I am one of the first woman firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service. As a naïve twenty-year-old in the mid 1970s, I learned that fighting wildfires was the simplest of the challenges I’d face. Battling fire is exhausting yet exhilarating. I thought it would be hard, yet I loved the idea of working outside and protecting the forests I held dear. It was a vibrant time of strong friendships and wild adventures.
It was also a time of heartbreak. The real challenge I faced was fighting wildfires in a man’s world where the discrimination was real and sometimes in my face. Men tried to dissuade me from applying for these jobs, outright told me they would not hire me because I was female, yet that didn’t stop me from pursuing this career. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do! My insight—I discovered that when you love what you do it isn’t work.
Are you doing what you love? If not, why not? If so have you had to overcome challenges? We would love to have you join the conversation. Please comment below.