Bonnie’s Beach 🏖

My Life. My Experiences. My Love. My Words.

Yay Boobies!  I Mean, Yay National Women’s Day!!!

Well howdy!  This is just a quick blurb of a questionnaire I was asked to fill out to celebrate National Women’s Day.  An edited version was posted for company (CTC Inc) social media!  Enjoy the unedited version!  

How long have you worked in the rail industry?
I have worked in the rail industry since 2004, although I pretty much grew up in it. Long ago, back in the day, when I was young, the regulations weren’t as strict as they are now. There were plenty of summer days of jumping on the motorized rail cart, visiting crossings, and helping with their maintenance.
Seriously, I painted mechs when I was like 8.
What drew you to a “nontraditional” work environment?
I’m already “nontraditional”, and I am not a fan of what I consider boring work. I like the strange, uniqueness of what I do, and it has allowed me to better myself outside of the office.
What challenges or obstacles did you face in the beginning? And now?
In the beginning I learned wiring. I had never used a drill or worked with electricity or really done any work with my hands.
Most of my previous jobs had been administrative or military (which was just secretive administrative work). Just starting out in this industry was a challenge in itself. The other challenge was working at the same company my dad worked at, and I knew there would be a high risk of others’ perceptions of who I was and all that favoritism crap. There was always the stigma that I had to live up to what everyone else expected of me, and believe me, they always expect more out of you when your dad is the president of the company.
Now I can wire anything. Although it is no longer what I do every day, that start helped me get to where I am now, and it was
an excellent basis for learning. I still have the dad-stigma thing though. I have just come to realize that people are always going to see what they want to see. I can work nonstop for a week straight, and some people will only notice the time I stop to grab some water. People’s perceptions are their realities, and they can’t see past them. But now that my position has changed multiple times, I face new challenges. Especially when it comes to traveling. When I travel alone, the guys I end up working with out in the field won’t join me for dinner or a beer after work. Sometimes it’s difficult getting them to even join me for lunch. That’s typically the normal thing to do when you’re out of town on business, right? Not if you’re a woman. Not if you’re by yourself. No guy will even accompany you unless you have other guys with you, because no guy wants to explain to his significant other that he was out having dinner and a drink with the chick who just flew into town. So yeah, it kind of sounds petty, and it’s understandable, but it’s still a pansy thing to do. But you know what? I have a lot of fun traveling alone, because I don’t have to worry about making sure everyone else is happy, and people don’t have to decide on where to go and all that BS. So my boyfriend worries about me traveling alone, because I’m a girl, but I just take that as his being sweet. I mean, I don’t want to be treated like a guy ALL the time. I’m still a woman, but I am definitely not some frail, tiny, mouse- like creature who needs to be wrapped in bubble wrap before stepping foot outside. Just sayin.
How has the workplace changed in its attitudes towards women for the better? For the worse?
I don’t want to sound like a feminist here, but it will probably come out that way a bit. This is an extremely male-dominated industry, but that is ok. I prefer working with guys even though plenty are just as catty as any woman I have work(ed) with.
Honestly I believe there has been some change in regards to attitudes towards women, but I think that happened between 1950 and 2000. Honestly, if you want to work with the big boys, you have to prove yourself. It’s just the way it is. A female CEO wouldn’t be there to hold your hand and pat you on the back while you cry about stress or someone dropped an F bomb in front of you. I give guys just as much grief as they give me, and I am not afraid of proving myself. Actually, come to think of it, I am probably worse than a lot of the guys I work with.
What advice would you give women entering male-dominated fields?
Grow a pair. You are going to be tested constantly. You still have to pass initiation in a way to even step foot in a man’s world. If you can’t take criticism, you’d better learn how. And yes. You will want to cry. We’re women. It totally happens at the most inconvenient times, and it if frustrating as hell which makes you cry even more. I think some guys understand this, but some don’t quite know how to respond. Just be prepared to take some grief if you break down in front of them.
What motivates you to come to work every day?
I get to be the queen of randomness. I enjoy what I do, and there is still so much to learn. Compared to this industry, I don’t know jack. You can never know it all doing what I do. Don’t think I don’t attempt to learn far too much!
How does being a woman in a male-dominated field give you an edge over your coworkers?
If you can earn their respect, male coworkers will go to bat for you and stick up for you. Maybe it’s a big brother mentality.
They know you can take care of yourself, but they will still be there to back you up when you need it. Sometimes their different ways of thinking can also help shed light on something you hadn’t noticed before in regards to a project. Not sure if that’s really an edge or just a benefit. Who were your mentors/champions in the early days of your career?
My mom was my champion while growing up. She didn’t need anyone else to take care of things. She worked on her own car, fixed what needed to be fixed, wired, soldered, worked her butt off, and managed to raise me. She was like Wonder Woman, and I wanted to grow up to be as independent as her. Sadly, I didn’t pick that up until later in life. As far as my mentor goes, Tina Vasquez was the woman who taught me how to wire and solder and read plans. She basically helped propel me to where I am now. I am thrilled to be working with her again, although I don’t actually work side by side with her in a bungalow anymore. I do wish my dad had taught me more guy things growing up. Knowing what that man knows would be amazing, but I wasn’t nearly as geeky and into electronics the way he was growing up. I’m not even really sure how he got started in it all…
What matters most to you?
Getting better at what I do. Maybe focusing on fewer things than I do now, because I feel a tad spread out. Told you.
What is your proudest achievement?
Just being where I am today. As much as I enjoyed being a cocktail server on Kauai, it’s not like it had a future. Yes. I am being totally serious. I worked hard to get to where I am now, and I have made a few mistakes along the way. I will continue to make mistakes, but I am determined to learn from them.
Mistakes are an amazing teacher.
What do you hope to see change in the industry moving forward? I wish women were seen more as equals in their respected fields. I don’t expect a guy to treat the accounting chick the same way he would treat the construction chick, but I would like to think if
they were both in construction they could see eye to eye. Especially when it comes to superiority. I once got “tattled on”
when I was an assistant production manager. I picked on a guy as a joke, and he went and cried to his boss about it. Yes, I probably shouldn’t have picked on him, but it was harmless and I know the field guys he worked with picked on him much worse. So what would my tiny joke matter? Obviously a lot more than I realized, and I ended up learning a very valuable lesson as a supervisor. Some guys can dish it, but they can’t take it. Also, don’t leave anything up in writing.
And with that, sometimes guys need to pull their skirts down to cover their girlie parts, and sometimes we women need to show off our cojones. It’s just the way it is. Besides, we can go from muddy, dirty construction/field workers to wearing high heels and a skirt and showing off our assets. You read that right!

So there you have it, my questionnaire all filled out.  Hope you enjoyed it!   



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