In 2008, journalist Nina MacLaughlin quits her desk job of seven years with no plan for what to do next. Though she had no experience to speak of she jumped at the chance to apply to a Craigslist job posting for a carpenter’s assistant. She was especially heartened by the tagline “Women strongly encouraged to apply,” and sent off her application right away.
She got the job, and has been a carpenter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ever since.
In her new memoir, ‘Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter’, MacLaughlin tells us her experience of abandoning her desk job and the satisfaction and joy of learning to work with her hands. She spoke with the Cut about what her career switch taught her about ambition, how working as a carpenter changed her own femininity, and what it’s like to be a woman in a field that’s still 99 percent male.