Recently, in response to our post “Women Welders in the Workplace” (advice for women working in the welding industry) someone left this comment (which I’ve not approved):
I know companies that won’t hire female welders because they are a distraction to the other male employees. Additionally, I speak from experience that when I tell a male welder he messed up and he has to fix that which he just spent 8 hours making, he just sighs and fixes the mistake. I told a female welder and she started crying.
THERE’S NO CRYING IN WELDING.
I’m supposed to treat my employees equally but if I did that with a female welder I’d end up with a huge human rights case so what do I do? I don’t hire female welders.
One reason I didn’t approve the comment was because he used a fake email address and didn’t use his name. Chicken.
The other reason… it REALLY ticked me off. Jerk.
Women Welders in the Workplace
First, that female welders are a distraction to the male welders… sounds like maybe he shouldn’t hire male welders if they can’t keep their mind on their jobs and focus. Second, crying? What’s the big deal. She cries, or she doesn’t cry (not all women cry when frustrated). Then she fixes the mistake. Get over it!
And finally– the most egregious statement: “I don’t hire female welders.”
That’s his solution to having a dysfunctional company with weak willed men who can’t keep their minds on their jobs and who can’t handle a couple of tears.
Women are different — (that’s why Arc-Zone carries the Angel Fire line of welding apparel), women have curves, they tend to be shorter, they don’t have broad shoulders and their hands are smaller.
But that doesn’t mean better or worse, just different. In fact, the ability to cry, and the propensity for crying is a biological difference and in terms of human survival may in fact be an improvement over the male version of our species. And don’t even get me started on the fact that women have excellent hand/eye coordination, can usually crawl into smaller spaces for out-of-position welding, and have tons of patience.
Crying While Welding
While it may be difficult to actually WELD while crying (blurry vision, your helmet lens steaming up), taking a minute to compose yourself, to take a breath, really shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
I’ll admit it. I’ve cried at work. One time I would say I was completely justified. My dad had just died, and this was on the heels of my Granddad dying and my sister fighting breast cancer: I was dealing with a lot. Fortunately my boss was completely understanding (as in he didn’t freak out or make a big deal of it–he just let me work my way through it). I pulled myself together and got back to work in the time it would have taken me to refill my coffee cup.
Another time: I was 19, working a summer job in Washington D.C. and one of my superiors, a middle-aged MARRIED man, had propositioned me. It was creepy. He was creepy! Anyway, I somehow managed to clarify that I was NOT interested in a steady and strong tone of voice…. but I was so mad when I got back to my cubicle, I just fell apart and began to cry. ( I don’t know about you, but when I’m angry I cry–as opposed to some men, who may punch things).
Another memorable crying moment–when I found out my car needed a new engine. In my defense, this was my beloved 1971 Super Beetle. The car my grandparents had bought in Germany, and toured Europe in before returning with the car to the U.S. (Granddad had been stationed at the U.S. Naval Base at Rota, Spain). I had learned to drive on that car. And I was broke. When I got off the phone with the mechanic the tears just started flowing. And of course there were two co-workers (both male) standing at my desk. As I squeaked out what the problem was– they laughed. They thought it was hilarious that I was crying about a car. Of course I wasn’t crying about the car, I was crying because I felt helpless, broke, frustrated, and mad at myself for crying which made me cry even more! Now, some 15 years later, I too think it’s funny that I was crying about a car.
Crying is perfectly natural, biologically driven response for women. What I didn’t know until recently is that women have more of a protein called prolactin in their system (more as in 60 percent more!). It is the protein that triggers crying (and also lactation, but that’s another blog post).
Crying is also good for you. It actually helps keep your eyes healthy and it releases stress (maybe one reason why women don’t have heart attacks at the same rate as men). Tears actually get rid of toxins in our bodies and cortisol, a stress hormone.
Wouldn’t you like an employee who handles stress better and won’t punch things, or worse… drop dead of a heart attack?
Bottom line, if you’re not hiring women welders, you’re missing out!