Construction Trades Saluted
Let’s Hear it for the Trades for a Change
Will Rogers said, “The more that learn to read the less learn how to make a living. That’s one thing about a little education. It spoils you for actual work. The more you know the more you think somebody owes you a living.”
The Record recently carried a “Dear Abby” column on tradespeople that made a whole bunch of sense to me. Hardly a week goes by without our hearing how costly higher education has become and how students and their parents are often being saddled with debt for their student’s education that will take years and years to pay off. Of course, that is providing that someone with a degree in Medieval Studies is employable. And one out of two graduates are not finding a job. Even lawyers are not being snapped up anymore. Is there an alternative? Dear Abby wrote, “Tradespeople keep this country up and running” and how true that is. How often have you had an accounting emergency? But when the toilet overflows or the power goes off or the car stops running we panic. Where would we be without electricians, masons, and welders? The WOR radio “Car Doctor”, Ron Ananian, says, “Good mechanics are not expensive, they are priceless.” How right he is!
Sadly, skilled tradespeople do not get the respect their knowledge deserves and fewer younger people are stepping into the work that is truly hands-on. In case you have not noticed, these people make very good money (Have you had your car fixed lately?) but what they do does not seem to be highly regarded. As noted before, there are lots of college grads living at home, unable to find a job that will pay a living wage AND pay off their obligations. Meanwhile roofers are shingling, carpenters are building, electricians are wiring. If you think wallpapering is so simple, try putting up a patterned one in an old house. Maybe they drive pick up trucks or vans but those vehicles do not belong to Mommy and Daddy.
Book sense is not always common sense. Many times graduating students find out that in the real world, things are different than they were told in the bastions of learning from which they just matriculated. They have to start the process all over again, finding what counts outside the Ivy League. People in the trades get started earlier, get their hands dirty and get on with making a living without being burdened with loans to pay back.
Plying a trade requires every bit as much “higher education” as a Bachelor of Science degree but usually without acquiring a mountain of debt. Trade crafts need to be encouraged or there will be no one to patch the roof, stop the leak, fix the transmission, repair the short, or build the brick wall. If you disagree, see how far you get with a fancy computer and a BS, BA, Master’s Degree or Doctorate.
It is time to reboot!