Char- Carpenter & Woodshop Teacher
"I started building out of necessity. When I graduated from college I could not afford the bed I wanted. After several trips to the furniture store, I concluded that perhaps I could make this bed. And I did just that. This was before the dawn of YouTube so I had nothing to go except for a photo and some assistance from my carpenter uncle via phone. I borrowed a drill and purchased a battery powered screw driver. Those three months of building inspired a love of power tools and propelled my desire to teach others how to use these tools.
I enjoy the freedom of being my own boss. I can work when I want to, which is all the time. After working in corporate America for 15 years, I was only partially satisfied. There was a tugging at my soul to do something else, this! I can be a bit of rebel and march to beat of my own drum and the box that I was required to stay in with an office job did not fully fit my personality. Most importantly, I can be there for my children when they need me without the stress of missing work. With my husband and I being supportive of one another careers, my schedule allows him to work as hard as he can for our family.
Initially, I was the shrinking flower in a room full of older white men. Now I feel like I own the room. I typically hold a role in the groups I was normally a part of. I was seen as the daughter type who needed hand holding, the helpless one, or someone to flirt with. It was quite hilarious when I saw that pattern happening over and over again. I am not any of those things! It took me a while to cognizant of how I carry myself and how I speak to ensure who I am in my head is what you see. I have had men tell me I didn't know what I was doing. That's great, but that is your opinion and you are entitled to it. My career path chose me and for all the no's I get, there are a million yes's* waiting for me. Being a woman and a person of color knocks me two notches down in some people's eyes. I do not allow that to stop me in anyway form or fashion. I deserve a seat at the table, especially the tables I build. Being an entrepreneur means sacrificing a lot, financial security, regular schedules; in the end it is worth all of it! I have learned to be content with a little and learned to be content with alot.
My advice to women who want to pursue a similar career as me would be first to ask if you are questioning this pursuit because you're women and traditionally men have held jobs such as these. Never let the lack of representation stand in the way of pursuing your goals. Your unique presence will change the game for others and always bring a unique perspective. Do not try to blend it, stand out! Your voice matters, your presence matters. In these cases you are allowed a level of selfishness, you are not there to appease others or make them comfortable. If you were called to do something greater... Go And Do It."
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