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A school project on getting into the trades

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Hey all, some of you might remember me from the discussion I posted titled "where do I start" last April.
Well I have been assigned to make a poster presentation on why getting into the trades is a great career option instead of going to college. I have been looking for some good sources on this topic, as proper citation ad a big part of the grading. A whole bunch of people have already given me a few during the last few months, which have helped me out tremendously. I already have written down my Ideas on getting into plumbing & HVAC, but I hope to shed some light on all the other paths like the Electrician, Iron worker and more.
Thanks to anyone who helps me on this assignment, this will account the majority of my English grade this semester so I am working hard to hit the nail on the head!
I just earned my GED and am looking for a apprenticeship with one of these steam gurus on this site!
ttekushan_3

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,656
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    Have you checked on average earnings in the various trades? How about interviewing a few folks -- not dinosaurs, but younger men and women (particularly women if you can find them!) who are actually out there?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    luketheplumber
  • luketheplumber
    luketheplumber Member Posts: 149
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    @Jamie Hall Yes I have talked to a few men, unfortunately I don't know any women in the trade but that is a great idea.
    I probably should have mentioned that this isn't just a regular assignment, I will be working on this until thanksgiving. I have to turn in multiple papers and cite many sources for this.
    Thanks Jamie.
    I just earned my GED and am looking for a apprenticeship with one of these steam gurus on this site!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,109
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    You could look at some Mike Roe (Dirty Jobs guy) Utube and pod casts.
    He is doing things to promote the trades.
    He even offers a scholarship to people willing to go into the trades.
    luketheplumber
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,967
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    Yes go the the Mike Rowe site. https://www.mikeroweworks.org/ He’ll have all the data, information, facts and figures you’ll need. What school and town are you in?
    luketheplumber
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,607
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    Beyond encouraging young folks to get into the trades, I like to direct them to the most lucrative and rewarding areas of work.
    "Don't be a commodity" is the first piece of advise. Sure, there are plenty of jobs for all trades building tract homes. The problem is that labor in that sector is simple supply and demand. If tract homes are your only skillset, you can count on lower wages and going on unemployment every time there is a downturn.

    Specializing is the key. Controls programmers, recommissioning technicians, steam specialists, elevator mechanics and master troubleshooters can name their price and live well in the trades.

    Aside from the technical side of the job, learning as much as possible about business and sales is super valuable.

    Anyone, in any job that doesn't think they are in sales is going to be very limited in their career. I know guys that are super bright and are excellent troubleshooters, the problem is they don't relate well with customers and "sell" their solutions. Some incompetent technician who is a great salesman usually steps in and throws an ugly band aid on it.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbesluketheplumberttekushan_3STEVEusaPA
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,107
    edited October 2020
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    "Don't be a commodity"

    Bingo!
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • motoguy128
    motoguy128 Member Posts: 393
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    Also factor in benefits or lack thereof. A $50k Corporate office job probably compensates the equal of $70k in the trades after you add in health insurance, disability, and life and 401k matching. On the flip side, you might get use of a company vehicle so you might save on a car payment and expenses, have a shorter commute, and overall work less hours.

    I left a well paying corporate job because of the commute, hours, stress, and boredom. I could never actually “fix” things. Just fight fires, manage budgets and be an adult babysitter. 50% of my supervisors/managers/directors were emotionally ill suited to their roles and made terrible bosses.

    When in college, they don’t tell you that you’ll spend 95% of your time communicating and planning and 5% of your time designing, fixing or doing anything technical. Probably not as bad for some dedicated positions like a computer programmer, structure engineer or designer of some kind.
    luketheplumber
  • motoguy128
    motoguy128 Member Posts: 393
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    I’ll confirm what was said about sales. I’m transitioning into management/ownership Of a very small HVAC company I work for and sales and customer relation is 50% of the job. Fortunately I like that part. I “wasted” 20 minutes yesterday touring an old home a customer was renovating, beyond The scope of the job. I shared some of what I had learned working on my own home... which was just a 1/2 mile away. Guess which contractor she will likely pick in 10 years when her two furnaces fail? So 20 minutes might have provided $$$$ in gross profits. Plus possible referrals. Traditional advertising doesn’t do much in a small town. Referrals get you most of your work.
    Zmanluketheplumber
  • luketheplumber
    luketheplumber Member Posts: 149
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    @JUGHNE
    @pecmsg
    That's one of my top sources for my project.
    @Zman
    @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Zman said:


    "Don't be a commodity"

    Definitely writing that one down for the papers and presentation!
    I have a question about what you said on specializing. So your sayin basically that you don't recommend becoming a handyman?
    What are your thoughts about leaning both Plumbing & HVAC?
    Would you still recommend sticking on only one or do you think someone could master both?
    @motoguy128
    I definitely could never see myself or some people I know sitting in an office all day.
    I also learned about customer relations when I worked for a local plumbing company last year. My boss knew countless small businesses in the downtown area as well as many people in my neighborhood (including me and my family). his kindness was a huge part of what brought in costumers. I am still sad that his company had to let me go during the corona, he is a great guy and I am thinking of going back to him one all this corona chaos ends.
    I just earned my GED and am looking for a apprenticeship with one of these steam gurus on this site!
  • luketheplumber
    luketheplumber Member Posts: 149
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    Thank you all for your great advice on this, you all have been a great help.
    I have another question on this.
    are there any good books written by @DanHolohan or anyone else on this site that provide good info about staring out?
    I just earned my GED and am looking for a apprenticeship with one of these steam gurus on this site!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Not a book, but perhaps helpful. 
    https://heatinghelp.com/blog/tracks-and-animals/
    I’m proud of you for doing this. It needs more doing. Thanks. 
    Retired and loving it.
    luketheplumberttekushan_3SlamDunk
  • luketheplumber
    luketheplumber Member Posts: 149
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    @DanHolohan
    This article is perfect for what I am doing. Thank you so much!
    I just earned my GED and am looking for a apprenticeship with one of these steam gurus on this site!
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,389
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    Hi @luketheplumber , This might be just a ramble, but my take on working with your hands and brain are; begin by being a sponge for knowledge (which I think you're doing!). It's just fine to know a little about a lot of things. Try to understand the properties of all materials. That way, you'll understand how you can get creative and still do work that holds up. It's a great start to becoming an ace troubleshooter also. Then, specialize! I did so with hot water and became that guy that everyone pointed to when there was a problem to fix. Even a seemingly narrow field like hot water involves the need to understand a bunch of things like flow, heat transfer, corrosion, system design and interactions, metals, history, regional differences, and even more technical stuff.

    Then there are the human interaction skills to master. Knowing how to really listen is a big one. I've long had this belief that if I take care of others, I'll be taken care of. I know it sounds woo-woo, but it has never failed me. My reputation is very good, I have no enemies and no worries about making an income. Also, I try to teach people rather than sell them anything. The words out of a teacher's and a salesperson's mouth may be exactly the same, but the motivation is different. I'm comfortable teaching, because the motivation is being helpful. I know it's thought to be a cliche, but get yourself a copy of the book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Get an old hardcover copy by Dale Carnegie. It's basically a book on how to be a better human. Here's a long link: https://used.addall.com/SuperRare/UsedRare.cgi?title=&author=&title=how+to+win+friends+and+influence+people&keyword=&isbn=&exclude=&binding=Any+Binding&min=&max=&dispCurr=USD&order=Title&ordering=ASC&match=Y&timeout=15&store=ABAA&store=Alibris&store=Abebooks&store=AbebooksAU&store=AbebooksDE&store=AbebooksFR&store=AbebooksUK&store=Amazon&store=AmazonCA&store=AmazonUK&store=AmazonDE&store=AmazonFR&store=Antiqbook&store=Biblio&store=BiblioUK&store=Booksandcollectibles&store=Ebay&store=EbayUK&store=EbayFR&store=LRB&store=ZVAB&via=used
    That's probably enough rambling for one sitting :p

    Yours, Larry
    luketheplumberttekushan_3
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    @luketheplumber, I’m glad I could help. Thanks. 


    Retired and loving it.
    luketheplumber
  • DYI
    DYI Member Posts: 12
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    This great NY Times article comes to mind.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/magazine/24labor-t.html
    luketheplumber
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    @DYI that article is perfect. Thanks. 
    Retired and loving it.
    luketheplumber
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 930
    edited October 2020
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    Read many times the post/answer by @Larry Weingarten on October 4th. He is spot on, especially his comments about being a sponge for knowledge and specializing on a particular part of the whole. Also, read the posts of all the other guys since they all come from their own specialities and offer great advice.

    Let me add a few comments or recommendations from my time as a service tech and installer of steam and hot water boilers in the commercial and industrial field.

    Do not be afraid to teach your customers how their systems operate and never, never lie to a customer. Many times the customers I dwelt with did not like the answer I gave them to a question they asked but they knew the answer I gave was correct and as accurate as possible. Those people would always purchase replacement equipment, parts or service on anything I recommended and would rarely get a competitive bid.

    As far as a paycheck is concerned and I am not bragging but I was paid well for what I knew and did, and in many cases was paid more than say a teacher with a masters degree.

    So what ever profession you choose, learn as much as you can and do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for help on a problem. Read every book you can find on the profession you choose. Education and knowledge is everything.

    my 2 cents
    luketheplumberLarry Weingarten
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,084
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    Hey all, some of you might remember me from the discussion I posted titled "where do I start" last April.
    Well I have been assigned to make a poster presentation on why getting into the trades is a great career option instead of going to college. I have been looking for some good sources on this topic, as proper citation ad a big part of the grading. A whole bunch of people have already given me a few during the last few months, which have helped me out tremendously. I already have written down my Ideas on getting into plumbing & HVAC, but I hope to shed some light on all the other paths like the Electrician, Iron worker and more.
    Thanks to anyone who helps me on this assignment, this will account the majority of my English grade this semester so I am working hard to hit the nail on the head!

    @luketheplumber Just A thought. If it were me , I would change the language in my report.That is If you are considering using the word "instead" as you do above. Maybe replace the word instead with "as an alternative to". May seem trivial but it leaves open the choice to attend a place of higher learning in the future.
    The person grading you will find that you are more open minded.
    Best of luck with your project. You have a great attitude.
    luketheplumber
  • luketheplumber
    luketheplumber Member Posts: 149
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    @pecmsg I am in Durham NC going to a tiny private school called Camelot Academy. Its a great little pace to learn and they also do a ton of hands on learning on their farm property.

    getting a little off topic but the school is located in a really cool old historic mansion with the original single pipe steam system with a 1972 Burnham boiler, unfortunately they only use the boiler when it gets too cold for the heat pumps.
    Here is also a link to a page on the history of the place if anyone wants to read it.
    http://www.opendurham.org/buildings/foushee-house
    I just earned my GED and am looking for a apprenticeship with one of these steam gurus on this site!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    What a wonderful history. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.
    Retired and loving it.
    luketheplumber
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,389
    edited December 2020
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    Hi @luketheplumber , Is there any chance of our seeing the report you did? I'm also wondering if it could be used as the basis for an article for a trade journal. You could be a published author! B)

    Yours, Larry
    luketheplumber
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Well done, Luke! 
    Retired and loving it.
    luketheplumber
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
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    Way to go @luketheplumber!

    I'm in Durham myself. We use one of the larger plumbing companies in Durham. One day, recently, a seasoned plumber was giving a lesson to an apprentice being lowered into a sewer to jet one of our lines.

    The apprentice asked why he was always the one doing all the sewer jetting? The plumber replied, " Because You have to show them (the mgmt) what you are willing to do. Not what you can do. You can do anything but you shouldn't be willing to do any thing."

    I thought that was a lesson worthy of a master's degree! I wish I had heard that at the beginning of my career, not the near end of it. Best of luck to you!

    luketheplumber
  • luketheplumber
    luketheplumber Member Posts: 149
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    @Larry Weingarten
    https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/194sm_mJuXVZS0b0CVtpuUgJGE57vRiHiWJXcxGfcrYI/edit#slide=id.p
    yeah that would be cool if this was uses as a basis for an article but unfortunately I don't have the time to get into that at the moment. I have been falling behind in school and have a lot of makeup work to do. I'm struggling with this online "learning" environment, Its just not working for me. I hope I can get everything back together as well as get inside of a physical classroom and start learning again.
    @SlamDunk
    wow I didn't think that there was any other boiler geeks in this town.
    As an apprentice plumber I am the one who gets all the **** work but I have a stomach of steel and can handle it. I'm also the one who gets shoved in the crawlspace not just because I'm the apprentice, but because I'm 6 ft 4 and about 170 pounds. Either way I'd rather do this type of work for free than work at a fast food place or something like that.
    If you ever need another set of hands with any handy work and especially your boiler, keep me in mind. I am always up to work hard and learn a few things on the way.
    I just earned my GED and am looking for a apprenticeship with one of these steam gurus on this site!
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,389
    edited December 2020
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    Hi @luketheplumber , Google in its wisdom denied me access to your work. Can you post it some other way? Also, A little story: I wrote a book on servicing water heaters back in 1992. Having done that opened doors I didn't even know existed! People contacted me from all over the world. They wanted my help or thoughts on hot water. People became willing to wait for three months for me to come work on their stuff. I was asked to give talks by local cities and energy folks. Utilities that have a policy of not recommending anybody would recommend me. It's just amazing what happens when you step out a bit and help people.
    So, do what you need to do to get caught up, but please do consider writing. There is no grand hurry. You could do it next month or next year. I and others here could probably help.
    We get so much more information when dealing with others in person. I don't think much of Zoom for real communication. So, I feel your pain!

    Yours, Larry
    luketheplumber
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
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    Will have to wait until you are out of high school. If you go to college, or community college, hit me up.

    Hopefully, our internship program fires up after COVID!
    Erin Holohan Haskell