Generation Z Is Missing Out On An Opportunity

So you graduated high school within the last 5 years and are trying to figure out what to do with your life? I feel your pain. This period in our lives feels overwhelming, doesn’t it? We have to learn all the important things that our high schools failed to teach us. There are bills and responsibilities we must tend to if we’d like to live a life of any sort of comfort.

It’s easy to feel like the sky is falling and you have nowhere to run (except to the couch to catch the new season of The Witcher). But from one Gen Zer to another, there is a way to find fulfillment in life and make some good money in the process.

This way may not be for everyone — in fact, I know it’s not — and it won’t always be sunshine and pizza with stuffed crust. But it’s a path that I’ve taken and strongly recommend young people, my peers, to consider.

My advice would be to join a trade if you are at all debating whether or not to go to college, or simply have no idea what you want to do with your life. You’ll come out a better man or woman because of it. And at the very least you’ll learn something about yourself and make money while doing so.

The skilled trades have increasingly been getting a bad rep in our society. With the emphasis on going to college plaguing our schools, it’s only getting worse.

But you know what’s also getting worse? The skilled trade industry’s ability to find good employees. And it’s not for the lack of trying.

Why?

I’m finishing up my fourth year of an electrician apprenticeship and have seen firsthand the struggle companies face when it comes to hiring quality employees. I’m also seeing more and more of my peers get hired, work for a few months to a year, then quit to go work in an office or go to college. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with that, but that doesn’t change the fact that the skilled trades are still struggling.

Why are there so many jobs in this industry, but not very many Gen Zers want to fulfill them?

I talk about this topic a lot with people at my job and get a similar response almost all the time.

The response goes something like this:

“These kids these days are afraid of hard work and getting dirty. They spend all their time fiddling with that gotdamn Twitter and posting selfies on Snapchat and wonder why their life sucks.”

I wish I was lying, but this response is very common from the people I work with, especially the older guys. And although I don’t entirely agree with this boomer-like analysis, I find that there is truth in it.

The truth of the matter is that there are jobs in today’s economy that are more appealing than working in the trades. Most people would rather spend their workdays in the AC, sitting down, doing something that won’t hurt them or send them covered in dirt and grime. Couple that with high schools pushing kids to go to college and a negative view of what construction and skilled trade workers are like, and you have yourself an ole Mexican standoff.

Or more aptly put a skilled trades gap.

It’s unfortunate that this is the way things are because the skilled trades are simply misunderstood. Yes, it is hard work. And yes you will get dirty, sweaty, hot, and cold. And yes there is a higher chance of getting hurt than if you were to become an accountant or something. But I’d argue that the benefits of having a skilled trade career outweigh the negatives.

First and foremost you are learning a skill that will make you marketable almost anywhere you go and will follow you the rest of your life. There are many opportunities within these careers that will allow you to travel, make a decent living, and leave you with a sense of satisfaction.

And ultimately, you won’t have massive amounts of debt hovering over your head like a mob boss just waiting to roundhouse kick you into the heavens.

There is just so much to gain from trying these careers out. And if you truly find out that you don’t like it, then at least you know and can try to figure out something else. But you would have learned how to work with a diverse group of people and what it means to work hard.

So I encourage anybody from the ages of 18 to 25 to seriously look into the skilled trades. If you are a person who is willing to work hard and learn, then you will be a hot commodity in the skilled trade job market and can start earning really good money.

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