On the first day of a new crew, we were laying out cable. When it came to putting down the first stick of 4/0, my seasoned coworkers promptly came to my side, gave me a mini lecture about how I should never pick up a coil of that stuff on my own (a rule a whole-heartedly agree with) and we continued our work by double-teaming the cable each time a coil needed to by lifted.
A couple days later, the job ended and I never heard from the Best Boy again. After running into a former colleague, I heard that the reason I never get called to work with that particular crew is because the Best Boy didn't think I could "handle the work." (Read: "I wasn't able to lift a coil of 4/0 by myself.")
Sometime later, I'm on another crew. We're counting in the cable. We get to the 4/0 and I ask my partner, who's been in this business for a long time, if we could two-man the hundred pound coils. He gives me a look and says he'll just do it himself. It's just easier that way. So I sit back, let him do his thing, and eventually, I'm assigned to other, non-cable related tasks.
Sometime after that, I find myself on another new crew peppered with seasoned veterans of the business. One of the "old timers" and I start chatting while we wait for the next shot and we land on the topic of putting in a cable rig. The first thing he says to me about it? "Don't you EVER pick up a stick of 4/0 by yourself." Again, I wholeheartedly agree.
But inside, I'm thinking, "If only it were that simple..."
It's one of those things where I feel like I'm in a no-win situation. If I lift it by myself, I fuck up my body and possibly my future in the biz. If I don't, I lose out on work. And while no job is worth the damage you could to do yourself, I also have a reputation on the line. Best Boys don't go around saying, "I never saw her lift a hundred feet coil of 4/0 by herself. She always had a second hand on it." Instead, they go around saying stuff like, "She couldn't handle the work load" or "She always needed help." That's a big difference.
And even if I'm on a crew where my colleagues are telling me that we should never handle the stuff by ourselves, that view may not necessarily be shared by our boss and vise-versa.
I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.