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.