I went to a four year college when I was 18. I was just kind of like a normal maybe kinda dorky kid in high school. Liked to read. I was in math and stuff. I dropped out of college for the reason that I just wasn't interested enough in college at that time. I was young. I didn't want to spend like 12 hours a day reading books in a classroom. So, I just, I don't know. I dropped out. It wasn't for me at that time. I was 20 or 21, and I just for the next couple years I just worked odd jobs. I worked at a winery for about three years seasonally where I would work there usually between like, I think the first year I worked there six months. The next year I worked there eight months. The next year I worked there like eight months a year, and I was really hoping to get hired on full time there, and in fact I was told by the owners that I would get hired on there full time after the last year that I worked there. Unfortunately that was right around 2008 when the like economy collapsed, and what do you know? The high end wine business also suffered a major downturn. So they didn't have the funds to hire me on full time at the winery, but that kinda forced me to think about what I needed to do to not be the first person who was laid off, and I was like I need to get some sort of job skills. At that point in my life, I thought that I wanted to be in the sort of like beverage industry, the wine, beer, that kinda thing. Going on the Internet, and Craigslist, and the job sites, and looking around I'd seen that a lot of the wineries were hiring for like welding. There's a pretty specific kind of welding that you do, that you do in the beverage industry. So, I was like I need to go to school and learn to be a sanitary welder. So, I looked around for welding schools. I found Portland Community College, 'cause I lived in Portland at that time, and I enrolled in their two year welding program. I actually got my first job, before I was done with welding school. So I was working welding and going to school. I would say the welding is really probably similar to most other industries in that you can go to school, but employers don't really care that much about the school. They want to know that you can actually do it. So, it's hard to get that first job, because you don't have the experience actually doing it yet. So, I applied to, I don't want to say hundreds, but a lot of different jobs trying to get my first one, and I was always looking at Craigslist, and Monster, and all the different job sites, and talking to my teachers and friends. When I got that first job, they didn't, they hired three or four people at the same time I was hired, and I was the only one that lasted more than six months, 'cause they hired kids similar to me who hadn't really been tested yet in the actual field welding, and I'm not, I don't want to say that those people didn't make it in the welding field, but they just weren't cut out for that particular job. Well, I've really only had three jobs welding. There was the first one that I got. The next one that I got was kinda similar to that. I was just like looking on Craigslist, and looking on the job sites. That one was also, it kind of like lucky, 'cause I had never done that particular kind of job before. So they also went out on a limb, but the job that I have now is definitely because of networking. It's definitely because I did a really good job at that job. They didn't have enough work to hire me full time at that time. So, my supervisor there called his buddy who's the hiring manager for the company where I work now, and told him you got a really good welder, and that if he ever needed somebody to call me, and they called me within a week. Don't really know if I'm gonna continue to be a welder for my entire working life. I can make really good money at it right now. I enjoy it. It's fun. I see myself doing it for maybe 10 or 15 more years, and then I'd kinda like to move into a place where I can maybe weld a little bit, like maybe a few months a year, but also have something else that I do. I'd kind of actually like to teach. I think that kids a lot of times aren't steered towards the trades, and I really don't know why. It seems to end up being like a lot of the times like your dad was an electrician. So, you're like oh, I'll be an electrician, and I just think that kids aren't really steered towards that a lot of time, and there's really fun, interesting jobs that pay pretty well in the trades. People are interested in welding, or any of the various trades, I would encourage them to look into the unions, 'cause that's a great way to get trained, and also paid while you are getting trained. There's, and like I said, a really wide range. Just in welding, there's the Ironworkers Union. There's the Boilermakers Union. There's the United Association of Pipefitters and Plumbers. In the sort of like trades more broadly there's the Electricians Union. There's the Crane Operators Union. There's all these different unions that are just, will take kids who don't know anything, and give them the skills to do well in that trade, and make a lot of money, and kinda fun, too.
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