I wanted to do a blog and have a chat with Leanne with a number of reasons.
A safety professional will likely have a similar view on the world and how we conduct ourselves, but Leanne is a hard working miner who has been generous in sitting down and giving us some of her insights. I hope you all can take as much out of it as I did and continue to improve our skills as safety professionals!
Thanks Leanne for being so open, honest and frank. Here is our chat below.
Leanne, you are proud to be a woman working hard in a male dominated industry, paving the way and helping newcomers - what tips can you give others who might be starting out in male dominant industries?
Stay true to yourself and your core values. It’s important to be and act in a way that suits you and your style.
Don’t take everything personally. There will be a lot of joking and stirring on crew. It helps us get through long hours and hanging out with the same bunch of people day in day out. There are lines of course that are not to be crossed but have a little fun on your journey.
Not everyone will like you and that’s ok. I go by the 80/20 rule. 80 percent will love me, and 20 percent will think I’m a freak. When I come across someone being a bit nasty or rude, I smile internally and say…” hah! 20 percenter” and walk away. That changed my whole outlook when changing sites, new crews and finally coming out as my brand-Mad Mumzie.
Be gentle on yourself. We can be our own worse enemies!
Stay a lady as my Mum said. Can still do your work without having to be just like the men. We are after all women, so own that in a way appropriate to your worksite. I am not a makeup kind of girl, but some still put a face on to sweat off during the day. Others can go over the top and wear way too much perfume etc. We all need to be able to breathe, including us chicks.
You think women gossip, wait until you start working with the blokes. Try to stay out of it when you can.
Always be learning and growing. We will never know it all, anyone. Stay open to suggestions and ways to tweak what you are doing even when you are an old timer in the industry.
Let it out. If you are feeling a tad emotional (my biggest struggle) go to the loo and have a good cry, then wash your face and laugh at yourself. I take a big deep breath and say “hashtag-I got this. ATTAGIRL!” My sister Drewie-aka Hard Hat Mentor coached me to do this. She is a much stronger personality than me.
Find a couple of special peeps on crew, at camp or in your home world that you can unload on. We all need a shoulder at times. If it’s a bloke beware he will probably try to fix the situation, the problem or you. Usually we just need to be heard.
“I had a crappy day, I made a mistake, they were mean, why me? I can’t do it. He’s a ****head, she’s a b*tch” … on and on it can go some days.
We can also be someone else’s shoulder, but don’t take all their stuff on board too much and create more drama for your life. Offer some thoughts but mostly an ear. If they are having serious issues beyond what you can help with, try to point them in the right direction, such as your workplace EAP or even beyond blue and lifeline etc. If you’re not sure do a little research and get back to them, then follow up.
“How did you go mate?” I learned this mostly from my podcast interview with Brendan Maher the CEO of RuOk? If you want free therapy, advice and coaching-start a podcast!
If you don’t have a special person at first, journal it. Sitting in your pjs, beer in hand writing the crap that went down that day helps you see it probably wasn’t that bad. It also gives you a way to look back in future years and see how far you have come. I would not have believed you when I was struggling if you shared my work life right now.
So, get it out of your head and your heart. Every time you go to sleep and wake up again it’s a reset button. All momentum has stopped. You can see things with fresh eyes, after a coffee or two, and face it all again.
Reward yourself when you do overcome a large hurdle. It could be with people but also as you begin to learn more machines, systems, and levels in whatever your profession is. Celebrate the little, and especially the big wins! It could be with an ATTAGIRL! Or a nice dinner, holiday or like me that software you’ve always wanted
Enjoy the journey, the people you will meet but mostly the person you have become along the way.
Leanne, tell us more about Mad Mumzie and what you do?
I have been an Operator in the mines for 15 years. Massive trucks, water carts, loaders and graders.
At first working on a crew of 60 men and 2 women was challenging and I struggled to comprehend how to drive a truck. Finally, it began to click, and chose to continue my mining career.
As a Nanna heading towards retirement, I started to speak of my experiences, why I chose to keep going and strategies for others who may also find it challenging. “Mad Mumzie” the brand was born.
A blog led to writing for Shift Miner magazine and starting a podcast called “Beers with A Miner.” Sharing stories, tips and strategies to help everyone thrive and survive in mining, or discover mining is not for them after all.
I also create online courses for people, including myself, using the teachable platform. As a lover of all things technology, internet business and online marketing I do what I can in between working a 7/7 roster-13-hour shifts.
Wow, very cool. Now, Leanne, you are a great advocate for FIFO/DIDO/BIBO balance, what do you think Safety Professionals can do to support our FIFO etc workers more?
Get to know who the workers are, what they do and why. Then you will understand their culture, what makes them tick and why they make the choices they do, or don’t do.
Be seen in the field more often, but not to catch us doing something wrong or roll out a new procedure. Please make presentations more fun and interactive. Not death by PowerPoint! Be around and open, out of the office and talk to us…and listen.
For newbies to the industry the onboarding process really needs addressing. Helping the worker and their families know what to expect, strategies to stay in touch, what to bring with you, is there internet service, how can I get home if needed, is there a gym and much more. Not everyone can cope with living a small donga for weeks on end, so show them what to expect before they start.
Thank you so much Leanne, I think I connect with this because we so often hear from other safety professionals but it is great to hear from 'the coal face' and how you are overcoming battles in your own journey. I love the idea of writing in a journal over a cold beverage and letting it go!