Kinda Early

There’s an old Ma & Pa Kettle movie where Ma says to Pa, “Why don’t you go and get a job?” Pa responds thusly, “Kinda early, Ma.”

 Carpentry is a dead trade. I nose around on Craigslist for jobs, but most of the carpenter jobs listed are like this:

 Must have complete tools to do everything from concrete to painting, rough framing to fine-furniture finishing, have reliable transportation, and be able to show up on time and sober. Pay: up to $10/hr DOE

 As for the tools, I do have them, but it would require a 40′-long enclosed trailer to get them all to the job. It would be a great sadness to beat all those tools to death for ten bucks an hour. As for reliable transportation, I would consider that and a sober ability to show up at the appointed hour a bare-minimum qualification for any job on the planet. That it is even mentioned makes me weep for my trade brothers.

 So perhaps it’s time to look around for another occupation. I considered my abilities and looking in the ads I find a need for security guards. Here’s a typical ad:

 Applicant must:

• have a valid AZ DPS Security Guard Card

• have a valid AZ DPS Armed Security Guard Card or ability to obtain and have own weapon

• have excellent customer service skills and a professional demeanor

• be able to read, write & communicate in English

• have High School Diploma, GED or DD214

• be 21 years of age or over

• have current telephone number

• be able to pass a drug screening, background check, reference check and personal history questionnaire (PHQ) 

• be eligible to work in the U.S.

 Ooooh, I am really close on this one. I lack any kind of license, though, and jumping through bureaucratic hoops is not my forte. Also, my “personal history” is personal, and I’m offended by any “investigation” of my background. I’m a very private person. I’ll have to pass on this one.

 OK, moving on. Trucker. Yeah, I might be able to do that. Here’s an ad:

 Truck driver–must have CDL with The Following endorsements: (Hugely Long List)

Pay: $9/hr.

 I checked into getting a CDL. It’s not easy. Truck driver schools charge thousands, and I’m not sure that I would ever get that investment back at that pay rate. Pass on that.

 One more thing I might be good at. I’m pretty fair with AutoCAD. I’ve drawn lots of house plans and I used AutoCAD to lay out all the jobs I’ve worked on in Vegas. I’ve got a reasonably good knowledge of land surveying, and I can draw boundary maps. Ahh, here’s a job for an entry-level survey tech:

 Survey tech. Minimum qualifications:

College degree in land surveying.

PLS license in at least 3 states.

Ten years verifiable experience in road design and utility network design, and expert in use of ForniCALC 2013 and PenisWorks 8.

Must be team player in a fast-paced office, juggle 30 jobs at one time, work in the field supervising others, and meet all deadlines.

Pay: $12/hr.

 Pa was right. It is kinda early.

Posted by Dave


6 Comments on “Kinda Early”

  1. Art says:

    Amazing, ain’t it? In the wage race to the bottom, the skill sets expected are ever more inflated.
    In the graphic arts field, it’s the same. In years past, a firm grasp of typesetting and page layout, using perhaps a half dozen programs would yield steady work. Now however, employers want proficiency in dozens of programs and ya better be able to do web page design too. Kinda like … Wanted; Carpenter. Must be able to do electrical work too.

    • “wage race to the bottom”

      Pretty much sums it up. And no shit, one of the job offerings I looked at wanted a “handyman” skilled at everything from carpentry to HVAC to plumbing to electrical. A $10/hr handyman! Another listing for an “entry level” job required 10 years experience! I suddenly find myself unqualified even for jobs that wouldn’t pay for the gas to get there.


  2. muddome says:

    Hi Dave,
    Don’t give up. I personally think you may have the most luck looking at things that utilize your AutoCAD experience. And perhaps you can land a position that allows you to work from home.
    That’s the situation I’ve found myself in recently. I do GIS work but my company employs several CAD operators and we all toil away from a spare bedroom or the basement.

    • I’ve seen a couple of ads for work-at-home civil CAD. I’ve wondered how that works, because AutoCAD Civil 3D is notorious for incompatibility between their yearly upgrades. I only have the 2010 version.

      As for architectural stuff, I love drawing floor plans for anything from room additions to new homes. I used to do side work for a general contractor. I’d go to the customer’s home, take lot measurements, make a plot plan and floor plan with details, and then plot full-size plans for the contractor to take to the building department. It would be fun to take that up again, but most of the ads I see in Craigslist need expertise with either ACAD Revit or Sketch-Up, neither of which I’ve used. I tried to download Sketch-Up, but it seems Trimble has taken it over from Google, and Trimble now charges a fortune for it.

      After the first of the year I’m going to hit some of the local land surveyors and maybe the solar/wind businesses. And who knows, the structural concrete company I used to work for in Las Vegas might get another job there. In the meantime, I’m not in any danger of either foreclosure or starvation. Just boredom.


  3. Craig Cavanaugh says:

    It’s the same story down here. “Must have X,Y,Z certifications/licenses/whatever, 10 years experience, own tools and truck. $12 per hour. Yeah, right…

    • I’m waiting for the day when I need a Professional Carpenter License. All construction workers in Nevada are required to have an OSHA Card, and to operate ANY machinery, e.g., forklift, boom lift, etc., you need the appropriate Certification. (I have many.) There are also Certifications for Hospital Work, Scaffolding, Asbestos Removal, First Aid, on and on. And to work on any solar cell or wind generator project, you need a license, which requires 1 year work experience in something you’re not allowed to do. Reminds me of boy scouts working on merit badges to become an Eagle Scout. Mere competence in your trade is now irrelevant.


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