Let’s talk about the 3 biggest challenges I’ve had to face to become a carpenter so far. Not saying they are the only ones, but definitely the ones that took the longest for me to get through.
So I’m about 5’6” and weight about 120 lbs. I got into the industry thinking my wrist were going to break and that my legs were going to collapse. I’d put lumber on my shoulder and think it was going to pop out. To top it up, I thought my tool belt was going to dislocate my hips. How did I deal with it ? I shut up and kept doing it. Okay I’m just kidding… ish. I started doing yoga at home for joint and back pains and started doing core strength workouts. With time, I asked and observed how those who were closer to my size did things. From holding up nail guns to lifting lumber, I found ways to make everything easier. Sometimes I had to figure out my own tricks. I never gained weight but gained muscle and can now lift more then enough to get the job done.
To be taken seriously
This might be the hardest. I got into the industry at 20 years old with no apprenticeship or experience. I usually didn’t even get a reply on job applications. To top it off, I got convinced that men only hired women because they could easily pay them less. I was sure I was sure going never be more then a labor doing cuts and picking up scraps. I never thought back then that I’d be where I am today considering all the times I thought about quitting. When I started working with my boyfriend Derick, things changed. He got me going and never let anyone look down on me. He proved myself and others wrong. He got me framing/inserting walls , building/sheeting floors and made sure I grew.
My last resumes I’ve sent out, I received multiple replies and I don’t get questioned on the salary I ask for. To be honest, I definitely still put on a tough girl act when I get on to a new job site or meet knew people but once I know I have their respect, I become my good old smiley self (usually) 😉.
Like a lot of women, I struggled with self-esteem. This making my life so much harder then it should of been. I used to be so darn shy to talk to my boss, site supervisor or other trades. Always stuck with the idea of again, not being taken seriously, getting weird looks and comments. I use to walk around on a job site with my head down and always keep to myself. Once I decided that I wanted to continue in the industry, I got sick of it. All of it. Slowly, as I became more confident and not letting other people make me feel that way, I started walking with my head high. I started getting less looks, the comments don’t usually happen anymore and my anxiety level has just dropped. Once you put in to your own head that you are one of “them”, that you are no different then anyone else on that job site, you will feel a huge weight off your shoulders. I won’t lie to you and say it was easy for me, it took time but every minute was worth it.
Now listen when I say that in every industry, there will be someone who will be there, waiting for the best moments to try and knock you down, but you have to remember why you’re there in the first place, because you want to be, you can and there for, you should. Dont act or treat yourself different and others will start to do the same.
“As soon as you begging to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has a meaning”-Barbara Sher