Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 11, 2016
I screwed up my one experimental semester at Vol State last year. I was taking two classes to see how well I did, and I forgot my final exams and ended up with a C and a D. Now, I'm trying to decide what I want to do next. My parents would prefer that I get a degree or technical certificate, but personally, I'd rather become a trucker. I know about the difficulties involved, the problems I'll face on the road, and R.E. West Trucking has a yard ten minutes from my home. On the other hand, though HVAC and electrical technicians both make a good amount of money. My parents know I'm pretty smart, and they think trucking would be a waste of talent. However, I've never wanted to take classes, and I've always loved long trips, solitude, and seeing new places, even if it's something as mundane as a hotel or a convenience store. My grandmother is also pushing for me to get educated, and I've decided to look at HVAC and electrical. However, I still think trucking would be a good match for me. Is there anyone here who's worked in trucking, HVAC, or electrical? What do you think the best choice is?
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 11, 2016
I have worked in HVAC and building maintainence but I wondered about trucking too - just wondered how to get into it (Do I just go to a company and just ask them for a job?). One thing if you work for a service company, your life at work is constantly monitored to see as many service calls as possible. I do like the way, even at my advanced age, I still have to get out and around when I work on a building and can use the exercise, if you drive a truck, it will ruin your health (have you ever seen a not fat trucker?). I say if you like the travel, be a trucker, you can always go to school later if you don't like it. What classes were you taking, that is, if you had taken the final exams, would you have done well with them?
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 11, 2016
@ Mr. Neptune-I'm not sure. I did get good individual grades, except for one of my normal tests(low C). I think missing the exams is what really killed my grades. Besides that, I've never been interested in classes or working indoors. As much I do enjoy coding, I'd rather be outside or driving.
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 11, 2016
Do the trucking now while you are still young, save up the money for classes later for something else when you are ready to change over if you decide. Always have a back-up for your back-up plan...that way no one can say you "don't know what you are doing/you're throwing your life away".
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 11, 2016
And don't fall into the trap a lot of people, but especially breeders fall into: Having only knowing one career so that "It's All I Know How To Do". I often hear that on the Chef Ramsey/Chef Robert shows where they have to save a failing restaurant and the owner has kids.
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 11, 2016
I will say NO on Trucking - because it's very hard work, long hours, and the pay isn't what it used to be. (According to some friends who's parents are in this).

I do understand HVAC and some computer things as I did study Mechanical Engineering in school. Not that 'hands on' - but I can design these systems / have the general understanding.

JHMO but anything 'computer' or 'IT' or 'coding' is a huge NO also. The field is over crowded. And - you will be competing with people world wide. That can either do it remotely / at their locale or be imported to the US on an H1B visa and paid less / treated like an indentured servant - because the employer is their sponsor. Why do you think Big Biz is lobbying for more of these workers, to come in on these visas?

JMO also - Computer / IT stuff is BORING. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I think you have to have a certain type of personality for it. If you like 'adventure' and 'new things' - I'm not seeing this for you.

Could maybe work as an example -

"Maple" software is used in Eng. -

Look at that and think to yourself - would you like to use it to make things? Or - work out all the tedious code of it? (BORING!) (To me.)

Even for Mech. Eng. we had to take several 'computer' classes - I found them INSUFFERABLE! 'C' made me want to cut my throat! I'm 40 BTW which I mention as to 'what we had to take in school', 'back in the day'. I know many people with sim ed. to mine - but a few years older than me - and they had to take FORTRAN! OUCH!

For ed. in 'Computer Stuff' - and I take it you're in the US (I looked up the school you mentioned) - there are two ways to do this. One is to get a 'formal education' (College or Uni degree) In Electrical Engineering or some kind of IT degree. The other is to simply take the 'certification classes' in various 'languages'. And from what I know of these things (not much, know some people in it) - employers don't care which it is / they'll take ANYBODY who can do what they want - at the lowest pay, so a 'formal education' - won't help you much. Remember too - you will be competing with the same types world wide. From Phd's to some "Anonymous" hacker who can write code. Employers will take who they can get cheapest. And there are so many now - it's practically a minimum wage job. Also, IMO, it's very dry stuff.

I have some other ideas for you, and Ima go ahead and carry on here, because others may find them of interest as well.

First, so you know what I did - I have a BS in Mech Eng, another BS in straight Physics, and then later on I got an MBA. I have mostly worked as an Engineer, which is high stress, declined in the US, so I got the MBA - with specific plans in mind, which were to go into the (hard) Commodities markets. And that's exactly what I do - I buy and sell metals and plastics.

You may be interested in this too. For this - you would need general knowledge of how world wide Mfg. 'works'. Who does what, etc. I would say - for those who want to go into this work - you would need at least a general Biz degree. You probably do not need an MBA, you could take gen biz in school and then take the requisite courses for the licensing exams. And you do need the licenses to trade on behalf of others. You may be interested in this - you *will need* education directed at it though. And you must have some smarts - as someone said on a trading board I read - "Don't touch this unless you have an IQ of at least 120." It is not 'easy money' (as everyone who thinks they're going to be a 'Day Trader' thinks it may be) and you cannot treat it like gambling. Do that? FAIL. You have to know the ins and outs of it all, have biz contacts, have alot of Math (how's your Math? applies to all work you mention), and be very hard working. Do it right and you can make well into the six figs. I do. But I have the background, alot of education, was in the general arena for years / have contacts, and the formal Biz degree too.

It's something to keep in mind though, you might like it. You have to have 'a certain type of personality' for this, too. And you'd better be able to BS and SELL. I can, I do have 'that type' of personality, I am an EXCELLENT BSer - but I also 'know my stuff' backwards and forwards. And I got the ed. to back it up - which impresses people. As well as - I'm quite persuasive, charming, good looking, and well dressed - it all factors in.

I mention this too because - you don't have to do 'this' - but a general Biz degree - works for MANY things. Don't know what specifically you want to do yet? Gen Biz can be classes to take, and a degree to get - which many employers will take, in many arenas. Not sure? Gen Ed. and Gen Biz - work / are accepted - at many jobs. And with some of these things, you get more specialized - you can create your own biz. I and Partners did. From past work I knew how I could 'make a "Middle Man" of myself / act as a Consultant - I saw what others were doing and did the same. In fact - I went into B School *with* these defined ideas of what I wanted to do - which IMO is one reason why I got into a rather prestigious school (UChicago, where I got my MBA). I went in there with a 'biz presentation' - with my past ed. and years of Mfg. experience - I went in there to 'sell myself' - and was accepted! smiling smiley

Moving on here, and I know I'm 'going long' here - but my various ideas may give you ideas and others too.

I am now growing bored of my work (yes, happens to Us Olds too) - and I DO LIKE! "Physical Work"! Now, I hope to turn myself into a Construction Worker! I'm not even kidding you! Hey - I know how stuff works and can read tech dwgs. and etc. Now I am trying to DIY learning these things for myself. And also - Real Estate.

Another field that may be of interest to you. There's $ in this too. I just like to make things. I was even thinking of going to school for Interior Design. I would like to do something more 'creative'. I'm bored. I bore easily. I got talked out of this from people I know who are Architects, and or went through Architecture school, and they all warned me away from it. I know this girl who went to Harvard Design school - she has a boring biz / PR job. This is a hard field. My idea is - if I *own* the property - then I can be the "Designer" - I can attack this from this angle. I can make an 'End Run' at this - this way.

Plus, there's good $ in RE too. Another field you may be interested in. And again here - Gen Biz is what you want to start with. And some Urban Planning, Geography, etc. And then you decide what you will do in this and pursue the various licenses. If I am correct - it is now required (US) that you have a BS / BA to for alot of this. Into the 'higher levels' of course they will want RE specific ed. and an MBA. (One of the reason I chose this too - it works for MANY things.) (All Types Biz, Fashion, even - Tyra Banks took an accelerated course at Harvard. Which plenty of people mocked but I say - Good for her! Smart thinking. If I were her I would've done the same.)

Real Estate is my 'side work' that I work on, study up on. You can DIY alot of this too, without the 'formal education'. Just to buy and sell for yourself - you don't need it. Same for any market trading - licenses are only required if you trade on behalf of others. It doesn't hurt you to have them either, and will save you $.

RE and Construction are other things you may be interested in. I am trying to learn more too. I have 2 properties so far and haven't electrocuted myself at all lately! I got a fan running right now that I fixed - hey, it's working!

As a female - I have to fend off Construction workers too. COMMUNICATION is a skill EVERYBODY needs! I got Mr. Construction Boss telling me about "doing his wife with the lights out" - I have to 'handle' this guy. COMMUNICATION skills are VERY IMPORTANT - in ALL lines of work!

Some other ideas ~

Because I looked up the school you mentioned, and this tells me of the general region you're in ~
You aren't too far away from us here - in the US / Canadian Great Lakes region.

Have you considered becoming a Sailor? Screw trucking - Sail the High Seas! IMO this would be way more interesting, and better paying too. You can join the Coast Guard or go into commercial shipping. Look here -

Keep in mind - there is ALOT of tech ed. involved with this as well. Not easy. I grew up in Grand Haven, MI, which is "Coast Guard City", and of course you will meet those on the commercial ships too. And anything above 'Deck Hand' requires education.

You may be interested in these things as well.

I remember 'being a kid' - I know how hard and confusing it all is. What to do.

My advice is - if you aren't sure - "General Education" won't hurt you. Just continue with that. Future schools, and employers look at that - you got an AA in "General Subjects" - that's a start and if you do well enough - you've got a leg up on the others, whether it's a "Desk Job" or the Maritime Academy.

You are frustrated right now because you don't see a 'clear picture', or a 'clear path'. But so what? Carry on with 'general things', get that knocked out. and DO YOUR BEST! at all of them! Yes even in the things you find you don't care much for - still, do your BEST! Keep ALL grades up!

One more note about 'Trade Jobs' - these require specific ed. also - look up the Unions for these, they have specific schools. And - from what I have seen - these days - they're the same as any College or Uni - they have made their classes to interface / be accepted by any other school.

Why I mention this is - you may decide to go to such a 'Trade School' - IMO you SHOULD take the 'gen ed' classes too. So you get the "College Degree" - on top of slogging it out for various Union job rank requirements / 'tech certificates'. Because - that way - your ed. 'translates' to anything else - if you want to carry on with it. And when you're 45, 50 and getting beat and tired - you have the ed. that people would want for a 'desk job'.


Remember -


Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 14, 2016
@Zzelda-That's a shame about the programming industry. I suppose I could just do on my own. Funny thing, you sound exactly like my parents. They've been trying for years to convince me about the importance of an education. I guess it's true when they say " no way around but through".
I'd love to become a sailor, but I live in Lebanon, TN, and the nearest shipyards are in Nashville. I'll still check it out, though. Looks like I'll be going back to Vol State later this year, then on to a trade school, possibly electrical. Until then, I'll have Special Olympics to keep me busy. Thanks for the advice! I CAN, AND I WILL!
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 14, 2016
JMO also - Computer / IT stuff is BORING. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I think you have to have a certain type of personality for it. If you like 'adventure' and 'new things' - I'm not seeing this for you.


At first I was going to do a :::ruffled feathers - bluster - flutter - SQUAAAWK!" response, but then started laughing.

It alllll depends on where you work. I did 15 years at Hell, Inc as a jack-of-all-trades IT person. Operations, coding, LAN, network shit - did it all and it damned near killed me, the stress was so bad. So, definitely not boring. Took a two year mental health break and then had to go back because of Dh's health issues and lack of insurance carriers for him (this was pre-Obamacare). Where I'm at now, I tell people it's where old IT people go to die. It is seriously so slow and boring that I spend most of my time doing not a lot. It would certainly not be an OK place, long term, but if I can stick it out a little longer, I hope to be free of working full-time.

Anyone going into IT, get into web-based applications. That's where the money and interesting work is. That or DB2, which I don't recommend because an issue with the database can force you to pull all-nighters to resolve an issue. Also, a web-based career is something you can put in your pocket and take with you. Most of the web folks I know work from home or remotely. And from what I hear, the pay ain't bad. I work for the state, which suffers under having a budget dictated by the legislature (f*cking assholes). On the one hand, people carp because everything should be online, however, the web app people who can do the job expect at least $150k/year. The state is only willing to pay around 50-60k.

Help desk stuff is a possibility; a lot of that has returned to the US because of the backlash of people who hated talking to India; but - personally - I'd walk on hot coals sprinkled with glass before I'd get into that field. Technical knowledge is a must, but people are assholes. It's a rare person who survives that career even though, again, a lot of that has become home and remote based work.

So, I can recommend an IT career, but with severe limitations. Due to the conditions Zelda outlines, it is certainly not the field it used to be.
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 14, 2016
Of course IT also suffers from such severe age discrimination you can expect your salary to go down, not up with age. From 30 they start looking for reasons not to hire you, and over 50? Most people I know don't even get interviews, and it's not from a lack of keeping their skills current.

The field loves people who are young and will work all hours of the day, and when people start to want some kind of a life outside of work they'd rather you get lost...if you haven't already burned out before then.
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 14, 2016
1)Buy a cheep CB radio - yes truckers still use them.
2) Tune your car radio to nothin' but 2 kindsa music. Country and Western.
3) memorize these two "rap" songs
4) Take a road trip from Memphis to Albuquerque listening to nothing but the CB and the country music,
eating and showering at truck stops along the way.

Now imagine doing it in a 97,000 pound rig with speed limits and time limits through bad weather, narrow streets, road construction and detours while dodging idiots in BMW's and Harleys at top speed.

And remember if a fuck up happens you'll get the blame.

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
January 23, 2016
I like what addiea said: if you like solitude and driving and seeing the country, do the trucking thing but save your money. That way if you get tired of it and the lifestyle, you will have a cushion to fall back on and you can go to school. Plus you will have life experience by that time.
Re: Trucking, coding, or electrical?
March 08, 2016
On trucking and truckers. If you're an owner operator, you can make damn good money.

If you're a company driver, well, find a good company. Do NOT go with JB Hunt.

My roommate worked with a company (as an owner operator) called Powersource. He hauled around equipment for the play Mumma Mia, circuses, and in one memorable instance, Sheryl Crow. She even walked by his truck.

Someday we'll look back on this moment and plow into a parked car.

Evan Davis
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