What do you do when your boss hates you just because you are a woman? Nothing but stay out of his sight as much as possible. Even then, he will comes looking for you to make sure that you aren’t goofing off.
It was a blazing hot day in the hanger as I was working under one of the wing of a KC-135 cargo plane. My job was to take out the old vapor seal and install a new one. There was nothing to it. Right. Not if you had been servicing the plane for the last twenty years. It was a job done under the wing next to the belly of the plane. Not a stirring of air to be had. Not a place where I could even see what I was doing. I had to feel my way around. Thirty minutes under there and I was soaked with sweat even in the winter time.
For me it was a tough job. A job that had been taught to me by another guy who did have tons of experience. Oops, I bet you would like to know what a vapor seal might be. It is something that not not one soul thinks about, while they are flying in the friendly skies. That is for sure.
The vapor seal does exactly what it’s name implies. It keeps the smell of the engine from entering the cargo section of the plane. The fumes can make one sick or worse when in flight. This plane carries tons of fuel when in flight. Not just to fly but to refuel other planes in the sky. The under belly and the wings have fuel cells as well as the belly of the plane. Didn’t know that did you? Hey, it was an interesting plane to work on.
Back to my point. My boss who was a preacher didn’t like women. I was the first woman to have ever been in his crew. He intended to run me off as soon as I rolled my tool box into his station. I was determined to stay. Not that I wanted to but because if I didn’t, I had no job. Sometimes, I think the price was too much. In fact, when I left that plant, he was still my boss but not because he allowed me to stay.
He thought he was going to ship me off to upholstery which was the worst job ever. Who wants to work with fiber glass insulation? Not me. I called the union steward immediately. As I was rolling my tool box to the other job, the union steward stopped me saying that I had to go back to my job. Thank goodness. As much as I hated that man, I would rather work for him than in upholstery. It seems that the job he was sending me to was out of my classification. Yep, when one works for a union, we can only do certain things. I was a mechanic and could not do sheet metal work or anything that was electrical. So, there I was back where I was hated.
As I was rolling my toolbox back into the section where I had been working, the boss was standing there with his hands on his hips. Yep, I knew right then that I was in trouble with him. Not because I wasn’t a good worker but simply because I was a woman. Guess who was put in charge of all the vapor seals that was installed on those planes from then on out? Yep, that would have been me. Guess who had to train a new man just as soon as one was good enough to be of any help to me? Yep. You guessed it. You can only imagine the bad, mean things that I thought about at night, at bedtime, of how to get even with that mean man of God. Oops, did I say man of God? How could he have been when he hated women? I don’t think he was.