Lots of people try to push high school students into college and I don’t really agree with that. Sure a degree is nice and you want your kids to reach their full potential, but I can tell you there is something to be said for trade schools and apprenticeships. People will always need things built for them, no matter how automated and prefabricated things become. While we work hard, there’s a lot of skill and the potential for some good money. I really liked my job. The wife says that I can’t let it go, and she’s probably right. Honey, if you’re reading this, you’re absolutely right. Always are. I guess that’s why I’m constantly messing around fixing all the stuff in our house that I didn’t have time to deal with before I retired and writing a blog about construction. I didn’t love my job more than my wife and kids, but it was certainly the right career for me.
I especially liked adding additions onto houses. People were usually excited about those. It was usually for a good reason, too. More kids, additional space, a home office for a new business, that kind of thing. I did my best to give people fair estimates and accurate timelines, but of course stuff comes up. You just had to hope it wasn’t the super expensive and time-consuming stuff. I always hated having to tell homeowners bad news – termites, foundation cracks, rot, and mold. Things like that. Nobody wants to hear that and I certainly didn’t enjoy telling them, even if it meant I got to stay on the job longer and make more money. But I’d rather solve construction problems than cause more for the people who hired me.
It was good to work with my hands and assemble things. Hopefully I built things that will last. I tried to, but even with all the experience and equipment and everything else we’ve got nowadays, you never know what’s coming. It amazes me how somebody 135 years ago could have made something as awesome as the Brooklyn Bridge and have it still be in use today. Cars were about 40 years away from being a common mode of transportation when that bridge was completed, and they obviously didn’t weigh or go near as fast what they do now. Yet it is still there. I consider that a kind of miracle.
When you really think about it, one of the major reasons people travel all over the world is to see things that others have built – places like the Eiffel Tower, the pyramids, the Empire State Building, the Great Wall of China, Big Ben, and Tokyo Tower. Sure the architects are the famous ones but they weren’t the ones who actually did the construction. It is really something to be able to contribute to a thing like that. Buildings matter. They matter to the people who live and work in them. It’s an honor to drive past places that I’ve worked on and say to myself, “I did that.” I hope the kind of work you do gives you the same feeling.