Most plumbers you know are middle-aged men, am I right? Well, you’re about to hear from a young woman who’s transforming the skilled trades industry, making it a space for people of all ages and genders to find success and fulfillment.
Tune in to this episode of Learnings and Missteps to learn from Paige Knowles, aka Plumber Paige, a 20-year-old construction management student, business owner, skilled trades advocate, public speaker, social media influencer, and author.
From a trade-curious daughter of real estate investors to a plumbing and heating student in high school, Paige is now an established entrepreneur and creator who’s empowering youth across the country to be the next generation of skilled trade professionals. Listen up as she shares the incredibly eye-opening challenges, opportunities, learnings and missteps she’s encountered along the way and what she hopes to achieve in the future.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
· Social media tips for growing your following.
· Advice on working with aggressive/abrasive men as a woman in the trades.
· How can we improve mental health and wellness in construction workers?
· Is passion real or ridiculous?
· How do you find fulfillment in the trades?
Paige has a very important Learning and Misstep: Standing up for yourself and finding your voice is hard, but SO necessary and worth it.
This episode’s show notes were written by Kayla MacEachern
To connect, email her firstname.lastname@example.org
Engage with a community of Industry Professionals focused on expanding their leadership skills: https://www.depthbuilder.com/emotional-bungee-jumpers
Get yourself a sample of the Lean & Love Reflection Guide with journal prompts that help you focus on your most important relationships: https://www.depthbuilder.com/reflection-guide
Check out my NEW book, Lean & Love – 5S Love Letters: A #NoBS Look Into How Your Relationships Create #RipplesOfImpact at https://www.depthbuilder.com/5s
For all other links and resources, check out my Bio Link: http://depthbuilder.bio.link
Connect with Paige:
Visit her website: https://www.plumberpaige.com
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/plumber_paige
Follow her on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@plumber_paige
Subscribe to her YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9IJ5SnTgY_MIEZJgvTbE9A
Connect with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paige-knowles-36970a1b1
Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008302020811
3M ‘Skilled’ documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5qo-lOEKKg
Kickass Careers Canada: https://www.kickasscareers.ca
Let’s Build Construction Camp for Girls: https://www.letsbuildcamp.com
Watch the episode with Louise Azzopardi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUObsPSHGyc
Welcome back to the second part of my conversation with Ms. Plumber page Knowles and yup. You heard it second part. That means there is a first part. So go back and check that one out after you finished this one. this one, there's a few, few highlights as she talks about her significant learning and painful misstep. was learning how to stand up for herself. And she was super honest and vulnerable and sharing it the first time. Maybe wasn't as excellent as she would've liked it. touch on mental health in the state, or maybe, personalities of a lot of folks out there in the industry. ends up leading to a thought about having yogis on the job site, which sounds like fun, except I don't think I'm as flexible as I used to be. then towards the end, she has a pretty special request. She is a Disney fanatic, her and her family. Uh, but there's a pretty unique request she's gotten, um, I'm feeling like the LnM Family. One of y'all might be able to hook her up. So And you might notice that my voice is a little tired, a little strained. Uh, and that's because I'm in the process of recording the audio version of my second first book. But coming the promise you're intended to be. It is an emotional roller coaster for me to go over. It's a little strained. I'm almost done. I got a few more stories to read and as And just give you all a heads up June 23rd. That's the big day, the audio book, the paper book. All of the book is going to be available. I'm looking forward to sharing my story with all of you. And let's go, let's hear some more plumber page NOLs.jesse:
So you went into the technical school because you saw yourself like it was a skill that you were gonna need to help. Maintain property or the house you were gonna live in or investments et cetera. It sounded like it wasn't a career choice, it was more of an interest choice. Yeah. Okay. back then what did you see yourself doing as a career? What is it that you had in your mind at that time?Paige:
That's a good question. I think. At that time, I was really just, whatever happens, I felt like I had to go to college because that was the right path, because that's what's been pushed down my throat, when I was younger, I thought I would own a bakery, so I was always like the entrepreneurial spirit, like I would be in charge, but I didn't really know what, so I just had some interests.jesse:
Okay. But so the entrepreneurial thing was there? Seems like it's continued to carry through. Yeah, for sure. Good for you. Now, do you have any social media hacks that I can steal from you?Paige:
No, I think honestly, consistency is key. Hashtags help, but honestly I'm not doing great at that. The consistency part. I get so busy that maybe I should delegate my social media to someone else.jesse:
Girl is in like social media, almost like a second and third job.Paige:
Yeah. It's so much And what happens if the post isn't successful? I put so much time and energy and effort into that and nobody sees it.jesse:
Yes. And then the one that you just throw together, everybody jumpsPaige:
on. Yeah. Yeah. It's frustrating. I don't have good advice.jesse:
You know. Here's, Here's where my thinking is now, cuz for a period of time I was really focused on getting more followers and expanding my reach. But that left me feeling spent right? And like the stuff that I was saying was pushing the boundaries. Like of fake versus authentic, right? Yeah. And so I've made just a decision of hell with it. I'm not concerned about the quantity of followers, quantity, or the quantity of impressions what I'm most concerned with is the density. Of interaction. And so if I get a DM or a thoughtful comment and there's a little conversation in the thing, right? Or I see it shared a few times. That's a successful point.Paige:
That you're making an impact.jesse:
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. It's, and sometimes it's just one, one conversation with one person back and forth. That was a meaningfulPaige:
experience. Cause you made something happen. You made someone thinkjesse:
yep. here's an interesting thing since I said, okay I'm just gonna focus on this. My followers are going up. Awesome. Yeah. And the stuff that I put out there is so much easier to produce and of course there's don't fake and I don't feel fake. Yeah. Nice. Yeah. So that's where I'm at now. Now to, just as a reminder, That is not a advice to get a bunch of followers because I don't have a whole bunch of followers. But in terms of fulfillment and serving others, yeah.Paige:
It feels better. Serving your purpose. Making your impact. Yeah. You got it. You got it, girl. I feel it.jesse:
So awesome. Oh my goodness. Okay. So here's the tough question, and I bet you have a good one, or at least a few of them along your path of becoming a celebrity and being a young woman navigating high school, entering the trades, all the stuff that you're up to. What is a significant learning that you've had that resulted from like a stinky, painful misstep?Paige:
Standing up for myself was hard. So I was always super shy as a kid. And going to tech school, it was a big step of non-traditional, and I didn't need to fit in anybody's box, but I definitely felt very uncomfortable being out of the box, yeah. And I think that I didn't stand up for myself too much when people were being negative about me, like going to trade school or whatever. But I just like la, and I kept Caring about me, but then my first job, shadow, actually, I was put with this guy who is just very harsh and he's a great plumber. He owns his own company now. I really respect the guy. But being my first time out in the real world and seeing how it all worked, it was like, whoa, is this what I wanna get myself into? Because I wasn't used to working with. Like my dad, everybody has horror stories of like when they work with their dad and they get angry and like throwing over. Oh yeah. My dad was never like that. So it, that was my first experience working with someone where like the anger, got, heated and everything. Yeah. Yeah. That like really terrified me and I really did not enjoy the first couple of weeks or times that I was job shadowing with this guy because it felt really, Miserable and I was unhappy, but I did not stand up for myself. So I just took all the negativity instead of being like, Hey, I'm here to learn. Can you like explain it to me? Rather than just being frustrated that I don't know what like this is called or something, yes. So standing up for myself and really finding my voice was, A difficult thing to do, but really important. So I try to be that inspiration for other females and just young people in general to, find their voice and stand up for themselves because it's hard, but you have to do it so that you are happy or else you're just gonna be stuck in thisjesse:
so what did it feel like the first time? Did you set that boundary with him?Paige:
I did not set it to him. I went to the boss because I was too afraid to confront him. I went to the boss and I was like, maybe I could be assigned to someone else or something, because I'm just not enjoying myself, but I want to enjoy myself. And working with someone else made it a more enjoyable experience. And then I don't think there was any like negative blood or like energy between me and the guy that I used to job shadow with because the new guy helped me learn a little bit better and then I was more knowledgeable. And then when I did have to work with the first guy again it wasn't bad cuz I knew what I was doing and I just had a more positive learning experience. So I don't know, I don't think anything was like too negative. I just had to go to the boss so that I could be reassigned. It's different for everybody because looking back on it, I probably would've told like little me, just stand up for yourself. Talk to this guy directly. You don't need to like go above him and be like that. Yeah. But that's what I needed to do at the timejesse:
totally fair. So you probably know this already, but I had my dad was not the softest, rather. Learning with my dad and working with my dad does not mirror your experience. And so I can only imagine the shock of every time you worked with an adult. Male. Was like this learning experience and nurturing type thing. To then go work with somebody that's less than nurturing and Ooh, shocker. Cause working with Pops man, it was like, I'm like, I dunno where you need what's a basin ridge? Now to the other point, like my dad, Wasn't doing, and I think you were saying this right they don't do it to be malicious. Yeah. It's what they know. A friend of mine, Jason Schroeder says, you probably know Jason or come across some of his content, right? Yeah. He says, hurt people. Hurt people. Yeah. So there's some, the way a lot of folks came up through the trades was veryPaige:
abusive. Yeah. That's how I learned. So that's how you havejesse:
to learn. Yeah. And that's the norm. That's the only language they speak. So they don't mean to be abusive. But all they know is abusive. And then beautiful thing I heard you say was, Yes, you went to the boss. Looking back, the more appropriate thing would've been to go to him directly. But girl, let me tell you, I've been in the industry for 30 years now, and to date, people my age and older still can't have those direct conversations. They will still go around to the boss which can create problems, but. At the end of the day, like we need to advocate for ourselves. And that is okay. That is expected actually.Paige:
It's hard sometimes, but you gottajesse:
do it 100%. Good. You had the fun. And when I say fun, I'm really mean. Negative, painful, difficult experience. I feel likePaige:
as time went on, it did get better and it was a learning experience for the company because the company kept taking in new people and training others and younger people. So it was like, okay, let's reflect back on yeah. Just cause you were treated this way doesn't mean that you need to treat these people this way. Let's make it a more positive environment. Absolutely. So I have seen a lot of change too, and it was positive as Ijesse:
Yeah. That's the thing everybody's gonna learn, right? You had to learn how to deal with adults. They had to learn to deal with young students, like everybody's on the learning path. But you didn't quit. Why not?Paige:
I wanted to sometimes mama didn't raise a quitter. Oh yeah, mama, there we go. There were a lot of days where I went home and I cried on the couch and fell asleep and then my mom would wake me up, eat dinner, and I would go back to sleep cuz I was just so exhausted from the day's work and mentally drained too. There were a lot of negative days. But my family's very supportive. My teacher he was the most supportive guy ever. He would've walked through fire and whatever that saying is he would've done everything to make sure that I had the experience, like the positive experience and could pursue the plumbing industry if I wanted to. My support system helped me not quit. I know a lot of people aren't as lucky as me to have that. So we really need to encourage more people to be like that. And I hopefully will be support system for people when they want to quit. I'll be like, listen, I've been through it. You can get through it.jesse:
Yeah I think that's powerful because I'm sure you've heard some of the statistics of. How construction is number two I think, in terms of death by suicide for people that are in the industry. So mental wellness. Substance abuse, self-medicating, like all of these things are rampant in our industry and I know for me personally cuz I was caught up in all of it myself. And it's because I didn't have a support system. the traditional support system. And also my thinking was, Keep it to yourself. Suck it up. Figure it out. Make it up.Paige:
Yeah. When you're surrounded by people who tell you to do that, like that's what you're gonna tell yourselfjesse:
too. Yes. And it is not sustainable. And so today I have a phenomenal support system. Yeah. That I had to figure out how to go do and design. And surprisingly, it's not as horrible as I thought it was gonna be to tell people I need help. Yeah, and they're happy toPaige:
help. People don't wanna see you fail, right? They wanna see you fail when you're being miserable and negative towards them. We both deserve the happy ending then. Yes,jesse:
I'm really glad that mental health has been more of a conversation lately and being looked at more. I think especially within construction, we need to find more zen and so I have two younger sisters, the middle sister, she's studying yoga right now. And I'm like, yo, we need like yogis on construction sites. Like you take a break, stretch out, take a deep breath. That would be great, honestly.jesse:
so I'll say this, and it's not everywhere I've worked commercial construction my entire career. And I've been on some mega projects. And on the mega projects, I've been on a handful of them here in the last, let's just say five years or so where they had onsite. Wellness coaches. That's awesome. And like physical wellness, mental wellness. Like they were there, they were a resource. They had like competition, all kinds of stuff. And I'm telling you like there's this thing that happened where I feel like I'm in the twilight zone. Because I'm from the time, like I started plumbing back in the 19 hundreds page, right? Like in 1995 where like that sort of thing was like, what the hell are you talking about? Yeah. We got work to do, fool. Why are you doing all? And so to walk on jobs like this to where there's a wellness coach and what the, and then I'm like, wait a minute. This is amazing. That's good's. Yeah. We need that. So there's this thing in my head that's whoa. Am I training? Is this real? Do we need it? Yes, we do. But to your point, if we had more yogis, more zen opportunities to learn a different way, right? Learn a less what's the word? Just a funner way to do things cuz it doesn't have to be contentious. We have to fight and yell and scream all the time. Great.Paige:
Yeah, I feel like there's still a stigma that like you have to be like a grumpy oh yeah. I think you can play some music and dance around and get your work done just as great, youjesse:
okay. Man you've accomplished so much. And when I say accomplished, I wanna talk about, I'm rather speaking specifically about your. Depth of self-awareness. I feel like you're very self-aware. We know. Thank you you're welcome. Do you agree or do you feel like that's offPaige:
base? I try I feel like there's different levels of self-awareness and some people just say that they're like thinking about. They're trying to be self-aware, but it's to put them above other people. And I'm not trying to be like that, I'm just trying to be self-aware and find the best path and happiness forjesse:
everybody. And so the self-awareness that stands out to me, Paige is you are aware of your energy. And you're aware of your ability to serve and impact others. Yeah. And you're acting on it. You are actively doing something about that. Yeah. And that is phenomenal. Thank you. Of course. And so with that, you've already, contributed and you're sharing your gifts and talents with the world, which I think is the purpose of life is to share my gifts and talents with the world, right?Paige:
Like everybody asks about the dying conversation. My mission is just to make an impact. I don't care. Like as long as I made an impact on someone's lifejesse:
And so with that, thinking crazy, wild into the future what footprint do you intend to leave on this world? I.Paige:
And the stigma around the skilled trades and encourage more women to follow that path. Or just non-traditional in general, because there's so much stigma around tech schools in general and then getting into the tech schools, what industry you're allowed to get in based on your gender and whatever. No, just follow what you're passionate about, follow your strengths, learn what you're interested in. And I just want people to be happy and find their purpose and not get stuck in something that they're miserablejesse:
in. Oh my goodness. A hundred percent. So you couple things you said this passion idea, I've heard several thoughts in the world or in the omniverse about no. Passion is ridiculous.Paige:
Yeah. I have heard those conversations about how do you, what do you think about that? Passion it's just a word. Like maybe it's not the exact label that I'm trying to explain. It's just a word to describe how I'm feeling about it.jesse:
I think we're on the same wavelength here because for me it's this, it's sharing my gifts and talents with the world. Mm-hmm. When I share my gifts and talents with the world, I will build a body of work. That body of work gives me fulfillment. I wanna figure out how I can earn a living doing that full-time. If I can't figure out how to earn a living doing that full-time, I can't abandon it because right then I lose fulfillment.Paige:
I feel like so many people do just give up on what fulfills them because they need the money.jesse:
Oh I did it for, let's see, I'm 46. I did that for up until maybe my mid thirties. andPaige:
you don't even start like real life until 16 to 20 ish.jesse:
I feel like I start real life over and over again every three years or so. But yeah, I was caught up in this, earn a living, acquire all this stuff. And then it shifted to how can I serve others? Let me figure out how to do that while I was still earning a living. And little by little it's turned into do I live in my passion? Yes. Am I fulfilled? Yes. How do you go and earn fulfillment cuz it doesn't just happen.Paige:
I think I'm really doing what fulfills me at the moment. It might change in the future and I think that the trades gives people that like level of fulfillment, but too many people are scared of the stigmas or some they're scared of failure I feel like a lot of the time. But they would feel the fulfillment and. Get a hefty paycheck if they pursue the trades. You do both overjesse:
here. Totally. I love it. So what important question did I failed to ask? Ms. Page? Ooh.Paige:
I don't even know. I really just take it like as it comes. So you asked good questions. I don't know what you're missing.jesse:
Okay, good. Who supporters, special contributors to your life? Any folks you wanna give a shout out to?Paige:
Yeah, I could shout out some of my, like highest supporters coach is my tech school teacher and he really changed my life. My family, of course, the kickass careers family, the let's build construction camp family that I've built. And honestly so if I'm the mentor, all my mentees have inspired me to keep going. So shout out to all of them,jesse:
Beautiful. So we already let it slip that you're on the Insta. Mm-hmm. I know that you're on LinkedIn. Where can people connect with you and support your efforts? Which one is like your favorite one?Paige:
So I have a website where you can stalk me and find literally everything. I have Instagram, Facebook, TikTok. But Instagram I think is the one that I use the most. I'm trying to focus more on YouTube and TikTok as well, but just being in college and family stuff going on. I've been too busy to focus on social media, but the Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, I think are the three main ones that I use. And then, Facebook is also there, and LinkedIn, of course I really want to put more focus there because there's such a connection there. There's so much focus in the trades and they have a whole, group of people who really are into that. Getting into that would be awesome forjesse:
me. Absolutely. People are gonna scoop you up, girl. once you start getting there yeah. Hey, I need you to come talk over here. Can you already? It's already happening. It'll happen more. So last question. When is the next trip to Disneyland?Paige:
I just got back from the last one. Yeah, my family is very obsessed with Disney World in Florida. We're always going there. Our annuals just expired, so we'll have to renew them eventually, but I think the next one is, Scheduled for October, which is like a long time for me. Like we literally live there. Please come sooner. Yeah, no, we just got back though, and it was super fun. We got to watch live music. I really enjoyed that. I never knew how much fun live music was, so yeah. I think I'm clever though to answer your question.jesse:
So October, Disney World, not Disneyland, Disney World.Paige:
Yeah. I would love to explore the Disneylands as well, but I've only ever actually been the Disney world like 30 something times probably. But I've, that's.jesse:
Does she work there? She's like always there. Yeah.Paige:
Yeah. Actually I would love to. So I've been considering going through the college program cuz there are construction paths there and I feel like that would be really cool to know, like the behind the scenes of Disney construction. That would be really cool. So it's a thought and people tore plumbing at our school, when I went to high school we toured Kalahari Resorts and we got to see like the plumbing cuz they have a water park so I really wanna see if I can figure out a way to tour the plumbing in Disney, cuz that would be so cool.jesse:
LnM Family. If any of y'all have a connect. To help Ms. Plumber, Paige get a behind the scenes plumbing mechanical room tour, pump house tour hooker up please cuz this that's a pretty nice requesting. That would be really cool. Yeah. Awesome. No girl. I appreciate your time. Did you have fun? I hadPaige:
so much fun. You're so enjoyable to talk to.
what do you think y'all. I bet you know, somebody who knows somebody, you got a friend that can help Ms. Plum a page. Get back there and see all the amazing work that the craft professionals are doing out there on that Disney world resort somewhere. Ms. Page. Got me all excited, all motivated and. I wish I would have started 20 years ago, but she's on the right path. I think she's doing a lot of good for our industry, for the plumbing trade specifically for ladies in general. Uh, and so folks. Share this with your kids, show this with students. Um, get the message out about the fulfillment that they can find. By having a career in the traits. also want to remind or also need to announce you may not know this, but we have opened up a second group of emotional bungee jumpers and they are going to be meeting on the second Friday of the month. And I know you're interested. So head on over to depth, builder.com forward slash emotional bungee jumpers. Uh, and you'll get there's a little video kind of demonstrating what the whole thing is about. All of the current jumpers have experienced a shift in their self-awareness and I'd love for you to join us. help us all grow together. So be cool. And we'll talk at you next time. Please. Oh my goodness. You're either driving down the road or just so enthralled with, uh, with this whole podcast that you went all the way down to the very, very, very, very end of it. And we appreciate you and just, we're going to take this as an indication of your dedication so we got a little special request of you, a call to action, because everybody tells us that like, you need to have a call to action. So here's the call to action. Be kind to yourself, go out there and share a smile with someone
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