Electrician Apprentice, Security Solutions Inc.
About This Section
Click on the questions below to learn more about Lisa’s experiences in the white-and-blue collar workforces in a question-and-answer format.
How did you leave your white collar job? What was the outcome of it, and how soon after were you employed in a skilled trade?
Finally, I woke up one Monday morning and I just – I said to myself I cannot do this. Literally another day. I can’t. So I emailed my boss from bed. I did the shittiest thing I could have possibly done. I said, “I’m sorry. But I’m not coming in today. I’m not coming in again ever.”
He was surprisingly cool about it. I actually think that the person who had my job before me did something similar. I found like this crazy note she wrote to like an ex-boyfriend or something, like this really long, elaborate letter in my desk that I inherited. She sounded miserable. Like, kind of the way I was.
So I think that’s why my boss was surprisingly nonchalant about it. So I was unemployed for a while. At that point, I was working – doing a lot at the Hole in the Wall Theater in New Britain, which is a great community theater and a friend of mine at that theater, she would bring her boyfriend in all the time and he was an electrician.
What is it like being a woman in the trades?
I’m so happy with how my life is going now. So many places I go to, I show up and the ladies are always like, “Oh my gosh! It’s so nice to see a woman in the trades. It’s awesome!” One woman whose house I went to, she said, “I just feel more comfortable having a woman in my house,” because a lot of these ladies are home alone during the day, which is why we would come and do our work.
So she’s like, you know, just having a big trade guy come over while I’m here by myself. It can be a little intimidating. So I guess I’m less intimidating, which is nice. One customer I ended up singing 16th century music with. She was a music teacher. I can’t remember where. But she did – she taught the Madrigal Singers at her school and I’m like, “I used to be a Madrigal singer!” We sang Now is the Month of Maying together. It was wonderful.
Surely it can't be all roses - has there been uncomfortable situations regarding your gender?
Mostly I’ve had a fairly easy time with it. I haven’t had that many negative experiences. A lot of it is little annoyances. You know, like, oh hey, sweetheart. Hey doll or – you know, different little kind of pet names and I’m like, “You don’t know me like that.” This is not an appropriate setting for that or guys are like, “Oh, let me help you with that. Let me do this. Let me do that.”
What's the next step for you? You're currently not in a union, so is that going to change?
Well, I did get placed in the Local One apprenticeship list. The last time I checked in, they had placed the sixth apprentice and that was a couple of months ago. I am 15th. So I probably got another good few months to wait. But I would really like to get into that and I would like to get into theatrical lighting a little bit more. I’ve kind of had a little goal with myself for a while to light a show at the Hole in the Wall Theater, which is where I met my first boss.
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