Where Have All the Tradesmen Gone?

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on January 20, 2007

in General Appliance Wisdom, Gubmint

When was the last time you tried to hire a skilled and competent tradesman? Seems you either can’t get anyone to call you back or the ones that you can reach you wished you hadn’t. Why is that, Capt. Ron? As usual, the Samurai has the answer. Open your skull and let the light of wisdom shine inside that empty space betwixt your ears.

I’ve been saying for years that there are just too many over-indulged, pampered progeny going to college. The ample supply of easily-available, low-interest, government-backed student loans has spawned hordes of puffy little cherubs trotting off to college ostensibly for “higher learning” but who actually spend most of their time in laboratory studies of intemperance and concupiscence. This is when “college” becomes “collitch.”

As Charles Murray, at the American Enterprise Institute (a group usually too neo-connish for my tastes), correctly points out:

Government policy contributes to the problem by making college scholarships and loans too easy to get, but its role is ancillary. The demand for college is market-driven, because a college degree does, in fact, open up access to jobs that are closed to people without one. The fault lies in the false premium that our culture has put on a college degree.

For a few occupations, a college degree still certifies a qualification. For example, employers appropriately treat a bachelor’s degree in engineering as a requirement for hiring engineers. But a bachelor’s degree in a field such as sociology, psychology, economics, history or literature certifies nothing. It is a screening device for employers. The college you got into says a lot about your ability, and that you stuck it out for four years says something about your perseverance. But the degree itself does not qualify the graduate for anything. There are better, faster and more efficient ways for young people to acquire credentials to provide to employers.

The “over-educated idiot” is a cliché in our overindulged society. We all know people who went to collitch, graduated with a degree in something like African Percussion Interpretation but, hmmm, just can’t seem to find a job. Either that or they hate their job and feel stuck working for Da Man and so lash out by voting to take Da Man’s money through taxation, government-mandated minimum wage increases, or various other hare-brained wealth-redistribution schemes right out of Marx’s imbecilic Manifesto.

So why aren’t kids going into these trades? Simple: pretend you’re an overindulged 18 year-old snot-nosed punk with no clear vision of what you want to do with your life or what you would even study in collitch. In your 18-year old brain, your impression of working in the trades is to work for someone like Cheeky the Repairclown (or, worse yet, to end up like Cheeky!). And suppose that you had the choice of working for Cheeky or enjoying four years of drinking and carousing in collitch on someone else’s dime (i.e., low-interest, government-backed student loans, Mommy and Daddy, grants, etc.). Which would you choose?

Another problem is that parents have this goofy notion that their spawn has a “right” to go to collitch and, by God, to collitch they will go! Nevermind that the only thing this kid has any intention of studying is the bottom of his beer mug and his girlfriend’s chest.

The result is that the poor kid will struggle through collitch (in between parties) and then, if he’s lucky, end up in some miserable Dilbert job on a cubicle farm wishing he’d gone to work as an apprentice for Uncle Joe, a Master Electrician. He would have had his own Master Electrician license by now and been in a position to either buy Uncle Joe’s bidness or start his own. Guess that degree in Underwater Basketweaving wasn’t such a good investment afterall. Go figure.

But, despite not learning very much that matters during his collitch career, the kid will certainly pick up the usual collectivist claptrap from the last remaining Marxists on the planet, the collitch faculty, about how more gubmint is the answer to all our problems from global warming to jock itch. In most cases, collitch of today has devolved into nothing more than a factory cranking out swarms of government-loving, liberty-hating voters who don’t understand the free market and are actually scared to death of it. These are the people who will vote themselves, along with the rest of us, into slavery.

I have always maintained that these misguided souls would be much happier and wealthier learning a trade. Instead of all this spite, envy, and disgruntlement, these very same people could be living the good life as successful entrepreneurs running their own trade bidness and getting a taste of the Ameedican Dream.

What, exactly, is this Ameedican Dream of which I speak? It is running your own life the way you choose and controlling your own destiny. It’s having a work situation where the amount of moola you earn is dependent on your efforts and not on Da Man counting out the beans and saying, “You can have this many, the rest are mine.” In the Ameedican Dream, YOU Da Man! In today’s economy, the easiest way to get there is by running a bidness in one of the skilled trades.

According to my state-of-the-art prognostications, here are some of the trades I see as the most viable and valuable both now and in the forseeable future (in no particular order):

  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Nurse
  • Carpenter (rough and finish)
  • Mason
  • Pest Control
  • Diesel Engine Mechanic
  • Auto Technician
  • Industrial Equipment Technician

You may have noticed the conspicuous absence of appliance repair technician. I don’t consider appliance repair to be one of the long-term viable trades because the mega-trend for appliance repair techs has diminishing opportunities for an in-home service bidness; the shining exception will be servicing high-end appliances.

So, if you’re a collitch student majoring in Effing-Up, do the world and yourself a favor by dropping out and learning a trade instead. You’ll thank me in a few years.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mrs. Samurai January 20, 2007 at 8:07 pm

I agree with all of this, but would also like to point out that education doesn’t have to end just because one doesn’t go to college. In our past, many men and women would finish whatever formal schooling they had and begin farming, keeping house, etc., but would continue to educate themselves through reading, attending meetings or lectures, etc. Now it seems that most people think that education happens only within the halls of our schools, and that once you are out in the “real world”, you do your job during the day and then hang out at night watching TV. I wish it was a more common expectation that regardless of a person’s profession, they would continue to educate themselves not with any specific job-related goal in mind, but just for the personal benefits and enjoyment.

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