When I was on the cusp of finishing secondary school and I was forced to consider what I wanted to do next, I found myself to be out of my depth.

I had spent all my free time of the past few years assisting my father in his work as an electrician. That is very much my most valuable experience of work, I know what the job is about. Its about putting up scaffolding against a wall so you can fit a vent for a fan, on a cold windswept January morning. Its about putting together twenty fluorescent fittings before even thinking about fitting them to the ceiling of a shed. Its about crawling about in confined spaces, like hot attics.

So, as a teenager, still in school, of course I was not all that keen to work 8 hour days in such environments. I grew resentful sometimes, I don’t claim to be perfect. I never asked for money, considering I knew what the financial situation was like for us at the time. Even when things got better I still never asked for money, often times just been given 50 euro after a couple days, sometimes I took it, other times not. Most of the time I was just happy to help my increasingly weary father.

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However, becoming a tradesman has been stigmatised by what happened during the building boom, when many young men went into the trades because of the excellent wages it offered for fairly low entry requirements . This led to mass unemployment and emigration when the bubble burst. Trades have been seen as risky and treated with a certain amount of vitriol by Irish people ever since.

Almost everyone I know complains about their job, that is just the nature of things. Most of the tradesmen I have met though, overwhelmingly feel undervalued and disrespected, relics of a once more vibrant industry. You wont see many from my age group touching these jobs any more, meaning you will be vastly younger than everyone else if you joined the ranks. People seem to think tradesman are uneducated, however I have met many who have plenty interests and views.

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This is good, in a sense. Because no one new is being trained, the workforce is getting way too old to sustain any future upsurge in building. Meaning there will be opportunities for people who do come in. But the real world is pretty scary, and I feel like a gormless moron out in it.

So bringing conversation back to me, I had got into a college course for my other main possibly sale able interest, writing, having been told by my guidance councillor and everyone else that I may as give it a shot, being that it was not going to cost me all that much where I live. So here I am, not all that happy with college life or how engaging I find the course, wondering if I should come back next semester or do something else. I could definitely do the 3 years, turn around and pursue an apprenticeship or whatever. Although chances are I would spend that time being dissatisfied with life, missing my parents and best friends.

I could move closer to my home town, find a college course in my most local city, but I don’t know what I could really do, I’m rather unimpressed by colleges anyway. The internet says Journalism in all forms is dead or dying, and I have seen nothing credible that says otherwise. I am also unwilling to buy the “STEM: gateway to the land of milk and cookies” meme that has been floating around the past few years, chances are I would struggle to pass such a course anyways.                                       .

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So this where I am at, what do I do? It seems if your interests don’t involve coding, engineering or business, well you’re out of luck mate. I have been told I am my own worst critic and that like every other 19 year old, should be spending my time blind drunk and winging it along the way. I seem incapable of letting myself do that though. Thanks for reading.

 

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