Why Construction Trades Aren’t for Everyone

A good friend of mine thought he’d become a welder until he surprised everyone and became a lawyer. When asked why he made such a dramatic shift, he said, “I enjoy welding, but not welding for 8 hours a day on projects I don’t care about.” As a lawyer he gets to work on cases he cares about, and doesn’t have to sit in a shop using tools all day.

You’d be surprised how many people come out of highschool believing they’re going to be in trades only to end up in office jobs or customer service. These people are a lot happier being as far away from trades as they can. For some of them, frankly, it’s because they have high intelligence and I may be dissing a lot of my own people here when I say their minds would be better use to the world in the office than it would be hitting nails into wood. Some trades take lots of intelligence, too, but not the kind you need to write a good book or solve a good detective case.

Some trades, like architecture, get pretty mathematical, but even that is far from the kinds of science you find in the lab. The reason why some people just can’t stand seeing themselves ever getting a job in trades is because they believe they’re worthy of something better. That and they don’t like working physical jobs. They prefer mental jobs. I know this enough to ramble about it because many of my friends went in and out of construction, and I saw some of them take off to great heights in the entertainment industry. I think we can’t blame the next hit pop star for not being a carpenter just because his daddy wanted him to be one.

If you know any young people who are considering getting into trades, you should do them a fine service and remind them of this question: “Do you really want to do this for 8 hours a day for the next 40-60 years?”

As someone who’s loved working in trades all my life as a carpenter among many other things, I don’t want to deter anyone from pursuing something they might be interested in, but I also don’t want to see kids growing up to become men they regret.

Life in the construction trades is tough. After a long day in the sun swearing every 2 words you can’t blame a fellow for drinking his sorrows away. A lot of people in trades don’t like to read. They’d rather watch sports. And you can’t blame them because after working physically to the bone, lifting, pulling, screwing and hammering, the first thing you want to do it just relax–mentally and physically.

Once again, for the young people in your life who might be considering a physically demanding life, if they can truly see themselves being happy doing the same thing everyday then the next question to ask  them is which trade is best for them. I already wrote a post about that to assist anyone in the decision. I just wanted to talk about this today because some people I know are rather ignorant toward white collar ways and thinking. They need to understand that not everyone is a tough, smoking, beer drinking tradesman who can operate a chainsaw and lift a stack of wood. So thanks for reading!