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Old 05-15-2019, 03:59 PM
 
2,009 posts, read 868,803 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonMike7 View Post
I've done both career paths. I'm a licensed electrician, and also a degreed Mechanical Engineer. I did 10 years full time as an electrician doing residential, and then later commercial and industrial wiring, and then changed career paths to become an engineer for the last 12 years.


There's pros and cons to both career paths, and also a lot of misconceptions. I enjoy reading these types of threads where I have an unique perspective of being active on both sides and seeing how it really is.

I have to chuckle at some of the comments about "working with your mind, and your with your back" because in my last 1-2 years of actively working as an electrician, I was wiring up control systems for draw bridges. I spent most of my day reading plans, and tracing wires, and working with electrical engineers to upgrade older systems to new modern control systems. Very little hard work, and mostly complex thinking. I also made damn good money pulling in all sorts of OT. Don't get me wrong...I've dug plenty of ditches in my apprenticeship and early licensed days before getting into more specialized work.

I left due to a non-work related knee injury. Changed career paths, and enjoy the new one equally. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the trade, but I can also say that the stress level isn't any different really..at least for me and my roles.

I could comment as to which one I prefer and for what reasons, but that's just my opinion based on what works for me.
Iím confused about why someone with an engineering degree would be doing electrical work. You quit being an electrician and went to college for 4 years?? Also, 99% of electricians arenít doing controls work. Most are just running pipe and wire in new construction.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:43 PM
 
3,920 posts, read 1,025,413 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berteau View Post
Iím confused about why someone with an engineering degree would be doing electrical work. You quit being an electrician and went to college for 4 years?? Also, 99% of electricians arenít doing controls work. Most are just running pipe and wire in new construction.
The industrial wiring gig could have been as a staff electrician / W2 employee. Residential and commercial work as a union guy on the books.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Where rhotic consonants are either absent or intrusive
8,946 posts, read 5,345,676 times
Reputation: 14753
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrviking View Post
Unfortunately not everyone with a college degree got the "golden ticket". Too many were told, that's all it would take to live the good life. Working the trades is not the answer for everyone and a degree is not as well. life is about options and you hope you pick the right one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddm2k View Post
People working with their mind have to think their way above their pay grade for a CHANCE at a promotion. If a panel of people don't agree you're THE one, you stay in your pay band.

If I want a "promotion", all I have to do is work over 40 hours and that time is a 50% raise, or a 100% raise (in my case).

Funny, I have zero stress at my physical job, and had plenty when I sat behind a desk.
I never said I agree with their advice; that's just what was drilled into us growing up by family members who were tradesmen.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit Michigan
4,443 posts, read 1,427,192 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddm2k View Post
The industrial wiring gig could have been as a staff electrician / W2 employee. Residential and commercial work as a union guy on the books.
UAW skilled trades electrician do panel wiring on presses, welding machines and assembly line panels. And are hourly employees and they also can do side jobs on the side also so there’s more money to be made.

1 General Motors Skilled Trades Electrician Salaries. General Motors Skilled Trades Electricians earn $101,000 annually, or $49 per hour, which is 57% higher than the national average for all Skilled Trades Electricians at $56,000 annually and 49% higher than the national salary average for ​all working Americans.
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:01 PM
 
3,920 posts, read 1,025,413 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginge McFantaPants View Post
I never said I agree with their advice; that's just what was drilled into us growing up by family members who were tradesmen.
I'm glad you realize the grass isn't always greener. As the succeeding generation, it sounds like you became enlightened to both sides.

There are "sweet gigs" for blue collar jobs that I wish I could tell everyone about.
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Top of the South, NZ
17,404 posts, read 14,039,338 times
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Was having a discussion at work recently, as to whether or not, my trade is actually even a trade -I said it didn't really matter, as we were the highest paid on site.

Most trades aren't hard on the body -there's usually other issues at fault.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:11 AM
 
6,459 posts, read 3,483,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JB from NC View Post
Just because there's a shortage doesn't mean anyone with a heartbeat is going to get hired.

A company or union makes an investment when accepting an apprentice; in most recognized programs, there is both hands-on and classroom training provided. And they want to make sure the candidate has both the aptitude and the fortitude to succeed.

Has your son looked at trade school or certification programs for the electrical trade? Does he have any experience with other trades? Does he have other relevant work experience?

He's still applying for a position, and he has to beat out the other 89 applicants to get the spot.
My son graduated from a technical high school and has completed all the classroom work needed.

The last electrician he spoke to (and spent a day working for) was overwhelmed with the number of resumes he got.

Today he went to a job interview for a manufacturing company. They said he didn't have the necessary experience and they most likely wouldn't be hiring him but they'd keep him in mind should something come up. I just thought this should have been done via a phone call, waste of his time.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
9,813 posts, read 10,702,424 times
Reputation: 13758
Quote:
Originally Posted by Berteau View Post
I’m confused about why someone with an engineering degree would be doing electrical work. You quit being an electrician and went to college for 4 years??

I did them both roughly at the same time. Let's just say I was a highly motivated young man. I started wiring houses as an apprentice when I was 16. I went to college for engineering and continued to work towards my hours required to get my license. The owner of the company I was with while in college was very good about letting me work around my school schedule and I'm thankful he let me do that as it was a key component in allowing me to accomplish my goals.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ddm2k View Post
The industrial wiring gig could have been as a staff electrician / W2 employee. Residential and commercial work as a union guy on the books.
Started in residential, but did state contracts as a union guy for the last 5-6 years. My kids roll their eyes when we drive around Eastern MA and I point out all the various projects I was involved in. Been out of the trade for 12 years other than some light residential work here and there. I still feel right at home when I slip my heavily used blue Klien pliers into my back pocket and start slinging romex.

Last edited by BostonMike7; 05-21-2019 at 12:20 PM..
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:58 PM
 
3,920 posts, read 1,025,413 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WonkasWilly View Post
Trades do have the potential to make good money. The HVACR trade in particular is almost never slow, specifically on the commercial side. Residential can be seasonal depending on your geographic location. I'm in the commercial side and there's never a slow season for us. Not to say all commercial companies here have that kind of customer base but, the work is definitely there. It's just a matter of joining the right people.

Pay wise, I've only been on the union side of the business since starting out in the field, so I can't compare between union vs non union. The only thing which has been negotiated is the pay and health. The hourly wage is good, although the employers get to choose what kind of vacation, PTO, holiday, etc. package you receive, which for the most part is crap across the board for most of the union companies in the area.

The work can be hard physically and can also take a toll mentally. Some commercial sites require a lot of walking and hauling tools / equipment around, going up and down stairs, setting up ladders, roping up items to roofs, working in tight unconditioned mechanical rooms, etc. Coming across unfamiliar equipment during emergencies can be stressful too, especially when people are standing over your shoulder. On call is hit or miss. When they come in, it's always at the worst time which I guess is typical across most jobs. Most customers or even office personnel don't appreciate the type of work we do but, there is a certain level of instant satisfaction when being able to work on something technical and get it working again, especially when others couldn't figure it out.

I've only been doing this for about 7 years now and, overall, I've been able to make a decent living doing it although I'm at the point where it's starting to take a toll on me physically. Most of the jobs I've done have been physically demanding and I never used to practice good form/technique during my younger years unfortunately. The hours and commute are taking a toll on me as well. Recently I've been thinking of where I want to go from here as I'm only in my mid 30s and still have a long way to go but that's for another discussion.

/endlongpost
We had building engineers (CBRE) in the data center to handle infrastructure (electrical, plumbing, HVAC) but you couldn't pay me to get near one of these:



There's a reason we have -48V in the telephone industry, and I prefer working with 48 vs. 480
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
9,813 posts, read 10,702,424 times
Reputation: 13758
Quote:
Originally Posted by WonkasWilly View Post
Pay wise, I've only been on the union side of the business since starting out in the field, so I can't compare between union vs non union. The only thing which has been negotiated is the pay and health. The hourly wage is good, although the employers get to choose what kind of vacation, PTO, holiday, etc. package you receive, which for the most part is crap across the board for most of the union companies in the area.
I was both. Same company. Had to convert to union to be included in the bidding of major contracts for the state Pay remained exactly the same, but now had to pay dues. The new health insurance sucked, and I lost my vacation time.
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