THE LADY WORE A HARD HAT by Ellen Ford

THE LADY WORE A HARD HAT

Building Medical Facilities
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A short debut memoir detailing the career of the first woman to become a project manager for a large construction management company.

In this autobiography, Ford presents a guide of sorts for women interested in working their way up in industries traditionally reserved for men. She graduated from college in 1959, spent a year teaching art before marrying; after having two kids, she taught for another 16 years during 18 years of marriage. And then, rather suddenly, she found herself divorced with two children. Determined to move forward with her life, she went back to school to study for a degree in construction management. She began her new career with two major obstacles before her: she was in her 40s, and she was a woman in a male-dominated field. She later learned after obtaining her first job—working on a large construction project for Disney World in Florida—that despite having graduated in the top 10 percent of her class of 76 students, she was the seventh from last to find employment, and the lowest paid. Time, tenacity, and a willingness to frequently relocate finally brought her the coveted title of project manager for the construction of a medical office facility. Ford’s third-person narrative offers an intriguing insider’s peek into the construction industry, and it should offer inspiration for women in similar situations. But the presentation is seriously flattened by her preference for generic terms; for example, she says that she went east to visit her children in the “Big City,” and that she attended an unidentified “Big Ten University.” Even her significant other is referred to as simply “Professor” (he was teaching at the unnamed university when they met): “Professor purchased a house in the warm state. She would not be far from him. He was not well. And she was anxious.” Although the book is enlivened by amusing and pointed job-related anecdotes, it feels more like a resume than a memoir, overall.

An impressive journey, summarized a bit too dispassionately.

ISBN: 978-1-5471-9410-0
Page count: 115pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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