Diane Gimenez, Utility Laborer, King County Metro
How did you get your start in utilities? I started with Metro back in June 1995. When I started I was a maintenance worker, and then I moved to become a utility laborer in 1998.
I took the job because it looked like it would be challenging. You were outdoors and I liked working outside. Then in 1998 I put in an application to get my CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). It was a good opportunity to move up and get another position within the County.
Do you bring a different perspective to your work? Yes. You can work together to eliminate problems, and if people don’t know how to do that, then you just have to show them. I’ve seen this with other women in the workforce who worked alongside me and led me in the right direction. This gave me a lot of incentive to do my job well.
Do people treat you differently because you are a woman? Actually, they will give you the respect you deserve if you have the endurance and you’re a hard worker. You have to overlook all of the negative things and know that hard work is going to pay off in the end.
I’ve had supervisors who say thank you for doing a great job. Getting that little pat on the back gives you more incentive to work hard.
I’ve also met people who say things about me being a woman, but that’s pretty much meant to be expected in any job or classification. I just have to keep pushing and show them I can do it, telling myself ‘Yes, I can do it.’
Do you have advice for young women considering a career in utilities? You have to work smart and don’t hurt yourself. You want to do your job and accomplish what you came out here to do, and if you have to ask for assistance, then yes do it. In our job description we have to be able to lift up to 50 pounds, but there are ways to work smart and break down the load.
You can get along with everybody out at Metro. We all try to work together since we’re ‘Metroids.’ That’s a little nickname we have for all of us here in Metro.
If you could go back in time, what do you wish you would have done? Actually I don’t know if I would have done anything different. I enjoy my job, I really like my job. I’ve had a few surgeries and I’ve always wanted to go back to my position. If I can go back then that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m proud of myself. I’m proud to be a ‘Metroid’ and to do this work. I’ve done it, I’m still doing it and I’ll keep doing it.