On this episode of This is a Man’s World, we are joined by Chelsea Smith, a welder in the US. Chelsea’s interest in welding began as a supplemental skill at autobody school, but she soon realized that she loved being able to create just about anything from a plain piece of steel. After receiving her Associate’s degree in welding, she got married, had a baby, and picked up a few odd jobs, but when her son went to kindergarten she decided it was time to pick welding back up and get on the job market.
She certainly experienced her share of resistance from potential employers for being a woman in welding, but she aced the tests to get a job building cement mixers, so she was officially in the industry. That job was a good experience-builder, but there were just a few too many things going on there that Chelsea was not comfortable with, so she started “rage job hunting.” It’s a good thing she did, because she found her “unicorn job” which provides her with the satisfaction of accomplishing a lot while having plenty of flexibility and independence.
Chelsea doesn’t personally know any other female welders, but she is encouraged by the work of women in other trades and she looks forward to seeing more women in the welding field before long. She encourages women to just give it a try to see if welding might be for them, and she encourages employers to give women a fair shot at the welding jobs they have available.
1:09 – Introduction of Chelsea Smith
1:28 – Chelsea originally went to autobody school, but found her love for welding and switched
2:11 – Currently, she builds steamer ovens for cafeterias and buffets, but she used to build cement trucks
3:07 – She went to community college and got her Associate’s degree in welding, then struggled to find a professional welding job
3:52 – Chelsea got married right after college and ran into her first employment roadblocks
5:11 – She was discouraged, but soon had a baby and decided to stay home with him until he was in kindergarten
6:30 – Getting out of your comfort zone and taking that first step opens up a new world
7:31 – Chelsea describes her previous and current workplaces
9:23 – The worst thing about her previous employer was the unsafe working conditions
13:31 – Michelle and Chelsea talk about their experiences with unsafe working conditions and the disregard for human life in some situations
16:20 – Sometimes when the big burly men are too intimidated to say something to the production manager, it has to be the woman to get up the courage and confront the issue
17:16 – As the only female in either of her professional welding jobs, Chelsea has learned how to stand up for herself and get along with the guys
19:15 – Chelsea provides advice to women in welding or one of the trades and brings in some interesting statistics about positions men and women are willing to apply for
23:39 – Attitudes that Chelsea has encountered about women being in the trade
26:45 – Chelsea and her husband’s similar workplaces create the opportunity for good conversations
30:19 – Examples of men who have been unwilling to work with women on the job site
31:58 – Chelsea shares a crazy story of when a go-kart caught on fire and almost landed on her while she was fixing it
36:25 – What Chelsea really loves about welding
37:19 – Chelsea’s advice to women considering a profession in welding
38:24 – What Chelsea wants employers of women in the trades to keep in mind