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Making the jump for White to Blue collar
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Mike0060 Offline
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Post: #1
Making the jump for White to Blue collar
Hi all,

I'm currently working in costing at age 23 and finishing my degree est 2.5 years to go for my CPA. Both Full time. I'm finding myself bored out of my mind every day.

From a family connection, I'm going for a ride-along on Monday morning to look at the power line technician occupation up here in British Columbia Canada. More or less be a pre-apprentice for a day.
I'm incredibly nervous making this jump but have to hope for the best and try things out!

Job Stability and Pay exists for this occupation easily. Just worried about working out doors and the risk of heights and electricity. Any input if this is a good decision? Thought no better way to make up my mind than try a day in their shoes.
07-15-2015 02:12 PM
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Hardy Daytona Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
Speaking as a contractor so listen up.
Pro's:
- Nearly all-male environment aside from a few female bookkeepers so there's no needs to worry about HR, bitchy female colleagues or having a female boss. Lots of male bonding if you socialize outside of work.
- Very physical. You will be tired and sweaty when you finish the day and you will feel the ache. Rest assured that with it comes that satisfaction of completing a hard days work and seeing the fruits of your labour, as opposed to a white collar job where it's all numbers and phone calls.
- Knowledge of materials. You quickly learn a lot about whichever trade sector you're working in. Eventually it become so ingrained that you can't help but see it whenever you're in a builder's merchants or working on-site.
- Job security. People always needs their roofs fixed, their boilers repaired and their walls re-plastered. If you've got a relevant skill then you'll be needed.
- Good money. Tradesmen who are standards approved with references and feedback can earn a very good living.

Cons:
- Long hours. Absolute minimum of 10 hour days and weekends won't be protected. The other week I clocked in 76 hours so be prepared for lack of sleep.
- Dangerous. You'll be provided with PPE (unless you source your own) but there'll always be hazards. I've nearly died twice from electrical faults so needless to say, it's not for the timid.
- Little personal freedom. You'll always have to answer to someone, whether it be your customers or your boss.

There's other things to take into consideration like personal preference, logistics and so forth but that's a basic outline of what it's like, at least in my field.
07-15-2015 04:16 PM
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SunW Offline
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Post: #3
Making the jump for White to Blue collar
You're doing something most would never do and prefer to stereotype. I know quite a few people who make a strong living doing blue collar work, but even better, love it because they are kinesthetic-type people. Whether you like it or not, you're trying it to see what you think and with an open mind like that, whether it's right or now, you'll eventually find exactly what you want to do.

Something funny: I find it funny when I hear white collar workers who make $50K a year making fun of blue collar plumbers, some of whom easily make $100 an hour (equivalent of $200K, if full time).

Let us know what you think about your experience and congrats on the willingness to test a new path.
07-15-2015 04:17 PM
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Baldwin81 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
I do white collar work in a blue collar trade and made the exact opposite jump a few years back.

This is basic stuff, but you'd be surprised how many people (especially 20-something, native English speakers) don't understand this:

1. Get good rest beforehand.

By getting a good night's rest beforehand you'll be alert, up-for-anything, and seem like someone that they would want to hire.

Also, for fuck's sake, don't show up late and be sure to get kitted out with whatever you need (i.e. work boots, denim, etc.) beforehand. They'll all know that you're a shadow and your shit will look totally new, but preparing by taking action means something even if it doesn't register with them consciously.

2. Mirror the dude you're with. If he's not a big talker don't talk his ear off.

This partly goes back to getting a good night's rest. You'll be like water, so to speak, and things that you see, things that are happening during the day will lead to opportunities to ask legit, work-related questions. Refrain from discussing your concerns about working outdoors, heights, or electricity. If you bring that up they will think that you're a bitch - even if it's a legit concern.

Maybe he'll be cool, but, if he's not, don't try and force anything (legit, work questions excluded...) Sometimes those grumpy dudes will like you if just don't show any fear and get after it. Think of it as shit test.

I want to repeat it one more time: Don't act afraid and get after it. By doing this you're automatically ahead of at least 90 percent of your peers.

Also, even if you realize by 9 AM that this isn't something for you, don't shirk from anything they ask you to do (heights, etc.) and view it as an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone. Wussing out looks bad on your family connection and - even if your connect says, "It's OK," afterwards... they won't forget.

3. Blue collar banter.

As you can guess, there is a lot more shit-talking in the blue collar world than in the white collar world. It can be jarring for someone who's not used to it. If you understand this before you go into the shadow day, you'll realize that the way to handle it is (kind of like game) is to let roll off your back and never show that you're a butthurt CPA-candidate. I'm not sure how much of the banter you'll see or deal with on your shadow day, but be prepared for it. You don't HAVE to (and maybe shouldn't based on your background) give it back to them on day one, but you need to show that you don't get rattled.

^If you pursue this full-time, you'll realize that the only people who don't get their balls busted are dudes who can fire people (and even then...) and dudes who they just hate / think are too soft for the trade. Handling the banter is like "1a" to doing your work well (and not showing up late or drunk, etc.) being "1."

Longer term:

This sounds like proper, hard work. You'll be as tired as you ever been at the end of the day if you work there full time, but you won't have to think about work off hours and deal with bitch-made white collar bullshit. You're still young so, after a week or two, your body will adjust to the physicality of it. You will really begin to view white-collar people as soft (this is not entirely false). The one thing that can be overlooked in these types of jobs is that there is a really good camaraderie that can develop that most white-collar environments can't even begin to foster.

Lastly, pick your times to have fun but don't get in that drunk, coked-up, "work hard/play hard" matrix that some of these guys fall into. That's an easy way to waste all the hard work by not having money to show for it.
(This post was last modified: 07-15-2015 05:27 PM by Baldwin81.)
07-15-2015 05:17 PM
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Onto Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
(07-15-2015 04:17 PM)SunW Wrote:  Something funny: I find it funny when I hear white collar workers who make $50K a year making fun of blue collar plumbers, some of whom easily make $100 an hour (equivalent of $200K, if full time).

This is really true. iI've owned property for a long time and t's the plumber's and roofers that cost the most.

Water! It's the number one thing that wreaks havoc on a home. Whether it's rain, snow (ice damns), running toilet, leaks faucet, clogged sewers and all the rest.

You need special skill and tools to do plumbing and roofing and big balls to do roofing.

Electricians make a good buck too, but the emergencies always revolve around water. Also plumbing is probably more portable and in-demand as it's year-round
(This post was last modified: 02-06-2016 06:58 PM by Onto.)
07-15-2015 05:39 PM
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Lizard King Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
Baldwin's advice is excellent.


I will add: If you're not comfortable with heights it isn't the job for you, but you won't know until you try it. I expect there will be suitable safety measures in place, you'll probably have a harness provided for you if you're working at height.

Also, take some food and water, and make sure your boots and clothes are comfortable. There is nothing worse than doing manual work and being hungry, thirsty or uncomfortable.
07-15-2015 06:37 PM
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vinman Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
I kinda miss working the trades. I may go back to doing it part time just to do more work with my hands, and keep my skills up. Good luck OP.

"Feminism is a trade union for ugly women"- Peregrine
07-16-2015 08:25 AM
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Razgriz Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
Bump. I've been following this thread since I was a Lurker. Any follow up OP? Or any advice from any lineman in the states? I too have been looking to get into this industry.
11-02-2015 09:42 AM
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the Thing Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
(07-15-2015 02:12 PM)Mike0060 Wrote:  Hi all,

I'm currently working in costing at age 23 and finishing my degree est 2.5 years to go for my CPA. Both Full time. I'm finding myself bored out of my mind every day.

From a family connection, I'm going for a ride-along on Monday morning to look at the power line technician occupation up here in British Columbia Canada. More or less be a pre-apprentice for a day.
I'm incredibly nervous making this jump but have to hope for the best and try things out!

Job Stability and Pay exists for this occupation easily. Just worried about working out doors and the risk of heights and electricity. Any input if this is a good decision? Thought no better way to make up my mind than try a day in their shoes.

I don't know how easy it would be for you to get into a M.Sc. program in Power Engineering after you graduate, but I should tell you that there is huge demand and $200k+ starting salaries going on.

“Our great danger is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed.” ― Rollo Tomassi
11-03-2015 03:49 PM
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brob Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
Sometimes I think we were all tricked into believing that spending 50 hours a week in an isolated cubicle or office (glorified cubicle) was the kind of work to aspire to.

I've been bored out of my mind since I graduated college and got funneled into office life. I'm happy with my life outside of the office, but inside of the office, which is the better part of my day, is quite a dull experience.

There are certain perks to white collar work like flexible hours and opportunities to work remotely. It also takes less of a physical toll and you can probably more easily make time for other hustles if you work an office job. But damn it is unfulfilling.

Being a corporate slave during the week and a bar rat on the weekend isn't cutting it for me. If the money is good, you enjoy the people you work with, and there is opportunity for growth in your career, then I would say go for it.

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11-03-2015 07:18 PM
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Razgriz Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
I hear ya. I had a job in public safety and mostly had to work the front desk but that meant dealing with HR and all the other womyn working there. Hurt my knee and get stuck there for almost a year. It was enough to turn me off from that. Absolutely soul crushing.

My brother in law works for IT security and just had a mental breakdown. Now I don't know any specific statistics but from what I have read about anxiety and stress and seen in my personal life. The guys in blue collar don't seem to have nearly as much. There is something to be said about being able to see the fruits of your labor and feeling like your job is really benefiting yourself and others.
11-04-2015 12:56 AM
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RoastBeefCurtains4Me Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
I had a job in the trades. It's good to work outside, but after a number of years, I found I had nothing to talk about. Each job was slightly unique, but at a certain point, they're all the same. Still, it could be good to do this kind of work for 10-20 years, then become a supervisor, or run your own company.

Office work in and of itself doesn't have to be boring. If you are wheeling and dealing, or handling complicated and interesting projects, then it doesn't matter that much of the work is done at a desk.

I'm the tower of power, too sweet to be sour. I'm funky like a monkey. Sky's the limit and space is the place!
-Randy Savage
11-04-2015 11:12 PM
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Mike0060 Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Making the jump for White to Blue collar
I tried the power line ride along for a day and have to decided to stick with becoming a CPA. I'll be shipped off to my current companies head office in Ontario to be trained as a CPA after finishing my degree. 6.5 semesters left. I like the career flexibility and options. I have a much higher respect though now for those who do construction and electrical skilled trade work. They make our simple urbanized life possible.
11-06-2015 06:03 PM
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