The morning was Wyoming bright with a clear blue sky. I met Lacey and her truck as I walked outside the office and headed toward the mill’s weigh station. She was busy securing her load – already halfway through her day.
Lacey drives her own lumber truck just like her mother, grandmother, and aunts. R&S Trucking is a family business and everyone pitches in. This is Lacey’s heritage and her career. It has given her independence and financial security – and she loves what she does.
Lacey is not afraid of hard work; she grew up working and she is proud of her success. In addition to her truck, she owns her own home and car and can pay her bills every month.
“I get to choose,” she says. “I’m not trapped.”
Don’t give away your power…
Her Dad told her he didn’t want her to have to need a man to get by. ”You can want a man, but you shouldn’t have to need one.” He would say. Lacey shakes her head and reflects, “I see so many women that fall into that…” Her voice trails off for a minute.
We talk for a while about how it happens that women look to men for stability rather than creating their own security – jumping from relationship to relationship to get one’s needs met. Clearly, this gal is not wired for dependency.
Work hard but work smart…
Lacey will tell you straight up that there are trade-offs in her line of work. It isn’t always easy. Many the weekend she is working on her truck while everyone else is at the lake. She is up every morning at 3 am and as she describes it, “there is not a lot of time for fancy.” “But,” she adds, “I am home every night.”
She and her partner have a blended family and they work together with his ex to raise the kids – two teenage girls. Never a dull moment. This mamma has no time for drama and doesn’t encourage it in the family unit. There are more important things to do.
Lacey worries about the easy access of drugs and how kids seem to have lost the ability to think ahead and think critically. We talk about the challenge of motivating kids in a culture of instant gratification. “There is work, if you want it,” she points out. She wants to make sure the girls she is helping to raise are independent and capable of taking care of themselves.
Thick skin and a sense of humor…
The whole time we are talking Lacey is working to strap down her load for delivery. “You need a thick skin,” she says as she lobs a strap over the top of her truck and cinches it down like the pro she is. One that comes from ownership.”
When commenting on how her gender plays into the dynamic of a male dominated workforce she laughs and says, “Yeah, it can be a challenge, but you can’t let it get to you. I can do everything men can, and I get paid the same.”
When she gets out of her truck to prepare a load, often the guys want to know if her husband is going to help her. She likes to tell them her husband is “home with the kids” – with a wry smile and a twinkle in her eye.
As we wrap up, Lacey tells me the story of being somewhere down South securing a load and in an unmistakable drawl, a gentleman informed her that she was “going to get dirty doing that.” Without missing a beat, she said “I get dirty just like you – clean up the same way too.”
This gal holds her own – just fine.
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