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  1. #1

    Future HVAC tech, annoyed by disrespect.

    Hey guys,
    I've been lurking the forums for six months or so now, just getting my head around the "feel" of HVAC guys out there.
    I just had a couple of bad experiences lately and I figured I'd come here and vent for some input from you guys that have been in the job for a while.

    I'm 27 years old, an Iraq veteran, I'm just starting my second semester for HVAC-R.

    When I got out of the Army, I had a hard time trying to figure out what I wanted to do.
    I wasted two semesters of my GI Bill on Gen Ed's, trying to find that "thing" that I wanted to do.
    Considered a history degree, blew my classes out of the water, got great grades, but I didn't want to spend my life in academia.
    Considered a business degree, picked up two accounting/business classes the next semester, same thing, great grades, just not my cup of tea.

    Not for lack of ability or lack of intelligence, but rather for a lack of a reason to keep going with the path I was on because I'd be miserable in life.


    Well, I started talking to an old friend who I had gone to high school with, and had recently gotten back in touch with him.
    While I had joined the Army right after high school, he had gone to school for HVAC-R, and now he's got a decent job working on refrigeration systems on container ships, he makes good money, he's not hurting for work, he says he could travel with the job fairly easy if he wanted to, and he's constantly challenged by what he does.

    So, I was like "Really? Hmm..I'll check it out".
    So I did.
    I loved it. I loved the idea of having a "skill" that I would be good at.
    The idea that I go get "training" for this specific job, and then I go and do this job.
    It appealled to the "training" mindset that that's been part of my life in the Army my entire adult life.
    I loved the idea of the job itself, just enough physics and hands on mechanical knowhow to keep your mind busy, but enough room for you to move and not have to absord constant useless "fluff" as you do in pursuit of a liberal arts degree.
    (Why one needs to learn "French Medieval Poetry" or some other useless thing to get a M.B.A. was always beyond me)

    I found this forum, read the experiences of guys in the job.
    I hit up those "average salary" websites, and HVAC work is fairly solid, and seems to have a decent amount of upward motion over time.
    I browsed Youtube and watched guys in the field talk about their work.
    Even found a Mike Rowe clip where he addressed Congress about the shortage of trade-skills, which got me very "Hooah" about my new chosen profession.


    So, I ran with it. And then I ran into a brick wall that I never expected.

    My family. They acted like I had told them I wanted to scrape porta-potties the rest of my life.
    I come from a family that prides itself on "education".
    Doctors, lawyers, teachers, a mortician thrown in there, a mayor of a town and a few accountants.

    Me telling them that I was going to school for HVAC went over like a box of dirt.

    I can still hear my grandfather.
    "The Army is paying for your school and you're wasting it, you could be anything, why you won't get a real degree is beyond me".

    Try as I might to explain that this is what I want to do, that being a lawyer, teacher, doctor, accountant, etc..would be like living a small death each day, because of the sheer..boredom..of it..

    ..they still don't get it.

    It's a small town, upper-class Southern family.
    You leave high school, you do your obligatory time in the Army, you get out, you go to college, meet your wife, settle down, join a country club, go to Church, and people raise their glasses to you after the funeral and then go play golf.

    That's how it's done.

    I don't want that.

    I want a job where I am the product of the worth of my own two hands.
    Where respect is earned, not given because of a piece of paper that you spent money on, but guarantees nothing.



    Anyway, that's my dilemma.
    No real "questions" behind the purpose of this thread, just a bit of complaining and fishing from some input from you guys that are actually in the trade.

    I'm still sticking with this job, I love what I'm learning to do, and in some strange way the opposition I'm getting to it has kind of made me even more firm in pursuing it, because if I cut and ran now, and went and did something I'd be miserable doing rather than face the apparant "shame" of getting my hands dirty, then what the hell have I done but back down in the face of the very thing that seems to make people think the "trades" are somehow a lower form of earning a living, no matter the skill, knowledge, hard work, or expertise involved?

    Alright, that's my vent.
    Cheers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Near Chicago Il.
    Posts
    125
    Quote Originally Posted by Eykos View Post
    Even found a Mike Rowe clip where he addressed Congress about the shortage of trade-skills, which got me very "Hooah" about my new chosen profession.
    That was an excellent video and well worth the watch for those who haven't seen it...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NwEFVUb-u0

    I think you are on the right track. I hate to say it, but often times no one kills your dreams like family. Not that they mean to, but it just seems the way it goes. Their words of wisdom often pointing you toward the safe route, not necessarily what it right for you.
    You have to follow your passion IMO. Do what you love, and the money will follow. I can't say you will likely be super rich in our industry, but you can live VERY well if you are good at what you do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    bedford ind
    Posts
    1,088
    First, Thank you for your service!

    My youngest son was in Afghanistan and a bunch of other places overseas.

    I started full time in Hvac at the age of forty. Be glad you are starting early and go after it with all you have.

    Remember, it is YOUR life!
    Your family gets to live theirs, you live yours, or you will be miserable.

    Besides, that mortician is going to need somebody to make sure those bodies stay cold! You'll need those accountants to help you with the successful business you will build with the aide of the government money your family mayor is going to funnel your way! And those lawyers will help to keep you and the mayor out of jail!

    And maybe those teachers will learn something.

    So see? you all will be one big happy family after all!

    NO REAL QUESTIONS! JUST COMPLAINING AND FISHING!?

    WELL, YOU NEED TO HEAD ON DOWN TO arp. JOIN THE PROFESSIONAL AT IT!

    THROW IN NO REAL LOGIC AND YOU GOT YOURSELF SOMETHIN' TO TELL THE FAMILY ABOUT!
    MAKE 'EM PROUD OF YA'!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    40
    Influence/affluence is not a measure of success. Happiness is. So, do what makes you happy. I've tried a lot of different fields, this one makes me very happy. I love going to work every day. Even when I get stuck on crappy installs, army crawling through insulation and rat **** in a 150° attic, I'm happy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109
    After reading your post, I just wondered how appreciative your family maybe of your hvac skill, come some hot summer day when a/c is on the fritz and granny is having vapors.
    I like the fact that I know how heating and cooling systems operate and hot and cold air travels to different areas via duct work controlled by a thermostat. Almost every home and building has an air handling system, and you will know the basics of how they operate!

    There is nothing to stop you from (after a few years in the business) opening up your own shop, or seeking a management position in a bigger company. The hands on experience can only help.

    I don't know about you, but I chose not to take the traditional path. Some people (I guess) look down at skilled trades people, but eventually they will all need our services. Just think of yourself as a doctor that works on a/c and furnaces

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpit View Post
    Besides, that mortician is going to need somebody to make sure those bodies stay cold! You'll need those accountants to help you with the successful business you will build with the aide of the government money your family mayor is going to funnel your way! And those lawyers will help to keep you and the mayor out of jail!
    This is perfect, just perfect

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by drkglass01 View Post
    There is nothing to stop you from (after a few years in the business) opening up your own shop, or seeking a management position in a bigger company. The hands on experience can only help.
    I tried explaining that, to no avail.
    Guess it's going to be a situation of "show'em" rather than "say it".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Central WA
    Posts
    1,476
    When I went back to school at 28 to be a furnace man my parents sat me down and tried to talk me out of it. Really -- 28, married, kid, homeowner... Whatever.

    I see my dad as a 60 year old exec fearing for his job every day. I have worn a tie and sat behind a desk before and I was miserable. 2 years later I graduated trade school with a job lined up, and 5 years after that I'm skilled, steadily employed at a very decent wage with overtime most weeks, working a job that can never be eliminated, downsized, or outsourced.

    I am happy to go off to work everyday and I have never looked back.

    Plus, you can still run for mayor if you want with "only" a technical school degree. Better yet, run for the school board, and be the educators boss!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    16
    When I told my parents I was dropping out of college, leaving the family business to join the USCG for machinery technician, my mom said is I wouldn't want to do that forever. I have worked my way up and still turn wrenches more than I like somedays. I really have enjoyed getting into the admin side as well. Best of both worlds!

    Good luck and do what makes you happy and takes care you!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Near Chicago Il.
    Posts
    125
    Quote Originally Posted by drkglass01 View Post
    After reading your post, I just wondered how appreciative your family maybe of your hvac skill, come some hot summer day when a/c is on the fritz and granny is having vapors.
    LOL!
    After I finished my post, I thought of a scenario just like that and was going to add it in. So true!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Boston/Cape Cod
    Posts
    66
    Live is to short not to be happy, do whats right for you!

    P.S. TY for your service

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    1,113
    If you're too "open" minded, your brains will fall out.
    Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by XcelTech View Post
    Just took your advice, sent these to my dad.
    I would love to get my hands on this stuff (and the knowhow to use it).

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