I don’t know if anything could have ever prepared me..
I was always a curious child, a country kid.. I grew up playing with horses, practiced shooting from the age of 5, helped collect timber on the weekends, was enforced a strong work ethic and if I was lucky I’d get a $2 Sunday after I collected the eggs, fed the animals, picked the fruit, mowed the lawn & did my chores.
I had a strong admiration for my Grandfather who died when I was 5. His memory engrained in my mind, his remembrance in Australian’s stockman’s hall of fame. A strong spirit, but a kind man!
I didn’t lead a sheltered life..
I left home at 13…
Life handed me some shit cards but I played well, made many of goals, hopped from many different scenes, met good & bad people and as a child it was evident my life would be sculpted by the decisions I would make…
My hope was in reading.. Books taught me many things and I would be lying if I said I understood a lot of what I was reading from a young age. Books from brain science, psychology, sales, success, anything to give me hope and education. Anything to get me out of the hell hole I was in!
But none the less, I learnt to fight for what I wanted..
I learnt that where you stand presently isn’t always forever. But most of all I learnt that if you have a dream you often find yourself in the overtaking lane… And not everyone is comfortable with your growth, not everyone wants to see you step out of the box they placed you in.
Many people laughed at my dreams, many of people would have wished for my failure..
Someone I loved once even told me to ‘keep chasing my rainbows, because I would never get anywhere.’
Those memories burnt into my everything… The woman I would grow to become was not made from things ever going right…. But in the World bringing me to my knees over and over again.
I have been lied to, I have cheated, I have been intentionally hurt, I have been physically, emotionally & sexually abused.. But I don’t know that any of that prepared me for working in a man’s World.
Never in my wildest dreams did I conceive the industry I would grow up in to be as ruthless as what I would soon encounter.
There weren’t many women when I started at 19 but even whilst the numbers grow, the bullying tactics and ego stroking you had to deal with as a woman in this industry was beyond comprehension.
I had been threatened, called a C###, stood over, bullied into a corner and told to learn my place.
But none of this would stop me standing up for what was fair & just in an industry that for too long had so little rules.
Truth is, I wasn’t a man hater.. I didn’t go out of my way to prove myself right, and you wrong.
But I didn’t always do what you told me to do if I felt it unjust. And boy did that make you buckle!
And I don’t know if it was at first the shock of meeting a woman who didn’t ‘do as I was told’, or maybe it was because I didn’t follow the illogical rules because ‘that’s the way it’s always been done…’ But none the less I learnt first hand that anything that makes small minds question their only known way of life will be met with fierce resistance….Often brutality!
I was strong..
By the age of 23 I had already been a wife, lost a child and been the first top sales woman in Australia’s largest building company. This was never going to be an easy path, and somewhere within my heart perhaps I always knew that… But I was not invincible.
Because Construction, many of times you hurt me!
Many of times I would hold it together, and sit on the bottom of my shower crying..You see it was tough!
And so few people will tell you the messy parts.. So few people will reveal their pain, only their successes.
And the only way I could justify the lonely path I would walk, was if I built a road for somebody else.
I wasn’t even 30 and I had Chronic fatigue, I was only getting 25% oxygen in my blood and walking was tough for me, but never do I dare miss a meeting..
Video calls became easier so that I didn’t have to go up and down the stairs..
I adapted… I adapted again and again..
I had lost many people in my time.. Said goodbye to so many I wasn’t ready to, but none the less I always found my feet. I was the uncoordinated kid at baseball that trained, practiced, turned up, and never gave up until I got it right!
Yet still, nothing could prepare me for the industry I would grow in.
Never had I met so many that ran from the truth, ran from accountability until I worked here.
Never had I been so disregarded, so underestimated, and so disrespected because I did not ‘size up’ to who you are familiar to sitting across.
And whilst you could and would underestimate me time & time again, many of people would mistake my kindness for weakness- Mistake No.1.
And although you placed weight on my shoulders, I stood up anyway.
Although you continued to think I would cave, continued to apply pressure to my shoulders, time & time again I would stand to meet accountability and transparency.
Many of times I stood fiercely in who I am, firmly in my beliefs for change & better days & many of times I would be standing on my own… So where were these men I was told I should be like? The tough ones I was told I should be more like?
I was tired of stroking a man’s ego!
I was tired of being pushed around..
And even though I could play a poor hand well, I stood up anyway… Not just for me… But for your daughters.. For the children I am yet to bare.. I stood for them!
I was now all too familiar with litigation. The first instance because I declined a man’s advances..
The 2nd was so bullish in their attempt to not return calls, fulfil obligations & address failed contractual obligations whilst they expected as a girl that I would have walked away by now…. But let me tell you, I won’t!
I won’t walk away from what is right..
I won’t hide behind a rock like these ‘tough’ men I was always likened to.
And even if you bring me to tears in sheer exhaustion, I won’t do it for nothing!
I will do it for the women in this sector..
I will do it for the girls that are coming..
All if it means that I am pioneering a better future for women to succeed in this sector…
And I will do it because you need not know my story to warrant that you do not want your daughter in my shoes, not even for a minute…