Finding the Trade that’s Right for You! (Construction & Labor)

If you’re fresh out of high school or looking for a hobby and you’re still struggling to find the trade that fits your personality and character, then I will supply a list of questions to assist. By the time you’re done reading this blog post, my hope is that you’ll either know what you want to do or you’ll now what you DON’T want to do, which is a great start!

  1. Do you like working indoors or outdoors? This is the first question you should ask because if you’re an outdoor person then you definitely don’t want to be welding deep down in the bilges of a navy ship, and if you’re an outdoor person then you definitely don’t want to be on rooftops installing HVAC or roofing tiles. Maybe you want a balance of the two and so something like carpentry where some days you work outside and some days you work inside is perfect for you.
  2. Do you like to stay physically active, or do you feel comfortable conserving your energy for after work? If you’re someone who likes to get up and go, go, go then something physically demanding like laying concrete or chopping down trees should be more suitable than plumbing or welding where you’re more often than not sitting in one spot for long periods of time.
  3. Do you like the freedom of working alone, or do you like working with a team? This question may not pinpoint the exact trade you want, but it will give you an idea of where you may want to work. For example something like welding can be both independent or team-based. If you work in a metal shop with others, you’ll have company throughout the day. But if you’re a mobile welder you may find yourself working alone a lot, and that’s what a lot of people look forward to. Some trades require teamwork, like installing railings. Others don’t, like plumbing and electrical work.
  4. Do you want to travel with your work, or stick to your hometown? Many people come out of high school dreaming of a career where they get to travel around the world. Others simply love their city or town so much they’d never dream of leaving. If you want to stay where you are then you need to look at what kind of trades flourish in your area. For example if you live in an urban area, you can say goodbye to being a lumberjack. If you live deep in the mainland away from bodies of water, you can say goodbye to underwater welding. But something like underwater welding is perfect for someone who wishes to travel with their work. Other careers enable traveling, too, especially when you become a master at what you do and people abroad seek your services. Being a specialist race-car mechanic who can do what no others can may have you travelling to all kinds of places.

Take the time you need to make sure you answer these questions thoroughly, and you may find that something out there is just right for you! If at the end of this exercise you’re feeling unmotivated and doubtful, learn how to recruit yourself the Bob Allen way!

Not Taking Care of Tools is like Designing Technology to Break Down

Major manufacturers of cars, phones and many other devices are known to release new models of their products every year because they’re hoping customers will see the older models as obsolete and spend more money. Just think of how many times your friends or children go through new I-phones. This is called consumerism, and many products in stores are designed to malfunction over time so that you’re forced to spend more and more money down the road. This is a scary idea to wrap your head around, but it’s true. Car makers make more money by making cars that are NOT built to last, and the sad truth is that this concept can be directly related to our construction tools and the philosophy many of us have about them.

For direct contrast and comparison think of the old pioneers and settlers of America who lived 200 years ago. Did you know hours and hours of work went into the blacksmithing of a single shovel and never would you see one of these pioneers abusing a shovel because he knew he could just buy another one for $10 at the store!

Children today are so used to the idea that its no big deal if something breaks because it can be replaced so easily. In fact, they EXPECT things to break and not last long! I worry about this because today’s consumerism culture is putting a heavy strain on certain resources and also all the malfunctioned junk we replace ends up filling our landfills, which causes further problems for the third world countries that have to deal with our garbage.

Now I don’t want to make this some liberal speech about saving the planet, I just want to make a good comparison between abusing tools and today’s consumerism philosophy because I believe when you buy a tool it should stick in the family. I was raised using all the tools my grandfather used and it just disgusts me to see young men today going through 4 models of the same tool when I’m still using one that’s over 100 years old. I think if the planet could talk it would agree with me when I say today’s consumerism culture is SO WASTEFUL!

So what is my advice? I suggest that when you go to buy tools for yourself or for your children that you spend the extra money to get the best quality tool because then it’ll last forever with a warranty and you’ll end up saving more money down the road when you consider never having to replace it twenty times, and also you can feel good knowing that you’re combating this disgusting philosophy in our society that says “being wasteful is okay.”

I often think about what archaeologists must think about ancient Rome when they’re digging up ridiculous technology we consider obsolete. I think about this because it makes me laugh when I wonder about archaeologists thousands of years from now who dig up all of Canada and America’s garbage and say “Oh my gosh, these cultures were so stupid!” Frankly, I would have to agree with them.

So don’t be one of those blind consumers, and take good care of your tools! Thank you!

Don’t Do Everything Yourself – Even If You’re A Jack-of-all-Trades!

Today’s lesson is important for old retired jack-of-all-trades who like to do EVERYTHING themselves around the house–you know who you are! Tough men who build houses for a living usually like to stay tough right until their senile years. Well, perhaps this tip of the day will help you become more efficient at completing your projects, and to illustrate I am going to use one of my own projects as an example.

I’m working on one of my houses in Langford, British Columbia, Canada, specifically working on rebuilding the deck because the original one was rotting under our feet–literally!

Not only was the deck rotting, but much of the support structure under the house was rotting as well, which is why I got this corner of the house on stilts, which you can see in the picture below.

Now before I tell the embarrassing story about how I tried to do everything myself and paid dearly for it, let me tell you that blessings come in all shapes and sizes and, well, sometimes getting the right help exactly when you need it is the best blessing of all.

So what is my embarrassing story?–the perfect example of why you shouldn’t do everything yourself? Well, I nearly had the biggest scare in my life as the entire corner of my house started to sag and droop before my eyes like an excited little boy on the end of a teeter-totter. I was by myself as I took out one of the most important structural beams holding my house up and I swear an angel must’ve come down from heaven to hold the house in place for just long enough for me to get a jack in there. You can see the jack in the picture, the black one … it looks cute but remember that thing was keeping my whole house stable for a few hours until I managed to get that one support beam in place.

This experience nearly gave me a heart attack and when I looked in the mirror that night I promised myself I would never again try to do everything myself. My project requires building a new deck and fixing up all the landscaping around this side of the house so I was wondering what kind of business in Langford I could hire to see the job done. Not often will you find a deck building company that also does landscaping but I managed to find the perfect one. These guys at All In One Landscaping & Curbing Ltd. do everything and more than I needed, which is why I think they call themselves “all in one.” Now I know what you’re thinking, if you think anything like I did a few days ago: “what kind of coward asks for help!”

Well let me tell you that it actually took a lot of courage to ask these guys for help and now that my project is swinging quickly toward completion I don’t regret it one bit! Look at how far I need to extend the deck around the house and ask yourself how fun this would be to do all on your lonesome.

unfinished project

Now as a jack-of-all-trades don’t get me wrong. I know HOW to do all the stuff my auxilia is doing but I must admit it’s a great relief at my age to have younger helpers who also know what they’re doing. I forgot more than these guys know but that doesn’t mean their useless. I can sit back with a beer and watch as they do everything for me. Ah, now this is retirement!

I guess the lesson I’m trying to teach here is … just imagine what could have happened if I wasn’t quick enough to get the jack under the house when it was sagging. My whole house could’ve started sliding down the hill! Now that I have help all those worries are gone. And now that I’m a little used to asking for help it won’t be so hard to do again when the next project comes along. If you enjoy neat lessons like this related to construction trades then keep in touch with my blog for posts in the future!

And remember, it takes courage to ask for help!

Stay Motivated this Weekend!

We’ve been getting a few more readers than expected here and we must be grateful. This weekend I just want to make a brief post to help remind anyone out there who’s struggling with motivation to know that more often than not we each have a lot more energy than we realize and the only thing we must do to tap into it is give ourselves a positive attitude.

Having a positive attitude and making encouraging thoughts will tap into your reserves of energy. Just face it! You know it will be harder to get motivated if you’re constantly trying to make yourself believe that you have no energy.

never give up

Since most of us here work demanding physical jobs we might not have as much energy as someone whose been sleeping all week but if we make the decision for ourselves and our bodies we can surprise ourselves to know how much extra energy and motivation we really have if we can only think good thoughts that help to push us forwards!

How to Quit Smoking when You Work with Smokers

As someone who’s worked on countless construction sites I can vouch that construction workers, over all, like to smoke more than your typical person. I’m not saying that all construction workers smoke but it’s quite evident that you’re much more likely to find a smoker working in trades than you are to find one working in other fields of work like doctoring, nursing, police work, et cetera.

I managed to quit smoking many years ago while I was working full time with smokers. Now my friend is wondering how I did it and I thought maybe there’s others on the internet who could use some advice as well. So now let us begin!

How do you quit smoking when you work with a crew of smokers, and you always see them smoking everyday?

The answer is different for everyone, as some people have developed their willpower more than others, but there are still three universal tips that I believe could help anyone!

Tip 1: Be honest with your co-workers and let them know you’re trying to quit smoking cigarettes. If they’re unaware of your struggle, they may try to offer you a smoke or smoke in front of you more often. Now this tip may not work in every situation because some co-workers can be pretty immature and they won’t take you seriously. They may say something like “No one likes a quitter” or something worse like “You’ll never succeed!”

If you find that your co-workers aren’t willing to make things any easier for you then maybe talk to your boss and suggest working different shifts, suggest working with a different crew or maybe even take some vacation time away from work to get by those first few weeks of cravings out of the way. Once you come back to work after taking a break you’ll hopefully find that you have no desire to smoke because you already sacrificed so much to get this far.

Tip 2: Bring extra light snacks in your lunch bag to munch on whenever you get a craving, and, if you’re a coffee drinker, consider changing your beverage of choice to lessen further cravings. When I was struggling with cravings at work, watching and smelling people smoke right beside me, I would pull out a small bag of peanuts and munch on them until my craving went away, and I took a break from coffee because, you know, smokes and coffee go together like bread and butter. I found myself drinking organic teas and I ended up feeling a lot better about myself overall. Today I still don’t drink coffee that much for the same reason. I find that I already have all the energy I need because I’m no longer smoking.

For other ideas of snacks you can bring to work to settle your smoking cravings, consider pepperoni sticks, five-cent candies, dried fruit, chips, crackers, bananas, granola bars, anything to keep your lips and fingers busy until the craving goes away!

Tip 3: Start a journal or a daily planner and write down all the reasons why you want to quit smoking. While doing this you may surprise yourself because, no matter what, there are always way more reasons someone should quit than reasons why they should continue smoking. I managed to come up with nearly one hundred reasons, one of them being I get my taste buds back. Ah yes, I get to enjoy the full flavor of pizza now! Another one of my reasons was to smell better in public; I no longer get weird glances from strangers who smell something they don’t like. And perhaps the most convincing reason for me was health! Ever since I quit smoking I’ve been getting sick less often, my teeth have gotten whiter and even my skin and hair look younger!

The reason why you want to write this down in a journal or daily planner is because you want to be reminded of these reasons as much as possible. I use my daily planner everyday and so before work I was always reminded of all the reasons why I’m putting myself through these struggles. Now I only get a craving once every few months and this list of reasons is still useful today.

say no to smokes

I hope these tips help you!

And who knows? You may find that you become the hero at work and find ways to motivate your co-workers into also quitting cigarettes. Wouldn’t that be awesome! For more tips on staying motivated, we have a whole page dedicated to it. Thanks for visiting and see you next time with more tips and tricks for trades workers!

Tools You Never Use – Turn Them Into Art!

If you’re anything like me, an aspiring jack-of-all-trades, then you probably have a bunch of old tools lying around that you never use or hope to use one day. Owning any kind of tool is useful and so I don’t blame you for keeping them, nor do I blame myself. In fact, I’ve discovered a very neat and fun way to make your tools useful, even that one you know you’ll never, ever use!

How do I make all my useless tools useful? By presenting them as pieces of art in your living room, kitchen bathroom, bedrooms and hallways!

Tools for me are like cars or dolls for others: I just looove looking at them! Instead of flowers in my vases I have hammers and screw drivers. Above the lintel of my hallway door rests a rusty shovel, shining brilliantly like a medieval coat of arms. On the window sill above the kitchen sink are old single nuts and bolts displayed in an artistic fashion, many of them from the early 20th century and looking like artifacts from a steampunk universe.

How can you tell me these old tools don’t look beautiful? I’d rather have these wrenches displayed on my coffee table than a bowl of candy any day!

Some tools are bigger than others and so you can think of creative ways to present them as art. For example even an old toilet you uninstalled years ago but left around can be painted purple and re-installed on the roof of your shed. Imagine what people would think as they drove by and saw that! I know what I would think: “Whoever did that is one awesome person!”

I often see stuff like that when I’m driving about, and I can’t complain. Some people like to leave old 19th-century farm equipment in their front lawn to give a country aesthetic. Others like to keep rusty old motorcycles on their backyard patio, almost as if it were a rocking horse for the kids to play on.

So why keep your tools hidden away in a tool box? Celebrate your love for being a tool collector and put them somewhere artful, somewhere you can see them everyday. Screw a bead curtain! I’m saving all my old broken tape-measures to make a hanging curtain out of them! Hmm. Or maybe that’s not the best idea . . . .

But hopefully you get the point! Thanks for reading and click here to go back to our homepage. You can look forward to more interesting posts in the future!

 

Construction Labor is a Gateway Drug!

As a young man looking for work in the summer between high school years I always found myself finding odd labor jobs and every summer it was something different. Odd labor around various construction sites is what got me into learning about all kinds of construction trades in the first place. And I’m not the only one. This message applies as much to people like me as does to teenagers today who have yet to find their first job.

If you’re looking for a gateway into construction trade then consider entering the field as a laborer and not only will you learn from watching professionals but you’ll find that experience adds up fast and after wile of working as a laborer you’ll find yourself being promoted as your skills develop. Labor is a gateway to better employment.

Excavator

For an example of how entering the labor force can lead to better employment consider the story of my friend Richard who as a young man got hired as a laborer by a flooring company. Two years of helping these guys haul wood and do as he was told allowed him to learn flooring first hand and after moving to a different city he was able to get hired not as a laborer but a full-time flooring installer.

This blog intends to tell many more of such stories and this post isn’t intended to explain everything. The labor force is a complex topic, and some would even call it an issue. That’s why we’re so happy to help young people enter the labor force. If you want to learn some interesting data about the labor force here’s a great video:

But before you go I want to remind you of 4 motivating benefits of a labor job:

  1. Exercise: There are very few labor jobs that don’t require physical activity. And the muscle you get from working is a lot more natural and long-lasting than the type that body builders get. Just remember to lift things properly, using your knees and not your back. Take care of your limbs and eat a good diet, and you’ll find yourself getting healthier every day as you get paid to exercise.
  2. Money: Construction trades are known to be some of the top-paying jobs around the world, with underwater welders making more than lawyers and plumbers opening franchises across countries. Being a mechanic doesn’t mean you can’t be a business man, too. Construction trades will always be needed in cities, so they’re a great skill too have, and opening your own service company one day is always an option.
  3. Alertness: Working on construction sites can be dangerous as heavy machinery and deadly drops are at every step, and it can be easy to trip or fall off a ladder if you’re not paying attention. Working in such an intense environment requires alertness and like an muscle alertness grows with practice.
  4. Experience: You’ll never know what’s it like to shovel all day in the rain until you do it. Get a good meal and a refreshment afterwards, and look forwards to stronger back muscles and,  of course, the brilliant fact of knowing that next time you go to shovel it’ll be a little easier because you just got a wack-load of experience, son. As you work from labor job to labor job, your resume will grow and you’ll find that every time you get employed you always have more to bring to the table.

I hope this post was motivating for you. Look forward to more posts and feel free to learn more about us.