Thoughts on choosing a trade as a profession

Here's the breakdown:
Useless degreeTrade apprenticeship
Requires self disciplinemaybe yes No it does not require a great deal of self-discipline to live at home when you are 23 and study welding or decal painting.
Working crap jobs six hours a dayyesyes
Be resented by people who live differentlyyes Its kind of a class thing. If you're in college, you're parents are probably middle class and in bucolic colleges your parents are middle-class and urban or suburban while the locals are often rural poor. yes
$50k salary after five yearsno (Lawyer? Engineer)yes
Live in cramped spaceyesif you want They mostly live at home. Or at least in their hometown.
Be broke for four yearsyes Longer these days.no This is why illegal immigration derails the lives of these people more than a lawyer
Move out of your houseyesyes Not usually. I grew up in Detroit and the welders and pipe-fitters and decal painters lived at home until they joined the guild



I know it's difficult to believe, but one can learn a trade without looking down on people who have degrees.


I'm 46 and maybe things have changed but it used to be a class thing. The unskilled or barely-skilled were often poor and their parents could not afford college. Then there were those who were middle-class but had problems in high school (Drugs, running away from home, expelled from school, juvenile arrests) that curtailed their education. And then there were those guys who just hit up a girl on the wrong night at age 20. Maybe father children out-of-wedlock now is no big deal.



I'm incredulous that this distinction has to be made, but having kids and learning a trade are not the same thing.

Sure, but the poorest people in the most unskilled or semi-skilled professions are those that start a family at age 18. They're educational or vocational development is cut short by early parenthood.



Not the ones who get pregnant.



Nope.



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.

Its more prestigious to be a lawyer than a tradesman. We need tradespeople more than lawyers, for sure, but being a lawyer carries more respectability.

The reason tradesmen are well-payed is that unions and guilds have not been busted by right-to-work legislation and this varies from state-to-state.

And by the way, if this is true, why is illegal immigration a problem.
 
General Question


With so many skilled trade opportunities around that pay so handsomely, why do so many white young people from rural towns feel their only option is to join the military or work at Wal-Mart?

Why is there so much poverty among working whites if skilled trades are the answer and anyone who becomes an electrician can earn 100 K a year?

Why is there so much despair, poverty, dysfunction and hopelessness in rural US interior regions if the answer is a skilled trade anyone can obtain one? Why are the cities that produce white-collar college graduates not suffering from these problems?

What is driving the despair of white working class who did not acquire a college degree if any of them could be an electrician or some other skilled tradesman?
 
General Question


With so many skilled trade opportunities around that pay so handsomely, why do so many white young people from rural towns feel their only option is to join the military or work at Wal-Mart?

Why is there so much poverty among working whites if skilled trades are the answer and anyone who becomes an electrician can earn 100 K a year?

Why is there so much despair, poverty, dysfunction and hopelessness in rural US interior regions if the answer is a skilled trade anyone can obtain one? Why are the cities that produce white-collar college graduates not suffering from these problems?

What is driving the despair of white working class who did not acquire a college degree if any of them could be an electrician or some other skilled tradesman?
1. The trades are often hard work. If you're a single guy it's really, really easy to get by on your own working 30 hours at Wal Mart or Pizza Hut. The collapse of young marriage is the culprit. Failure to launch is a real problem.
2. There is a certain minimum IQ required. It's different than when unskilled line work jobs in a factory that could support a family were a dime a dozen.
3. Lots of people don't want to go back to trade school after graduating college and realizing they fucked up.
4. Lots of socially isolated or socially siloed people don't know anybody in the skilled trades. People tend to learn about specific jobs or general career ideas through connections.
 
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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 have a business degree. Unless you concentrate in accounting you don't learn anything valuable. It's just a piece of paper saying that you're not a complete retard and have the ability to stick with a multi year project. You would learn 100x more working in the family business for four years than going to college for business. Unfortunately our society expects a degree for something like managing a bank or working mid level jobs in corporate offices rather than just letting entry level employees work their way up without going to college.
 

Byzantaur

Newbie
I'm wondering if anyone has any advice about this for me, I've just finished my degree in Philosophy & Theology. I went to a top 10 UK uni, but thinking back it definitely was not a smart choice in terms of finding a career. But I always got good grades, and everyone put into my head going to UNI was the right thing to do. My degree doesn't seem marketable, most options are a law-conversion or teaching. I do not think I am cut out for a corporate environment or finding a teaching job would be hard + I do not fancy it.

It seems I have no experience or marketable skills, so I have considered looking into learning a trade. Is this a good choice, what would people suggest for someone fresh out of university with a useless BA in the UK.
 

Laner

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I'm wondering if anyone has any advice about this for me, I've just finished my degree in Philosophy & Theology. I went to a top 10 UK uni, but thinking back it definitely was not a smart choice in terms of finding a career. But I always got good grades, and everyone put into my head going to UNI was the right thing to do. My degree doesn't seem marketable, most options are a law-conversion or teaching. I do not think I am cut out for a corporate environment or finding a teaching job would be hard + I do not fancy it.

It seems I have no experience or marketable skills, so I have considered looking into learning a trade. Is this a good choice, what would people suggest for someone fresh out of university with a useless BA in the UK.
I would say hit up a construction site and see what kind of trades are hiring labour. Do some general labour for a few different contractors and see what sticks.

Even shops will hire on guys with no experience. Clean up, organize, etc. Some would quickly end up on tools then sign on as an apprentice. Some would quit after a week.

Working general labour in construction is also a great way to learn that perhaps your education was a good path, and that putting in the extra effort to get something that you enjoy is the way to go. Construction sites can be miserable places. Especially when on the bottom of the totem.
 
I am thinking of the same as well. I am 24, and worked construction on apartments for a few years. Just being there I was getting side jobs. I love the work, and would definitely go back into it if I cant find a better live-at job like in the oil fields or something to build some capital
 

paninaro

Kingfisher
I'm wondering if anyone has any advice about this for me, I've just finished my degree in Philosophy & Theology. I went to a top 10 UK uni, but thinking back it definitely was not a smart choice in terms of finding a career. But I always got good grades, and everyone put into my head going to UNI was the right thing to do. My degree doesn't seem marketable, most options are a law-conversion or teaching. I do not think I am cut out for a corporate environment or finding a teaching job would be hard + I do not fancy it.

It seems I have no experience or marketable skills, so I have considered looking into learning a trade. Is this a good choice, what would people suggest for someone fresh out of university with a useless BA in the UK.
Honestly not trying to make fun of you, but when you started studying that field, what did you think when it came to career prospects? Surely you're not realizing this just now I assume?

Anyway, I've seen people in your field do well in some white collar fields, typically in jobs where a lot of writing is required. Proposal writers, requirements analysts, consultants, and so on. The pay isn't necessarily great, especially to start (a lot of people can write well, after all), but if you can market yourself well, it's possible to move up career-wise over time.
 

Byzantaur

Newbie
I would say hit up a construction site and see what kind of trades are hiring labour. Do some general labour for a few different contractors and see what sticks.

Even shops will hire on guys with no experience. Clean up, organize, etc. Some would quickly end up on tools then sign on as an apprentice. Some would quit after a week.

Working general labour in construction is also a great way to learn that perhaps your education was a good path, and that putting in the extra effort to get something that you enjoy is the way to go. Construction sites can be miserable places. Especially when on the bottom of the totem.
I have been told similar, I can find very little online in my area so it's perhaps best that I go ask in person. It doesn't help I live in a small, poor town with mostly seasonal work. I'll give general labouring a go, I didn't know if I'd need to do an apprenticeship first, so that's good to know.

I have considered joining the Navy, I have family who did the same and it worked well for them, as they saved a lot and it's possible to leave with a pension. It seems a decent starting wage (+ potential officer, given my degree) but doesn't appear to have much progression. I have also been told I can learn a trade with them. Any thoughts on this?

Honestly not trying to make fun of you, but when you started studying that field, what did you think when it came to career prospects? Surely you're not realizing this just now I assume?

Anyway, I've seen people in your field do well in some white collar fields, typically in jobs where a lot of writing is required. Proposal writers, requirements analysts, consultants, and so on. The pay isn't necessarily great, especially to start (a lot of people can write well, after all), but if you can market yourself well, it's possible to move up career-wise over time.
When I started studying, I thought that I wanted to go on to teach. I was also told I could just 'convert' to law, as Philosophy grads do best in the entry exams. After talking to people working in Law, it seems to be soul-destroying so I want to avoid that. I know of a few people doing similar degrees to me, who are going to work for corporations doing jobs similar to those you listed and also in Finance. They do tend to have more connections coming from good private schools, working good internships during university (as they lived in London, or big cities internationally).

I applied for some graduate jobs doing 'Tech Consulting' but the companies stopped hiring temporarily due to corona, so I'm trying to use this time off to get healthier and think more clearly about a career plan. I imagine Tech being the most suitable corporate environment for me if I must take the corporate path. I just think most the major cities in the UK are crappy, and most jobs seem centred in London or somewhere like Manchester/Leeds (apologies if you don't know the UK). I much prefer rural/town life.
 

scorpion

Ostrich
Gold Member
If you've got an entrepreneurial bent and want to learn a trade with the goal of ultimately opening your own business and running your own crews, electrician, HVAC and concrete pumping/finishing are a great choice. If you're not the entrepreneurial type but just want a good, stable, high-paying trade career, try to get on as a lineman apprentice or other union position at an electric utility. Those jobs pay well and aren't going anywhere.
 

Sword and Board

Woodpecker
Hard to say. There is good money in some trades no doubt. If you fuck your body somehow there go's your whole career though.
My sister has an economics degree, she pushes paper, works easy hours with a lot of perks.

Im not exactly sure what she makes but the rent for her inner city apartment is more than I make in a year as a tradie. She can do her job well into old age and in a wheelchair. She also doesn't have to deal with carcinogens, welders flash, fall from scaffolds, getting electrocuted etc

I also believe there is a vulnerability with some trades with mass immigration. Some employers in Australia are starting to abuse 'Skill shortage' rules to fill out the majority of staff with cheaper Asian imports.
 

hedonist

Woodpecker
A couple of things to consider....do you want to work/live in other countries?

Some trades are far more portable than others.

If you are in the UK and choose Electrical as an example it would be far easier for you to adapt to say Europe/Australia etc than North America.
You may have to get re certified to be able to perform your work.

Certain trades what you earn will fluctuate by a huge amount depending on the industry/location.

Certain trades are in demand a lot more in shit hole locations than cities (instrumentation being one although there are plenty of shithole cities too haha)

One thing I noticed moving to Canada is you don't neccessarily need a ticket to be paid as a journeyman....and then some who have the tickets (ie Chinese) paid translators to tell them the answers in the exam! Massive scam.

So I would turn up to jobs where a guy had been a 2nd year for 7 years but was paid as a Journeyman ...they literally had no incentive to get off their ass and finish their schooling. Maybe that has changed now as I haven't worked in the city in about 10 years.

Some industrial sites have fantastic shifts for traveling (week on/week off - 2 weeks on 2 weeks off etc)
 

Kona

Crow
Gold Member
Word on the street is that the fishing seasons that start in June in Alaska are massively understaffed.

It's like the folks suggest with going to jobsites and asking for work. Just walk around the boats and ask who needs what.

Aloha!
 

Monty_Brogan

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Work in high rise construction in a large faggot liberal city. I used to love it here -been here my entire life sans military service, but since the country went sideways in the beginning of the month, I honestly can't stand it.

Trades can be MIND-NUMBING most days, especially as an apprentice. You'll essentially be an pvt in the military: it's not fun. But it gets better as you progress. The non-mind-numbing days will leave you with a sense of accomplishment from working with your hands that few men feel in this country anymore.

Honestly, I'd recommend every trade EXCEPT electrician, if you want to work with electricity, I would say go for Lineman. Electrician on a high rise job.... no thanks. They're good dudes, I would never recommend it to anyone though.

Stay the fuck away from cocaine.

Any other questions, ask.
 

scotian

Crow
Gold Member
I live in rural Yorkshire so North-East coast essentially. Few hours from Leeds (nearest big city).
PM sent.
Hard to say. There is good money in some trades no doubt. If you fuck your body somehow there go's your whole career though.
My sister has an economics degree, she pushes paper, works easy hours with a lot of perks.

Im not exactly sure what she makes but the rent for her inner city apartment is more than I make in a year as a tradie. She can do her job well into old age and in a wheelchair. She also doesn't have to deal with carcinogens, welders flash, fall from scaffolds, getting electrocuted etc

I also believe there is a vulnerability with some trades with mass immigration. Some employers in Australia are starting to abuse 'Skill shortage' rules to fill out the majority of staff with cheaper Asian imports.
So what's stopping you from getting off the tools and into the office, maybe you're like me and prefer working in the field than an office. A common misconception that people who are unfamiliar with the trades is that you'll be on the tools for life which simply isn't true, there's plenty of supervision roles that are basically office jobs such as foreman, general foreman, site superintendent, etc. Next time you pass by a construction site, look for these portable trailers, that's where those folk hang out, in air conditioned offices full of computers, printers, etc where things like job planning, QA/QC, etc is done.
office trailer.png
With regards to foreign labour, the modern day slave traders are active in Canada too, it was really bad during the oil boom where you had lots of guys on site who didn't speak English and had a total disregard for safety, fortunately the unions and left leaning opposition parties forced the provincial and federal governments into curtailing the massive Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW program) but it's still happening: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/canadians-expose-foreign-worker-mess-in-oilsands-1.2750730

A couple of things to consider....do you want to work/live in other countries?

Some trades are far more portable than others.

If you are in the UK and choose Electrical as an example it would be far easier for you to adapt to say Europe/Australia etc than North America.
You may have to get re certified to be able to perform your work.

Certain trades what you earn will fluctuate by a huge amount depending on the industry/location.

Certain trades are in demand a lot more in shit hole locations than cities (instrumentation being one although there are plenty of shithole cities too haha)

One thing I noticed moving to Canada is you don't neccessarily need a ticket to be paid as a journeyman....and then some who have the tickets (ie Chinese) paid translators to tell them the answers in the exam! Massive scam.

So I would turn up to jobs where a guy had been a 2nd year for 7 years but was paid as a Journeyman ...they literally had no incentive to get off their ass and finish their schooling. Maybe that has changed now as I haven't worked in the city in about 10 years.

Some industrial sites have fantastic shifts for traveling (week on/week off - 2 weeks on 2 weeks off etc)
My trade is basically limited to heavy industry so oil&gas, nukes, shipyards, pipelines, pulp mills, etc. One good thing about trades like electrician, plumber, etc is that they can work residential, commercial and industrial so they're more flexible in that sense. I prefer the large industrial sites though because the money is better and I can work lots of hours and take several months off each year in between projects.

I'm on a maintenance outage (shutdown) at one of the smaller SAGD oil sands sites now and it's pretty nice-good camp and decent food, the regular guys here work 7/7 with flights paid to Edmonton and Calgary, not a bad gig but they took pay cuts. I did as well but my union has resisted them much more than others, fortunately. I'm relocating to British Columbia next month and the unions there are much stronger, my hourly rate will increase by 10%, the pension is $0.50 more per hour and all OT is paid at double, it's busy there with pipelines, oil tank terminal construction and the big LNG project in Kitimat. Gotta go where the money is.
 

scotian

Crow
Gold Member
For you US based guys, check out this website: https://www.roadtechs.com/

It's a job board for short term projects all over the country, companies looking for "road warriors", which is basically what I do, usually I'll work short term gigs through my union of about 2-8 weeks and take time off in between to travel or just chill at home. Covid screwed up my spring season a bit as I was off for five weeks (although I could've been working but I let one of my tickets expire), I'll still have about 10 weeks in between March and June which isn't too bad.

Here's an example of high paying short term gig based in Washington state: https://www.roadtechs.com/const/wwwboard/getpost.php?rec_nbr=582329

$55/hour for 55 hours per week, assuming OT after 40 is paid at 1.5X so you have 40x55=2200, 15(55x1.5)=1237.5 plus $525 per diem (tax free) so roughly $3,962, say $4000/week and it's a 7 week job so that electrician will make about $28K gross in under two months (less expenses for hotel, some guys just haul a travel trailer and park it at an RV site). Do that four times every year and you have about 112K made in about 7 months, then you can do whatever you want, go hang out in Mexico or collect unemployment insurance and sit on your ass for five months.

There's lots of jobs like this out there boys, it's not a lifestyle for everyone but being a road warrior has it's perks.
Pipeline Welder Lifestyle

18 Year Old Dude Making 5K/Week Welding
 

hedonist

Woodpecker
Work in high rise construction in a large faggot liberal city. I used to love it here -been here my entire life sans military service, but since the country went sideways in the beginning of the month, I honestly can't stand it.

Trades can be MIND-NUMBING most days, especially as an apprentice. You'll essentially be an pvt in the military: it's not fun. But it gets better as you progress. The non-mind-numbing days will leave you with a sense of accomplishment from working with your hands that few men feel in this country anymore.

Honestly, I'd recommend every trade EXCEPT electrician, if you want to work with electricity, I would say go for Lineman. Electrician on a high rise job.... no thanks. They're good dudes, I would never recommend it to anyone though.

Stay the fuck away from cocaine.

Any other questions, ask.
Generally IMO industrial work is the best (and pays the best) followed by commercial then residential.
Bending EMT or pulling BX is only a tiny part of the trade and sadly once you get pigeon holed in those jobs it makes it hard to break into the other areas (industrial/plc's etc)
For industrial I would say the best work is commissioning followed by maintenance then construction.
Commissioning also tends to have the best rosters.

Safety can be completely overboard on some industrial sites but it is good to have some safety!!!! I know first hand what not having lock out can do on high rise jobs.


My trade is basically limited to heavy industry so oil&gas, nukes, shipyards, pipelines, pulp mills, etc. One good thing about trades like electrician, plumber, etc is that they can work residential, commercial and industrial so they're more flexible in that sense. I prefer the large industrial sites though because the money is better and I can work lots of hours and take several months off each year in between projects.

I'm on a maintenance outage (shutdown) at one of the smaller SAGD oil sands sites now and it's pretty nice-good camp and decent food, the regular guys here work 7/7 with flights paid to Edmonton and Calgary, not a bad gig but they took pay cuts. I did as well but my union has resisted them much more than others, fortunately. I'm relocating to British Columbia next month and the unions there are much stronger, my hourly rate will increase by 10%, the pension is $0.50 more per hour and all OT is paid at double, it's busy there with pipelines, oil tank terminal construction and the big LNG project in Kitimat. Gotta go where the money is.
I guess one thing (although hard to predict) for someone looking to get into trades is to be aware of the industry you focus on.
I've worked in mining/O&G/Commercial & residential construction but a lot of the older guys I worked with were in Pulp and Paper and had to come out of retirement due to losing pensions etc.

I don't think O&G is going anywhere but obviously the current government in Canada isn't helping things at all in that regard.
Would be brutal to try to break into some trades now unless you know people.

I think Kitimat might be one of the few big projects going on besides the nuclear stuff in Ontario.

From 2012 -2015 seemed like you could jump from project to project like fleas on a dog if you wanted.
 

mr-ed209

Sparrow
I have considered joining the Navy, I have family who did the same and it worked well for them, as they saved a lot and it's possible to leave with a pension. It seems a decent starting wage (+ potential officer, given my degree) but doesn't appear to have much progression. I have also been told I can learn a trade with them. Any thoughts on this?
The Navy is a good bet - you can always go in as an engineer if you're wanting to pick up trade skills. It's also probably one of the few areas that will continue to hire in the near future; with coronavirus etc. I'm partway through training in the merchant navy as an engineer and have completed courses on welding, working with lathes etc. A course mate of mine dropped out of officer training to in the Navy to go the merchant route and has filled me in on a few of the quirks of the RN.

As for the merchant side, it's quite a broad field that lets you learn a fair few transferrable skills. Hands on fitting, monitoring/operating large scale systems, maintaining diesel generators etc.
 
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