Oh, the Places She'll Go!
When life hands you lemons...you make a statement.
In today's world, I have found that my generation (millennials) is faced with different types of challenges than past generations, from being raised in the rapidly growing technological world, to going to college because our parents wanted us to lead better lives than they did. My parents wanted me to be strong and independent, a hard worker, and most importantly, happy.
So, I went to college right out of high school as it seemed that I needed to, and I studied what I loved most, biology. I learned a lot in my four years of earning a degree, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. However, I found myself in a catch 22, even five years after graduating with a bachelor's degree in science. It seems that to get a well-paying career position in the scientific field, I needed five years of experience and additional education on a higher level. These expectations meant being able to get a job without those qualifications, impossible, and I would accrue additional debt on top of my immense student loans. I worked hard for many years doing many different things, including pharmaceutical manufacturing, being a veterinary nurse, volunteer marine mammal responder, and scientific research. I even worked in cancer research in a vivarium where I took care of lab mice. My passion is animal welfare, which seems to be an underappreciated and often underpaid field. I very much wanted to support myself as an independent person and someday support a family. Things had to change! I had to switch gears, so I decided that I needed to change paths even with all of the effort, hard work, and financial investment. I took a hard look at my future and what was most valuable to me.
The electrical field has so much to offer with so many different paths to take! So, I took the plunge! I jumped headfirst into a world dominated by men with little to no experience under my belt! Comalli Group Inc. saw something in me that seemed worth their time, so they took me on as green as I was. As a result, I have found I very much enjoy what I do and the people that I work with!
Though it's not all rainbows and butterflies.
I have had to work twice as hard as most of my peers to prove myself as an individual, forcing people to see past my gender and the typical stereotypes that come with the identity. So as you can imagine, there have been many obstacles that I have had to overcome. Things such as lack of equal opportunity on some job sites (for example, bathrooms) and the occasional person's bias that I cannot change no matter how hard I work.
Furthermore, I find that many people expect so little of me as a woman in a laborious trade that I have surpassed many's expectations by a mile! My work ethics and personality have served me well thus far.
It is not an easy path, but I have no regrets and plan to further my skills and education in the trade to be a successful human being in work and life. Doors open for those who are willing to turn the key and see what awaits them on the other side.
I encourage more women to take this plunge. I have met many more women in the trades than I had ever expected to. It's an honor to meet and work beside such strong and driven women. I am proud to be amongst them.
Happy Women in Construction Week. Stay strong!
For more information about The National Association of Women in Construction, check out their website at https://www.nawic.org/nawic/default.asp.