The confessions of a woman, trapped in a man's world of construction for over 12 years. Michelle discussed her world of engineering, incorporating the good, the bad and the downright ugly. She is joined by special guests who share their own experiences of surviving a man's world.
Come and laugh, cry and gasp at their inspiring stories as they set to change perceptions and attitudes towards women in typically male dominated careers.
Our guest on this episode of the This is a Man’s World podcast is Dana Francis, a mom, steamfitter/pipe-fitter, apprentice welder, and podcaster. Dana got into the trades when she realised that she needed a bit more financial stability than she currently had in construction retail. She was accepted into the Women Building Futures program and quickly realised that this would be a much better situation for herself and her family.
Always one to appreciate a hard day’s work, Dana has found fulfilment in her career and encourages other women to learn more about the trades industry. Dana and Michelle swap stories about their experiences on the job site, appropriate and inappropriate treatment they have received, and the varying levels of support for women in the trades they have observed. It is interesting how even the simple act of wearing makeup is perceived, and Dana and Michelle discuss what it is like to be a woman, a mom, and a tradeswoman.
Dana encourages other women who are in the trades or considering a career in the trades to stick with it if it is what you really want to do and be open-minded about taking new opportunities. Don’t be frightened off by the long work hours but find a schedule that will work for you and your family, especially if you have children in daycare. It is important for women to continue to seek employment in the trades and to support each other along the way.
0:41 – Dana Francis is a steamfitter/pipe-fitter and apprentice welder and she hosts the Career Pod podcast – she describes her journey to get here.
2:16 – How Dana knew she needed to get into the trades.
3:42 – The Women Building Futures program in Canada was the jumpstart she needed to get into her new career.
6:00 – Dana emphasises the importance of employers supporting women in the trades.
6:51 – Is it difficult for women to start careers in the trades in their 30’s?
9:21 – Can only certain types of women survive in the trades industry?
10:56 – Has Dana received any special treatment being a woman on the job site?
12:34 – Dana’s experience working with other women on site.
16:24 – Advice to women entering the trades.
21:47 – Dana’s preference for extreme cold weather over extreme hot weather.
23:29 – How they deal with bears and cougars on site.
25:35 – Dana’s assessment of how the trades industry is doing in Canada.
27:34 – How Dana navigates home/life balance as a mom.
30:30 – The sleep deprivation and physical damage that new moms are dealing with are really impairments to their effective work life.
32:35 – Dana talks about her passion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
34:39 – Advice to women considering a career in the trades.
“I think you can pretty much start at any age.”
“You have to be able to navigate different social situations at work.”
“I don’t ever want to think that there is not room for improvement.”
“I have to find a way to laugh at myself every day because if not I am taking my job too seriously.”
“Once your foot is in the door, make sure you’re holding the door for someone else.”
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On this episode of This is a Man’s World, we are joined by Chelsea Smith, a welder in the US. Chelsea’s interest in welding began as a supplemental skill at autobody school, but she soon realized that she loved being able to create just about anything from a plain piece of steel. After receiving her Associate’s degree in welding, she got married, had a baby, and picked up a few odd jobs, but when her son went to kindergarten she decided it was time to pick welding back up and get on the job market.
She certainly experienced her share of resistance from potential employers for being a woman in welding, but she aced the tests to get a job building cement mixers, so she was officially in the industry. That job was a good experience-builder, but there were just a few too many things going on there that Chelsea was not comfortable with, so she started “rage job hunting.” It’s a good thing she did, because she found her “unicorn job” which provides her with the satisfaction of accomplishing a lot while having plenty of flexibility and independence.
Chelsea doesn’t personally know any other female welders, but she is encouraged by the work of women in other trades and she looks forward to seeing more women in the welding field before long. She encourages women to just give it a try to see if welding might be for them, and she encourages employers to give women a fair shot at the welding jobs they have available.
1:09 – Introduction of Chelsea Smith
1:28 – Chelsea originally went to autobody school, but found her love for welding and switched
2:11 – Currently, she builds steamer ovens for cafeterias and buffets, but she used to build cement trucks
3:07 – She went to community college and got her Associate’s degree in welding, then struggled to find a professional welding job
3:52 – Chelsea got married right after college and ran into her first employment roadblocks
5:11 – She was discouraged, but soon had a baby and decided to stay home with him until he was in kindergarten
6:30 – Getting out of your comfort zone and taking that first step opens up a new world
7:31 – Chelsea describes her previous and current workplaces
9:23 – The worst thing about her previous employer was the unsafe working conditions
13:31 – Michelle and Chelsea talk about their experiences with unsafe working conditions and the disregard for human life in some situations
16:20 – Sometimes when the big burly men are too intimidated to say something to the production manager, it has to be the woman to get up the courage and confront the issue
17:16 – As the only female in either of her professional welding jobs, Chelsea has learned how to stand up for herself and get along with the guys
19:15 – Chelsea provides advice to women in welding or one of the trades and brings in some interesting statistics about positions men and women are willing to apply for
23:39 – Attitudes that Chelsea has encountered about women being in the trade
26:45 – Chelsea and her husband’s similar workplaces create the opportunity for good conversations
30:19 – Examples of men who have been unwilling to work with women on the job site
31:58 – Chelsea shares a crazy story of when a go-kart caught on fire and almost landed on her while she was fixing it
36:25 – What Chelsea really loves about welding
37:19 – Chelsea’s advice to women considering a profession in welding
38:24 – What Chelsea wants employers of women in the trades to keep in mind
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I have a in depth chat with the Melbourne Chippy Chick AKA Stefanie Apostolidis. WE discuss everything from Instagram haters, The Tradie Lady club, what its like working for you dad and what skills she thinks you need to be able to work successfully alongside guys. Stef has a huge social media following and is inspiring the next generation of ladies to join the trades. Thanks for all your support, and if you want to grab yourself some podcast extras and help keep the podcast going please check out our Patreon page. https://www.patreon.com/Thisisamansworld Go Ahead and follow Stef on social media https://www.instagram.com/melbournechippychick/ https://melbournechippychick.com.au/ Social media links for us!
Hey folks and welcome to the “This Is A Man's World” podcast. This first episode is all about me, your host Michelle Hands. I am a UK based construction site engineer and today I break the silence on what it is like surviving in a man's world of construction. Join me for the ride as I expose some home truths about my 12-year journey. I'm sharing both the shocking and down right hilarious stories as well as giving a little insight into how I've navigated a career in a male dominated industry. For all future episodes, I'll be talking to like-minded guests as we share experiences and put the world to right about our industries and the future of women within them.
For show notes please check out the website www.thisisamansworld.co.uk
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