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How did you get your started in your career?

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  • #667528

    What led you to your career?
    Did you have prior experience?
    How long did it take to build confidence in your abilities?
    Were you ever in an apprenticeship?
    Will you ever hire an apprentice and pass on your knowledge?

    Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% Attitude.

    #667530
    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    My career is not in the trades, but I too am curious about how people came to be tradesman. If I were to become a tradesman I’d say I have plenty of prior experience at this point haha. I have worked with a few contractors over the summer in years past to be a helping hand, but it was not a formal apprenticeship. I look forward to hearing people’s stories, though.

    #667535

    My career is not in the trades, but I too am curious about how people came to be tradesman. If I were to become a tradesman I’d say I have plenty of prior experience at this point haha. I have worked with a few contractors over the summer in years past to be a helping hand, but it was not a formal apprenticeship. I look forward to hearing people’s stories, though.

    What do you do for work currently?

    Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% Attitude.

    #667537

    What led you to your career?
    Did you have prior experience?
    How long did it take to build confidence in your abilities?
    Were you ever in an apprenticeship?
    Will you ever hire an apprentice and pass on your knowledge?

    I was an incompetent worker, but with a good work ethic, personable, and reasonably smart.
    The project manager quit and I had the opportunity to step up
    Nobody had a problem with it, since I was not very good – no loss to them
    Turns out, I’m a good project manager
    Been doing that for over 20 years now.

    Over the years, I’ve had great mentors, and I’ve mentored some great kids – some of whom have far surpassed me. Thats a great thing.

    #667538
    TopNotch
    Pro
    elmwood park, NJ

    I worked with family as a little kid that was self-employed.

    Did that weekends and Summers and eventually made friends with guys in school who did similar work.

    From there I bounced around to all different kinds of construction with other people. Dad’s business will small just him and a couple guys I had bigger ambitions.

    I ended up partnering up with a guy I worked with for years my age and went out hustling selling work and never left.

    I’m the only one left of all those guys still doing this and I’m doing it by myself just like my own man did yours earlier.

    Only difference is I expand it a lot more skill-wise and general contract more then he did.

    It’s a tough profession, personally gratifying but not one that pays what it should.

    Working Pro since 1993

    Tom M

    #667539
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    I took wood shop in school 3 years. When I was in 9th grade a guy was building twin plexes across the street from our house. I went over and asked if I could work with him after school and weekends. It was very cold and snowing. He said if your willing to work in this weather he would hire me. I got $2.00 a hour and he taught me everything from the foundation up. Mind you this was 1972. From there I went into auto mechanics for 5 years. Then I moved to Georgia and became a carpenter foreman for a large college. Next I built curved stair railing parts . After 8 years in Georgia moved back to Ohio and opened my own shop where we built furniture and cabinets .
    Now I work flipping houses where I do all work involved. Less than 2 years and I can retire!
    I do enjoy teaching the guys that want to learn and listen to what you tell them. The ones that think they know it all and won’t listen don’t last long with me.

    #667542

    I took wood shop in school 3 years. When I was in 9th grade a guy was building twin plexes across the street from our house. I went over and asked if I could work with him after school and weekends. It was very cold and snowing. He said if your willing to work in this weather he would hire me. I got $2.00 a hour and he taught me everything from the foundation up. Mind you this was 1972. From there I went into auto mechanics for 5 years. Then I moved to Georgia and became a carpenter foreman for a large college. Next I built curved stair railing parts . After 8 years in Georgia moved back to Ohio and opened my own shop where we built furniture and cabinets .
    Now I work flipping houses where I do all work involved. Less than 2 years and I can retire!
    I do enjoy teaching the guys that want to learn and listen to what you tell them. The ones that think they know it all and won’t listen don’t last long with me.

    Wow, that sounds like you’ve achieved the American Dream in your life. I took woodshop in High School as well but it was a very different experience than I expected. I had it first period and the way it worked was the shop teacher would show up to class and take role call then immediately leave school to go take his son to preschool and show back up for the last 10 minutes of class. I aced every safety test (all we had to do was memorize the rules word for word and write them down in order and 100% accurate which was easy for my skill set), but we were supposed to buy our own wood and there was no teacher around for guidance so our class collectively decided to gamble. We’d play a game called dollar flip/odds or evens and throughout the year other kids would come to our class with hall passes to join in on the gambling. I got extremely lucky quite a few days and would go to school with $2-$3 and get home with over $100 then go work at a restaurant as a buss boy at night. I thought it was great but after reading your story and looking back, I wish my own story was a bit more similar to yours. But hey I did get to grow up in Hawaii and gain a bunch of good memories, congrats on your eminent retirement and I hope you will still come to these forums to guide people like me with your lifetime of knowledge after you’ve retired.

    Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% Attitude.

    #667566
    bethepro
    Keymaster
    Mt Prospect, IL

    Great thread.

    Email us at bethepro@bethepro.com

    #667568
    rerun_1965
    Pro
    holladay, TN

    started out in the service done 3 years in the Army then went home and went to work with my father he is a Journeyman concrete finisher so I learned his trade done that for years till I decided I wanted to run dozer and trackhoe and moving equipment around and driving truck in the service that’s how I ended up driving truck now

    #667570
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    When I was in wood shop the other kids wanted to goof off and do nothing. I loved shop and the teacher knew it. I got to use the shop instead of study hall so I got more time to work on things. When the others were making a magazine rack I made 2 stereo cabinets and a dinning room table, 2 cedar chests. The 2 cedar chests are still in use some 40 years later.

    #667576

    When the others were making a magazine rack I made 2 stereo cabinets and a dinning room table, 2 cedar chests. The 2 cedar chests are still in use some 40 years later.

    You have no idea how much respect I have for that. Especially that you still use the chests 40 years later.

    Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% Attitude.

    #667589
    smallerstick
    Pro
    North Bay, ON

    I bounced around school as a kid; nothing could keep my attention for long. Shop was a good thing but there wasn’t enough of it. My father was a weekend woodworking warrior, built furniture, a cottage, always doing something with his hands. My real interest early on was mainly automotive but again, i got tired of that. I went to school and worked for a few years as a metallurgist but was distracted by antiques. Worked as a picker where the woodworking skills I picked up from my father kicked in doing restoration and refinishing. Did that for about 10 years, good years but had to go back to a JOB. Spent the next 25 years selling industrial assembly tools for Ingersoll-Rand til that business dried up in Canada. I renovated and flipped houses, too during that time. Retired to become a BBQ caterer for another 10 years, then finally retired to ….. more woodworking. Full circle.

    BE the change you want to see.
    Even if you can’t Be The Pro… Be The Poster you’d want to read.

    #667590
    GTokley
    Pro
    Belleville, ON

    This is a great idea.

    Where to begin. I too took woodworking in high school. I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be. So I only took it once. I quit school and got a job. I managed to find few jobs. But they were always seasonal ones. I worked for friends logging and cutting firewood. Then I decided after a 10 years after being out school I would go back. After one year in high school I my grade 12. Then took a one year course at college. With my goal to get apprenticeship as a Millwright. After college I got a job working as Millwright. But the company wasn’t taking on any apprenticeships. I did this for 2 years. Then I got job working in a factory as CNC Machine Operator making auto parts . It was a good job. After 7 years there I got laid off and 2 years later they closed the doors for good. I did apply for millwright apprenticeship while working there. I didn’t have any luck. After that I went Heavy Equipment school. Did some more factory work before going out to Western Canada to run Heavy Equipment. I ran Scraper & Rock Trucks for 2 years. But wasn’t much fun when 3000 km from you family. I was also seasonal work. After getting laid off I came home. A few months later I got job working in a woodworking shop making paddles. I learn alot there. I got run machines I never ran before and will most likely never run ones like it again. It turned out to be a seasonal job also. So after getting laid off I got the job I have now working in another factory. I have been also 4 years now.

    Greg
    Do More of What Makes You Happy

    #667593

    Similar to Ron @roninohio, when I was young, didn’t really have any guidance into what I wanted to do,
    I have always liked cars,
    So in high school, I took mechanics,
    And also wood shop,
    I got addicted to the smell of sawdust and just wood in general,

    Once again not much way back then in guidance on what type of career or trade I had talent in

    The one thing I had was my cousin worked as a mechanic, so I wanted to be like him.

    After a few years of working in a dead end job as an apprentice, more like being held back and insulted constantly by my boss,

    Decided to leave, just went to a job in a small company. After busting up my knee, I talked to a engineer that was designed things at that place, he told me to apply at the company I am working for presently, and by going back to school for aircraft fabrication and production, I ended up getting a great job,
    And then about 3 years into my trade in aircraft, I decided to go back to school, I studied in drafting and building maintenance,

    Then I met up with a few people into the construction trades,
    They saw some of my skill and recommend I take some trade courses,
    I also worked for them night and weekends,
    Finally started my own little jobs on the side,

    Had a small two man reno business for over a decade, that was put on hold when our daughter was born, and my wife had complications,

    So for the meantime, I have been just working 40 to 50 hours a week,

    But I definitely miss the trades
    Hoping to get back into it eventually.

    #667598
    Warren6810
    Moderator
    Akron, OH

    I have wanted to be a carpenter since I was 7 years old. At that time, I heard that my uncle was a carpenter, and somehow that really appealed to me. I do like what I do, but often wonder if I would have been better suited as an engineer or architect.

    #667610
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I was brought up around carpentry and woodworking, my father built all the houses we lived in growing up. He worked a desk job and just built them nights and evenings. I worked construction a couple of summers, then decided to major in construction engineering in college instead of business as I had planned. I worked for some large construction companies and large retailers managing construction projects for them before going out on my own. When I started out, I spent a lot of my time in the field swinging a hammer, not so much anymore, but I still can do it if I need to. I like what I do and the freedom it gives me. I am not the type that can sit behind a desk and am so glad I did mot major in business as I had planned. While I do not use a lot of the engineering I think it helped develop a methodical thought process that I use a lot to come up with ways to solve complex issues on projects. We are not afraid to take on any job, and do a lot of odd projects that require unique solutions.

    #667626
    xtsallad
    Pro
    Dallas, TX

    I’m not sure I even have a career, I don’t know what I have. I’ve always changed what I do every several years and now I just seem to do a little bit of all of it. I just do anything someone will pay me to do and things have just seemed to morph from one thing into another by luck. I began in my family’s business manufacturing and wholesaling corrugated boxes. I was mostly driving forklifts but also moving trucks and trailers around the yard and sales. From there, painting residential and industrial and then into all sorts of construction jobs. (Never went beyond county college to a uni and never got my bachelor’s) Then I sold drugs and opened a skateboard shop to then go into more construction trades and into gc for residential construction and renovation to working for an art service installing and transporting work all over the us. Then working for a small museum doing gallery pereperations art installation and registrar. I ended up specializing in electrical, organic matter and anything technical. Moved into working with artists and museums to facilitate fabrication and also to fabricate certain things. Now doing some renovation style commercial projects, mostly within museums or art related spaces and getting more and more into design and working with architects. I really don’t know exactly what I do. Change is the only constant.

    j

    #667630
    cmeyer25
    Pro
    Bellingham, WA

    Absolutely love these stories. Thnks for starting this @irish_red.

    Charlie
    __________________

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    #667653
    RonW
    Moderator
    Holladay, Tn

    I have wanted to be a carpenter since I was 7 years old. At that time, I heard that my uncle was a carpenter, and somehow that really appealed to me. I do like what I do, but often wonder if I would have been better suited as an engineer or architect.

    Your back and knees would probably be in a little better shape if you could have went into another field.

    Me I managed bicycle shops before moving to Tennessee to take care of my mom. She had cancer and I wanted to take care of her till she passed.
    I went to work with my brother in law and his father building cabinets to have a little spending money. Ended up doing that gig for 18 years till the bottom fell out of the building market. I did a couple small remodeling jobs to get by till the cabinet business came back. Well I got so busy doing remodels I never went back.

    Ron

    A Working Pro since 1994!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #667735
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    I wish I knew way back in the beginning what I know now. I believe I would have went another rout. I always dreamed of being a bush pilot.
    When your young you don’t think about all the wear on your body. Counting days till I can just worry about where I am going fishing .

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