A little more than a year ago I went on my friend Theresa's radio show, speakEasy, to promote my newly published book, Relations: McEmpire
It was my fourth or fifth appearance on her show. Her show was fun to go on because we were pretty good friends and I could talk about whatever I had come on to promote, but she would also just start asking about my life and opinions on various things. The conversation could range all over.
During the course of that radio show she started asking me about my job throwing tires. And then a bit later one of the follow up questions she asked me was "Do they have any women throwing tires there where you work?"
And there weren't. And for some reason that question just always stuck with me. I thought about it a lot. Of course, they hadn't made me a boss there yet, so I couldn't do much more than think about it. But, half a year later they made me the boss, and I started to think about it more seriously.
Mostly I would think things like "What woman would WANT to throw tires?" "What woman has the right mix of physical and mental characteristics to do a good job?" and that kind of thing.
One day, sometime around November 2006, I was minding my own business and logging onto my mySpace and there were a bunch of friend requests that seemed to be a bunch of spammers right in a row. Nevertheless, I clicked over to each one to make sure they weren't someone I actually did know before deleting their requests. And low and behold, one of them was an actual person. And that person was Roz (pictured above).
My mother used to get great joy from networking with other mothers and doing a lot of neighborhood coparenting. And my mom would teach me how to do it also. Together my mom and I were mothers' assistants to lots of neighborhood moms and we co-mothered lots of kids. Roz was one such kid. She lived three doors down from us and she came to be very much like a little sister to me.
So I was very eager to catch up on her life and see how she had been and where her life had taken her (as it was now 20 years later). And her blog was full of smart sarcastic commentary, and her picture gallery was full of athletic related pictures (basketball and weightlifting and all that).
Okay, so, putting two and two together, this would be the perfect person to invite to come throw tires. And as luck would have it we were in a period where we needed as many employees as we could locate. So I invited her. And... she was busy at the time.
But a couple months later she was less busy. And so I hired her. And... And, I dunno. I'm not sure if it's right to enjoy it so much that I'm introducing such chaos into the unigendered world that the guys in the warehouse had created for themselves. It's all I can do to keep from laughing at some of the reactions sometimes. It seems like a lot of males in the warehouse have a vested interest in her not being able to do the job. Like they take it personally somehow.
And I like breaking up their unigendered language.
"Hey Alex, how many guys you got coming in tonight?"
"I have three guys and one woman."
"When is 33 door going to be finished?"
"She only had two pallets left to go when I was over there."
"????? You have a GIRL throwing tires?"
"She's female. Yes."
She pays attention to detail. Follows instructions. Asks questions when she's uncertain. Works safely. Honors her word. She's just a much better loader than half the guys who've been working there much longer.
So, whoever said "You can't find good help these days," was wrong. They just didn't know where to look.