Thoughts on choosing a trade as a profession

Mr Gibbs

Sparrow
Anybody on the forum do a trade as a profession?
Specifically carpentry, plumbing, electrician, millworking, pipefitters etc etc
I was wondering if its a solid, rewarding and/or worthwhile option for a means of making a living and what your own personal experiences with the work itself, as well as the monetary aspect i.e able to raise a family, keep debts down and live a decent middle class life. Been thinking about carpentry the most as my chosen profession but it seems like they're most honest and prudent lines of work one could devote their time.
 
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Leonard D Neubache

Owl
Gold Member
My electrician has to turn his phone off if he wants to get some peace and quiet. He literally gives up triple-time after hours jobs just to get a good night's sleep. This is a rural area and honestly, this guy can work as much or as little as he likes. He can afford a basic lifestyle on a two day work week or just be choosy about what jobs he does or even who he does them for.

 

Bolly

Kingfisher
That videos pretty funny. The part about tin smiths going deaf before 30 made me laugh. You couldn't pay me enough to work tin all day. The sound of tin being cut is the most god awful noise there is. And having sharp shards flying in your face. F that.

But yeah op. Go trades. I dabbled in carpentry for awhile before going down a different road. Ya stand back at the end of the day and see what you've done knowing you helped build civilization. You're not moving paper from one bin to another and don't have to put up with HR bitches. Definately rewarding, and the money's there, especially if you strike out on your own one day. Id look on Craigslist or something look for laborer jobs to get a start. May be bounce around for awhile in different areas see what suits you best and which you enjoy the most.
 

bucky

Pelican
I was in the last US generation that could be directionless and get a useless liberal arts degree without going into massive debt. I did that and managed to carve out a decent career in something else. Were I a young man today knowing what I know, I'd definitely be something like an electrician or plumber. Supposedly you can't find a plumber under 50 years old and those that are out there earn very well already. Being an underwater welder appeals to me too, but from what I understand you're eventually going to wreck your eyes as a welder.

Regardless, yes, I would say that some kind of trade like electrician or plumber is a great choice for a young man today.
 

Dr. Black Pill

Sparrow
Suspended
Australians have not had their unions crushed by right-to-work laws.

Australia as a nation is egalitarian-unlike the Brits who moved to America and seemingly longed to recreate the class system as a zero-sum capitalist game Australians really want a classless society.

Australia screens immigrants and so Mexicans won't take your jobs. In the US, any job a person with an IQ under the bell curve can do is done by Mexicans. Become a bricklayer?
 

Dr. Black Pill

Sparrow
Suspended
Graphic Arts BA here-

Even acquiring a useless degree-which is stupid but many do it-requires a great deal of discipline. Try working crap jobs six hours a day while maintaining a full class load. Try working off-campus with local yokels who are 30 and working crap jobs who resent college kids whom they know will have a degree and be earning 50 K in five years (Not now maybe). Try sharing a dorm room with three other guys. Try living in student poverty for four or five years from 18-23. Try moving out of your house.

The people who resent college graduates usually had a) had a bad attitude at 18 and b) could not discipline themselves in high school or fell in with a bad crowd who sneered at academics or c) just don't have a high IQ or d) spent the years between 18 and 23 being drug-taking louts who lived at home.

Finally, there are the sluts and whiggers who are too busy screwing their heads off as teenagers and end up having a kid at 19. They pay for that one orgasm for the rest of their lives. They end up in callous underpaid labor market. College kids practice birth control.

A problem with being a welder or plumber is that you are trapped in a community. You cannot move to another state and be easily licensed. An engineer can take off when their city goes south. A Graphic Artist can (Though this profession is going south). But a plumber or electrician cannot.

Also, there is mad competition from Indians out of the Central American jungle.
 

Laner

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Red Seal Metal Fabricator here.

I finished my apprenticeship when I was 24 and promptly hopped on my motorcycle and hit the road to central america for 6 months. I had enough cash to have kept going for another year if I wanted to. This was at the time when friends were graduating university with tens of thousands of dollars of debt.

Fabricating work is pretty cool. I have worked on everything from car ferries to yachts worth $10m. Worked on custom Harley's and race cars. Built big brewing and bottling systems for breweries all out of stainless steel. Knowing how to weld and form different types of metals is pretty handy.

Its also a great back up trade. I had been out of the trade for 7 years at one point and had my business venture fizzle out and a pregnant wife. I called up one of my old bosses and he told me I could start first thing in the morning for $35 an hour. I have negotiated $45 before. I hear of guys up north getting $50. I have contracted out - doing my own taxes and not on payroll - for $60. Have your own business, even a rig welder on a truck, and charge $100 - $120.

But its hard work. If you have an injury or a problem with your body like a bad back or fucked up knees, the days can be pretty brutal. But there is also lots of shop work out there where you can work from your bench most of the day. A lot of lazy out of shape guys work the bench, but also a lot of really talented fabricators work them too.

It can be dangerous working around big presses, overhead cranes, shears, milling machines, lathes, all manner of saws, welders, etc. But its also a den of men and the people you work with are for the most part pretty awesome. Guys can be loyal and dependable.

I would 100% support my son if he wants to go trades route.
 

KingDavid

Sparrow
Graphic Arts BA here-

Even acquiring a useless degree-which is stupid but many do it-requires a great deal of discipline. Try working crap jobs six hours a day while maintaining a full class load. Try working off-campus with local yokels who are 30 and working crap jobs who resent college kids whom they know will have a degree and be earning 50 K in five years (Not now maybe). Try sharing a dorm room with three other guys. Try living in student poverty for four or five years from 18-23. Try moving out of your house.

The people who resent college graduates usually had a) had a bad attitude at 18 and b) could not discipline themselves in high school or fell in with a bad crowd who sneered at academics or c) just don't have a high IQ or d) spent the years between 18 and 23 being drug-taking louts who lived at home.

Finally, there are the sluts and whiggers who are too busy screwing their heads off as teenagers and end up having a kid at 19. They pay for that one orgasm for the rest of their lives. They end up in callous underpaid labor market. College kids practice birth control.

A problem with being a welder or plumber is that you are trapped in a community. You cannot move to another state and be easily licensed. An engineer can take off when their city goes south. A Graphic Artist can (Though this profession is going south). But a plumber or electrician cannot.

Also, there is mad competition from Indians out of the Central American jungle.
There is truth to what you write, but you forget to mention that most college graduates end up office workers doing 2 hours of work in an 8 hour day, spending the rest in an almost brain dead zombie mode. These jobs have a soul killing routine, and that's what they were designed for. Workers then rely on consumerism to justify their soul being taken away, and that creates the perfect system for oligarchs to enrich themselves. The salary they pay gets returned to them.
 
Mike Rowe popularizes the blue collar jobs and he is correct - in this age of Java apps and Doordash, people who know how to fix things are becoming more rare. And that means your hourly compensation increases. I don't love money but it does solve a lot of problems for a person who chooses to live humbly.
I have a university degree in science but can weld, drive a forklift, run a lathe, etc. so this isn't just empty advice from a keyboard warrior. I urge every young person who asks me for career guidance to skip college and go to welding school. Then get EMT training. You put those two together and you can get a job anywhere in the world. (Add in bartender and you're in the royalty class.)
My buddy's old girlfriend had this skill combo. She got paid some ridiculous salary working in the Gulf of Mexico TIG welding oil drilling gear in an inert atmosphere (while wearing SCUBA gear) and then when topside, was the medic on duty. Way to make your 20s count.
 

Bolly

Kingfisher
A problem with being a welder or plumber is that you are trapped in a community. You cannot move to another state and be easily licensed.

I honestly don't know about the licensing ordeals for plumbing and welding. But as a tradesman you sure as shit ain't trapped anywhere. Especially union. The title of journeyman exists for a reason.
 

Razgriz

Sparrow
I’m midway through an apprenticeship with the IBEW to become a journeyman lineman. I absolutely love this trade. Staring power lines changing out poles building the nations electrical grid it’s very rewarding. I’m probably biased but I would say this is the best trade. Make it through an apprenticeship and you can work nation wide. Do whatever you want. Like building underground vaults and splicing cable in the middle of the big city? Do it. Like building huge transmission towers and get taken to the work site everyday via helicopter? Do it. There are so many facets to this trade. I’ve met guys that worked over seas and easily pulled almost half a million dollars. Know plenty more easily breaking $100k right here in the states. Best decision I’ve made to date in my life. Thank you Mike Rowe!
 
Graphic Arts BA here-

Even acquiring a useless degree-which is stupid but many do it-requires a great deal of discipline. Try working crap jobs six hours a day while maintaining a full class load. Try working off-campus with local yokels who are 30 and working crap jobs who resent college kids whom they know will have a degree and be earning 50 K in five years (Not now maybe). Try sharing a dorm room with three other guys. Try living in student poverty for four or five years from 18-23. Try moving out of your house.
Here's the breakdown:
Useless degreeTrade apprenticeship
Requires self disciplinemaybeyes
Working crap jobs six hours a dayyesyes
Be resented by people who live differentlyyesyes
$50k salary after five yearsnoyes
Live in cramped spaceyesif you want
Be broke for four yearsyesno
Move out of your houseyesyes

The people who resent college graduates usually had a) had a bad attitude at 18 and b) could not discipline themselves in high school or fell in with a bad crowd who sneered at academics or c) just don't have a high IQ or d) spent the years between 18 and 23 being drug-taking louts who lived at home.
I know it's difficult to believe, but one can learn a trade without looking down on people who have degrees.

Finally, there are the sluts and whiggers who are too busy screwing their heads off as teenagers and end up having a kid at 19. They pay for that one orgasm for the rest of their lives. They end up in callous underpaid labor market.
I'm incredulous that this distinction has to be made, but having kids and learning a trade are not the same thing.

College kids practice birth control.
Not the ones who get pregnant.

A problem with being a welder or plumber is that you are trapped in a community. You cannot move to another state and be easily licensed. An engineer can take off when their city goes south. A Graphic Artist can (Though this profession is going south). But a plumber or electrician cannot.
Nope.

Also, there is mad competition from Indians out of the Central American jungle.
No, there's very little competition. The reason tradesmen are well-paid in the US is because there are so many available jobs, and so few people willing to do the work.
 
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paninaro

Kingfisher
Certain trades (electrician and plumber in the US, I know that much) and you need to apprentice. The apprenticeship program is run by the local union, and they control how many apprentices they accept, so they can control the supply. That's not necessarily a bad thing -- it means wages are decent once you become a master plumber/electrician, but just be aware you can't necessarily just walk in to the apprenticeship.

Being a "master" is vital, as only their sign-off is accepted for the relevant building permits.

As another poster mentioned, one risk is injuries. If you throw out your back or get injured somehow, you may be suddenly making no money. It depends though -- I have a relative who was a master carpenter, and she threw out her knee on the job. The union paid disability benefits to her until she got surgery and was ready to work again. But still, I think it's gotta be tough being in your 50's and crawling around and so on.
 
It's not so bad to get a "useless degree" if you're some combination of good looking, confident, popular, socially skilled, come from a well connected family, etc. Liberal arts or business at college was long a place to stash the male children of the wealthy while the matured. The problem was that when we started sending a higher percentage of people to college, the middle to upper middle IQ social losers from working and middle class families started attending. Those are the people who end up underemployed in service or general factory jobs not related to their major.
 

Dr. Black Pill

Sparrow
Suspended
Well-connected is the most important word. I knew many graduates in Graphic Arts or Journalism who just did not have the connections to get a job. If you got a degree in advertising and live in New York, fine. If you got a degree in advertising and live in a small rural town somewhere...you may never employ it.

Having a business degree is not useless when your family owns a business. If you're the heir to a successful business, its kind of impractical to get a liberal arts degree or no degree when you're going to work in the family business. Getting an MBA makes sense.

I was in college from 1993 to 1998 and in those days the Leftist indoctrination was not so severe. So college had some practical value. A Business Admin degree is not impractical for running a family business-as Trump ran his father's business.

When I was young, the working and middle class families stashed their kids in the military for a few years. But that was peacetime, when the biggest risk was a hangover from German beer gardens.

The social losers don't attend university or they drop out the first semester. And middle IQ graduates can probably obtain work as social workers or Human resources or other fields that pay little.
 

Dr. Black Pill

Sparrow
Suspended
In physical professions, by your fifties...you're done. You're not going to be a construction worker when you're 55. Being a plumber or electrician is different, presumably can subcontract and form your own business.

Also, say you are a welder. You could be in a position at age 55 where some Human Resources in your company fires you. That won't happen if you're a lawyer.

In the Philippines I knew one American who ran a girly bar who was a welder who just got tired of some female Human Resources officer being able to hire and fire in his company and AA and all the rest of it.
 
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