A Pause That Refreshes

A Pause That Refreshes

by Jim Olsztynski | May 29, 2020 | Essential Industry Job Security Skilled Trades | 0 Comments

Even the stormiest clouds can have silver linings. I can’t think of many good things coming out of the Covid pandemic, but there is one that may be applicable to some of you reading this.

College and university campuses across the country have shut down. Some are trying to conduct business as usual with online classes, but few students and parents footing the bill think they’re getting their money’s worth. As this blog has pointed out repeatedly, even with higher education going full tilt, rising costs combined with declining quality have rendered the value most college degrees increasingly dubious. Now people who are enrolled must feel like they invested in penny stocks.

Some of you may already have been accepted into a college for the next school term. Not your fault, but your timing couldn’t be worse. Nobody knows when the campus shutdowns will end, and even when they do college life won’t be the same. Say goodbye to jam-packed stadiums and arenas filled with cheering fans. Say goodbye to frat parties and cozying up to the person you’re smitten with who sits across the aisle in English Lit 101. You might not even know what he or she looks like while social distancing behind the mask.

That’s if the campuses even open up anytime soon. If not, you may be paying megabucks for the privilege of attending classes on Zoom. If anyone thinks that’s just as valuable as being there live, please see me about a special deal on a bridge in Brooklyn that’s for sale.Meantime, did I mention that the trades are still hiring?

Actually, I did in my last blog. While many business activities have shut down, skilled trades like plumbing, HVAC and electrical are essential businesses that are operating everywhere and many are in a hiring mode to bring in new trainees.

Here’s the best part. Suppose you land a job with a trade employer and collect a livable wage while you learn the trade. You will find out soon enough if it’s for you. At some point campuses will spring back to life and nothing can prevent you from quitting your job and enrolling in college like you originally intended if that’s your decision.

Many disillusioned college student and graduates have done things in the opposite direction. They started with school and ended up learning a trade after finding the job market for college grads way too saturated or the jobs uninteresting. The problem is that many of them owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans that have to be paid back before they fully enjoy the handsome incomes from their trade careers. Going from trade careers to college, they are likely to start with money in their pockets.

In any case, my bet is that most of them will not want to go the academic route after they learn a skilled trade and settle into a rewarding career.