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The future

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Scag48, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Finally figured out where I'm headed. Thought maybe trying to get into landscaping again might be the route to go, but I know in 3 or 4 years I'd be burned out and sick of doing lawns and BS work. I enjoy it, but not that much. I was planning on getting a landscape design degree, which would be interesting, but I'd never use it. I've decided that I'm just really not going to be happy unless I'm on iron everyday, there's no doubt that God has given me the ability to run equipment for a reason. Many folks in my home town have told me that if I didn't get back into dirt it would be a waste of talent. I don't like to think of myself as the best operator that exists, but for me to hear that from numerous people at the age of 20 it means something to me I suppose.

    Decided to finish up my 2 year degree in college and call it good for now. May go back and finish a BA at some point, but I'm not a scholarly person anyhow, just can't keep myself motivated. I've decided to appy for an apprenticeship with the local operating engineers union. Starting pay is pretty good, but it's the experience I'm looking for. Most of the big guys around here are union and hopefully I'll get the chance to be working on pipe jobs, development work, maybe even get on a grader in a few years. Looking forward to getting out there and back into what I enjoy doing, but it will be about a year before I get started.
  2. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    That's all good and fine........I still want to hear about the important stuff, like the waitresses at your restaurant, all the babes you're showing that driveway you installed, you know.......things that really matter........ :)
  3. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    Fortunately you have the rest of your life too find direction.
    Talent is overrated.Intelligence and education will get you much farther.
    When your young things are different.
    Ego and pride drive you and you have too learn on your own.
    You generally only acknowledge the advice that you agree with or suits your needs and ignore all of the rest.

    The facts are anytime you are out there pulling levers your income is and always will be limited.
    But if that makes you happy go for it.

    Just think about were you will be at 60.
    What will it take too get you too were you want too be.
  4. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Posts: 1,891

    AWJ, those are some interesting comments that I'll have to take for myself as well. It begs the [very interesting] question -- how much information have I discarded because I wasn't sure I'd agree with it? Though I think I haven't committed such a sin, how would I know?

    And scag, RockSet offers some solid advice, too. It's a bloody shame I attend an engineering college; males:female ratio is like 5:1. :(
  5. tallrick

    tallrick LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    It's impossible to predict where life will take you. I started out in college studying engineering, but found employment to be lacking. A hurricane in 1992 introduced me to heavy equipment. I enjoyed it more than any other job i did, but it didn't last. Eventually I got into repair and did find work in engineering, teaching. Today's employment market means that in this area, you can't earn a good living operating as easily as before. Yet even with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, I know guys in other areas who earn more as a service tech for equipment. You can outsource my work to an extent but you can't outsource equipment and construction. If I had my way I would still be able to take on the odd lot clearing and demo jobs. Unfortunately the opportunity no longer presents itself. That is, unless someone around here could use occasional help.
  6. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    Less all be glad you do reconize the difference.:dancing:
  7. SiteSolutions

    SiteSolutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,114

    He's got a pretty good point. I loved operating (and driving). But after not very long I realized that if it wasn't my name on the side of the truck, I wasn't gonna be the one making the big bucks. Ten years later, I have been through some schooling and worked technical jobs to make enough money to get a few humble pieces of machinery together while feeding a fairly big family, and I'm now self-employed. I get to run equipment, and have my name on the truck. Haven't found the big bucks yet. I am beginning to realize that in 10 years, I would much rather have 5 or 10 trucks with my name on them, and that there's no way I can drive them all and look for the next job all at the same time.

    My advice would be: you're young and already know what you really like, which is a head start on most folks. Just learn everything you can about the field and be ready to move on up, even if it means moving out of the cab in ten years and helping train and supervise the next bunch of hotshot operators. And definitely enjoy operating (for now) and be as damn good at it as you can be!

    A couple of the saddest things I've seen / worked with were a 65-year-old electronics tech, a 69-year-old grader man, and a 60-year-old water plant operator. They each took on little responsibility and got little from life in return.
  8. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    What I forgot to mention was that I plan on doing the union deal for maybe 10 years or so, just to learn the ropes. I will be on my own at some point, I like it better that way and as it was mentioned, there's a lot to be said about having your name on the side of the truck. I definately plan on running my own show down the road, the union job will just allow me to make some good coin while learning the trade. While I believe there is good money to be made running iron for others, especially with my generation being a bunch of hacks for the most part, I don't want to make anyone else a millionaire any longer than I have to. I can run a business no problem, I've been doing it one way or another since I was 13 and am currently doing so. The logistics of cost management and everyday management is not foreign to me in the least bit. I just need experience doing jobs I wouldn't normally run across with our 3 machine operation. I turned down one hell of an opportunity with my dad last year when I decided to go back to school, we'd probably still have the 312 and a pretty sucessful excavation business going for us had I stuck around back home. I want a chance to get on the bigger iron, learn some tricks from some veteran guys and when I can afford to go out on my own I will.
  9. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    AWJ, your thoughts are some we should all reflect on. My little post, was in a round about way, just trying to say enjoy the moment you have in school.....it is precious time removed from the world ahead, drink up a social life, make lots of friends ( doors may open that you never knew existed ), enjoy being a young man in a free environment because life seems to rush on by ( I personally am feeling it now being 51 years young ), stretch yourself and try things you would normally not do........enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
  10. janb

    janb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 254

    yeah, get some 'broad' experience... but get good at something and stick with it long enough to get really good...

    At 51 I'm back in school, but did graduate last week...(finally a BS, for free...)

    My AAS technical degrees and toolmaking apprenticeship served me well and allowed a single income household for ~ 30 yrs, as well as the freedom to have my own equip and do side jobs, and to spiff and sell my own properties. (which is where the significant profit margins lie)

    Today I find myself 'contracted out' as a prototype CNC machinist for as many hrs as I would like, at the same rate as my machines, but no expenses (fuel, crashes, breakdowns, DOT inspections). I'll take a few weeks off to enjoy some 'fresh-air', but I try to just work the inside job during hours of darkness. Still on my machines almost daily.

    So... A variety of knowledge and specific expertise can be helpful. I have always made decent pay by keeping my CDL current and driving for folks when they get in a bind. If you are dependable and competent, you are valued. (believe me, I've been interviewing potential employees...WoW there are major flakes out there)

    Hopefully you can garner the decent jobs within the union (that can be a challenge). Might need to 'relocate' to an 'undesirable' location (or shift) to serve time in the saddle. It will be worth it if you get more experience.

    have fun, fun, fun - don't get too intense, life is temporary. You can look at yesterday to see that... what seemed major then, was likely a minor detail. Keep your health... (I survived and was way major into motorcycle racing and even more dangerous stuff at your age... think muscle cars and bikes of the '60's and 70's, and $.20 gas (and $2.65 wages))

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