Pink work boots give Crane Driver Jessica a real lift
- Jessica joined her family’s business, becoming a Crane Operator, despite some people doubting her
- She says she loves the feeling of freedom that driving her mobile tower crane to jobs all over the Netherlands gives her
- Jessica loves the colour pink, so Steel Blue’s pink boots were an easy choice for her
Jessica Bruintjes is aware she’s not the picture most people have in their head when they imagine a Crane Operator. Even her parents didn’t quite believe it when she told them she wanted to be a driver for the family crane business, based in the Netherlands.
“I woke up one day and said, ‘Mum, I want to work at your company’, and she was like, ‘but I don’t need anyone at the office’,” Jessica said. “I said, ‘No, no, I want to drive. I want to be a crane operator’. My father laughed a lot because I’m a girly girl; I love make-up and nice clothes. It was a rainy day and it was cold outside. My father said, ‘let her come join for a month; she’ll be over it in no time’.”
Far from being over it in no time, Jessica not only loved the job but went on to sit her Crane Driver exams and get her licence. She now spends her days travelling from worksite to worksite, lifting all kinds of loads with her mobile tower crane.
“I just love the freedom,” she said. “And it’s so cool to drive and work with such big machinery.”
Jessica is a testament to the idea that for young people to be interested in pursuing a career, they need to know that the career exists in the first place. The family photo albums are filled with photos of Jessica as a baby and as a little girl, in the family’s various cranes.
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“I think if I didn’t grow up in it, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to become a Crane Driver, because there aren’t many females on construction sites in the Netherlands,” she said. “It’s a hard world to get into.”
It can sometimes also be a hard world for women to be accepted into.
“I had one man refuse to work with me,” she said.
How’d she handle it?
“I told him if he wanted to get his stuff on the roof, he had better work with me, because I wanted to leave. I said if you want to lift it yourself, good luck. After that he said, ‘okay, okay’.
“But most people are nice and respectful, so I can’t complain.”
Crane driving is, in truth, an extremely skilled job.
“One of the scariest lifts I ever had, I was standing with my crane between two high buildings and it was all glass, and I had to navigate the objects through the window,” Jessica said. “It was a very windy day. By the end I felt like a cat who’d just lost a couple of her nine lives. Everything was okay, but it was scary.”
Why Jessica chooses to wear Steel Blue work boots
Jessica shares her life and her lifts on her Instagram account, which is how she connected with Steel Blue.
“They saw me on social media and they know I love the colour pink, so they contacted me and asked if I wanted to try their pink boots,” Jessica said. “I’ve been wearing them ever since and I’ve convinced all my colleagues to get them. So, now they’re all wearing them, too. Although not the pink ones, they wear the black or the sand ones.
“They’re just so comfortable. I have a job where you have to be on your feet all day. A lot of work shoes hurt; they’re heavy and at the end of the day your feet feel broken. But not with Steel Blue.”