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#174411 02/04/08 11:53 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 38
venture Offline OP
I have a bad back after being in a car accident. I have been an electrician for 30+ yrs. I need ideas on what to do to earn a living now. I have made troubleshooting my specialty over the years and have run jobs/crews. Mostly Indus rial and commercial till the last few years residential service work thrown in. I will have to start a new career from scratch at 50yrs. Any ideas for a old broke down electrician? Any ideas welcome. Rod

venture #174414 02/04/08 01:38 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 73
Perhaps you could get into estimating. How about dispatcher or sales or something along those lines. If you have been an Electrician for 30 years surely there is something you can do. How about project manager?

Last edited by electure; 02/04/08 10:41 PM. Reason: Edited for content
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,333
Likes: 7


Think about a supply house inside or outside sales??

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 65
Venture, Sorry to hear about the bad back. Have you thought about teaching in a trade school (if the above options don't pan out)? Doesn't Ca. have some sort of vocational re-training available? Best of luck.

HotLine1 #174421 02/04/08 03:41 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 830
Venture, I'm sort of in the same position it seems sometimes. Been in the trade for 37 years, and had my license since 1981. It's getting kind of hard to crawl under houses now. I've been thinking on the same lines. I would like to get into something along the lines of "consultant" smile but that don't seem to be a profitable idea, since the big stores have already got books out for the DIY's, or at least a desk job using my knowledge now instead of "physical labor" so much. If you come up with any ideas, I would like to know too. Hope you the best. The younger guys will know how it feels if they stay in the trade long enough smile Steve...

venture #174449 02/05/08 07:20 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
Sorry to hear about the accident. Yet, I cannot help but feel that you are only facing what we all face ... just a bit sooner than most.

I suppose that the trouble starts the day you get your journeyman card ... "Finished at last!" is a common thought. Yet, in reality, the time for learning has just begun.

So ... what to do AFTER you've 'made your Sparky bones?' That's the real question.

Let's be honest .... we get away from the grunt work the minute we start training the next tier of helpers. By the time we start our own contracting business, the vast majority of the physical stuff is done by others.

Let's look at what a contractor must do, apart from actually pulling wires:
-Runs all over town, getting permits, meeting with customers, ironing out details with the architect, etc.;
-Has to find new work;
-Has to prepare payroll, pay the insurances, keep the books in order;
-Meets with inspectors;
-Does job walk-throughs;
-Obtains needed materials and equipment.

Let's face it ... here we have the seeds of many different jobs. I suppose we need to spend our "journeyman" years getting the formal coursework, etc., to quantify these skills. Then, we'll be better prepared to make the change when the time comes.

Naturally, larger contracting firms have a need for estimators, project managers, quotations, purchasing agents, etc.
Towns have need for inspectors ... and there is that whole 'home inspector' business (most of whom are pretty weak on electrical matters).
Maintenance departments need managers. So do larger property management operations.
Even the much-maligned architects and engineers need someone in their offices, checking the plans.

So ... to put it in mercenary terms .... all those folks you've been dealing with the past few years? You want their job!

renosteinke #174454 02/05/08 11:40 AM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 301
I am in exactly the same situation. And same age group. I'm 51. I hurt my back in 2005 and haven't worked since. I am still on workers comp and cannot do anything even if I wanted to. That is why I am here so often. I have done some consulting work on the side with motors, controls and drives. I also come from an industrial situation, lastly working for a vendor the last 8 years as an outside sales rep. I still have my masters card and keep my contractors license up that I never use. I am currently working on a construction upgrade. Consulting only.

Please try to keep your spirits up. If you have some income from the injury this will be easier. Are you able to work? Do you want to work? If you answered no to either, try and get on SS if you are truly disabled. Then you can work some to keep busy, contribute and supplement your income. You worked hard all your life. It's time you take it easy and do what you want to do.
If you ever need someone to talk too let me know.

Last edited by JValdes; 02/05/08 11:46 AM.
venture #174456 02/05/08 12:47 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 19
Hi Rod,
Sorry to hear about your accident. I think that petey_c's suggestion of teaching is a good one. I'm a retired project manager and I teach at a local college. Mind you, I teach an evening class to adults, one night a week, but here in Ontario, all the electrical apprentices (all the trades for that matter) spend some of their apprenticeship in college. You could pass on some of that ol' broke down electrician's ideas and experience to the up and comers. You seem to have a lot of worthwhile knowledge to share. I'm sure it would be appreciated.

It's always easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission.
venture #174457 02/05/08 12:49 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 91
I see that you have some industrial experience. Does this include any PLC or controls experience. I have been contacted within just the last few months by a couple of industrial firms that are searching for a controls person. These jobs are essentially desk jobs and pay very well.

Helectric #174462 02/05/08 02:54 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 38
venture Offline OP
<I see that you have some industrial experience. Does this include any PLC or controls experience. I have been contacted within just the last few months by a couple of industrial firms that are searching for a controls person. These jobs are essentially desk jobs and pay very well. >

Yes I have done plc and controls. I had not thought of that as a stand alone job. Thanks for the tip.

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