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Old 11-09-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
ncz
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


Hello All,

I am a new member to this site and am beginning my journey in the construction trades. I am posting this in hopes of finding some direction where to go. I was planning on beginning a plumbing apprenticeship but guess I am having some second thoughts, I am not sure this is what I want to pursue. I love the idea of being a carpenter, being able to look at the whole and say I built that, but the pay seems relatively lousy, work seems harder to come by and I don't see it being as useful for repair and remodel (aside from cabinetmaking, drywall and occasional add on/partitions). I do really like the idea of plumbing, but it doesn't seem as gratifying to me. I have had high hopes of green construction in the past, and with that I believe plumbing would be a good route, it is essential in green building. I have also given electrical work some thought, but been scared off by both dealing with electricity and higher marks in math (not that I am bad just can't seem to recall anything from high school). I have a little interest in stonemasonry but laying bricks all day just doesn't sound like my kind of thing. As you can see I have a lot on my mind, my life is rapidly changing and I am hoping to find a new career path soon.

Thank you,
NCZ

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Old 11-09-2010, 03:45 PM   #2
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


Good luck!

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Old 11-09-2010, 07:26 PM   #3
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


Thanks? I don't know that that helped at all but thanks for the support.

OT??? Thanks mods...
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:19 PM   #4
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


You want us to tell you what to do? Homework?
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:23 PM   #5
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


I was just hoping for some peoples advice and how they figured out their passions. I guess I am in the wrong place.

Last edited by ncz; 11-09-2010 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:46 PM   #6
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


I started my career as a roofer. I loved it. Worked on roofs for 8 or 9 years and I loved every minute of it. Visual gratification, great money, nice tan. I got mad at my employer and left the company for a MUCH lower paying job as a carpenter until I could find another good paying roofing job. For the first 4 or 5 months I hated being a carpenter. Then I started learning how to build. Not just pound 2x4's together, but really BUILD. How to layout framing, build stairs, hand frame roofs. I gradually built my knowledge, and now I own a small remodeling company. In my opinion, once you learn how to build a structure from the ground up, everything else (except electrical and mechanicals), is really easy to learn.

Now I frame, roof, side, trim, hang rock, every day is different.

The nice thing about framing is that you get to learn what other trades need to accomplish their jobs and frame accordingly, thus increasing your overall knowledge. The bad is that the pay is rediculously low right now.

The nice thing about remodeling is that your job changes constantly, sometimes on a daily basis. The bad thing is that because of this, it generally takes a long time to learn anything substantial because you are never at 1 type of task long enough to master it.

All in my opinion. Take from this whatever you decide to. Hop I could be of help.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:53 PM   #7
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


Eis, thank you very much, that was more along the lines of what I am looking for. I think I want to go into carpentry, but am planning on trying to find some contractors who will let me follow them and help out where I can. I have heard lots of people say HVAC is the route to take because of certifications required, but I really feel that carpentry makes the most sense to me and will help me understand the whole much better, maybe I will progress into another field but I feel that is really the place to begin.

I truly appreciate your advice and input and give you much thanks.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:43 AM   #8
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


My two cents - do something that you enjoy doing. Money is secondary to job satisfaction. I know that sounds a little corny and cliche and happiness doesn't help with paying the bills, but doing a job you don't enjoy just to earn a little more money will eventually suck the life out of you and make you miserable.

From what you wrote, it sounds like you like most aspects of building in general, so you sound like a general contractor in the making. Maybe talk to a contractor or two and find out how they got started in that line?
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:29 AM   #9
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


Quote:
Originally Posted by ncz View Post
Hello All,

I am a new member to this site and am beginning my journey in the construction trades. I am posting this in hopes of finding some direction where to go. I was planning on beginning a plumbing apprenticeship but guess I am having some second thoughts, I am not sure this is what I want to pursue. I love the idea of being a carpenter, being able to look at the whole and say I built that, but the pay seems relatively lousy, work seems harder to come by and I don't see it being as useful for repair and remodel (aside from cabinetmaking, drywall and occasional add on/partitions). I do really like the idea of plumbing, but it doesn't seem as gratifying to me. I have had high hopes of green construction in the past, and with that I believe plumbing would be a good route, it is essential in green building. I have also given electrical work some thought, but been scared off by both dealing with electricity and higher marks in math (not that I am bad just can't seem to recall anything from high school). I have a little interest in stonemasonry but laying bricks all day just doesn't sound like my kind of thing. As you can see I have a lot on my mind, my life is rapidly changing and I am hoping to find a new career path soon.

Thank you,
NCZ
Do what you ENJOY doing and you are good at. Only YOU can decide that. Stick with your decision and don't jump around. Pay would be second to me if I am making a decent living and enjoying it.---You could become an old man and still serching
I am a 65 years old Tool$Die Maker and mechanic. I am living comfortable and enjoyed my trade skills. If I had it to do over, I would have added Electrician. Too late for that but I enjoy doing electrical work
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:12 PM   #10
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


I have been installing flooring for almost 40 years. It's hard work and tough on you physically but I love it. I was a certified auto mechanic before that. Grew up helping my dad who was a GC. You may just have to try several thing to decide what you really like.
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:26 PM   #11
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


The advice about liking what you do is right on the money. While I'm not in a trade per se, pest control does require continuing education, assessing and solving problems from start to finish, new people and situations all the time.

The money isn't great unless and until you get into self-employment or government work. I did pest control for the federal government prior to self-employment; the people I worked with were loud, arrogant, lazy with an inflated self-image. Can't believe that I stayed there as long as I did. They paid well, lots of time off and no one expected much. Sounds good until you try it-boredom isn't much of a living.

Professional growth opportunities occur to me because of interacting with others in pest control, mainly through professional trade associations. I encourage you to join. You will meet people that will not necessarily be your competition. Early in my self-employment, various operators sub-contracted work to me, or hired me to help on bigger jobs. Win-Win for all (except the termites).

You are asking good questions; most would just get a job and see what happens. Keep looking ahead, and remember to plan for later on when your energy level isn't what it is now, or Lord forbid a limiting injury. Keep learning. Good luck to you.
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:35 PM   #12
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Beginning the trades, need some direction


Whatever you do, don’t quit school to pound a nail.

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