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Old 07-30-2014, 12:06 PM
 
140 posts, read 176,363 times
Reputation: 152

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Hello CD, I'm a 17 year old soon-to-be senior in high school and I have no idea what to do with my life. My dad and I have always had arguments (he's very stubborn) about what I should do after I graduate. He insists that having a degree from a university is the only way to be successful. He went to a pretty average state school for computer engineering and got a job programming software making the big bucks (probably overpaid compared to others with the same degree), which he soon may be fired from (the plant he works at just fired the entire IT department). I think he has this attitude because he came from a family where all of the kids went to a university except one who is 50 and still works as a waitress.

Anyway, he thinks I should get into software like him and that blue collar jobs like plumbing/electrician/hvac are all too competitive and don't lead anywhere. Is it really that risky to not go to a university these days? I mean, it would sure as hell save me a lot of money going to community college (there aren't any trade schools where I live). I could pay for it out of my pocket right now and still have money in my savings.

What do you guys think? I need some unbiased advice.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:19 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,003 times
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I say go blue collar. The pool of experienced hvac/electricians and plumbers is dwindling fast with no one in training because they are all graduates of colleges going into software/computers. In 20 years you would have your own business and plenty of work.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:21 PM
 
6,176 posts, read 7,059,202 times
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Skilled blue collar work is fine. But you already know that OP. You are not looking for advice, you are looking for justification and ammunition.

Your father wants you to go into software because he did well and he wants you to do well too, and he can help you. It’s called love. He’s not trying to steer you wrong.

My advice is this –It’s your decision but your parents are in the best position to give you advice.

Best of luck
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:26 PM
 
7,764 posts, read 7,007,378 times
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There are some differences between the professions of which that you mentioned. For example jobs that require licenses can be argued to be protected to a point. For example a licensed plumber in Utah can't do plumbing work in New York unless there is paperwork and there are differences in wages. A degree depends on the labor market, it is not by license.

There's also state laws within some of those professions. Plumbing pays well in my state (Mass) but that's also because people cannot do plumbing in walls, ceilings and floors. If the law changes the rates might change.

I could argue that some trades can be paid by the military but that is not a route for everyone.

It always helps to ask where the job is going.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:54 PM
 
390 posts, read 797,521 times
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My only concern with blue collar work is that if you develop a physical disability, you may be unable to work. With most white collar work, you can still work because all you need is a desk and a computer. If you need mental stimulation at your job, you may find blue collar work too boring. I have a colleague who got into web development at age 40 because he was just bored out of his mind after being a plumber for 15 years.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:59 PM
 
Location: North Texas
24,566 posts, read 38,396,918 times
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If you want to get into skilled trades, I'd do some research online. Figure out what it's going to take training-wise, and figure out how much you can expect to earn as you gain experience. If you know anyone whose parents work in these trades, talk to them and ask them what it's like. Talk to a counselor at your school to see if they can put you in touch with tradespeople who can discuss their professions with you.

Google, google, google.

If you want to do this, there is NO SHAME in this kind of work as long as you're an honest tradesperson. A lot of dishonest ripoff artists give these professions a bad name, but you don't have to be one of them.

Good luck.
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:00 PM
 
17,500 posts, read 24,301,740 times
Reputation: 19305
Watch movie Peaceful Warrior.
It all boils down to your perspective and philosophy on life. But in that movie, there is a part, when main character asks his preceptor - Why work at gas station? Why not do better?
And the man responds: providing services to others - what can be better?
You have to watch the movie to "get it".
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:20 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
40,722 posts, read 72,709,165 times
Reputation: 50262
Do what you want. Your parents have control over you as long as you are living in their house and under 18, but they cannot force you to go into any particular profession, to go to college or anything else you don't want to do unless you let them. Not everyone is cut out to go to college, nor to work in a white collar job. Think about what you think you need in salary to live on, where you want to live, what kind of work you would enjoy doing, and plan accordingly.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:24 PM
 
Location: City of the Angels
2,222 posts, read 2,167,934 times
Reputation: 5411
The bottom line is, what would make you happy ?
You're young and at the point in life that you have options that you can explore and if you don't like it, you have enough future in front of you to recover financially.
I've had a lot of careers throughout my life and still don't know what I want to do when I grow up and am near the retirement age soon.
Life is too short to have to go through it being misable.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:36 PM
 
6,176 posts, read 7,059,202 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickofDiamonds View Post
The bottom line is, what would make you happy ?
The bottom line actually is that many people are missing the fact that he is 17. How the heck does he know what'll make him happy in his life? Whatever he thinks about what'll make him happy will probably end up being wrong.

He doesn't know what it's like to work full time, or be married, or raise a family, or own property, or many of the other stresses and pressures that come with life.

His parents know him, and they know life. OP should be consulting with them on something like this, not a bunch of strangers on the Internet.

OP, don't listen to any of us - assuming your parents are good people, talk with them about it. I'm not saying you need to do exaclty as they want, but this is a situation that you need to work through with them. After it's settled, they will hopefully support you in whatever career path you decide.
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