While the money is good for a lineman, the work is hard, they miss out on family functions and holidays, and their families sacrifice right along with them. We at J.L. Matthews want to honor the entire home-based crew behind the lineman - wives, girlfriends, parents, children... anyone who loves a lineman.
Line Woman's Name:
A Little About Sydney~
We found Sydney on Instagram while browsing over our followers. When reaching out to her, you could tell her passion was to show women that they can be who they want to be and that it could also include a blue collar life. She is now a 3rd year PLT Apprentice in Saskatchewan, Canada and was the FIRST FEMALE to go through the SaskPower Line Apprenticeship program. Thank you Sydney for paving the way for more women in the industry! We appreciate your passion and willingness to pay it forward and tell your story.
I went to university right out of high school because that’s what girls do who have good grades. I hated every minute of it and ended up quitting after my second year. I came home to an oilfield town and ended up working as a roughneck on a drilling rig. After a few years of that I decided I needed a job that wasn’t so dependent on the stock market. The utility where I live ran a boot camp for lineman right in my hometown. I figured if I could roughneck on a rig I could climb a pole. Let’s just say that was a big wake up call. I didn’t quite make it through and left disappointed in myself, and full of wood slivers. Two weeks later I got a call back and they gave me a second chance as a laborer. I would have a job and go for boot camp again in a year. I got my 1A the second week and worked my butt off. I ended up passing boot camp and haven’t looked back since!
Two of my uncles on my dads side were linemen. Let’s just say it’s the last thing my dad expected me to do, but he is very proud of my accomplishments.
What was the biggest challenge you overcame being a lady lineman?
I felt like I constantly needed to prove myself. Climb one more pole then the others, get higher marks in school. Once I realized that I deserve this job and earned it, I stopped worrying what others thought. There’s always gonna be people (men and women) who don’t think you need to be there. That is their own insecurities and has nothing to do with me and my work.
You can do so many different things in this trade; everyday is a new day with a different task. Once you get your ticket the possibilities are endless. Another big part of why I chose this trade is the fact you are never out of work. Working for a utility there’s maintenance, new builds, emergency work, and much more.
Is there anything you wish you would change about your job?
I’m sure every apprentice says this, but I cannot wait to be a red seal journeyman. Other then that I’m perfectly happy where I am.
How has your life/ lifestyle changed to accommodate the job?
Going from having a job where you work when there’s work, to having salary was a huge thing for me. Your quality of life is much greater when you have weekends to spend with your family and friends. I don’t even mind going on the road for work. It’s all been positive change for me, and any accommodations have been welcomed.
Don’t let anyone tell you that women cannot do this job. There will always be those individuals. Use it as fuel to motivate you to be better.
Find a mentor. It can be a coworker that you trust, or another lady lineman. It is a great help to be able to ask any question without fear of ridicule or belittling. I know lots of line ladies who would love to chat offer any advice you need.
Thank you again for participating in our Life on the Line feature. For all those reading, if you or someone you know is a lineman/ woman and you want to tell us a little bit about what your life is like working in the industry- click the link below!