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  Weekly Feature (May 1, 2005)

Career Choices - Tough Choices?
L's Weekly Feature



Everyone has heard the expression: “Thinking out of the box.” In the job market, we don’t seem to be doing enough of “out of the box” thinking. We have been programmed from an early age by our parents, teachers, and anyone who has influence over us to think within a narrow box full of “desirable” jobs – doctor, engineer, teacher, accountant . . . .

I am not knocking those jobs, but what about plumber, carpenter, electrician, truck driver,  . . . . Many blue-collar and trades jobs are going unfilled now because not enough people are thinking about training for those jobs. Why is there still a stigma against those jobs?

Not all of us are cut-out to be white-collared professionals – and we shouldn’t be! Otherwise, who would drive the buses, build our homes, or delivery the goods we lust after? These are well-paid, rewarding jobs that require relatively little training. Many of them do not require a high school diploma, and instead of spending four or more years building up a mountain of debt at university, you could be earning decent money in months.

What kind of money are we looking at? A carpenter I used 3 years ago at $25 per hour is booked up three months ahead at $45 per hour. He works hard, but he expects to make over $70,000 this year. Plumbers charge even more, and it’s really difficult to get a good plumber these days. One of my students is trying to choose between going to school for 6 years, or spending 6 months training to be a truck driver. He tells me that an experienced driver could make $110 per hour. That’s a tough choice indeed for someone with a Grade 6 education. If I didn’t love teaching as much as I do, I would be tempted!

Take a second look – a long, hard look at some of your career choices. Look past the traditional jobs and you might be pleasantly surprised.

For help you could:

• Talk to our career counsellor at the Pearson Adult Learning Centre

• Talk to friends who are in the trades

• Search the Internet for job sites like


Visit Last Week's Feature: The Essay: Part 2

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