I am going to call her Jane. She started working in my unit on January 3, along with Sam, the other new hire. The third one declined the offer. Both of the new engineers are working out fine. In fact, better than fine—they are superior individuals of stellar personality and marked professionalism. But I want to provide an update about Jane.
I called her my Cinderella Dream in a former article. Indeed she is a strikingly attractive young lady. Every man who has seen her thus far is overwhelmed by her beauty. Beyond that, she is educated as an electrical engineer. I have her working with the system protection engineer to show her the ropes and get her trained on relay programming, of which she already has much experience. This type of engineering is extremely abstract—almost ethereal, really—because, unlike my kind of engineering, one never really sees the results of the work. It’s all crammed and hidden in the relay’s memory, which just hums along, basically doing nothing until there is a fault on the line. Anyway, I’ve received regular reports of her progress, and she is even more impressive in her work.
Well, all work and no play makes John a dull boy, so I took both of them on a field trip last week to see some of the linemen in action. They were stringing up some wire for a distribution line, and I knew it would be a learning experience. We saw the machinery in action while the foreman was explaining the tasks. I was introducing the newbies to everyone and we brought donuts to make nice. (Donuts! They cost so little and buy so much!) I must hand it to the linemen—their talent is worth every bit of their griping. When they get teamed up and get the equipment fired up and running, they can move mountains. All I can do is stand there and watch, mouth agape.
I asked Jane and Sam if they wanted to get in the bucket truck for a better look. Both went for a ride, supervised of course. Both were thrilled. I asked if they wanted to climb a pole. Sam declined. He had done it before. Jane? Well, the look on Jane’s face was priceless. Her jaw dropped as she said, “Really?” To which I replied, “Really, really. If you are up to it.” She couldn’t wait!
One of the linemen outfitted her with gaffs and a belt. Another one got on the other side of the pole with his belt under hers. That way, if she were to fall—and she did—his belt would catch hers—and it did! If you are up on the pole and you lose your footing with gaffs, you wind up woodpeckering the pole on your way down. Basically your face gets planted into the pole. Then the belt gives. Then you fall again for about a two feet when the belt catches again. Then you plant your face again. Then the belt gives, and this happens over and over until you bear hug the pole, thereby driving splinters into the soft parts of your arms, legs, and your chest, or you hit the ground. Either way, it is a very painful, hamburger-face tenderizing experience.
In short order, we had about twelve linemen watching Jane climb the pole. She was without a doubt the hit of the day. She climbed the pole like a beginner—everyone does the first time—but she climbed it with genuine heart. Climbing poles straight up and down is counter-intuitive. I took pictures for her, and she looks great.
As an aside, I have never seen linemen act so gentlemanly. Seriously, the behavior of these guys is usually somewhere between gorilla and Neanderthal. On this day, they were more than human. Amazing! And it’s obvious Jane was the beast tamer. The guy that helped her up the pole, for instance, can’t say three words without one of them being the F-word. I heard that not one time from his lips while we were there
This day with my new engineers was certainly an outstanding experience for all, including myself. Jane is still drop dead gorgeous. She is still educated, still slender, still an engineer—still all those things that make her, by my account, God’s gift. But experiences with her like that day have also made her a co-worker, an employee, a colleague, a fellow engineer, a respected member of my team … an equal.She is the epitome of everything that ERA intended. She did exactly what I have touted in a number of articles and comments I’ve left here on DC. She got educated in a difficult field. She earned her license in the craft. She obtained the high paying career. She has her act together. She took advantage of the rights for which her foremothers fought so hard. She is marrying for love because she wants to, not because she was expected “to find a nice man to take care of her for the rest of her life.” She is a woman that other women should admire and aspire to become. I salute her, and I consider myself and the organization for which I work very lucky to have her on our staff. She is going to do great things for the utility. If her fiancé is half as smart as she is, he’ll move heaven and Earth to keep her … I know I would.