Originally sourced from PCT Magazine Online
"Women servicing pest control accounts and holding leadership positions in this industry got over the whole “bug thing” a long time ago. It’s time to market how females protect public health, teach people, help families — and create some pretty incredible and stable career paths, too.
Jen Fox was working in retail — she liked helping customers and working with people. “But I wanted to advance in a different industry,” she says. Her supportive manager said, “You graduate from college, and we’ll give you time off for interviews.”
So, Fox went to a career fair at a local hotel where rows of booths with company representatives were set up to entice attendees to apply for jobs in different industries. Fox landed at the Terminix table and began chatting with a retired executive who was working as a corporate recruiter. “We found out that we both grew up in the same part of New York — he was so friendly,” Fox shares. “I was thinking, ‘If he is representative of who the company wants to recruit, I can fit in here.’”
Fox had an interview at Terminix and met a mentor, Sharee O’Toole in the San Bernardino, Calif., branch. “I fell in love with her!” Fox says. “She said, ‘We need another woman.’ I really thought, ‘This is a lady who knows her business and she is running an operation, and she was so friendly and knew so much.’”
Today — after climbing the ladder for 12 years — Jen Fox is a compliance manager at Terminix. She’s been called a “bug whisperer” and is one of five sharing a position that supports all branches. She trains on communication, audits and other technical aspects of the business. She’s an educator — and that’s certainly not a role she expected to play when she first struck up the conversation about pest control at a career fair.
“It’s not about the bugs,” Fox says simply. “I thought about it, and everyone at some point needs a pest control company.” From day one, she saw stability — and she made a connection with a friendly guy who had enjoyed a long career in the business. Why couldn’t she do the same? Why not bugs?
“When I told my parents, they laughed,” Fox says of applying for the job. “They thought I was kidding. They said, ‘You went to University of California, Riverside, notorious for its entomology program, and walked by that building every day freaking out that something would crawl out! You trapped bugs under cups and let someone else kill them.’” Fox said, “I know. But when you look at this from an industry standpoint, the one thing that doesn’t go away is bugs.”
Bugging Out with Opportunity
Bugs outnumber humans — and they always will. This simple reality makes pest control a stable, sustainable career opportunity for anyone who is interested in a job that involves serving customers, working independently (yet on a team), sharing knowledge and being a subject matter expert. Here are some numbers that illustrate just how promising careers in pest control are for women and men.