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“He was swamped with
work, so we decided to give it a go, instead of going somewhere else and paying
someone to teach us. We were going to learn on the job.”
After a year and half,
the pair struck out on their own and haven’t looked back. They now work on the
biggest and most elaborate residential projects in Whistler, and are booked
months in advance. Humphrey feels the best part of her job is the freedom it
“I can work 12-hour days
for a week and then take the next week off,” she says. “I set my own schedule.
It is very satisfying that way.”
Was it hard at first to
be the only female on a job site?
“Nothing too awful
happened. There were other carpenters, trades, who did their best to make me feel
uncomfortable,” she says. “But after six years of doing this job, my work
speaks for itself. I have gained a lot of confidence.”
One thing Humphrey has
noticed working on a new job site is that other trades may be reluctant to talk
to her about work matters. “Sometimes the other guys will wait until Bernie is
around if they have to discuss something about our work, thinking that I don’t
know enough. But as they get to know me that changes, and they will come and
talk to me too.”
At this point, the job site
is not intimidating to her. “A lot of guys on these jobs have the same
interests as us; hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding. Our best friends are
people we have met on the job site,” she says. “It is a great group of people
The most satisfying part
of the job to Krista is the sense of accomplishment she feels when a job is
completed. “You get to stand back and say ‘I did that!’” she says. She also
enjoys the freedom the paycheque gives her. Her income is double that of her
clerical job at the hospital.
Humphrey is surprised
there are not more women working in the construction trades in Whistler.
“Whistler women are strong — they could easily do this work,” she says.
Downsides? “It would be
nice to go to work and stay clean all day,” she jokes. “I go to work in
coveralls, with a kerchief keeping my hair back.”