Meet Cristi Dyami, Journey-Level Lineworker

Meet Cristi Dyami, Journey-Level Lineworker

Cristi Dyami is an apprentice lineman with Bonneville Power Administration. She works on the big transmission lines and says, “I absolutely love getting up every day. I love my job. Everything can be different from one day to the next. I like working outdoors. I can’t imagine being stuck inside of an office … we get to be up in the mountains.”

The work of a lineman is dangerous and requires focus. “Linework isn’t for everybody,” Cristi says. “It takes special individuals all the way around. And I hate to say it, but I think it takes even more special women. You are working with very strong personalities. It’s not for meek or mild people, period.”

The pay for lineworkers is very good at the average rate of $33 per hour in Oregon*. Dyami adds, “But you do work hard for it.” And the job comes with its own rewards. “It’s a pretty neat feeling to know that you’re keeping people’s power on.” Dyami says. “It may be Christmas Day, and we’ve got a call out because it started blowing over on the coast — and you’ve got to leave your family — but you’re going to help other people. There is a certain feeling of pride that a lot of people share in this job.”

*From the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, May 2008, Occupational Employment and Wages for Electrical Power Line-Installers and Repairers

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Tool Box for Success

Do you have the tools you need to succeed in construction?
  • Attach yourself to a journey-worker on the job site and learn from them
  • Focus to get ahead if you want to stay in the field
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Be good at your job
  • Work up your physical strength
  • Realize that there are no short-cuts
  • Enjoy the experience
  • Make friends with everyone
  • Go with the flow
  • Have a thick skin
  • Know who you are
  • Employ good time-management skills and good listening skills
  • Have a good learning attitude
  • Know that you are the competition
  • Don’t give up
  • Study hard at school
  • Be ready for a lot of work
  • Listen to what the foreman is saying
  • Learn how to take orders well
  • Learn how to take initiative
  • Be detail-oriented but do the job fast at the same time
  • Maintain good communication and ask questions
  • Know your stuff!
  • Be physical, work out
  • Work harder than everybody else, don’t talk a lot, pay attention, show up on time, be dependable and don't phone in sick unless you absolutely need to!
  • Have fun!!
Barriers to employment for women in construction

Although this list is not all-inclusive, it was included to give an indication of the kinds of barriers some women will face, and overcome.
  • Biased or discriminatory hiring practices
  • Stereotypical perceptions of women's abilities
  • Isolation of women in male-dominated worksites
  • Unequal pay for women performing similar jobs as male co-workers
  • Various forms of harassment (CLMPC, 1990; SPR Associates, 2002A; Grzetic, 1998;)
  • There is a lack of diversity training among co-workers, including clarity around the issue of employment equity. (WITT-NN, 1999)
  • Social isolation
  • Lack of education and fundamental skills
  • Lack of informal mentors to develop an interest in the trades
  • Lack of management / supervisor leadership in setting an appropriate tone in terms of acceptance of women in male-dominated workplaces. WITT-Alberta, 2000)
  • Physical Strength Limitations
  • Stereotypes / Sexism / Perception of women on job site
  • Lack of information available about trades as a career option
  • Lack of daycare/difficulty with work / life balance
Getting around Barriers

  • Recognize the friendly faces at your jobsite
  • Dress appropriately for the trade
  • Identify something your company does a lot of and get good at it
  • Use common sense
  • Find a mentor
  • Become good at job hunting
  • Network
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