”Do you wake up in the morning and go to work to be part of the solution or do you go in to be part of the problem?”

This was something I heard on the train yesterday while I was sat reading and it struck a bit of a chord with me.

I often speak about the first time I went to site and how if I was younger or if it was my first job I wouldn’t have made day two. I attended site with just an address, a time, contact number and was told to attend site induction. Being my first time on site I didn’t really know the format of these or where they would be held so I went to the office and followed instruction to go upstairs and wait.

I went upstairs and walked into a room full of guys getting briefed, I now know it was a brief at the time I didn’t know if it was the induction. I walked into the room and it went quiet nobody said anything, everyone just looked at me, so because I believed I was supposed to be there I walked slowly to the back of the room. Eyes followed me as I took each step, I eventually reached the rear of the room put my back to the wall and slid down it till I reached the floor. I quickly realised I wasn’t suppose to be there but I really didn’t want to move again, so I waited till everyone finished and left the room.

During this time I questioned my choices –

Should I have stayed in recruitment ?

What was I doing there?

Site wasn’t for people like me?

It’s not to late to do something else ?

Why was I doing this to myself?

It was 100% a fight or flight moment and looking back I am worried if I was a younger apprentice or if this was my first job would I still be doing what I do now and I think the answer is – no I wouldn’t!

My first few days on site everyone continued staring, they continued talking about me, asking my team was that woman any good, making sly comments and jokes. It was hard going and if I am honest I wanted to be so good but probably wasn’t overly, I did my time in our yard but until you get out on site and figure out your bearings and who you are working with its all a bit trial and error and getting to know the team.

So the big question is are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem?

Do you welcome new people to site? Do you take time to talk to apprentices? Do you try to pass on your knowledge? Do you say hello to new faces? Do you make people feel comfortable?

Or do you talk about them? Ignore them? Belittle them? Exclude them? Make jokes about them?

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Katie Cranes

Female crane operator working in the construction industry!

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