The Trades

About seven years ago I was having a conversation with my roommate at the time about employment. He was working as a salesman for a company called Sysco that provides foodstuffs for restaurants all over the States, and apparently according to their website around the globe as well. I was working as an inspector and QA certification “guy” for a company that fabricated aircraft windows and provided specialized machining processes, and we both were pretty happy with our work. The thing is we were obviously working in two completely different fields that had only one common denominator amongst the two:

-We were the youngest in our selected fields by DECADES.

Eventually the output from the conversation was the very reasoning behind our individual choices to get into our chosen line of work, and that was because we saw great earning potential in each as well as an “eeeew, manual labor” mentality amongst the people in our generation, thus leaving the field wide open for advancement with no real competition from persons newly minted to the applicable work force as there WERE NONE. Yes this is a positive spin on a pretty horrible trend, as selected sectors at the time that formed the backbone of the US, such as truck driving (average age at the time was around 55, but don’t quote me on that) and licensed tradesmen, had no infusion of new blood into the ranks, and their years of experience and knowledge was out the door when these veterans of their fields retired, but for us it was an undiscovered boon.

I eventually ended up in the construction industry and have seen that same trend in this field as well, one where people my age would rather be behind a computer creating virtual renderings of the final product (sorry Chris) than directly participate in the construction process. I find it pretty horrible when you are a leader in your field not by merit, but by default as no one else is doing the work.


Apparently that is now changing. Yeah, we all read about how higher edu-mication is hurting from low enrollment blah blah BLAH and how our public schools are producing slightly-retarded and functionally illiterate kids, but there is something else happening in education that I feel has not gotten the spotlight that it truly deserves.

SIGNIFICANTLY more kids are attending agriculture schools.

This college saw a 46.6% INCREASE in enrollment that is primarily being attributed to workforce training programs.

Shop classes are making a resurgence in High Schools due to parental and student demand.

My take on this? -Let’s say you had a job that was created during a fiscal boom being the ribbon quality tester at a basket weaving company that payed a ridiculous amount for someone to say that yes indeed this bow meets the “pretty” standard and was eliminated partially due to employer cutbacks AS WELL AS THE FACT THAT IT IS A STUPID JOB. You think that same type of employment will be available out in the open market?

Let me give you a couple of SIX MONTHS to look.


Huh What? Alright, I’m awake. -Given up yet?


-Realized that you might need a career change to something that is a little more viable, and that you might not be able to use your degree in Ribbon Beautification to get it, thus requiring you to get more edu-mication?

Well blow me down, you actually did! You enrolled in one of those technical colleges that you used to turn your nose up to when they advertised on the television! Hey, did you know that if you would have done that initially you would not only currently have a job, but would have potentially garnered experience and respect in your field?

-Some of us did…


About Old Iron
I'm just a guy that works overseas alot and likes to play just as hard as I work. Been to a FEW countries, know a shitload of people all over, and generally have a good time wherever I go. -Oh, and I am currently in between girlfriends, and strangely enough and perfectly happy with that status. In the long run hookers are cheaper. Take my word on that.

2 Responses to The Trades

  1. ~KC~ says:

    Damn. There you go mocking my Ribbon -Beautification-Sayer job.

    The trend is the same out here.
    And its about damn time too.

  2. Buck says:

    Good news, indeed. Mike Rowe may have something to do with the trend, as well. I love that guy.

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