I've been thinking a lot lately about going into a blue collar field. I've personally been thinking about an electrician or plumber. I've done both of these things on a limited basis and find joy in the type of work. I enjoy having a set plan for knowing what I need to do, being able to complete projects and see my work, and also have the moment of satisfaction at the end when you see it all come together or that light bulb turn on.I've also read the book "Shop Class as Soul Craft" and listened to Mike Rowe, neither of those has made me want to do this any less.
My first two jobs since I got out of college have both been in the business field. Sitting in front of a computer and doing basically the same thing everyday. I feel kind of lost and bored after a while. I don't want to just keep bouncing from job to job. Should I make the jump and try to pursue a job in a skilled trade, or have I just fallen in love with the romanticism of working with my hands and wanting to do a more manly job?
Also would it be dumb to switch to a blue collar position in this down economy?
I have mixed opinions of your question. I feel that after a while, the electrical work will feel like "the same thing," doing something as a hobby and doing it as a profession are two separate entities, and be careful.
On the other hand, when I graduated high school, my commencement speaker told us "If you love your job you'll never work a day in your life."
Do what you love, and love what you do, as I tell my friends who are still in college.
doing something as a hobby and doing it as a profession are two separate entities, and be careful.
Well said. It's sad when someone loves their hobby and then decides to convert it to a profession and then comes to loathe it.
I used to love buying, restoring, honing and collecting straight razors. Once I had about 300 of them I started selling them off. I enjoyed that for a while and even thought about opening an internet store. In the end, though, it ruined my enjoyment of it.
Now I have one razor that I use every day. I still have a few of the more valuable or memorable pieces but I'm over my case of RAD.
That is a very important and personal or family decision depending on your situation. I've always felt one must like what they do for a living but also have to be a good or adequate provider and plan for the future. Your interests are in cyclical industries so be wary of a career change. I'm not saying don't do it; your fields can be lucrative but much like the real estate business one must plan for the inevitable downturn. The only reason I illustrate with real estate is that it is trendy and I've talked with some in the profession. The seasoned realtors have persevered the novices were eaten alive. As for deciding between the two I had a neighbor that was an electrician and made good money when construction was booming then was looking for work. Luckily he has his C-10 (California license for a particular type of electrical skill) to help tide him over. Plumbing is dirty work, but hey clogged drains don't know what a cyclical economy is and people love to pour hot fat down a drain on Thanksgiving or Christmas day making a demand for this profession. Do your homework first and have an exit strategy but most of all be happy in what you do. Good luck in your chosen profession.
Thank you all for the input. For the time being I am attempting to get a position outside of the sales field. I believe I will be happier being removed from the straight commission mindset. As far as trade or blue collar work goes I am planning on trying to increase my knowledge in these fields either through night or weekend classes or by trying to increase my hobby time that I can spend on them.
You actually might be in a pretty sweet spot... If you love doing the blue collar work then go for it. To be honest, you'll contribute more to society than the rest of us pencil pushers. Here is the best part... If you have business skills gained from your white collar job, which it sounds like you do, then you can eventually blend the blue collar with the white collar. I have friends that are very successful plumbing company owners but could be more successful if they had business skills. How much better could you do that with your business training? There is no shame in working with your hands. You could eventually run a company and then still go on a service call from time to time to do what you enjoy.
I've been a glazier since 1981. On my own since 2003. Quitting now, retiring and leaving before I want to, due to almost a complete stoppage of available work and increased government regulation. Just doesn't pay to stay in business.
Ya all keep paying that Social Security, I'll be collecting soon. Thanks.
I think that "pursuing your passion" and "doing what you love" is poor advice. I really do enjoy my job as a whole, but there's no getting around it--commercial construction plumbing is hard work and often not very fun. What I enjoy about it is the challenge, both mental and physical. There is a lot of logic and problem-solving involved. And there is also the dual challenge inherent in perfecting the details of a craft (See the book, "Craftsmanship" by Richard Sennett).
I disagree with T Will that working in the trades will come to feel like "the same thing". While there is repetition in the work I do, it is the kind of repetition that requires concentration and attention to detail. That is part of craftsmanship. Also, the tasks I do change frequently enough not to become overly tedious. In construction plumbing, we do underground piping for a few days or couple weeks, then it's on to vents, then water, gas, etc. And more often than not, I have to go on service calls periodically, or there are multiple jobsites going at once, so it doesn't become monotonous. Another key to keeping it from becoming excessively routine is the fact that each job involves its own set of problems to solve and requires an entirely new creative process. Good plumbers don't just throw up the pipe; they strive to make the piping systems as integrated and elegant in looks as they are in function.
These are just some thoughts I've had in the course of what I call my "experiments in applied philosophy".
pursuing white collar education work right now. Truth be told I'm considering blue collar work my self as a plumber.
I hate being inside, I prefer hard busy work that I can see progress. I like being around people and serving the community. So for me if I was not so far along in my current degree I would change to a skill set.
I might take some class's along the way.