April 16, 2013|By Elyse Lee, appropriate to Queen B
As I cast through the pages of the latest affair of Glamour magazine, I am ardent with the newest bounce trends, abnormally a brace of cork pumps by Michael Kors. I validate my shoe agitation by adage quietly, but excitedly, to myself that these aerial heels would go with everything! They are neutral, with a abundant textural look, and best of all, they accept a 1-inch platform. Every woman knows that a hidden belvedere agency one thing: comfort!
As I abide to cast through the blow of the magazine, I appear above an commodity to which I accept no interest. The banderole reads “What to Abrasion in the Workplace.”
I charge no admonition from the columnist apropos my abode attire. No sir. Every assignment day, I put on my uniform, which consists of a gray polo shirt, activity pants, a atramentous canvas belt and able steel-toe atramentous assignment boots. Ah, if Michael Kors got his easily on my assignment accoutrement it would be article to allocution about.
But he will not. My abode is a paramilitary fire-rescue service, and attractive akin is not alone binding but article I desire. I appetite to attending like my co-workers — cohesive, able and accessible for action. My co-workers, afterwards all, are mostly men. I do not affliction to stick out or draw attention. I appetite to assimilate.
My account in the emergency medical services/fire profession began aback I was 15 years old. I adumbral firefighters at a bounded blaze administration in Broward County and was captivated. I articular with the adrenaline blitz and admired the abstraction that bodies counted on firefighters and paramedics who did their job beneath amazing pressure. It was exciting.
Most of the firefighter/paramedics were men, but one woman formed on the shift. I watched her and noticed she was quiet did her job able-bodied and was respected. She already told me if I capital to be in the blaze service, the best affair to do was digest — do your job well, and don’t draw attention.
As I confused against admission aerial school, I was set on what I capital to be.
When I began to assignment against my able career, I bound noticed there would be challenges. The blaze administration is organized and run somewhat like the military. There are specific jobs that backpack specific duties. You are accustomed orders to which you charge comply, you alternation daily, and you accept chores.
You assignment in aing abode with a aggregation for 24-hour shifts, so you eat, beddy-bye and run calls together. These calls ambit anywhere from allowance addition survive a affection advance to angry a absolutely complex anatomy fire. The assignment is mentally and physically demanding. And it is usually advised a man’s job.
I have, for the best part, alloyed to survive and thrive. I am able to do my work. I attach to dress cipher and conduct guidelines. And I try to go aloft and above expectations. Aback I am in a calendar with my adolescent firefighters, the alone affair that sets me afar is my feminine contour and my beard in a bun.
I accept been alive in this acreage for 16 years and in those years accept encountered abounding issues that women accept faced in a male-dominated workplace. I accept had guys acquaint me that I would not accomplish it in the blaze department. Some accept fabricated atrocious comments about my body, and I accept heard abounding aspersing comments about women in general.
I accept additionally had to accord with issues that are specific to my profession such as billowing accouterment and accessory (because the accessory is about fabricated for and beat by men) and accessible applesauce apartment breadth anybody sleeps calm because they were originally advised for men only. Attractive back, I feel that these challenges accept fabricated me a abundant stronger and adjustable woman.
I accept additionally apparent how abundant the blaze account has afflicted and acquired to board women. This has been able through the women who accept blazed a aisle afore me and who accept fought for adequation in the service. I now abrasion women’s lower-rise activity pants that absolutely fit my achievement as able-bodied as my waist. I beddy-bye and battery in my own area, and if I lose my apperception and adjudge to get pregnant, I am offered ablaze assignment and maternology leave. Abounding of my co-workers are additionally women. My accepted administration employs 17 females out of 112 blaze administration personnel. That is a big deal!
Another big accord is how abundant I accept abstruse about myself and about men over the years. In the mornings, we accept breakfast together, and I get a adventitious to get a man’s angle of the world. We allocution about the tasks of the day; we additionally get bent up to acceleration with what’s activity on with Jeff’s awaiting divorce, Peter’s kids, Jason’s wife, Louis’ additional job and my dogs. As they talk, I feel that I am buried to article a lot of women are not — their feelings.
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