Thursday, April 14, 2011

Our Work and the Pink Hard Hat

My husband and I own a commercial construction company.  For some time, I've kept one of the company's dark blue hard hats in my office.  That way I have one to wear that isn't too gross when I need to visit a job.  From time to time, a hard hat would disappear from my office.  That's okay.  They are the ones banging sheet metal.  They need 'em.  I'm just a looky-lou.  I'd get another and be fine for a while, then the new one would go missing.  Then another and another.  I've been through a bunch of blue hard hats.

I noticed that in general contractor job shacks there is often a pink hard hat hanging on the wall.  One day, I asked what was up with the pink hard hat.  The general contractor told me, in a very manly way, that a pink hard hat is kept for any employee who comes to work on the job without his own.  As a penalty, they have to wear the pink one for the day.  Serves them right, 'cause they remember their hard hat from then on.  No real man wants to wear a pink hard hat, right?  Construction is a hard life.

So I told our delivery driver to get me one.  I told him to buy one and bring it directly to me.  Isn't she a purdy?  I told everyone I was getting her and would put hello kitty stickers all over her. 

I actually put one of my company's stickers on her.  Companies in the construction trades have stickers made with their business name and phone number on it.  They stick them on everything the touch, kind of like marking their territory.  Workers often collect stickers from different companies all over their hard hats.  

I stop traffic a little bit when I walk jobs.  I've 51 years old, a small woman.  You don't see that often where we work.  People stop and look at me.  Sometimes it's pretty interesting.  That's okay.  I have good self esteem.   

This sticker is from a crane company we sometimes use as a subcontractor.  I don't have the hello kitty stickers yet.  

If you've been here before, you might know we recently cleared out the house my dad built in 1964 and that I grew up in.  I found my dad's hard hat from his work days in a cabinet in the garage.  It immediately went into my car.  The blue sticker is for the company he worked for.  He was a Union Steelworker.  A Brother to our Trade.  The red strip below is from one of those old fashioned labelers.  It says his name.  John Bennett. 

Recently, I've been wearing Dad's hard hat when I visit jobs instead of the pink one.  Dad would have been happy.  Wish I could have shown him our jobs.   Of course, I added one of my company's stickers.

Now people see me and ask me where the pink one is.  I stop and tell them the story of my Dad and his hard hat.  And now I've told you.    


  1. I really like this! When you get the office/lobby collection up I hope you share it. I have my dad's hammer, it has hung every picture in every home I have lived in since I left home and was on my own.

  2. Yes, the antique tool display is still going to moved to my office lobby. There were some delays, but I'm looking forward to it.

  3. I love this story LeAnn...reminded me of the time we went to walk the Best Buy and how the guys asked us if "WE NEEDED HELP" Just cause we were women! What a fun day that was!

  4. Oh, was that they reason? Just kidding. Yeah, two women in safety vests and hard hats, walking through a Best Buy under construction. Scissor lifts and piles of construction materials everywhere. Young dude walks up and says "do you lady's need help?" or something like that. Pretty funny, if you ask me. Love you Karen.

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