Consider the skill set you can master working in a mill – and then consider how that skill set can transfer to an administrative position in health care. You would have a working understanding of systems, chain of command, pride in mastery and hard work, a respect for authority, an understanding of safety measures and protocol, the judgement to speak up, the joy of a challenge.
Consider who you would rather work with in a health care setting: an individual with limited life experience, or an individual who is willing to do any job you put in front of them. If you were a patient, whom would you prefer was in charge?
One of the first things I noticed when we toured the mill at Devil’s Tower Forest Products was Halle, or perhaps the wake of Halle.
Halle is a boss – and she is everywhere. With her red braid and commanding posture she is hard to miss in the cab of her forklift. This gal owns the yard – a well-orchestrated whirling dervish. She clearly knows what she is doing and loves her job.
Art in the yard…
Halle stacks lumber loads with her forklift a bit like a seamstress constructs a garment. She has mad skills when it comes to concentration, and visual estimation; and she thrives on the mental and physical challenge of her job.
Watching Halle work was most satisfying. To see a young woman handling that forklift like a Maserati brought me an immense amount of joy and pride – the active embodiment of women doing whatever they set their minds to accomplish.
This gal is a second-generation mill employee – her Dad being the first. What she earns every summer goes toward her college tuition. She is pursuing a degree in Health Care Administration. I suspect she will make a fine leader.
Halle’s advice to young women? Flashing her signature smile, she says, “Everyone should do this once, try it.”
Author’s Note: I am looking for more women to interview who work in trade and non-traditional roles. If you or someone you know would like to talk with me you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org – Attention: Women’s Work.
All photos – copyright Julia Petersen, 2019