Have Wrench, Will Travel

Trade work is wherever you find it.


A skilled trade career offers many rewards. One that may or may not appeal to you is the opportunity to live and work in a place other than where you are now living.

Good news about trade work is that very few people in our society live in a wilderness so remote as to be without indoor plumbing or electricity. Even in the smallest towns, virtually every home and building has plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems. (Let’s be thankful for our modern civilization that has brought this about. Many senior citizens who were born in the 1930s or ‘40s were raised in homes without all of these conveniences.)

This means that job opportunities exist for plumbers, HVAC technicians, electricians and carpenters no matter where you may live in the U.S. or in Canada. But let’s face facts. The bigger the population the more job opportunities are likely to exist. In rural areas and small towns there will be only a handful of companies in need of skilled trade workers – often only a single employer.

For most people, this is not a problem. More people leave rural areas looking for work than want to stay. If this describes you, then acquiring a skilled trade will open many geographical doors to you.

In particular, trade workers in new construction fields may find it necessary to move around in pursuit of work. Some big commercial and industrial projects employ hundreds or even thousands of trade workers at a time. These jobs may last for a year or two but once a project is completed, workers need to move on. If you work in a booming industrial area one big project may follow the next and you may not have to change residence hopping from job to job. In other cases it may be necessary to relocate to a different part of the country to find work.

Some construction workers are employed by a company based in one city that does work throughout a region. Some of their workers may be sent to work outside of the home city on a temporary basis, living in a motel or other temporary quarters until the job is finished. (In most cases they will receive extra compensation to cover travel expenses.)

Service companies offer more stability. Many technicians spend their entire careers working in the same city or town, sometimes for the same employer. But finding the right job at the right time may require looking beyond the place you live right now.

Relocating can be hardship, especially if you have a family. A working spouse will also have to find a new job, and if you have children in school it’s always hard on them to move and make new friends. But it can also be an exciting time of life, especially if you are a young person just starting a trade career and without family responsibilities.

Skilled trade workers are in short supply almost everywhere. If you are able and willing to relocate you can be choosey about the jobs you pursue. An employer in another part of the country may be able to offer higher pay and greater opportunity than any local company. Many companies will even pay relocation expenses if you strike them as the right person for the job.

Is there a city where you’ve always wanted to live and work? As a skilled trade worker, the odds are very good that you can find suitable employment there. The internet makes it easy to find job openings almost anywhere in the country.

The same holds true if you are not yet a skilled trade worker but wish to become one. Many companies are looking to hire apprentices or trainees and don’t care where you come from.

We live in a highly mobile society. Take advantage of it by pursuing your best possible career opportunity wherever that may lead.