For folks working in the skilled trades, the life of office workers may seem puzzling. Naturally, you have questions: Is a paper cut the most thrilling part of the whole week? Is water cooler gossip really that interesting? After 3:00 pm, is coffee the only thing keeping some people conscious?
For folks that gravitate towards hands-on work, a career in the trades just makes sense. Sure, not every day is a picnic. A job in the trades can be mentally and physically taxing. But, for the most part, working with your hands is incredibly rewarding.
Clearly, the trades are where it’s at. Here’s why:
In a BBC News feature (Is working with your hands better than just with your head?), Matthew Crawford sings the praises of hands-on work. After years of drudgery, he ditched his high-powered marketing research career to open a motorbike repair shop. Crawford thinks hands-on work is more intellectually stimulating and satisfying.
“The life of a tradesman is a varied existence, mixing practicality with logic and problem-solving,” said Crawford. “Imagine you’re an electrician. You’re installing a conduit pipe and have to bend around the corners to make everything line up. It’s the kind of work that requires improvisation and adaptation. It can never be reduced to following set procedures,” he added.
When you work in the trades, you build some serious physical strength. Sure, the trades can be tough on the body, but at least you’re not stuck hamster-wheeling on a treadmill every day to make up for hours of sitting on your backside. Tradespeople use a lot more physical stamina compared to cubicle-dwelling office folk. When you feel physically spent after a long day, you know you’ve done your best work.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015), the average salary for American electricians is $51,800. With plenty of room to move up, top electricians can easily rake in $88,000+ annually. In certain states, like California and New York, electricians make even more. In California, electricians pull in $66,950 on average; in New York, the average annual salary is $74,540, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Overall, the job outlook in construction isn’t looking too shabby either. According to an article by AZ Big Media (Nonresidential construction growth rebounds strongly), the American construction industry added 14,000 new jobs in July 2016 alone, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There you have it, folks: The trades have plenty to offer. Working a desk job isn’t the only path to a rewarding, fruitful career.
Over to You
As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd parks his duff in a chair finding the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.
Sources & Credits
BBC News: Is working with your hands better than just with your head?
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015
AZ Big Media: Nonresidential construction growth rebounds strongly