Poll

What professional trade would you choose?

Electrician
17 (17.2%)
Plumber/Pipefitter
3 (3%)
Carpenter
13 (13.1%)
Landscaper/Tree Climber
6 (6.1%)
Excavator
0 (0%)
Welder
12 (12.1%)
Home Remodeler
9 (9.1%)
Oil/Gas Worker
5 (5.1%)
Mechanic
7 (7.1%)
HVAC
5 (5.1%)
Other
7 (7.1%)
College Education Instead
15 (15.2%)

Total Members Voted: 48

Author Topic: What professional trade would you choose, and why?  (Read 5918 times)

Future Lazy

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What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« on: December 03, 2014, 11:12:59 AM »
Hi Everybody,

I'm asking this question partially for myself, but mostly for my DH.

DH was home schooled and has his GED, but no other advanced education. He's strong and a hard worker with a great ethic, drug free, and very mindful. He was just passed over for a shift lead position at the retail place where he works. Being passed over made him quite upset, and so we decided to update his resume and I've been helping him find leads on Craigslist to send it out to. So far, he's gotten 3 interviews scheduled, and it seems like there are more on the way. One of these was with a frac site monitoring crew ($15.50/hr), another with a semi rural water and sewer utility ($17/hr), and another with a home remodeling company ($10-$12/hr). No word back on being hired, yet. All of these positions are "no exp necessary" positions and seem like really great places to start. He's also applied to some manufacturing jobs and entry level electrician apprentice jobs - no word back on those, yet, either.

The issue is that we're just having him apply for jobs a little bit willy nilly - anything he might qualify for and wouldn't hate, rather than what he might like to do. He doesn't really know what he might like to do.

So: If you were 22 years old, male, and an educationally blank slate, what would you do? What trade would you pick, or would you pick a trade at all? What research would you do, or where would you go to find more information?

Thanks!

Left

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2014, 11:30:15 AM »
Could he be a car mechanic then move onto diesel mechanic if he wants a different kind of job outside of car mechanic. Since heavy (and oil field) machines uses diesel often so the mechanics should be fairly in demand (won't be at home as often though). Plus he can operate as a car mechanic out of the house garage on the weekends for extra cash if he gets a different job. Something like doing a tuneup, changing spark plugs and wires, cost about $100 on each car but the parts are like $20 and 15 minutes of work.

pzxc

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2014, 11:33:32 AM »
If he doesn't already know what he might like by this age, then doing more research probably isn't going to help him.  The only way to really find out what he would like, is to try it and see!

Job-hopping is not bad.  Just have him take whatever job he can get, and if he doesn't like it then keep looking.  In fact, even if he does like it, keep looking and try other trades anyway! Maybe he will find something he likes even better!

KMMK

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2014, 11:41:24 AM »
Heavy truck mechanic would be my choice in that situation

sheepstache

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2014, 11:43:22 AM »
I guess you might file this under electrician, but I know there's someone on the board who talks about what a good deal being a lineman is.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2014, 12:01:23 PM »
Biggest downside of anything oil and gas related (well, like frac or rig work) is that it is field work with lots of time away from home. I personally would avoid for that reason... but, it does pay well.

I think Hedge_87 is the lineman.

TN_Steve

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2014, 12:08:46 PM »
Assuming not college interested....

I'd go carpenter.  They can do remodeling and new construction.  The also, on new builds especially, tend to be on the jobsite more than other trades and consequently have the opportunity to get to know everyone and observe how other trades work.  Thus, it is fairly easy to transition over to general contracting or doing your own rentals.  (If you check around with generals who came up from the ranks, most of them in the areas I'm familiar with began as carpenters.)

Proud Foot

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2014, 12:12:36 PM »
If I was not interested in college I would have gone with welding. Depending on his interests he could do welding for oil and gas, constructions, manufacturing, and many other industries. Something else that might make a difference is how much he (and you) want to spend away from home.

sheepstache

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2014, 12:23:43 PM »
I think Hedge_87 is the lineman.

Ah ha, thank you!

couponvan

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2014, 12:30:55 PM »
My next door neighbor is a union electrician.  He's home by 4 pm every day, has a great pension (actually well funded) and cheap health care. He gets to spend time outside playing with his kids after school.  He's slow during the Winter. He makes money on the side doing basement electrical upgrades home theater/ lighting whenever he isn't busy with work.  That's when he works on his rentals, which he buys old and redoes the electrical and gets swap deals on other work from friends that are in other trades.

Old college friend is married to a plumber/pipefitter.  Again, union job with an apprenticeship program.  It was hard financially the first couple years during the apprenticeship, but again, he's got a great pension, low hours and cheap health care.  I see him at his kids football games and cheer practices.  Since he lives in CA, he does a lot of pool work/etc.

You need to REALLY plan ahead to be FI before 50  with the above 2 - it is heavy physical work that you can't count on being able to do as you get older.

HVAC - This is one area that if it's cold/hot where you live there will always be demand.  $90 tune ups that take them like 15 minutes.....90% of people are afraid to do their own work and ruin a $7,000 system.

Mr.Chipper77

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2014, 12:31:03 PM »
For me landscaper. Now a days it can lead into so many different things that can require many different skills. Including building ponds, decks building walls and so on. Plus get to tool around with some fun equipment and for the most part work in good weather outdoors. I am speaking from experience in which I have done many projects for people on the side. Its not just sticking plants in the ground. Not to mention I really enjoying hand drawing a plan and bring it to life as opposed to some computer program.  So I would love to have had a full time gig running my own business if I didn't wait to long.

couponvan

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2014, 12:31:51 PM »
I'd go with plumbing or electrical. Work towards getting your license, take a few night classes on how to manage a business, and then I would start my own company to increase income / be able to scale based on lifestyle needs (ie. young kid, slow down/earn less to be present, college tuition work more/earn more).
+1 - this posted while I was typing!

TerriM

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2014, 12:49:57 PM »
Assuming not college interested....

I'd go carpenter.  They can do remodeling and new construction.  The also, on new builds especially, tend to be on the jobsite more than other trades and consequently have the opportunity to get to know everyone and observe how other trades work.  Thus, it is fairly easy to transition over to general contracting or doing your own rentals.  (If you check around with generals who came up from the ranks, most of them in the areas I'm familiar with began as carpenters.)

Was thinking the same thing....  Easier to go solo, easier to do renovations on rentals or flip your own home.  You won't be going solo in a frac job. 

highcountry

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2014, 03:26:57 PM »
I answered based on my own desires.  In the case of your husband,  I would consider electrician or carpenter.  For myself I would stay away from oil and gas, as I would worry that like with firefighters, the long term health risks would be too high. 

What sort of homeschooled was he?  You present it here as if it indicates a lower level of education than he would have gotten through conventional school, but this may or may not be the case. I was also homeschooled, and have always felt that it gave me as good of an education as I would have received elsewhere.  I had no problem transitioning to college and I never even took the GED. 

Of the three kids in our family, all three of us were homeschooled, and all three have had different trajectories when it comes to college. 

I took a couple of community college classes in my teens, took the SAT, and created my own highschool transcript.  I got into both the schools I applied to with no problems, and had a college admissions counselor comment on how straightforward and conventional my application was (I was unschooled... I just put it all in a format that was easy for them to deal with..).

My middle brother was never college bound, and would not have been if he had gone to school.  He does landscaping and some excavator work, and is possibly transitioning to digital television engineering.

My youngest brother took a couple classes in highschool and didn't fully commit to them.  As a consequence of this, if he wants to go to college, he will probably need to take a couple years of community college classes and transfer.  Currently he is attending an atilear art program, and talking about getting a BFA.

boarder42

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2014, 03:34:40 PM »
i dont know that staying away from oil and gas is necessary if he's in the houston area there is a TON of money in O&G and there are lots of things to keep you safe ... Its not like running into a burning building.  Thats a bad analogy.

COlady

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2014, 04:01:35 PM »
I live in the Denver metro area and work in O&G (accounting).  I'm assuming your boyfriend lives near you....looks like you're in Arvada.  I think he'd be smart to try and get an in with an O&G company even if it is a lower level position.  The benefits and pay in O&G tend to be better than average and if they're impressed by his work ethic and abilities he may get promoted to higher positions quickly.  He may have to work really hard and long hours but if he's close to your age (22) he'll be just fine.  Just my 2 cents.

GetItRight

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2014, 04:04:31 PM »
Keep in mind there are plenty of office/business type jobs that pay well and college is not a factor if you have the skill. If I was to go with a skilled labor type job I would probably do electrician. Typical residential and business electrical work is very simple and easy and the pay is insanely good. In my experience most electricians do sloppy work, are unreliable, and charge exorbitant prices. They also are often done by 3-4 PM, if union work is very secure and although sometimes requiring long commutes or long hours vacation time can be extended and flexible while maintaining job security. As with many trades it is quite hierarchical. Low pay doing the boring/tedious work and being the gofer when just getting started and learning. Flipside is if your detail oriented and do quality work it's not hard to stand out from all the hacks to ensure there's always work.

Justinofboulder

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2014, 05:23:39 PM »
I didn't see tile setter on your list... ;)

An interesting piece of advice someone gave me recently, was to figure out what type of people I enjoyed spending my time with and then choose a career which attracted those people (since I would be spending the majority of my time with them).

When I was 18 I chose mechanic, (mostly Acura and Honda), because I enjoy working with my hands and solving problems. But after five years I found that I really didn't enjoy the culture, my body didn't enjoy being around the chemicals and back and neck didn't like the body positions required. The investment in tools (I spent about $25k) probably kept me at it longer than I would have. Being a "perfectionist", I was always frustrated at how unhappy people were with my work.

At 24 I learned to set tile, and at the time it seemed like it would just be a shorter term job, has evolved in to a good career (40 now) and certainly not one I ever thought of.  I enjoy the interactions with clients as well as the creative problem solving aspect. The flexibility in my schedule is great, (being self employed) and I like that the scenery changes and I get to use my body physically. Clients are happy to pay me and love to show off their new kitchens and bathrooms.

After 15 years in the trade, I now feel knowledgeable enough in some of the other trades to take on my own remodel projects (have fixed up two of my properties, tackling electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc...). While I plan to grow my business and stick with tile for now, I would feel pretty comfortable going many directions in construction (project management, slab fabrication, sales, trim carpentry, property management, contracting), if I needed/desired.

The recession hurt the construction industry pretty bad (industry fell from over 6% of GDB to less than 3%) for a few years things were really tight. It seemed to "weed" out those who couldn't stay in business. Now that construction is on the rise again, there seems to be a shortage of labor.

Feel free to contact me if you had specific questions, or wanted any connections with individuals in some of the other construction related trades (here in Colorado).

Dan_at_Home

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2014, 05:36:01 PM »
Of all the trades if I had to be in one, electrician would do it for me.  My degree is in computer engineering and I had to take a lot of electrical engineering courses in college anyway so I already know the basics about this.  Plus, the electrician is better than being a  plumber because with plumbing I always hate having to deal with sewage plumbing, or cleaning out nasty clogged traps in the drainage piping or dealing with other people's crap (literally) in general.



Future Lazy

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2014, 06:22:37 PM »
What sort of homeschooled was he?  You present it here as if it indicates a lower level of education than he would have gotten through conventional school, but this may or may not be the case. I was also homeschooled, and have always felt that it gave me as good of an education as I would have received elsewhere.  I had no problem transitioning to college and I never even took the GED. 

Unfortunately, it's the lower level version. His mom had 12 pregnancies and 10 kids, 9 of which she raised and attempted to home school by herself. She stopped teaching anyone when she got very sick, but still withheld all the kids from standard academia. She died when my DH was a teenager, around 17 years old. He didn't get any formal high school level writing or advanced math, and struggles with basics like punctuation and capitalization. It's not that he's not smart - he's very smart, I wouldn't have him in my life if he wasn't. If his education had been as engaged and solid as it should have been, would probably be in a STEM career or biology grad program by now. Not so, though.

Definitely not trying to imply that homeschooled kids are somehow not as smart/well educated - but in my DH's particular situation, there was no actual schooling. His little sister didn't learn to read until she was 12. It's a tragedy.

Honestly, though, I graduated high school with a lot of idiots that he's more far educated than, including me, when it comes to math. :) No Child Left Behind, amirite?

Assuming not college interested....

All of that said, it's not a matter of not being interested in college - moreso a matter of the intimidation of never having experienced a classroom structure or setting before, or ever having to complete homework and be graded traditionally. I imagine there would be a set of remedial classes he would have to take, especially in writing. I think his personality is more geared toward hands on work, like trade work, rather than paper pushing.

I live in the Denver metro area and work in O&G (accounting).  I'm assuming your boyfriend lives near you....looks like you're in Arvada.  I think he'd be smart to try and get an in with an O&G company even if it is a lower level position.  The benefits and pay in O&G tend to be better than average and if they're impressed by his work ethic and abilities he may get promoted to higher positions quickly.  He may have to work really hard and long hours but if he's close to your age (22) he'll be just fine.  Just my 2 cents.

The O&G Place that interviewed him is in Fort Lupton, and would cost him $468/mo or more in gas and vehicle wear and tear to make the 62mi round trip commute every day. Even though the starting pay is a lot more than what he makes now ($9.50 vs. $15.50), I'm not 100% sure it's a great idea, unless he's actually committed to being an O&G guy... Especially since it seems like there are other trades jobs much closer to home.


I didn't see tile setter on your list... ;)

An interesting piece of advice someone gave me recently, was to figure out what type of people I enjoyed spending my time with and then choose a career which attracted those people (since I would be spending the majority of my time with them).

When I was 18 I chose mechanic, (mostly Acura and Honda), because I enjoy working with my hands and solving problems. But after five years I found that I really didn't enjoy the culture, my body didn't enjoy being around the chemicals and back and neck didn't like the body positions required. The investment in tools (I spent about $25k) probably kept me at it longer than I would have. Being a "perfectionist", I was always frustrated at how unhappy people were with my work.

At 24 I learned to set tile, and at the time it seemed like it would just be a shorter term job, has evolved in to a good career (40 now) and certainly not one I ever thought of.  I enjoy the interactions with clients as well as the creative problem solving aspect. The flexibility in my schedule is great, (being self employed) and I like that the scenery changes and I get to use my body physically. Clients are happy to pay me and love to show off their new kitchens and bathrooms.

After 15 years in the trade, I now feel knowledgeable enough in some of the other trades to take on my own remodel projects (have fixed up two of my properties, tackling electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc...). While I plan to grow my business and stick with tile for now, I would feel pretty comfortable going many directions in construction (project management, slab fabrication, sales, trim carpentry, property management, contracting), if I needed/desired.

The recession hurt the construction industry pretty bad (industry fell from over 6% of GDB to less than 3%) for a few years things were really tight. It seemed to "weed" out those who couldn't stay in business. Now that construction is on the rise again, there seems to be a shortage of labor.

Feel free to contact me if you had specific questions, or wanted any connections with individuals in some of the other construction related trades (here in Colorado).

Sorry! Tile setter must have slipped through the cracks. Your mixed background sounds a lot like what I think my DH is going to go through. I honestly have my fingers crossed that the interview for the remodeling company goes well, since that would expose him to a huge variety of skills at once. Then, if he decides he likes any one particular thing more, that would be awesome. Or, maybe he finds out he likes remodeling houses. Who knows? I don't, and neither does he.

Huge thanks on the offer for specific questions answered. If he or I do have any, I'll definitely take you up on it. Chances are he won't be looking for connections anytime soon, but hopefully the offer will stand. :)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 06:26:25 PM by KaylaEM »

RunHappy

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2014, 06:34:47 PM »
When I started reading this I thought my friend wrote it about her husband, then I got to the age :)

Her husband was exactly that, homeschooled, GED.  He became an electrician and is extremely good at his job.  He has steady work, decent hours (6am-2pm) which allows him to pick up the kids from school, or take a couple of small side jobs if he wants.

Justinofboulder

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2014, 07:45:01 PM »
I hope the interview goes well also. If not, the offer is open any time.

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: What professional trade would you choose, and why?
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2014, 08:00:06 PM »
I'd do welding.  I'm a hobbyist welder, but I have several friends that do it full time.  They started out generalists, but over time have specialized in different things.  One is a custom bicycle frame builder (Aluminum and Titanium), another is a pressure vessel welder.

Both have steady income, plenty of on the job training opportunities, and both are constantly begging friends to come work with them because their companies can never hire enough good welders.

It's also a useful skill to have for side work, since while any yahoo can butcher carpentry, plumbing, or electrical... most DIY heros won't try welding their skidder back together.  Metal stuff always breaks and needs fixing.