Monday, August 22, 2016

Door Number 7

Like my grandmother, the number 7 has often cropped up in my life. Five of the eight numbers in my driver's license are 7's. It could only be better if 7 of the eight were 7's. Maybe because of Grandma, I've always watched for and felt good about that number.
When I bought my house, I noted that the 3 digits added up to 7. For 21 years I've walked through door number 7 every workday. Now at 21 years (3x7), it seems the right time to stop walking through that door each day. As those days come to an end I think of so many things that happened behind door number 7.
Twenty-one years ago, I was often the first woman to have ever entered many underground coal mines. I lugged a camera that weighed 10 times what gear today weighs. Many of the mines didn't even have a women's rest room at the portal. And even in my own company, when I showed up to tape management sessions I often saw no other woman or only one other woman (the HR Director) in the room.
Through door number 7, somehow I persevered. When mine personnel kidded me that it was unlucky to take a woman underground, I was mindful to show them I was not an unlucky type. I carried as much as they did, worked as hard and was extremely mindful of safety. I'd like to believe I earned their respect and helped pave the way for the next woman.
Through door number 7, I proved myself time and time again. But I know it is something any woman my age, who has worked in areas where women have not traditionally worked, has had to do. Once an entire room full of equipment was shipped to me and I had to figure out how to get it set up and functional. Then, once it was functional, I had to demonstrate to senior management that I knew how to use it because another senior manager was not happy that it was shipped to me. She said I could not possibly know how to use it.
Through door number 7, I was tested and forged. I have often been tempered by fire in these 21 years. It's time to step out of the fire and shine my own light. I am thankful for all that I have learned though years of walking through that door. I have met many good people. I have worked with great talent. And yes, I have often felt tested. I am ready to shine instead of burn.
Let's see what 7 brings me.

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