Episode #6: Tiny Yet Fierce
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We're bringing you stories about people finding their professional stride by virtue of who they know whether it's breathing new life into an age old profession, taking the reins in a family business. Forging your own path with the new idea or landing. The perfect job doing something you'd never before even considered today for on the job producer. Otas gray travels to Southampton, Massachusetts to interview Anna Nadler, Anna is a rambunctious young woman working not one but two jobs that by looking at her, you might not see you're doing she's five foot two. She's bubbly and on most days is vastly outnumbered by male co workers, while her job choices might seem at first glance nontraditional, she's in no way out of place in either years otas. Anna, Nadler's twenty-seven. She's a civil engineer living in south Hampton mass and right now it's the middle of the night. She's gonna have to wake up at six AM. She and her crew have a big job, replacing a bridge, a couple towns over somewhere around two thirty A M. She hears this come out of a radio that she has charging on her kitchen table. That's the fire department. The code is for a structure fire, big one. So Anna leaps out of bed, and she responds. Seconds later, she is dressed and running to the car. Just got out as structure fire ATV stamped running out the door now. Right now. It's February snow on the ground. Lots of ice is about fifteen degrees outside. It's going to be a full blood. I see my car. Now is actually three you get these calls in your heart is racing because you're so amped up structure fires. Do not come around every day. But. For the last two years. Anna has been an on call firefighter here in Southampton is not your typical firefighter or typical person, you'd see on a roadside construction crew. She short, he's about five to g actually describes herself as fun size, regardless. She says she's usually the first of the station when there's a call. They need to get up. Go to the bathroom. It sounds terrible to save an of super excited because I love. Fighting fires like it's just I'm so passionate about it, but it's terrible the same time because means someone's property is on fire. Barn. You don't know. But that's unfair. So. More about to see what it actually. But. I am here. Update. So today, we follow Anna Nadler, as she juggles her life as an engineer or love for running into burning buildings and being an unexpected person to do both. Update for you. Now house fire in east Hampton that we told you about on twenty two news this morning. Mccord ING to east Hampton far chief, David mater. Everyone made it out safely. Three firefighters though, had minor injuries. One had to be taken to the hospital with neck and shoulder injuries after part of the home ceiling collapsed on top of what you're hearing now is from a local news report on the fire the end just responded to and before you get worried. She did not get hurt. Everyone was okay. One of the other firefighters she knew at the scene was transported to the hospital was totally okay shortly after it was an old home that caught fire quick, and it was inside fighting the fire, and then on the roof ripping off siding, so that the fired in spread I asked her when she was a kid if she ever imagined her future self on top of smoldering building at three in the morning. Oh, god. No, I, I don't know how I got here. I don't when I was a little girl, there are two things I wanted to do in my life. I wanted to paint houses with polka dots. I painted houses in the summers, and I loved it like I think paintings, really relaxing. Never got to do the polka dots. But, you know, I got past that, but definitely not what I wanna do forty hours a week. And I wanted to be a firefighter. She's a started when she was really young. She had a deep infatuation with fire trucks. I remember whenever you can ask my mother about this or my siblings, whenever I heard sirens. I sprinted to the window to watch like prayed that they would go by on our street. I loved fire trucks, and I didn't really necessarily see me putting on Garin go call, but just on the always really curious about as far as gear goes, and is proud to say that she has the smallest boots ever worn at the station and is always smiling. She's got pale. Blue eyes dark hair, and she's always been little and growing up. That was a big part of right entity especially at the Catholic school. She went to southern Vermont. I remember being picked on because I was little a lot like girls were pissed that I could fit into smaller sized clothes, and I'm like listen. I think kids size like I'm not even in the teen section yet. So you really shouldn't be picking on me. Gio. Oh, very plainly describes her younger self as a nerd glasses braces. And I definitely had some ugly banks for a while. So definitely a nerd, I was very, very quiet. So I just was kind of hiding in the corner didn't know what to do. I was a hot ticket. And now I wear a hard hat. Just like she couldn't really imagine being an actual firefighter when she was young. He really never saw herself in a hard hat with command over construction sites repairing roads and demolishing bridges. I honestly kind of accidental made my way into engineering because Mr. Hodgkin's from high school shout out to him. He convinced me to take AP physics. And I'm like, I know a little bit about physics, but like I don't know. I took it and I like we'll waive my nerd flag hardcore right now. I'm I was fascinated that I could throw a ball in the air and figure out like when it was going to come down and wear that was so cool to me. When she got to college at the university of Vermont and adviser saw her love for physics and convinced her to go into engineering. She was really drawn to civil engineering, especially the transportation aspect. So she did a rotating fellowship down here in Southampton to try all the different jobs at the field entails. You know it was I was stuck behind desk. A lot of it, and then finally construction came along and I was on interstate ninety one and I was like just in love. It was amazing. I loved going into work. I love seeing the job. I love watching it progress. So when that rotation finished she chose to go into the construction side of engineering fulltime, and she moved here to Southampton. The day I was with her. She brought me over to current project. She's wearing a hard hat a white one, which is generally the color that engineers where he's got a neon vest on her walking on aging bridge, that they're preparing to demolish so that they can put in new one. Out the old with the new. It was the first time that I really thought about everything that goes into a job like that diverting traffic alone for months on end seems like a Dongting task and it's just one of many. We gotta do the gas main move that we're gonna start demoing, the bridge itself them will rebuild that portion of the bridge, flip-flop demo, the other half rebuild that house on the bridge itself will be complete going from trees that needed to be cleared. They're going to have to redo all the roads around the bridges completely reach quality standards. They have to totally new traffic signals. And both intersections the list goes on and on everything on this job. I think a lot of people get frustrated seeing those big orange signs that say construction zone ahead. I means delays where you need to go or you just go by not thinking much at all about what they're doing. They're Anna is fine with that. He's actually got a pretty romantic view on what she does. It's infectious. Say construction jobs, kind of like a baby not that I have kids, but I, I would imagine and it's like you just see it and you see it from the beginning before it's even thing you see what is just paper and you want to grow up to be a big beautiful job. So, you know, then when it's done you're like you drive by no one else thinks about it, you know, if it saves five minutes off their trip a day, like that's awesome. And you can look at and be like, yeah, it was a part of that. That's my baby. That's my baby, while we're talking Anna is the only woman on the job site. I guess the guys there are your stereotypical construction workers men probably between twenty and fifty years old everyone. She talks to hear clearly has a deep respect for her. But who she is, is something that she has to deal with, as she meets new people all the time for this job, people that don't know me often think that I'm here as an intern or people will ask, if I'm at work with my father, I get that a lot just because I guess I look young. But to me, it's just going to work like everyone else does I go to work, and I do my job. What does it matter what I look like if I'm a girl or a boy, you get someone? Like an-and here. Kind of changes that stereo, typical idea you have of an engineer. This is an is boss. Jim Hoy on the assistant construction engineer for district to Jim says of people under estimator it really doesn't last long. She's one of the more knowledgeable people. He's worked with, and she's contagious happy in the workplace. Yeah. She, she definitely livens up your day, stealing it from the old orange juice commercial, you know, at a day without Anna's like day without sunshine. You know, he says he was originally worried that she would be too nice and would have trouble holding contractors to their agreements, which is a big part of the job. But he found out pretty quick. His no problem laying down the law. Definitely. She doesn't know way that you don't even know. She's getting what she wants. Walking back to the car, and someone Anna knows noses yelling to her from the other side of the job site. It's a local police sergeant who looks over the construction crews around here. He and Anna worked together a lot. I asked them to tell me what he thought of Anna tough Cobb smart, and she'll call you out when you're not doing your job. That's Anna's ever call you out now. I'm always doing my job. Good have enough good things to say about her. And then he said that she just made him a nice cap. Maybe a nice thin. Blue line of police cap. She knitted knitted. Yeah, she knits still. To. He's an engineer. She nets. She's a firefighter. She does it all. What else what else can you ask for in a woman? One day in two thousand seventeen and it was parking her car for work at the fire department which was closed by the job site. She was working the fire captain was there. They started talking, and he offered her a tour of the station. He said that they were always looking for volunteers people to train to respond to local fires whenever they could I felt that application out bride. The next day, I remember calling my sister, freaking healthy, like, oh my God, Meghan, you'll never guess it just happened like screaming, I was so excited, and she's like that's like the lease surprising thing you could have done. Get back to the story in the second. I a word from express employment professionals. A strong work ethic takes pride in a job well done sweat. So the details this is you. But to get an honest day's work, you need a response, you need to call back you need. I've job express employment professionals can help because we understand what it takes to get a job. It takes more than just online searches to land job. It takes someone who will identify your talents a person invested in your success at express. We can even complete your application with you over the phone will prepare you for interviews, and we'll connect you to the right company, plus we'll never charge feed. Find you jump at express we could put you to work with companies of all sizes and industries from the production floor to the front office express nose jobs. Get to know express. Find your location at expresspros dot com or on the express jobs. And now back to our story. Two years after joining the fire department and irregularly response to calls. Turn out bands, but on suspenders Boko clip. Jacket zip. Flap at the top helmet. Run to the truck and go. In case it's not clear here. That's an driving the fire truck. It's one of her favourite part of the job. The people she grew up with are pretty surprised when they hear that she can drive one even mom can't get used to it. When Anna's visiting back home. My mom to a doctor's appointment. I was backing into a parking spot a parking garage. And my mom is being a typical modern. He's like, watch yourself. Like sure you have enough space. I'm like, mom. I drive a frequent fire truck. I think I can back into a parking space with your little sedan. She's about as a bad ass. No doubt about it. That's Anna's captain, Patrick Eli, he's the guy who I gave Anna the application in the parking lot and is trained innocence the starry, and she has been just awesome part of this fire department, and she's very much involved with all aspects. She has proven herself on multiple different occasions to be dependable if somebody was down, she do everything she could get you out, and she wouldn't leave you. So she's very dependable, and I find extremely tough with a with a gentle undertone. This is the way I see her. So Pat is not the only one just like inner construction work. Whoever knows Anna and Caesar and action has a deep respect for no matter who she is. Or what she looks like, you know, the thing is, when you put a mask on your face, and you put your helmet on, you're just like the next guy and no one's going to differentiate between that as long as you're doing the job. There is no differentiation. I mean you can't tell who's, who's most of the time when you hear fully geared up with the air pack on and gloves and helmet. I mean, unless you're especially in a smokey environment, and you're just hoping that person behind he knows her job. I definitely stand out because they're like, wow, that's a really little guy like Harris one fire where they took a picture of group of us. And I'm like, oh my God. Like child, you know, there's that, but then I fin really small spaces. So like there's pros to it. In the last two years and has responded to somewhere between one hundred fifty and two hundred calls. And when she talks about all this. She gets this really intense slightly maniacal. Look in her eyes, I want to do I need to do it. I asked her if she remembers the first time she responded to a fire call on my God. I was so excited. That sounds terrible. I mean I was just like the adrenaline is unbelievable. Most of the fires the bigger structure fires. I've had are middle of the night, so you're passed out and you just hear the tone. You wake up and you hear structure fire you here. You hear that? And you go from like sleepy too. One hundred percent awake and your heart is racing. So you're just trying to everything the other get out the door. Get there to get your entered it go. I fire it was a big one in a smaller town. It was a house on top of a hill. I remember looking up on the hill, and you just saw the light from the fire, so you just saw bring you saw some smoke, but it was just this glow. Really? So it was like, oh my God. And just kind of like almost speechless. Awestruck. You watch it grow and you see it, and it's almost pretty away, and then you're like it's not though, because it's destroying someone's property, but you can see out, you can lose something so quickly. You don't want those calls, but also like that's what you do. It's like an adrenaline rush to get them because you know it's going to be chaos. It's going to be a really intense situation. But it's also heartbreaking, because you see somebody that's losing everything. That house was total burned to the ground pretty much. Someone calls nine one one. They're having the worst day of their lives. Nobody calls nine one one because we're having a good day fire captain, Patrick ally. Again, who's in charge of training recruits, like Anna for moments like that. And the one thing I tell new people, it's not your emergency. It's their emergency. You're the person responsible for making a difference for that person's day. That's why we do training on such a regular basis, so that we're all on same page about things. But the reason is that you're extremely proficient, because you only have seconds to make a difference. A lot of work environments are collaborative. But as far as the billion jobs go. This is one where you depend on the person next to you. I revival. Absolutely. You have to trust these people. It's life and death. So they are your family, and we're really lucky to have each other. They welcome you in and they include you, everything. And again, I think you just see things that most people don't see. So you have that unique bond built in that you don't share with everybody. Regardless of volunteering to run into a burning building being firefighter has nothing to do with having a death wish. No, firefighter will tell you that it does. But you're close to death. It's job where you have to look at right in the face. In order to be good. At what you do. Anna knows that. And despite her job. She says she really doesn't think about it. That much. The thing is Yama choice. You're gonna go when you go, I think there's some sort of plan or whatever. So I mean five to go in. It's doing what I love. Like, what Mark can I ask for? You'll ever stop fighting fires gotta help not imagine you as like a little old granny, and full gear running into a fire. That would be so awesome. I think as far as jobs go. There's a lot of stereotypes about who works different jobs or who's allowed to, we have subconscious images in our heads of what a plumber looks like what a secretary looks like what a politician looks like an analogy is just one of the many people who can remind us that those stereotypes are nonsense. The only thing they do is prevent people from picturing themselves in the jobs that they truly want to do and should be doing. There are a lot of people on the way that tell you can't do things just go right through it. You gotta you gotta keep going. Whether she's wearing a hard hat at a bridge demolition, or behind the wheel of fire truck, an-and Adler, might not be who you expect to see doing that job. But she is exactly the person that you want doing them, not everybody wants to run into a burning building. So if I have that desire to do that, and help out, people if I can how could I not act on that? Not many people want to because you sound like you're not if you do. So if I have that urge in that drive to do that. How could I not do that kind of responsibility? Yeah. I feel obligated to, again, I willing to do it. So how could I not? I mean do you want to run into a burning building? I'm curious. But if I was in front of I don't know. Only one way to find out. For on the job from a comfy chair in a room. That's not on fire. I'm Otis gray. Thanks for listening to the job brought to you by express employment professionals. Find out more at expresspros dot com. This season of on the job is produced by audio Asian and red seat ventures. Our executive producer is sandy, small Ines. Our producer is owed his gray the show is mixed by Matt, noble at the loft in bronxville, New York. Find us on iheartradio and apple podcasts if you liked what you heard, please consider rating, or reviewing the show on apple podcasts or wherever you listen will see an time for more inspiring stories about discovering your life's work.