Lessons from Italy

When I worked for the national airline of the UAE, I played for the women’s team of the Etihad Airways Football Team.

When the men’s team travelled to international competitions, they took me with them. Our team was composed of pilots, cabin crew and flight operations officers. It was very normal for me to be the only female in a group of men. One of the best times I had with the team was our travel to Rome, Italy for Alitalia’s Friendly Football Cup.

7 WAYS TO SURVIVE BEING THE ONLY GIRL IN A GROUP OF BOYS

1. BEHAVE

Don’t flirt, don’t act pretty and don’t act childish.

2. NO-NO TO DRAMA

Expect to be the butt of jokes, don’t be sensitive. Laugh with them. If you’re confident, do witty comebacks.

3. LISTEN

They will talk a lot about themselves, shut your mouth and listen, inhale wisdom, exhale ignorance.

4. INITIATE

Don’t be a primadonna, offer help before they ask.

5. SMILE

At all times! Men hate mood swings.

6. RESPECT

Be polite, be understanding and always say thank you.

7. DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID

My last rule is a personal conviction for my safety. I don’t drink alcohol, so I have no excuse to do things I will regret in the future.Know you are doing OK when after a trip they still talk to you, they still want you to be part of their group and they invite you to join the next travel.

If I were to choose between a company of men or a company of women? I’d choose… a company of a soccer ball

Up until the day I resigned, I was always invited to games and I was the only girl in the team’s group chat of all men. And they’re still my friends until now.

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