The Captain Experience
Everyone remembers my shameless self promotion for our family boat tour business, right (eh hem, Sarasota Boating Adventures)? One of the most important things that needed to be done on my end was to obtain my Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) licenses. Recently I had the opportunity to attend an OUPV class here in Sarasota. I was extremely fortunate to be able to gain a spot into this class as most classes are held in areas at least an hour away from me. Going into this class I have to say I was pretty darn nervous. I mean, it's a US Coast Guard (USCG) approved class and and the OUPV license is USCG mandated. Let's face it, government organizations aren't known for their clarity and minimal information. I knew it was going to be tough and intense.
The day of the first class I'm already running a little behind because you know, life, kid and dog. Walking into this class I'm already nervous, anxious, borderline hysterical and then I enter the room. All heads turn, and I know it's not because of my good looks and charm. I am the only female in a class of 15 men. So, now I can add intimidated to my repertoire of emotions.
I take my seat in the back of the room, a table to myself. Now in retrospect I probably should have "womaned up" and sat somewhere near the front to prove a point that I'm not intimidated. But, I was actually intimidated. No sensing in sugar coating it. Also, I loved having my space, so there's that.
This may seem trivial to some. And I'm sure some are thinking "who cares if you're the only female"? But remember, the marine industry is typically a male driven industry and they aren't exactly always kind towards women. I knew if I was going to be in this class I was going to have to bring my "A" game. I refused to be stereotyped as some "dumb girl" who didn't belong there.
Now, mind you, I'm sure 90% of this insecurity was in my head but, it's what I had to deal with at the time. I was scared. No joke. Scared of the information I was going to need to digest, scared of not succeeding, scared of looking like a fool and scared of not being the best. (Raise your hand if you're a Type A personality)
As is typical when you are in a class with a group for hours, people get to know each other. And coming out of it, I met some really awesome people (Shout out Curt and Bob!). I even found someone to study with and trust me, that helped IMMENSELY. I met boat mechanics, firemen, former CFO's, yacht owners and company shareholders. It was a hugely diverse group of people all with different backgrounds and goals but, all together for the same reason. It was a pretty enlightening experience. It also made me see that I'm kind of badass and, dare I say it, even pretty intelligent.
Now I know you're all wondering (all two of you) how I did on the test....I'm happy to report that I aced it and on several categories even did better than my amazing husband (who without him none of this could be possible as a side note) :)
Moral of the story, sometimes we are fearful and uncertain. But, you only fail when you let that fear stop you from trying. Also, ladies, when you are feeling the pressure of potential sex discrimination, be it real or perceived, dig into your inner badass, look them in the eyes and unleash your inner Buffy (you know, the Vampire Slayer?).