Jumping into Trades Work as a Woman

I’m really excited about starting this new chapter in my life. For the last few jobs I’ve had, I’ve found myself reconsidering what I want to do every day for a living. Making homemade teas and writing on my feminist blog is definitely the life for me, but unfortunately, it doesn’t pay the bills. Isn’t it so strange that we’re supposed to know what we want to do every day for the rest of our lives? Talk about pressure.

After an array of freelance office work, working my butt off and giving into the ‘come early and stay late to prove your dedication’ capitalist gimmick, I was burnt out, sad and confused. So I took a random summer job teaching a welding summer camp. I had never welded before, or even put on safety glasses for that matter.

Working with children has been another way I pay the bills, and though I do thoroughly enjoy it, it’s not my passion. But it led me to what could be my passion. When I first welded I was terrified, and I moved the gun so quickly I could barely leave an impression on the metal. Until some lovely women taught me proper techniques throughout my days in the shop, I fell in love with the slowness, the concentration and the meditative state you can be in while welding and working independently.

I never thought this would be a path for me. But since I’ve started, it kind of makes sense. I never got the chance as a young girl to build things, to work with my hands, to get sweaty in protective equipment. There were shop and welding classes in high school, but the lack thereof women drove me away from taking them. Women in trades is still a pioneering concept, and I know there are and will be challenges ahead. But it’s exciting to me. I believe in the fundamental right we have as humans to try different things at any time in our life, without letting the fear of lack of opportunity or acceptance to diminish our hope and growth.

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