[fullwidth backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][blog number_posts=”” cat_slug=”” exclude_cats=”” title=”yes” title_link=”yes” thumbnail=”yes” excerpt=”yes” excerpt_length=”35″ meta_all=”yes” meta_author=”yes” meta_categories=”yes” meta_comments=”yes” meta_date=”yes” meta_link=”yes” meta_tags=”yes” paging=”yes” scrolling=”pagination” strip_html=”yes” blog_grid_columns=”3″ blog_grid_column_spacing=”40″ layout=”large” class=”” id=””][/blog][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Apprenticeship is hard. This too shall pass.[/title][fusion_text]
I recently had a pre-apprenticeship class finish up.
I teach in the electrical trades program. I teach two terms. One, a 6 month pre apprenticeship class and the other, a 10 week apprenticeship class (second year).
This pre apprenticeship class had come to an end and most of my students had found jobs. In this economy it is pretty amazing but then again, this was also a pretty amazing group. They worked hard, asked lots of questions and played hard. I was very sad to see them go but excited that they are moving on into new careers.
We had a dinner the other night as a “year end” party. We were talking and I asked them all how it was going. Every single one of them said something to this effect:
The first week was hard. It was so hard that some of them considered quitting. There were issues with the work, the people they worked with, the hours. It was harder than most of them thought it was going to be.
One of them told me he was talking to his parents, telling them he didn’t think he was going to make it. He didn’t want to end up like the guys he was working with. The tasks were tedious and hard. He was exhausted by the time he got home after work. His mom told him something that struck a chord with me.
It is hard now but it will get easier.
And that is the thing.
Anything worth having is not going to come easy and that is especially true of a career in trades.
There were days during my apprenticeship that I was ready to throw in the towel.
Maybe I had been treated like shit. Maybe I was sick of being on the end of a ditch witch for 10 days in a row. The hours were long. The pay sucked. The commute was frustrating. The crew looked and acted like they had recently escaped maximum security.
I stuck it out though.
I worked as hard as I could and I realized that some days were going to suck. You know what though? Sure some days sucked.
But some days were pretty amazing too! The day I was left on my own to terminate my first fire alarm panel. My first service call on my own. The first time I was put in charge of a crew. Was it worth all the hassle, pain, frustration and days of just feeling like garbage?
As I look back on the bad days (and sure there were a lot of them). I see that those times taught me so much. I learned how to work hard. I learned that life is not always easy but life is always teaching us, wanting to make us better people.
I now have a job that I am passionate about. A job that I look forward to going to most days. I get to meet interesting people and I hope that I am making a difference in their lives (as they are making a difference in mine). I would have none of this if it were not for the shitty days. The times where I wanted to quit but didn’t.
You know what else all those students told me? They told me that while the first week sucked, it got better. Every single one of them told me it got better. I don’t care how hard you week was or how much you hate this project you’re on, remember:
This too shall pass.
It won’t always be this way. One day you will find yourself actually enjoying what you’re doing and you’ll realize that it is a good day. Cherish that feeling. Lock it away in the win category. Life isn’t always easy but it is alway worth the fight. Remember the good times and learn from the bad.
If you ever need a sounding board or someone to talk you off the edge you can always email me at email@example.com. I love to listen and I have lots of stories to tell. Join a Facebook group for apprentices and vent. Keep contact with old classmates and teachers. We have all been through it.
Life isn’t always going to be a party but you knew that didn’t you?
Being in the trades isn’t always the easiest job in the world but it is a pretty amazing life if you let it.
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Any questions or issue? Email me. I respond to each and every one. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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