I picked up my cell phone this morning and found I had a job offer waiting for me in my voice mail. I hadn't put in for it. I didn't even know they were looking for help.
The job isn't based on my staggering good looks. It's not based on my expensive private school education. It's not based on my eclectic professional experiences. It's based solely on my trade, and a little bit on past performance in another job.
I worked my way through high school and college. Before I was 16, I worked at a golf course as a caddy. One day the Country Club was getting ready for a big dinner event in the ballroom. They were short handed and needed extra help. I volunteered for the job along with another guy. I was paid more money than I would have made hauling bags around in the summer sun and I was hooked. I did a good job and they kept requesting me from the caddy shack when they were shorthanded. Because the other boy was 16, they assumed I was too. That gig lasted right up until they were going to put me on the payroll and discovered they were employing me illegally. We won't get into allegations about a certain 14 year old youth being a cocktail waiter at a FOP banquet.
When I became of legal age to work, at least part time, I started "cooking" at a fast food joint. Notice "cooking" is in quotes. Mr. Burger, meet Mr. Grill, Mr. Fry's meet Mr. hot blend of animal fat and vegetable oil, is not cooking. I was good at it and probably more importantly, I was fast. I was also eager to work as many hours as I could and I liked closing the place. Eventually they made me an assistant manager.
That served me well for the first couple of years in college. I could bounce between a job at school and a job at home. The pay was decent, at least it kept me in cars, gas and girls. It made a significant contribution towards books and tuition too. Three years running I took vacations in Europe and Central America. Mom and dad felt obligated to keep a roof over my head, everything else at that point was on my own dime.
Then it happened. I got a job with the college as a cook. That was when I learned a basic irrefutable fact about my employment choice for the previous 4 or so years. People look down on you if you work in food service.
I hated being looked down on. I set my eyes on a respected, and I thought at the time, well paid profession. Then I went back to work, back of the house, front of the house, behind the bar, it didn't matter to me, I was good at it and I was going to finish school so I could get a real job and be respectable.
Which is what I did. Then life happened. I was perusing my dream and hit a wall. Not a problem, except kids, and wife and well... Well I put on my whites and sharpened my knives. Jobs doing professional stuff aren't as easy to get as jobs doing just stuff.
Because I did that over 5 years ago, and then only for a short time, someone called me this morning to offer me a position, probably as a sous chief or assistant FSD. Which might be better than the dead end customer service gig I've been doing the last four years, because, health insurance.
Which brings me back to the title of my post: Get A Trade. I'm not anti college or university education. Like I mentioned earlier, "Jobs doing professional stuff aren't as easy to get as jobs doing just stuff.". If I could offer one bit of employment advice to kids graduating high school it's, get a trade first. Then you can stash a little cash before you go to school or work at it while you are in college.
Maybe one day in the future you will be down on your luck and you'll need something to fall back on. Sure people look down on mechanics, machinists, linemen, roustabouts, welders etc. You know what they do when the car breaks? They fork over $90 or more an hour in labor charges for the guy at Midas to fix it for them. The guy that owns the company that pumps out my septic system is a millionaire. Not a bad ROI for the cost of a CDL and a willingness to do a job that other people look down on.
Use a small investment of your time and talents to pursue a larger goal.