Saturday, March 15, 2014

Oh, the places you'll go...

I recently went to a house owned by a lovely British couple who have lived here in the states for over 20 years.  They own a business together and were moving it from a commercial building to a renovated room in their house in order to save on monthly expenses.  Even though they live here, they do a lot of their work overseas and are in the generalized "public relations" field.  While I was working at their house, we got to talking about how I got into this industry of being a field technician.

Being a technician is not a common job for a woman to be in, in fact on almost a daily basis a customer will comment that I'm the first woman technician they've seen.  When it comes to utilities, it's a male dominated industry.  HEAVILY male dominated.  And as much as we as Americans would like to tout how progressive our country is and how far we've come, there are still many areas in which there is a lot of room for growth.  Having worked in male dominated job industries for the last 10 years, I have seen and experienced more than my fair share of prejudice and discrimination simply because of the jobs I choose.  And when you talk to pretty much ANY female who works in jobs like this, the consensus is the same - it comes with the territory.  Because I CHOSE to have a "man's" job, I'm surrounded by men and am expected to put up with everything that comes along with it.  And if not, well I'm the minority here and they can and WILL find a way to eventually push you out.

But I push back.  I don't give up or give in that easily.  I work harder and smarter than most of the guys. I'm proud of the work I do, and I enjoy working in this industry.  I will keep working hard and I will work my way up in the company with the hopes that someday, I will be in a position to work towards eliminating the stereotype that there are some jobs that only men can do.  But until then, I'll just have to do what I know how to do best - write.

It's the British couple that came up with the idea.  While discussing my job with them, the husband flat out asked me, "If you could do anything and get paid to do it, what would you do?"  I told him I want to travel and write.  That is really my ideal job, but I told him I didn't see anyway to make that possible.  He disagreed and told me something I'll never forget.  He told me to start simple, and write about what you know.  That is where the best stories come from.  The travel, well that would probably come later down the line.  But for now, I'm finally taking his advice and I'm going to do what I love and write about what I know. 

This blog is about the adventures and turmoils that I've encountered over the last 10 years while working blue collar jobs in male dominated industries.  As Mike Rowe would say, it's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

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