Stop Whining and Just Do Your F*cking Job

A Google search phrase touches a nerve.

Every once in a while, when I check the stats for my blog, I also take a look at the search engine terms and phrases that visitors used to find posts on my blog. This list is never complete — Google has begun hiding search words/phrases for privacy reasons — but it certainly is enlightening. It gives me a good idea of what people come to my blog to learn. That, in turn, gives me ideas for future topics.

During the first six hours of today, the following search phrase stands out:

i m a girl and i want become a pilot so what can i do

This is a seriously sore subject with me. You see, I don’t believe a woman should do anything different from a man when pursuing any career. The career path to becoming a pilot is the same no matter what your gender is: get the required education and training, get job experience, and move forward.

How could this possibly be any different for women than it is for men?

Women need to stop thinking of themselves as women when out in the job market. They need to stop thinking about men vs. women and simply think of job candidates vs. job candidates.

The way this search phrase was written, I get the distinct impression that the searcher was a young person — perhaps even a teen or younger. After all, she referred to herself as a “girl” instead of as a “woman” or simply “female.” That means that for some reason, she’s been taught to think of herself first as female and second as a professional. Why are parents and teachers doing this to our young people?

These days, there have been far too many whining complaints from women who are complaining about different treatment because they’re women. I’m calling bullshit on all of this. The reason you’re being treated differently is because you’re acting differently. Maybe you’re making different demands from your employer — excessive time off to deal with your children. Maybe you’re dressing differently in the workplace — short skirts, tight pants, and low-cut blouses. Maybe you’re acting differently at the office — spending too much time on the phone or gossiping about coworkers.

If you want to be treated the same as your male counterparts in the workplace, you need to stop acting like a woman and start acting like a worker.

And before you share your sob stories with me or put me on your hate list, take a lead from me. I’ve been in and achieved success in three male dominated careers — by choice — in the past 32 years:

  • Corporate auditing/finance. Straight out of college at the age of 20, I got a job as an auditor for the New York City Comptroller’s Office. I’d estimate that only about 20% of the people holding the same job were women. By the age of 22, I was a supervisor with 12 people below me, most of whom were men. Three years later, I moved into an Internal Audit position at a Fortune 100 corporation. I’d say 30% of our small audit staff were female. From there, I moved into a financial analyst position at the same company; 25% were women. I got good pay raises every year and with every promotion. (And yes, I was promoted.)
  • Technical computing/computer book authoring. In 1990, I left my full-time job to pursue a freelance career as a computer trainer and book author. This is clearly a male-dominated industry with roughly 10-20% of the people doing what I did being women. Yet I was able to get and hold a number of computer training positions, land over 80 book contracts, and write hundreds of articles about computing. I’m still doing this work.
  • Aviation/piloting. In 2000, I learned to fly and began building a career as a pilot and charter operator. How many female pilots do you see around? And helicopter pilots? I can’t imagine more than 5% of all helicopter pilots being women. It’s a seriously male-dominated field. Yet I built my company over time to the point where it generates a good amount of business, especially through summer contract work. For the past two seasons, I have been the only female helicopter pilot doing cherry drying work in Washington state.

How did I achieve such success when surrounded by men doing the same job? By simply doing my job without whining.

Ladies, take note! You want the same opportunities as men in the workplace? Stop whining and crying about how different you are. Stop being different. Focus on the work and get the job done. Do it to the best of your abilities. Be a team player.

Nobody likes a whiner. I’m sick of being lumped into a group — women — who incessantly whine about how different they’re treated when all they can do is show how different they are.

And if you think you’re a woman first and an employee second, you have absolutely no place in the workplace. Employers and clients don’t want men or women. They want people who get the job done.

November 6, 2014 PM Postscript: Here’s another blog post from 2013 that also discusses this issue, but with quotes from female pilots.

12 thoughts on “Stop Whining and Just Do Your F*cking Job

    • Thanks, Ken.

      Between young people feeling “entitled” to jobs they can’t seem to do and a certain group of women whining about how they can’t get ahead in the workplace just because they’re women, I think those of us who just get down and do the job to the best of our abilities must really shine in the eyes of employers and clients. I honestly don’t understand why these women continue to use their gender as either a crutch or an excuse. It’s pretty clear to me that the only thing holding them back is themselves and the whining of other women.

  1. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple months, and I actually found it by searching female/girl helicopter pilots. :-) I began taking helicopter lessons in March of this year, and I don’t know anyone that flies outside of my school, and definitely no female pilots, so I love reading blogs like yours!
    Sadly, I started late in life…I’m 28…and the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome is my family, and their beliefs that women shouldn’t work jobs outside the home (they are pretty strict.) But now that they’ve seen that I’m serious about this, they’ve actually been pretty supportive.
    The guys at my school have been SO kind and helpful, and I have the BEST instructor, who has never treated me differently because I’m a girl! I LOVE flying, and can’t wait until I can do it all the time as a job! I only have a few more hours and I’ll be ready to get my private pilots license. I’m working like crazy (sometimes 70 hours a week), doing online college (for the student loans), and doing my best to scrape together enough money for lessons. If I can do it, anyone can! :-) Thanks for this post!

    • I’m so pleased to hear how you’re getting past old stereotypes and moving forward with your career. And if you think 28 is starting late — well, I started learning to fly at 38.

      Best wishes to you. Hope I didn’t scare you with my curmudgeony attitude. It sometimes puts women off. But as you’re seeing for yourself, if you do your best without whining or looking for special treatment, you’ll do great!

      And here’s something to keep in mind: it’s often a lot easier for women to get entry level jobs because of our size — we tend to be smaller and, thus, weigh less than the guys. That’s really important for CFI and tour jobs. Check this out:

    • Sigh…yes, that post was one of the first that I read. Although I am 5’3″, I’ve always struggled with my weight. Reading that hurt, but I’m glad I found it, because no one ever really mentioned that weight would be a problem. At least it’s a problem that can be fixed, and I’ve been working even harder to lose weight since I read that.

      Oh, and you definitely didn’t scare me off…what you said is the truth! At one of my jobs I deliver pizza, and it’s not a great thing to do, but I’m one of the few people there that gets the schedule I need to work around my other job. I know it’s because they respect my hard work, and I never complain about having to work like a lot of the girls there do.

      And one more thing…it seems like women would actually have an easier time getting pilot jobs because aren’t we more careful and cautious than guys? They’re the ones that have really high car insurance premiums until their mid-20’s, right? :-)

    • I honestly think we make better pilots because we don’t have to deal with the “macho” thing that males seem to have, usually while they’re young — although some guys never seem to grow out of it. I also think we make better helicopter pilots because we have a lighter touch on the controls. But I really shouldn’t generalize. That’s what gets the gender thing going in the first place.

      About weight — I was overweight for years and finally made the change to get back to the weight I should be. Many benefits including better health, more energy, and a boost in self-esteem. I did it with a Medifast diet; 4 months, 45 pounds. Tough to start and stick to — the first month is the hardest — but you can’t knock the results. Two other pilot friends also did Medifast; one lost 80 pounds and the other lost at least 60. Do it now while you’re still young. I waited too long and missed out on good health during the best years of my life!

    • Maria. I don’t think your attitude is curmudgeony. Someone might have told you that, but it’s wrong. I’m not a woman, but that doesn’t make a difference. Men can be just as whiny if not MORE so. Everyone can be whiny. Your attitude is good. You like what you do. It’s hard work to become a pilot. It’s not a disservice to make that known. It’s a pleasure. Hard work (on something you want to do) is fun. It’s rewarding. Otherwise there would be no point to being a pilot. There would be no point to anything satisfying if it were not a process of trial and error.

    • I definitely agree. It’s so worth it to work hard when you can achieve a goal you really want to achieve. More people need to understand this.

  2. I agree whiny, slutty women are pretty annoying and perhaps give us a bad name. But you don’t want to generalize about women being good pilots because of their light touch and smaller size? It’s still ok to generalize that any woman experiencing gender bias in her salary is a whiny slut? That’s not true at all.

    • I’m sorry…I’m not understanding you. Did you think I said that “any woman experiencing gender bias in her salary is a whiny slut”? I don’t recall saying anything of the sort. Perhaps you have the wrong blog? Or are reading this with the assistance (or bias) of someone else?

      How about re-reading what I wrote and commenting on that?

      And here’s your only warning…I don’t tolerate trolling here. If your comment is solely to get a rise out of me — and it looks like it might be, since it has no real value to the conversation — you’d find your time better spent elsewhere. Read the comment policy.

    • Not trolling, but a poorly executed response. I apologize. Also, I’m literate so don’t need help reading or forming my own opinions, so these are my own original thoughts!

      “These days, there have been far too many whining complaints from women who are complaining about different treatment because they’re women. I’m calling bullshit on all of this. The reason you’re being treated differently is because you’re acting differently.” This is one I mainly take issue with. Women do not always get treated differently because they are acting like women. Saying that because they’re dressing differently, or acting differently, is why a woman gets only 77 cents on the dollar that a man makes (for doing the same job) is the generalization I felt in your post.

      Man or woman I can agree that putting your head down, doing your work to the best of your ability and not complaining is way better than the alternative. This shouldn’t have anything to do with how the woman is dressing. The problem is that woman are doing the exact same job as men and getting less pay. If that woman is complaining of getting less pay and *not* doing her job, yeah bs.

      “You want the same opportunities as men in the workplace? Stop whining and crying about how different you are. Stop being different.” Likewise, I don’t agree that we should stop being different. If an employer is going to hire a woman to do a job, they hired her how she is, which shouldn’t be a problem if she’s doing her job. And being an employee first and then a woman? I’m a woman employee. It’s apart of who I am. Why should men be the standard to which we’re held? Why can’t I just do my job as a woman? If I want to wear a dress and some make-up what’s the big deal? If I want to be more sensitive (you know, societies idea of women vs. men) why not? If I’m doing my job, who cares and who cares if I act that way in a male-dominated field? Being “womanly” shouldn’t affect how I progress in the workplace. It does, because sexism is still alive in the world. I don’t want to be lumped into the group of whiny women either!

      Again, I’m really sorry about my first comment. That was uncalled for. I was a bit angry because what your post (and the other from 2013) felt like to me was a blaming the victim scenario. It’s the woman’s fault she’s not being treated fairly. That got under my skin and I spewed disrespectfully.

    • Apology accepted. We’ve all said things online that we later regret. But it takes a certain kind of person to reflect and then admit it. I appreciate that.

      That said, I think we must agree to disagree. In my mind — and as a former employer — the only thing that concerns me is getting the job done the best way possible. If a person’s gender, race, handicap, or any other “difference” gets in the way of that, I wouldn’t hire. So yes, I think we should minimize our differences in the workplace. Just be workers. You said it yourself: “it shouldn’t be a problem if she’s doing her job.” I’m all over that.

      The dress thing is a sore point with me because I’ve seen it all too often. Unless you’re working at a place where your gender and “sex appeal” is important — for example, a hostess/server at a restaurant, a sales person at a ladies clothing store, etc. — attire is extremely important. The corporate workplace is not where a woman should be wearing low cut blouses, short skirts, skin-tight pants, etc. I had a corporate job for 8 years before I went freelance and I heard what the guys were saying about women who dressed inappropriately. I also saw who got the promotions and who got passed over. Yes, it would be great if we could wear whatever we wanted — especially clothes that made us look our best. But we all know that men think with two heads. My opinion: keep the little head from getting involved in decision-making processes about my career.

      Of course, it works the other way, too. My wasband was once passed over for a promotion that was handed off to a much younger woman who consistently dressed for work as if she were going to a singles bar on her lunch break. I thought (then) that he was more qualified for the job, but who knows? And who knows whether her hot wardrobe is what helped her get the promotion?

      I do agree with one thing: sexism is alive in the workplace. It’s very unfortunate, but think hard about WHY that might be the case and you might come up with some of the same conclusions I did.

      If you don’t want to be lumped in with the whiny women, don’t whine when things at work don’t go your way. Instead, step back and look objectively at the situation. If you can honestly say that your gender was the primary reason things didn’t go right, it’s time to look for a new employer. But whining about it doesn’t do anyone any good at all. Really!

      I think the point I was trying to make is all in the headline — do the job. If you’re good, things will work out for you, one way or the other.

What do you think?