Construction Tales:Volume I
by Leslie Jasper
About The Author
Leslie is a journeywoman electrician who works within Westchester County, New York, Fairfield County, Connecticut, and the five boroughs of New York City. Leslie has worked within the construction industry for the past 17 years. She is also an evening OSHA instructor/writing coach working part time for Empire College. Leslie recently graduated and received an MBA with honors at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. She lives with her two sons, Tom and Johnny, in Lake Carmel, New York. Leslie enjoys spending quality time with her sons such as snowboarding and visiting haunted houses throughout New England. She also enjoys cruise ship traveling around the world, renovating her home, and spending time lifting weights in the gym.
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MM: Everyone wants to know the story behind the story...What's your story?
I became a female electrician at the age of 20 years old back in 1995. I entered an apprenticeship where females were not wanted on the job. Despite the resistance, I joined the 5 ½ year apprenticeship program. My journey to complete my apprentice program is highlighted in my book. The different jobs I worked on were touched as well as the crazy co-workers I met along the way. I talk about the many challenges and the difficult people I work with over the years. My story is unique and the jobsite encounters are fascinating and funny. I completed my apprentice program and walked away from most situation triumphantly. My legacy for my children would be that I paved a way for economic freedom and never giving up. I want other women to know that it is possible to step into the construction industry and make their contribution to the building of America.
MM: Tell us a bit about your writing journey. When did you realize you were a writer?
I knew that I liked writing in my early years in school. I have a great memory and an active imagination. I see the stories in my mind and can feel those emotions. I run with those feelings and emotion and put them on paper. It is not a difficult process so I knew that writing would not be a chore. I find writing relaxing and healing. If I am stuck on a topic, I either skip it or walk away. I come back refreshed with a new mental roadmap on what I need to write about.
MM: Looking out the nearest window, describe the scene you see...
I’m sitting at my kitchen table looking out a big window. I see my big yard, loads of leaves tossed aimlessly about, a long brown stained fence, and my annoying neighbor’s house. The fog that is rolling in limits my view on this chilled November morning.
MM: Do you have a favorite writing area?
I like to sit in my big black comfortable chair so that I may kick up my feet and be relaxed when I write. I need to feel at ease so that the words may flow on my laptop. I have needed to stop a few times to get some coffee. If I have a good thought to write about, I will spend hours getting it typed out.
MM: What is an absolute must-have when writing?
I need to be at ease when I am writing. Oddly enough, I do not need peace and quiet to write. I just need to be comfortable. That just means a comfy pair of sweatpants, big t-shirt, and a cozy chair with my feet up will be sufficient.
MM: What is your favorite inspiration for writing?
I had never written a book before. I knew that it was going to be a long process that was new, exciting, and scary at the same time. I wanted my story to be told and my legacy to be on paper. Perhaps wanting people to know what my career path was like was an inspiration. I believed that women needed to know that they can embark on this journey as well was another inspiration. My desire to turn the page in my own life and go in a different direction was also my inspiration. Ultimately, I am very motivated and I wanted to make my mark in history and in society before my journey on Earth ends.
MM: What is the craziest thing you've ever written, published or not?
I wrote about how one of the people I was working with was pacing back and forth on a major, world renown, trading floor, speaking loudly, about all of the sexual encounters he wanted to have with this attractive employee. She was working on the floor and he was not shy about letting her, and anyone else, know of his vial intents and desires. It was rather embarrassing yet extremely funny to witness. There are many more stories similar to that in the book.
MM: Do you write other genres as well, or ever thought about writing fiction?
I have not written any other genres as of now. I want to write about my unique childhood and those challenges. If I do, it will be from a fictional character’s point of view. I am open to exploring most any type of writing except science fiction. I could not write for that genre since I would need to know the jargon and I would not feel authentic enough to step into that realm without prior knowledge and background.
MM: What is the book you most want to write that you haven't started yet?
I have not written out Construction Tales: Volume II yet. I really want to find time to get started on that book. I have many more funny stories to tell and I would love to get them down on paper. I have a fear of waking up one day and not remembering those stories any more.
MM: Using the letters in the word SUMMER, describe your book.
Strength, Undermine, Mighty, Musclebound, Enduring, Real
MM: How would friends and family describe you?
My friends and family would describe me as strong, determined, and not afraid of many things. I think they would say that despite my strong energy and drive, I am a good person who is honest and full of positive energy. I am fun and can be considered the life of the party. They would say that I am a good mother who takes care of my child and handles their needs before my own. It’s a fair guess to say that they all like me too!
MM: What message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
It is my desire to let the readers know that my story is not coming from a victim but a victor. I entered the industry on my own free will. I had absolutely no idea the extreme level of challenges that I would face when I became an apprentice. That was mostly due to my young age and lack of street smarts. I love my job and I can now say that I am good at what I do. I had encountered many skilled craftsmen who taught me my trade. If I leave the trade, it would be due to new ventures and opportunities. I would never get pushed out or quite my trade. The book was intended to illustrate a journey while showing what it is like to work with my crazy co-workers on a daily basis. Despite being crazy, my co-workers are good people and lots of fun!
MM: What can we expect in the future from Leslie M. Jasper?
I plan to find time to write Construction Tales: Volume II this winter. I have already started brainstorming on what I want to write. There are more funny stories to tell. I will cover my newly minted journeywoman experience that I will pick up after the last story from Volume I. I talk about being pregnant in construction. I also talk about my stint working in jail and the interaction with inmates. I also intend to get a collection of stories from a group of old timers (from all construction trades) from the business who want to get their stories on paper.
About The Book
Genre: Self Improvement
Publisher: Self-Published at CreateSpace
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Strap on your work boots and put on your hard hat. Let me take you on a sheetrock dusted journey tosee what it is like to work within the construction industry. The work is hard, the environment is unforgiving, and the jobsite can be either extremely hot or cold. Almost 17 years ago, I stepped foot into a male-dominated work environment. Despite the lack of a warm embrace, I pushed my way into this world to learn the trade. I showed my many mentors that I wanted to be here and was ready to learn and work. After some grit and sweat, I worked my way out of my apprenticeship to become a journeywoman electrician. I earned a great working reputation within my trade and some aches and pains along the way. I work with guys from all backgrounds and all walks of life; and a few females that share my goal to be called journeywomen. Construction workers do not care that you do not feel up to the challenge that day. You must suck it up and get the job done! You will witness what it is like on a weekly basis to work within my industry. Every story in this book is real. The names of my co-workers have been changed to protect the innocent….or the guilty! I must warn you that this book is not for the faint of heart!
Chapter 3- The Big Job
Construction Tales: Volume I: A Woman’s Journey To Become An Electrician
I was sent to work on a brand new job coming out of the ground in Connecticut. This job would provide massive amounts of overtime and help my living situation tremendously. I learned real quickly that the pace on this job was very different from my last job. It was more of a laid back, easy-going work environment. I would have never guessed that I was about to meet a whole group of characters on this very large job.
I set foot on the largest construction job I had ever witnessed at this point in my apprenticeship. By this moment in time, the country was coming out of a recession and this massive deck job was going to catapult many trades’ people into a good financial position. My first day was in a giant room that was in the process of becoming the data center for a very large trading floor. As an apprentice, my first three hours of the day were all about getting coffee for a third of the crew of roughly 100 electricians. There were no elevators so two other apprentices and I had to walk up a minimum of six (up to thirteen) flights of stairs and provide coffee for the group of hungry and hung-over electricians each day.
The coffee trek was a half-mile walk to the deli each morning. I placed my order and sat there with the other apprentices until the order was ready. I had to make sure I had proper change for each person who ordered and double-checked all orders for accuracy. Coffee was the most important part of the day and screwing up the order could ruin the entire day. This was especially true when we went into overtime. If you got the coffee order wrong, plenty of these guys would react like spoiled children and have an actual temper tantrum. I started to get to know two fellow apprentices, Ryan and Todd, very well while getting our daily orders of coffee. I will never forget my friendship with these two fellow apprentices.
Ryan was a tall, dark-haired, and very hairy guy from a community normally filled with rich and upper-class folk. Ryan often reeked of body odor, cigarette smoke, or booze from the night before. He was and probably still is clearly a fish out of water in his community, yet he fit right in on a construction site. Ryan played in a band. He was very rough around the edges, with plenty of piercings all over his face. Ryan came in to work on a regular basis hung-over, often stinking as if a keg of beer had been splashed all over him.