When I first read the article “Taking Sides” by Steven Goldberg and the Endicott’s I took the side that men and women are more similar than different. I’ve grown up in a family where housework was shared by all, both parents worked, and gender roles were hardly a factor (occasionally, but not often). The few jobs I had while in high school, were female dominated—mostly because it was waitress-type positions—but the males that were there were good at what they did. After thinking about the article, I got to thinking about my current job. There is only one male that has the same title in the same department I do. Does he have an advantage over the female employees because he’s a male? Is he under less pressure from the managers? Does he relate better to the managers due to the idea that males work better in hierarchies?
With this in mind, I decided to talk to my only male co-worker and to follow him during a shift to see if he had an advantage or not.
Do you feel you have an advantage in our workplace because you are a male employee in a female dominated job? Explain.
I do feel I have an extreme advantage. Our customers are mostly girls, so I can flirt easily for better tips. I also have no shame so I flirt even when they are with their boyfriends.
Do you feel you can talk with the managers easier?
Yeah, they’re both guys so it’s easy to talk to them. They won’t think I’m attacking them if I complain and don’t see me as an emotional human being. Also seeing as how most of the employees at ******** are girls, I’m a guy they can talk to. We’re basically good friends.
Are the job requirements easier for you than for the girls?
Not really. We don’t have to stock heavy things and for things that are on high shelves we have a step ladder.
Do you think it would be easier for you to get a raise since you’re a guy?
Well, if corporate wouldn’t have frozen our raises then yes. Then again one person got a raise recently, so who knows.
So overall you have many advantages?
Do you feel that, even though you are very outnumbered, the environment makes it an equal opportunity job for men and women?
For the most part, yes, however, because of our clientele and the guy managers I think I have an advantage over the rest of you.
I followed my co-worker around for a shift at our coffee shop on a particularly busy day and realized how shamelessly he flirts with female customers and how easily he gets away with being a smartass with the managers. I try to flirt with male customers every shift, but usually they don’t seem to notice or don’t care. He walked away with nearly twenty dollars in tips that day; I’ve never done better than ten dollars (I usually work more shifts per week than he does too). One thing I did notice, however, is that when I talked with him after he had a private meeting with the managers, they shrugged off his complaints as easily as they do the rest of us (we all complain about the same one issue). He does get away with doing less work than the rest of us, but he could possibly make up for that in his high sales records. His advantage seems to be the greatest with the college demographic, which could be due to the fact that we work in a larger college town.
Overall, I think that because we work in a place that is overrun with female college-age customers and female employees, he holds a great advantage in tips and sales. The fact that our managers are males could just a coincidence but also give him an advantage, if not always most of the time. I think, however, more studies should be done to decide if men really have an advantage in this type of position (such as coffee shops). I wouldn’t know if other shops are male dominated or not.