All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Of Trades

Education is a good thing. Having someone "rubber stamp" your education and call it a college degree can also be a good thing, if that is something you can market and get paid for having. Conventional wisdom says that having a couple of those rubber stamped documents means that you can set back and collect a decent paycheck and enjoy a comfortable standard of living.

A trade is something else entirely. A trade is a way of marketing a tangible skill that people need and will pay for. A plumber has a trade. If your plumbing quits working, you need it fixed. You can either fix it yourself or call a guy that will show up and charge you an hourly rate nearly equal to that of a doctors office visit to unstick your poop out of your pipes. In a trade you do a job that other people don't want to or can't do for themselves and they pay you to handle that work for them.

In order to pay for my expensive private school rubber stamp, I had to work at a trade. For years I busted my backside doing every stinking job in an industry that I first thought would be fun but latter learned to hate. Doing that got me a piece of paper that in turn helped me get another piece of paper from another private and expensive paper mill. Finally I had that all important terminal meal ticket, the masters degree. Which has proved to have its perks at different times and has made me money, when people were paying me for my opinion and the corresponding report that furthered their personal agendas.

Then I got a trade in the energy industry. A headhunter looked me up last summer and wanted me to go back into running a bank. She knew I had the aforementioned pieces of paper as well as the experience needed for a fancy title job. She mocked me a little bit for what I was doing, since I have an "education". I asked her if the bank job included a company car. It didn't. My job afforded me a company truck. I asked if the bank job would pay me for all the extra hours I would need to invest in it. It wouldn't. I told her I was paid overtime. Then I asked her about the pay. I was on track to make $5,000 more for the year than I would have, if I made all the incentive bonuses at the bank.

Then I lost my job. After being out of steady work almost a year, I saw an ad in the paper. I typed up a resume highlighting skills I hadn't used in nearly 20 years. I emailed it in like they asked. At 8:05 am the secretary called me. I had an interview. Shortly after that I had a second interview and a job offer. I hate my life right now. I would love to have a better job or some paying customers. I like having a place to go to work everyday. Even though I'm making almost half what I was with no benies, I do have a job. Which is something more than many other people have right now.

Get your kids an education. Go ahead and help them get a well recognized rubber stamp with little ivy leafs if that is something you are able to do. Go one step further. Help them get a trade as well. Send them to get a CDL or a hairdressers license. Get them into something that will provide them with a skill that they can market. College is 4 years and every summer provides an opportunity to learn a trade that they can fall back on. They may never need to do that job again. Or they may find themselves in mid-life with a family to support and a dwindling savings account. A trade gives you an option, and having the option to work when others don't is a blessing indeed.

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