Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tell It Like It Is

These little guys were just everywhere today while I worked on siding, although these pics depict just one. I was checking how much propane I still have left and he was checking to see if I was going to try to eat him. Their little fingers and claws are so delicate. I like having them around.

Some of the comments on my post about how stupid I was, got me thinking some more about why I post some things and I guess, why some people don't. I came to the conclusion that I feel somewhat obligated to tell the whole story. Let me explain....
I get tons of women all the time telling me that they wish they could do some of the stuff I do and how they wish they had my skills and all that, so I try to use this blog to encourage and show women (and some men I guess) that they CAN do what I do, if you put your mind to it. Of course, I'm going to show when I make mistakes or whatever because that is part of it and you shouldn't be ashamed of making a mistake. Be ashamed of not ever trying.
But when it comes to safety and being honest about just what you are getting into, I feel very obligated. See, if I'm going to get up here and call on women to pick up the tools and do stuff, I've got to tell the whole truth about what else might be involved. And in that line of thought, I would encourage most all women to do more around the house, learn to use tools and all that but I don't know that I would actually encourage many to do what I do for a living. Not that I think I'm some kind of Superwoman! It's just that my line of work can be very dangerous and I just happen to start out young enough that my body grew and adapted to that kind of work. Not always a good thing either, by the way.
I'm reminded of an incident a few years ago where a YWCA in a nearby big city started a program to train women in the trades. You know, teach them how to be plumbers and carpenters etc. Now, I'm all for that. It would help a lot of disadvantaged women get decent paying jobs without a college degree and this was their objective. So, they contacted me to teach a class for them. That was fine with me and they asked me, as someone who has worked in the trades for a long time, if there was anything else I thought they should be teaching these women. Well, after talking to the directors for a while, I realized that they were not being entirely honest with these women. They were promising them instant jobs as soon as they completed the course and pay at a commercial journeyman's rate; not as a residential apprentice, which they would be, IF they could get hired. Women are not unheard of in the trades but it is a hard break to get, to get one of the contractors to take you seriously.
So, I voiced my concerns to the directors and told them exactly why. They should also have courses on safety and such and proper behavior on a job site, i.e how to dress and conduct yourself on a site with 100 men.
Well, I guess they didn't really want to hear the reality of the work (and didn't want the women students to hear either) because I never heard from them anymore. I often wonder just how many of those women actually got jobs after the course or did many of them just become discouraged and go back to working at McDonald's.
At any rate, here on this site, I'm going to tell you that if you chose to do some of this work that I show, you must know that it can be dangerous and, at times, incredibly physically demanding. More than one man has run his fingers lightly over my arms (and other places, heh!) and asked about the scars that adorn them. But the work is also very rewarding and empowering. Especially welding! Talk about giving you a great sense of power! I am proof, if nothing else, that you can do just about anything you put your mind to, even by yourself. There may be a little more head scratching involved but you can find a way.

*Aaron Neville

13 comments:

HermitJim said...

I think your approach would have been more truthful, not only for women...bu also for men. Many schools for trades try and convince folks that once they graduate, the rest is easy!

Anything in life worth having is worth doing whatever it takes to get there, even if it means working your way up from the bottom. No one starts at the top, in the job or the pay!

Good post, my friend!

Pablo said...

Boy, it's not just the trades or the YWCA schooling that's like that. I have two college degrees, and I have yet to earn the kind of money I was virtually promised I would get my first year out of college, nearly 30 years ago!

Nonetheless, I'm glad I have an education, and I think would be true for those women learning a trade. A skill is a skill, and a job is a job. For some of them, it may have been vastly better than the opportunities they had before.

Island Rider said...

I miss a couple of posts and find out people have been telling you you are stupid? What nonsense! You are incredibly smart and talented. I appreciate your honesty and not trying to make life a fairy tale. And your goal to make women appreciate their husband's more? It is making an impact in my heart at least! Don't listen to the critics. Keep up your writing, though I am sure you learn from your mistakes as well!

Dani said...

Growing up my dad ran our family print shop and was also raising me and my two older brothers by himself. He never once let me think I couldn't do something just because I was a girl. If there was something wrong with the presses he would have us all in there trying to figure it out. It was the best education and the best gift he could have ever given me.

I think that's why I lurk over here. You have such a refreshing voice in this day and age. And you're not scared of getting in something, using some awesome muscles and gettin' dirty and bruised. Keep up the great work ER! Hope you heal up real soon. :)

page said...

you said, "be ashamed of not ever trying"---I second that!

edifice rex said...

Hey Jim! thanks! well, I was kinda surprised at what these people were telling the women. I just couldn't believe that they would mislead them so.

Hey Pablo! well, that is true! they do the same thing at colleges and yes, these women were better off after they completed the course, whether they actually worked in the trades or not. They learned something new.

Hey IR! Oh no1 nobody was calling me stupid! I WAS calling me stupid for what I did!
Yes, I'm glad to hear somebody is paying attention to what I've been saying about appreciating your husbands! Good deal! And I do try to learn from my mistakes!

Hey Dani! good to hear from you! you were very fortunate to have a Dad like that! and appreciate him for what he taught you.
thanks for your kinds words too.

Hey Page! that's right! always try!

Ed said...

You aren't superwoman?! :(

edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! ssshh! I trying to keep it quiet. lol!

Beau said...

Great post, and so true for all of us. So many schools and other programs are not honest with folks, other than providing the basics. Your feedback to the school was right on... they should hire you to teach!

karl said...

misleading people shouldn't be part of the education process but it is. teaching someone that they can do anything they set their mind to doesn't happen in any institution alone--if at all. all that said, learning something new is never wasted effort. cookie cutter institution learning makes great cookies and that is what some corporations want. teaching someone how to rise above adverse situations is a life lesson that can be supplemented by that type of learning but should never be considered the panacea.

you are likely better off not having taught that class. all of us have a pretty good idea how strong you really are. nice post..

edifice rex said...

Hey Beau! thanks! yeah, they should have.

Hey karl! very well said and thanks!

kathy said...

I wanted to write and thank you, to let you know how much you helped *me*.

I found your blog in the deepest part of my despair after we got burned by a unlicensed contractor. We were left with no money and our house royally messed up. At the time you were posting something about drywall, and I realized I could do a better job than they did! So I started. And moved on to minor electrical (plugs and switches) and have even done some sweat soldering at this point!

I can honestly say that if I hadn't found your blog that day, I don't think we would be where we are at. There is still a LOT to do... so much that if I think about it too hard I can't even get going. But, I try to get a bit done each day, and slowly but surely, we are getting there.

Big hugs and my most sincere thanks,

Kathy

edifice rex said...

Hey Kathy! Thank you!! Wow! I'm so grateful that you wrote to me; what you had to say really made my whole month, not just day! There have been many times that I have wondered what in the world am I writing this blog for (although I mostly enjoy it just for me) and if anybody ever actually gets anything out of it, besides me. Thanks so much for your kind words.
Keep working and don't give up!! You can finish your house and you will feel so good to know you did so much of it yourself. Please write back if you ever have any questions or anything; I'd be glad to help what I can.