I stumbled upon a blog where a few people were discussing my book. I invited them to my blog in an effort to discuss their dislike for my opinion in Chapter 4- Developing My First Impression. I am going to provide the chapter clip in case anyone would like to start a discussion on the topic. I value anyone's agreement or disagreement of my opinion. It is based off of my experiences and observations as well as feedback from the men I work with on a daily basis for the past 20 years. Here is the chapter clip:
I had learned rather quickly in my apprenticeship that I needed to work on my first impression prior to coming onto a jobsite. This discovery was based upon jobsite conversations that were held between foremen and journeymen. Co-workers often form their first impression of either a journeyman or an apprentice within the first day of meeting the new worker. This technique, known as “thin slicing,” is often used since construction workers typically work with new people on multiple jobsites on a regular basis. Thin slicing is needed to assess workers in a short period of time in order to place them on the tasks they are capable of working on. The new workers who give bad first impressions are given the worst and/or most challenging tasks on the job. This is exactly why my first impression must always be a positive one.
I had already known, prior to getting into this business, that I had the deck stacked against me due to my gender. What I had no idea about was how steep the hill was that I had to climb and what exactly my first impression had entailed. Over the years, I have discovered that women in the northeast are coddled by men and not much is expected from them. It is such a stark contrast to my upbringing on the west coast in Oregon. Women in the northeast are not required to do auto repairs, change a tire, perform home improvement projects, or much other manual labor. Women’s roles in the northeast, for the most part, are to keep the home in line, transport the children to school and practice, and keep their appearances up. With little expectations placed on women, it seemed reasonable to assume that I would not offer much help on the job. I hate to say it but women, in the eyes of the average guy, are not considered hard workers; they are expected to be rather lazy. I find this mindset to be disheartening and rather discouraging for women. I had never set out to change the men’s mindset of all women; I just wanted them to make the exception for me.
After re-reading the chapter clip, I do admit I should have said in parenthesis that not all women fit the mold. Since that would be ridiculous to put everyone in the same box. However, I will stand by and say there are a heavy amount of women who fit this role. I also base my opinion from feedback from the men they are married to around here. Women who shoot guns, change the oil, work in my profession, rip/replace sheetrock, and chop wood are the minority in the northeast. It is almost to where I feel like an outcast for being able to tackle many different things. These activities were a normal work load for myself and others I knew when I was a kid. It is a stark contrast to people I am surrounded by now living in New York. It was merely an observation being made and not intended to rip anyone down. Remember, I have learned to shoot from the hip as a construction worker. My son has often said I am too blunt and honest and it can be taken the wrong way.
To my dismay, being self-sufficient is not just a card handed to every woman. I am indeed sad for this- after all, it made my life more difficult earning respect in this business. My objective of this chapter clip was to explain the uphill battle I faced earning my spot in this business. I am a workaholic/workhorse person by nature. Therefore, anyone who works slower than me is naturally perceived as lazy to me. My assessment can be skewed due to how I view the world through my lens that has been laden with having to work hard and push past pain and being tired. My opinion was not made in any way to degrade women of make them feel less than equal. I champion women who push past boundaries and do great things!! I think more of that should go on in life! I did mostly provide the perception of me based off of the experiences my co-workers have with women. It is not good feedback from them, at times.
I certainly hope this blog post clears up any confusion as to my opinion on women in the northeast. I strongly encourage a discussion on this topic. I would be happy to compare life notes with anyone. I do not march to the beat of the same drum. Nor do I expect anyone else to think the same way I do.
Here is the website where I read the dislike for my Chapter 4 opinion:
Leslie M. Jasper