ESPN (in my mind, at least). That was until I met my now husband and decided to stay in Midland, TX.

I know this blog is based in Chicago, so most of you don’t know what goes on in Midland. This is West Texas… oil country. Our entire economy is based on black gold. This is why I decided to leave the low paying world of television, get in the oil game and become a landman.

What the heck is a landman, you ask? My job is to put together a giant, really expensive puzzle. For over 100 years now, people have been buying, selling and passing down land and mineral rights. It’s my job to find out who owns it now, and how much interest they have. I spend most of my time in county court houses searching for this information. I know, it sounds horrible. However, I absolutely love it, and I feel lucky to have stumbled upon such a great gig!

Once again, I had my doubters. It’s called landMAN for heaven’s sake! I was told I would be the only woman in the courthouse, and I should be prepared to be intimidated.

So, as I sheepishly walked into my first courthouse, I was taken aback. There was a woman over here, a woman over there; I might even say there were more women in there than men! It’s a trend that has occurred in almost every courthouse I’ve walked into since I started this job a year and a half ago. I find it very eye opening.

My entire life people have asked me why I drift toward “male dominated professions.” Ten years ago, that label, “male dominated profession” would most likely be accurate. Today, I don’t believe it is.

In both sports reporting and landwork, women used to be seen as a threat to other women. Each woman was like a different endangered species, trying to outlast the other. But today, we’re all even. By “we”, I mean the women, men, whoever… we’re all equal. You let your work do the separating.

People ask me if that “landman” label bothers me. It doesn’t. It’s actually short for land management, and “landlady” just sounds ridiculous. I am proud to call myself a landman. I am a woman, and I work just as hard or harder than the guy sitting next to me. I think that’s what my boss notices about me more than anything.

In my past, I’ve loved standing out amongst the men. Now, I am starting to blend in, and I’m just fine with that.

2 Comments

The Kentucky Gent

I like standing out as well – but in matters like this, I’m more than happy to blend in. Like for instance, I’d rather not be known as “that gay guy” doing this, or running that marathon, but just as another person building an empire and training for a marathon. Like you said, I’d rather let my work speak for itself.

Josh – The Kentucky Gent
http://thekentuckygent.com

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Jessica

You might be interested in reading The Son by Philipp Meyer. It’s a long, excellent and often horrifically violent book. Within the history of several generations of one family it manages to cover the story of the American West (focusing on Texas oil country) and offers a certain vision of how to deal with being a woman in a “male dominated profession”.

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