Those of you who have most of your life ahead of you will long remember the year 2020 as when the world turned upside down. Millions of people in our country have gotten sick and tens of thousands have died. Those of us who haven’t live in a way we could scarcely have imagined not too long ago. A simple task like grocery shopping requires us to wear a mask and our favorite restaurants have either gone away or are struggling to stay in business. Our entertainment options are restricted and mostly limited to inside the home. No visits to ballparks, concerts, movie theaters, etc. Even hugs and kisses are unwise, except with our most intimate acquaintances.
Worst of all is how many of you have lost your jobs. Government assistance has helped pay the bills but that can’t last forever. In any case, the trillions of dollars handed out in unemployment benefits and other forms of economic stimulus should be thought of more as loans than handouts. You will be paying it back in the form of various taxes, maybe for the rest of your life.
Some businesses continue to still operate, if not full speed ahead, at least as fast as they can while burdened with Covid prevention measures. Prominent among them are the residential service trades. Homeowners who need plumbing, electrical or HVAC repairs or maintenance have no trouble finding companies able and anxious to respond. Some small, under-financed firms have closed up shop, but most of the successful, reputable companies are still in business, even though many of them aren’t making nearly as much money as they did prior to 2020. Besides fewer calls for most, overhead has increased due to the need for extra protective gear for technicians and sanitizing requirements for vehicles, tools and equipment. Nonetheless, numerous local plumbing-HVAC-electrical firms are there for you when you need them.
It should remind us of how essential service trade workers are to our daily lives, whether during, before or after the pandemic. The news media is filled with stories of how automation is putting people out of work. Automation has also impacted the service trades, but in a positive way by providing various electronic tools and equipment for service technicians to help them operate more thoroughly and efficiently, and helping to dispatch them to jobs quicker. Some of the larger service trade firms can actually guarantee service within an hour, a promise that no company was willing to make just a couple of decades ago.
Likewise, foreign competition is irrelevant to the service trades. Let’s see someone dispatch a plumber to your door from China or Bangladesh within an hour!
Technology is a long way from developing self-repairing plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems. The service trades offer tremendous job security. Layoffs do occur, but if your current employer can’t use you numerous competitors are out there begging for reliable skilled technicians. In the Covid era and beyond, the trades are well worth exploring.