That reminds me of something Iggy Pop said many,many years ago,
"I might be sober,but I can still think stoned thoughts."
It's not uncommon for us to see -10 to 105 around here (Colorado) but we don't get humidity. People complain when it get to 65% Rh. I was in the Little Apple (Manhattan KS) once when I swear that I could see the humidity, felt like it was 105 %, I hate humidity!!!!!
I would suggest checking out some of the pipefitter or sheet metal union apprenticeship programs....that's how I got my start....good luck.
Let me give you some advice given to me by my father. Whatever position you end up in, make yourself indispensable.
As a father in these modern times I passed that advice on to my children, but I also added in my advice "whatever you do just don't Suck at it" and you will make a good living, maybe even get rich.
I am not saying that I am some knight in shining armor, but 80% or more of what I see done in the mechanical trades in my area is done by folks who work only for money, and hate their jobs. These folks run from every challenge, they just want to hump a new unit into place and have no care if their work adds any value to the customer.
10 years ago I stopped all advertising, not one of our trucks is lettered, and I don't have a web page. My phone rings about 30 times a day, I get 99.9% of all my sales.
We are in most cases the highest bidder or the only bidder, my suppliers are paid instantly.
We never return any material unless the supplier made the mistake.
Most days I really love to go to work, especially when I walk into a call that 5 other guys gave up on. I know when I fix that unit the customer will not care how much I charge them, and that is good.
Btw, if I walk into a property that has an install like the ones I see on the "wall of shame"
I will quote the rip out the entire job and redo it or I will walk away from the customer.
So if you want to get into HVAC just to have security, then just don't suck and you will have it. I personally could not work for anyone, I have in the past, but couldn't get any satisfaction in doing half a s s work, and going behind an installer that needs a bullet.
Preface this by saying I have not read the first part of this thread but.....
If I had it to do over again I WOULD NOT have gone into HVAC. The wages (for the most part) are so low you can not support a family and there usually is no benefits.
My area (midwest) pays a 10+ yr service tech an average of 12-15 dollars an hour, no truck to drive home, no health benefits and on call 1 week per month minimum with no compensation other than the O.T. for the calls...all this to usually get laid off during the "slow periods". Happens all the time here and they get away with it! Now you know why there are so many "hacks"! (Translation: Guys trying to get by).
Had I to do it over again I would have gone to sparky school...those guys can make the money man!
Just my opinion...
I make good money, and drive my truck home. There is always something to do if you are thorough and keeping your eyes open. The hacks get laid off all the time beacuse they are hacks. Why keep a bad technician on the payroll when he cant do good work? You might be working for the wrong company.
I love what I do. I was born to do this, I think. You meet all kinds of people and get good at dealing with them and learn something new each day. No two days are alike. Psycobilly said it right about being hot and cold and tired, though. Every place I go, the air/heat is broken, and it's busy when the weather says it is!:)
What an interesting twist. I hold a private / instrument ticket (non-current BFR & medical) (no time). I'd donate body several body parts to sit left seat and get paid for it!! This is a crazy world we live in and even crazier times in America. By the way, I also intensely LOVE and intensely HATE this industry.
Your questions certainly cover a lot of ground. If you are looking for a stop-gap to go back to flying, then don't do this. It will take you a lot longer to get really good than four years. The apprenticeship programs would be your "best" start, but in most areas, the backlogs are pretty large. Like aviation, if you want to get ahead, then be the best. Seek information, training, experience beyond what your schooling requires. Ask, watch, observe, critique, LEARN, LEARN, LEARN.
My son has worked with me ocassionally since he was young. At a benchmark point in his life he asked me to teach him HVAC. My first reaction was NO, I love you; I can't do this to you. After a lot of talks, he elected to join the electrical apprenticeship program, and it is working very well for him.
The day I got my private ticket, my CFI held me by the shoulders, and said "This is a license to learn. Keep scanning, keep your eyes open, and if you ever think you have arrived, stop flying." There are a lot of 400 hr comm'l pilots out there, but weigh what you know and have experienced against them. HVAC is the same. Proficiency counts, and only comes with experience. Best of luck with your next chapter in life.
You need to move, I think you are in the Twilight Zone.
Either that, or you have positioned yourself with the bottom feeders.
I will agree with you, there are quite a few companies that pay their employees poorly, these employees are basically labor. By labor I mean these folks work for money only, they dream of getting off work and having a beer.
There is a rule in business called the 80, 20 rule. 20% of the employees of any company do 80% of the work. The 80% try to fly under the radar hoping their boss won't notice what total slackers they are. These 80% are low paid, and are the first to be laid off.
Now let me tell you something that might freak you out, I never hire folks that are unemployed. If you hire the unemployed, you hire an 80%'er.
All hacks are 80%'ers. Like I said in my previous post "Make yourself indispensable" you will see your pay rocket to the top.
I too have a love hate relationship with this business. Lately it has been mostly love, as all this new "Green" technology hits the market. This Green is going to make our industry rake in the Green, this is yet another chance to become indispensable in the market place.