I always find it easy to write, and what better thing to write about than the workplace? Everyone has their moments at work; after all, we spend a "painful amount of time" at our workplaces.
I envy those who love their jobs. I am not one of them, yet I feel stuck at where I am at because I what I want, or what I think I want.
I have been watching my father own his own business, automotive tires and repair garage, and I grew up playing in it as a little girl. I ventured out and tried other things, but I always came back to the shop. I decided that I wanted to take it over when he retired. In my eyes, it's a gold mine.
I decided to go and get my journeyman ticket so that I could be more of an asset to the company, and after watching employees call in sick all the time, or just not show up, I figured it wouldn't hurt, because then there would be someone else here that could do the work as well as run the place. I don't know if I made the right choice or not, and I guess I won't know until I am done my life and can reflect back, but I am willing to give it a shot.
The journey has so far been a complete nightmare, if I am being honest. I spend more time wondering why I am doing this crap than actually enjoying doing it.
It isn't easy being a woman mechanic, but it isn't that hard either. I always hear people say that its a man's industry and how hard it has to be for women to get in to. That is completely inaccurate. All it is is working in a shop and going to school, just like the guys. I will admit that sometimes it is hard to find a place that will hire a woman as an apprentice or even a mechanic because of the old views on it, and yes, some men are still very sexist. But there are always other places. And school is school. It is no different than going to college except the classroom has more guys in it than girls.
Work can be fun, though. In our small town we have a lot of farmers. Growing up around here, I know everyone who comes in and gets their work done. It isn't a big deal to see me back there or work on their vehicles or have them ask me a question. In a town of 4000-ish people, there are 3 other women technicians here, so it isn't as rare as some people might think.
Yes, I do get the odd rude customer though who doesn't understand how a girl can be working on cars. I have heard the sayings, "Shouldn't you be in the kitchen?" "Don't break a nail," "I like a girl who isn't afraid to get dirty," and, "You are actually a Journeyman? Like, you have your papers? Really? Huh." Thanks friend. You now have no brakes. Jokes.
I also struggle with trying to explain stuff to people because it still happens: "Maybe I should talk to the mechanic?" Oh, for sure you should. Let me go get her. I have turned around, walked to the back, and then walked back up front and introduced myself as the technician. Maybe that is rude, but sometimes I can't help feeling insulted.
Yes, I have had customers request to have a man check over my work, or my father, or anyone else that has a penis. I have even heard them ask my tire technician if they can check over my work, and I have had the tire technician say that he doesn't know anything because he isn't the mechanic, and that I am. Love those guys.
And yes, I have had customers walk out because they didn't want a woman working on their stuff. Sometimes they would go and get quotes from other shops in town. It's sad, but it happens. All you have to do it not take to much offence to any of it because, going into the trade, you know it's going to happen. So put your big girl panties on and just ignore the little old man looking at you funny, wondering why you are the one looking under the hood and not the man up front. They will look at you even more funny when you get stuck under the front bumper of a truck because your boobs at too big. It's happened.