Been involved with maintenance/electrical work since 18 yrs old, now at 55, my knees and back are shot, plus arthritis. Currently hold a state masters license, and self employed. Working mostly by myself, good help hard to find, not sure how much longer the body can hold up. What other career options are out there? Been thru the factory maintenance routine, companies fold up or move, and your out! Electrical contracting around here is tough, everybody and his brother is a electrician, and you should work for $10. Been reading a lot of the topics over the past months, and find a large mix of opinions and advice. So finally thought I'd ask about some career advice. Appreciate all comments. This is a great forum!!
I almost lost a leg to a serious infection a few years back, (before employees) and since I really enjoy computers, I looked hard into programming and repairing them. I could sit at a bench or desk, and still make electricity work for me. Just in a different way.
#4715 - 10/14/0105:03 AMRe: Now What? Old Electrician
Welcome! You've got a couple of years on me, but not many. I've been having some of the same thoughts and as a result, went through some training in Fiber Optics (technician) recently. It was a great experience for sure! I found it very interesting, and well within my capabilities. I'm not sure what I'll do with the experience, but at least I know that it's a viable option. It may even be something that someone could do from home, making patch cords, test leads, etc.
I wrote an Article on my 'experience' for the August CEE News. If you've got any questions about it I'd be happy to help if I can. See >> 'Old Dogs'
[This message has been edited by Bill Addiss (edited 10-14-2001).]
#4716 - 10/14/0106:44 AMRe: Now What? Old Electrician
HI Mick ! you certainly bring a good point to the forum. I've thought along those lines myself, as field construction sometimes reminds me of boxing, there's always someone faster & stronger awaiting thier debut.
You have no sick days as a contractor, and if you should sustain an injury it's best to keep it to yourself because people will not hire damaged goods.
anyways, it makes one think...
#4717 - 10/14/0110:22 AMRe: Now What? Old Electrician
Hi Mick, & Welcome! If there are any larger contractors in your area, you might try a supervision/management position with them. It's just as hard for them to find good people to fill these positions as it is to find good labor help. I'm nearly 50, & recently went back out in the field after a few years in management (I decided the old bod could take some more). Although I'd like to keep my tools on until the day I drop, I realize that it won't be possible. I'll end up back in an office.
Bill, that's a great article, and illustrates a good point. You're never too old to learn, and if you apply yourself you can be anything you want to be (NFL quarterback excluded).
#4718 - 10/14/0110:52 AMRe: Now What? Old Electrician
I once read that in some States if you hold a Master Electricians License it qualified as a teaching license. For example, teaching at your local Technical School an an Electrical Instructor. Check you State requirements.
#4719 - 10/14/0101:24 PMRe: Now What? Old Electrician
Surprisingly, I found that the knowledge and understanding needed to work with Fiber Optics was not very extensive at all. I'm not talking system design or anything like that. But the knowledge and skills necessary to work with this stuff - pull it and terminate it are easily within the reach of us all I think. We 'old(er) dogs' may even have an edge on the younger 'pups' in this occupation because a good part of it involves patience and following established procedures.
If you enjoy things like building models and have an attention for detail this could be right up your alley (might even enjoy it!). Most work being performed in clean, well-lit, temperature-controlled areas is not too hard to take either.
#4720 - 10/14/0107:05 PMRe: Now What? Old Electrician
Is there such a thing as 'electrician's knee' , cause i've already had one done. The bright side is i never need a wheather report, and had such a good time in the OR on that quailty hospital dope I was tellin' the doc's to do the other knee...anyways, i'm turnin' this into a 'whinebag' thread'
I think we'd all like to end up in some sort of trade 'nitch' , some suggestions here sound more viable than my 'sorority light buld supervisor' retirement plan
#4721 - 10/14/0107:29 PMRe: Now What? Old Electrician
I only do electrical contracting part of the time. I have an electronics background and a home workshop, so I'm in my element repairing TVs, VCRs, Hi-Fi etc. With today's "throw-away" equipment, there's not enough in that line to bring in full-time income but in combination with some other work it helps.
If the electronics side isn't your thing, with the lack of decent repair shops these days you might find a call for servicing vacuum cleaners, power tools, and so on. Even with a modern microwave oven and its complex programming, many problems are down to faulty interlock switches, shorted rectifiers and other easy-to-fix faults. I've found that there ARE still some people who wlll pay to have an appliance repaired rather than buy new. Many simply don't know of anywhere that will take on these jobs anymore, so I get a fair amount of work from word-of-mouth & personal recommendation.
Another thing you might consider is writing articles for various trade journals. I've been doing this for electronics publishers for about 15 years now.
All of this is on a self-employed/freelance basis, which may not suit everybody, but I like the flexibility and variety of work.