Do you work in the trades?

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 3
655 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Vitana:  Hey!  I don’t work in the trades, but I work as an engineer/project manager in heavy construction.  I started working in design and absolutely hated it and now that I work in construction and get to be a part of actually building things (well, managing more, but I still get to see it), I enjoy my job much more.  I still sit in front of a computer a lot, but my days are all different because I deal with a lot of people and different projects.  I’m not sure what you do more but maybe you just need more of a variety?

Anyway, my husband is a diesel mechanic and here’s his two cents:  He said as a woman you should try for the electrician program.  He said it’s clean, no heavy lifting, and women are generally treated better.  Plus, you can make good money and work nice hours.  But be aware that equality isn’t the greatest and you could still have trouble finding work as a woman.  

I don’t know if you’re interested in construction at all, but I know the civil engineering technology program could be good.  They can work in design doing drafting for example, but we have a bunch of them working at our company doing estimating and bidding.  Lots of them do material testing which can be in a lab or out on site.  My boss is a CET and he is a project manager.  I think it’s a 2 or 3 year program that seems to lead to a lot of possibilities.  (I’m suggesting this over the university engineering program because it’s shorter, cheaper, and the technicians get to do way more field work.)

Post # 4
53 posts
Worker bee

I don’t but I would seriously love to. I’m halfway through a degree, and all I can think about is how much better off I would be if I went and got a trade instead. I’m definitely more of a rough and tumble type, and I think women in the trades sets such a good example. Would love to hear about anyone who went this route!! 

Post # 5
86 posts
Worker bee

My career route is somewhat considered a trade…I’m a corporate/bankruptcy paralegal. I love it and my SO enjoys seeing me happy. Since you don’t want to sit in front of a computer all day, can’t say I would recommend it for you.

Post # 6
1016 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Sort of…it’s an unskilled trade, and it’s pretty cushy as far as trades go. Part of my business is contracting services for new home construction. We do small repairs and paint jobs, post-construction cleaning, debris removal, eavestrough cleaning, power washing, window cleaning, and whatever falls into our lap as odds and ends that the super can’t be bothered with. 

Even though most of my time spent is now in managing the above, I do still spend a good deal of time in steel toed boots and a hard hat. There is a lot of sexism. But there are even more respectful, awesome people. You’re at least going to be picked on a little bit and you have to know how to sort of…lightly scrap with your co-workers or other tradespeople who you get to know over time.  Lots of jokes back and forth with undercurrents of insults, but everyone gets into it.

I dare say being a woman has helped me much more than it has hindered me in the industry. That’s not to say I haven’t had to share a portable toilet with 100 men (barf) or get passed over for jobs because the person on the other end of the phone thought my name was spelled the masculine way, or get teased or even outright sexist remarks thrown at me- but by and large we’re very well respected and even some times the men seem to fear us or be intimidated by a strong woman. 

Know your shit, don’t get tense about a little teasing (just throw it back at them, it’s bonding time, haha), don’t make excuses, work hard, stand your ground, enjoy throwing your weight around. 

I wish I learned how to be a plumber or electrician. There is nothing to turn ones nose up at, it’s an in demand skill and it’s practical knowledge that you’ll never forget. Let your family turn their noses up, they’ll come running to you when there is a leak somewhere in their pipes that they just can’t seem to figure out. Then all of a sudden, you’ll be their saving grace. 

Post # 6
31 posts
  • Wedding: April 2009

I have been managing an electrical contracting company for a number of years.  If you think being an electrician is a clean job requiring no heavy lifting, you are mistaken.  Many of the materials are too heavy for me to even move around.  You may work outside in 100 degree weather, or below zero weather.  You will work in mud, snow and dirt. If you are a strong outdoor type and don’t mind working in those conditions, then it may be for you.  Many larger companies are trying to fill female EEO quotas, and if you’re a good worker you would probably work steady.  That being said, there have been hundreds of guys sitting on unemployment in our local electrical union for years because there is little construction work in our area.  Getting into the teledata end of it is probably a little easier physically and most of the work is inside, but the pay scale is lower.  All of these require a 5 year apprenticeship in our area, with a strong math aptitude.

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