Learn a Trade Job First: A Message to America’s Youth
I hate to say it, but trade jobs are becoming less popular among the youth and are rapidly fading away.
The demand is at an all-time high since the rise of technology and the advancement of video games. A majority of kids these days dream of becoming YouTube stars rather than doctors, video game developers rather than plumbers, web developers and graphic designers rather than electricians or pipefitters.
Growing up between the age of 18 and 26, I joined my father's side and learned the trade of HVAC and sheet metal fabrication.
In all honesty, when I was first starting out, it was a miserable job, between the hot attics and filthy crawl spaces that were infested with wolf spiders and cobwebs. It wasn't until my later years working with my father that I developed an appreciation for HVAC.
The more I learned hands-on, the more knowledgable I became with the trade and soon felt comfortable enough to work quickly, yet efficiently. I became comfortable with my tasks at hand and soon began installing HVAC like a well-oiled machine.
Working alongside my father was a life experience like no other. We were a team and I enjoyed working with him and lending a hand. He was the brains and I was the brawn. A normal job that would normally take him a couple of days to complete would take us sometimes a half-day or a 9-to-5 shift.
Years later, I began the initial pursuit to work in radio and have been in the industry for just about 10 years now. It is my dream to work within the music industry and my father understood completely. However, I will say that radio is more of a mental-based job rather than physical (such as HVAC, when you're not making measurements or blueprints, of course) and since I've always been a hands-on kind of guy, I do often miss the HVAC trade.
Tonight, after leaving the world of ductwork fabrication, central air conditioning and air handler installations, I asked my father if I could lend him a hand.
It was 6 p.m. and he had been working tirelessly since the crack of dawn, bouncing back and forth from job to job, just to come home to another fabrication that needed to be completed by the morning. He went all day without eating his lunch, always putting the customer first, and still had just enough energy to prep for the following day's install.
I laced up my boots and grabbed an old shirt and made my way down to the workshop. A fabrication that might have taken him a few hours only took us about 30 minutes, and just like riding a bike, I realized that everything he taught me never left my memory. That's when I realized the significance of his teachings and the trade itself. I will always have this skill set, and it's all thanks to him for taking the time to train me in a trade that's unfortunately dying.
Kids these days don't realize that although these trade careers are hard work, the money is most certainly worth it, but it's more than just a paycheck. This job molded me and toughened me up for the real world. Not going to knock an office job, since any job is a solid responsibility, but sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day wouldn't have impacted me the way that HVAC did and I wouldn't change that for anything.
Just some food for thought, take it as it is, but until the youth today realize that there are well-paying jobs out there other than the typical millennial go-to's, then the future of our youth will never know how diverse they could be in life.
Trade jobs as we know it will eventually diminish and the dependency of robotics and AI will become the downfall of humanity.