Sunday, February 20, 2011

Men in Radiography

Post Evacuation image from a barium enema I performed on Saturday morning...

I had a rather uneventful weekend at the hospital.  Working the 12-hour shifts is becoming a lot easier.  I get along very well with my co-workers, which leads me into my topic of discussion for today's blog post. 

Men in Radiography

In my former life, I worked in a field that was dominated by men.  There were occasional women here and there but not many.  I worked in the world of computer programming, computer systems and network administration, and IT management.  When I decided to change careers and move into the world of radiography, I never really considered the change in demographics related to sex.  In fact, I never really even realized that I had been working in a world dominated by men.  However, when I started my program at school and got tossed immediately into the clinical environment, I realized right away that I was going to have to make some personality adaptations in order to survive in this brave new world.  The comments I am about to make are not to be taken as sexist or accusatory in any way.  I am just trying to share an experience that has changed me in a lot of ways...

In my previous world of information technology where I worked day in and day out with other geeks, break room and lunchtime chats, as well as off-topic chats during the workday, usually consisted of work-related themes with some occasional dives into the previous weekend's national sporting events.  Working with a staff of all women where I'm the only male brings a lot of new chat topics to the table.  The women I work with don't talk shop during downtime.  Everything discussed is usually of a personal nature.  It has taken me a long time to even feel comfortable participating in these types of discussions.  I had trained myself in my earlier career to avoid getting involved with coworkers on a personal level.  Whether that is good or bad, I'm not sure.  But the problems it has presented for me today have been difficult to overcome.  I'm working with a group of women right now who have made me feel more comfortable interacting at work on a personal level.  I'm not really sure how I allowed myself to make this change in my own personality, but I seem to be adapting slowly.

During my clinicals while in school I would rarely ever get into personal discussions with other technologists.  THAT probably hurt me more than anything when it came time to start job hunting.  It took me five months after I graduated to find my first PRN job.  I'm wondering if my lack of personal interest in the various staff members at my clinical sites played a big role in that.  Now that I'm working more and longer hours with a group of female techs, I think I'm starting to bond with them on a more personal level.  I feel accepted and they seem to like me.  I find myself listening to and participating in their personal discussions quite frequently.  The current flaw is that all of these discussions are ones that they start.  I have not yet let myself bring up personal topics for discussion within this group.  I get drilled regularly with a lot of questions about my personal life.  Sometimes I'll spill the beans and sometimes I won't.  I do believe that I'm probably sharing enough to keep them from finding me incredibly boring. 

I wonder how different things would be for me if I was working within a group of male techs?  Would I feel more comfortable?  Would I maintain my old style of keeping work and personal life separated?  Maybe I should have studied psychology instead of radiography :)

Who knows... I'll have to revisit this topic again at some point in the future...

1 comment:

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