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Changing Careers - Taking the Leap

mikeg2015
mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,181
After 15+ years of working mostly in heavy manufacturing and industrial, and 10 years of that in Facilities engineering and maintenance, I’ve decided that middle management and the corporate world are not for me. At the first of the year, despite limited hands on field experience and not formal vocation training I’m going to work as a HVAC service technician with the future opportunity to take over the small residential and light commercial HVAC business when the owner retires. I’m really excited.

I think I was one of those kids in high school that because I tested well, was successful academically, the assumption was I needed to go to college. It’s sort of an arrogant, elitist notion that all “good students” go to college and somehow trades are for everyone else... the non academics. I think looking at my personality and what I enjoyed doing growing up, that was a mistake. I hope there’s a steady shift in this country and rewards skilled craftsman and those in the trades equally or higher to “run of the mill” college degrees. OR more importantly, doesn’t attempt to rank different career paths. I’ve never considered myself a socialist, but I respect the notion that everyone in society has a purpose and all jobs are nessesary and important and only when combined we all suceed. Rising tide, raises all ships. You are only as good as your weakest link. A million business management graduates can’t fix plumbing, install HVAC, or wire up the infrastructure needed to power society.
CLambethicalpaul

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,338
    Best of luck! Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,181
    Southeast Iowa. Right on the Missouri and Illinois borders. A river town.
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,181
    Unfortunately I think most have removed their steam and hot water systems. Most medium to larger homes build before 1920 had them. About everything built before 1900 was steam I think.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 3,991
    Rock on! I used to have more insecurities about my high school education, but I’ve let those feelings subside some. The trades have treated me quite well. Best of luck, I guarantee you’ll never stop learning. If you do——well that’s a day you stopped trying
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
    ethicalpaulBradHotNColdRich_49
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,540
    @mikeg2015 ,

    Good Luck!!

    I have been at it 46 years and it still feels like I know about 1/10 of what I should know. The possibilities on the direction you want to go in are endless.

    If you have the opportunity of learning from and taking over a company that's exciting.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,338
    mikeg2015 said:

    Unfortunately I think most have removed their steam and hot water systems. Most medium to larger homes build before 1920 had them. About everything built before 1900 was steam I think.

    That's what I kept hearing about Baltimore. They were wrong.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ethicalpaul
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,454
    The tech side is the easy part. The customers are the real challenge.
    Don't be a commodity. Don't get into bidding wars with knuckleheads. Remember that what you do is better than better 90% of the companies out there. Those guys are not your competition.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    DZoroRich_49
  • Voyager
    Voyager Member Posts: 256
    Good luck! Your views are not “socialist” at all, but simply American. People willing to work hard and continuously learn will always find employment.

    Even though I have 8 years of college myself, one of my favorite shows was Dirty Jobs and Mike Rowe was one of my favorite show hosts. I got to hear him speak at an electric cooperative conference in Seattle a couple of years ago (I am on the board of directors of three electric companies, two of which are co-ops). He was the same “in person” as on TV. And his message resonated with nearly everyone in the room.

    I agree 100% with his movement to try and steer more young people into the skilled trades. I am not knocking college as my engineering degrees and career were very good to me, but college is not for everyone nor are the jobs suited for college graduates for everyone. I have always been curious about all things mechanical and electrical and chemical and continue to learn even after retiring from the corporate world.

    The main reason I designed and installed my own heating system (all except the pex in the slab) was simply for the challenge of learning about it (The Taco FloPro University and Coffee with Caleffi videos are fantastic) and doing the hands on work, which I have always enjoyed. If you aren’t happy in your current career, then I think you are making the right move. I remember many years ago watching a show about a doctor who left the medical field to become an OTR truck driver. He seemed very happy with his decision. Good luck!
    mikeg2015VAsparkyCLamb
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,700
    Bid to low and you don't make money. Bid too high and you don't get any work. The fair price is the best price.
    Intplm.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 3,991
    aaggghhhh you said the word “bid”
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
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