Hey there, HVAChicks!
Today I'm reflecting on all of the things I didn't know about the HVAC industry. There are so many things that going to trade school don't teach us, and more so for us HVAChicks!
So I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of "lady things" I wish I had known when I was starting out! If I can save even one fellow chick from the confusion, and embarrassment I have subjected myself to, my work here is done ;-)
You Don't Have To Know Everything Yet
I remember the first day of my amazing new HVAC job. I was SOOOO nervous that I was going to seem greener than The Emerald City! I thought, "all of these men are going to think I'm a joke".
Imagine my astonishment when NONE of that happened! No, I didn't know that the blue hose goes on the low side line, or how to calculate superheat, but I was there to be trained.
It didn't take me long to understand that most techs enjoy teaching fellow techs, NO MATTER HOW GREEN! I left my first day feeling relieved and wishing I hadn't spent the entire night prior worrying!
Now when I look back I realize that one of main reasons why I did well is because I studied and trained hard. I took free HVAC courses from SkillCat HVAC Trade School which really prepared me for my journey. I recommend the courses to everyone!
Most Techs Live On YouTube
Now, my specialty is in diagnostics, but that wasn't always the case! One time, I was FREAKING OUT because I was working with an older gentleman, who wasn't exactly thrilled to be training the "new girl" or any girl for that matter.
We ran into a water situation where neither of us knew what was going on. I tried everything racking my brain to figure it out and finally put my tail between my legs and asked what I should do. A booming noise came out of this giant mans mouth but it was music to my millennial ears. "Just YouTube it" he said! Quickly, I found the answer AND a tutorial video and had the system up and running within the hour. Who knew even the most seasoned HVAC veterans "Just YouTube It"?
YouTube has proven to be one of the most accessible tool in my HVAC career. Most of the big companies are doing it now. Here's SkillCat's YouTube Link for your reference!
No One Cares What You Look Like
The first week of my new career I woke up ungodly early to meticulously apply my makeup, and braid my hair. I ironed my work clothes to creases and dusted off my boots every night. Until one morning, disaster struck! I was so exhausted that I slept right through my alarm and had only 5 minutes to be to the end of my road or I would risk being late in my first week! So, obviously I shot out of bed, put on yesterdays clothes, threw my hair in a pony and RAN out the door.
The entire ride to the office I was SWEATING! "Oh my goodness all of the guys are going to see me like this and make comments, my boss is going to tell me to go home and change, my reputation is destroyed." A million other irrational thoughts bombarded my brain like missiles. I walked through the door and no one even batted an eye! Not one glance, or comment. No one seemed to notice that the 5'2 version of Cindy Crawford they'd seen all week had just strolled in resembling a hobo! Don't exhaust yourself trying to be perfect, in looks or otherwise. It's not worth the energy! YOU ARE ENOUGH!
Highly experienced men mess up too!
….. and they're just as insecure as you are!
I won't bore you with another story about my crazy HVAC life, just know that at the core of every human there is an accident waiting to happen. We all make mistakes, we all mess up and we all get embarrassed!
This is the most important bullet on this page, and that is because having this knowledge will determine how you handle the situation whether it's you or a colleague who makes the mistake, and there will be a lot of them! If you, as a woman have to correct a man who's been doing this longer than you, correct them with kindness! If someone makes a mistake, remember you've been there and treat that person exactly how you'd want to be treated. At the end of the day, fixing the problem is ALL THAT MATTERS, help each other out, reassure each other. Be Human.
I would love to hear some of your stories as women in HVAC. Let me know in the comments below!