Dirty Jobs Aren't Just For Men
Dirty jobs and women aren’t usually mentioned in the same sentence, but Carolyn Christensen is an exception. She owns air duct and kitchen exhaust cleaning franchises, Ductz and Hoodz. Up until recently, Carolyn used to go out on the job with all the guys as the project manager. Women For Hire talked to her about her life.
How has being a woman helped (or hurt) you in what has traditionally been viewed as a male-only “dirty job?”
After 20 years in the industry I have proven myself and my company as being knowledgeable, dedicated, professional, dependable and have earned respect. I was determined to create a high quality company with properly trained technicians who provide top quality service.
No matter the gender, all professionals appreciate these traits. Some company owners have been hesitant to do business with a woman-owned company but the ones who have are very loyal, send referrals to their customers and call us when they need good quality work.
I have won several jobs from female homeowners who simply liked the idea of doing business with a professional woman.
What would you say to a woman who might be attracted to a so-called “man’s job” but worries about the stigma? Is that fear justified or more of a myth?
Fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real.” It has definitely been justified in the past, however as I mature I sense that is changing. I am not a “feminist,” but I believe in women standing up for themselves and maximizing their accomplishments.
How do male counterparts view you? Has their attitude changed at all?
A female may have to go an extra step to prove that you are as good as the guys but I have been fairly well received in the male dominated industry. It was a challenge to me. I grew up a tom-boy and took pleasure in being able to hold my own with the guys and they respected me for that ability even if they would not always admit it. I think they relish the challenge.
What 3 tips would you give a woman who is thinking about joining a male-dominated franchise or occupation?
Educate yourself on that industry, even go work in it for a while to learn everything you can. Don’t use your feminine wiles to get your way unless you are willing to pay the price if it backfires. Depend on your gut but know your stuff. Most nice guys will cut you some slack but when you are the competition, all gloves are off.