Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trade work

Disclaimer:If you are able and willing to make the sacrifices necessary to earn your degree-DO IT. The numbers don't lie-Education increases income. If you want to go to school and need a degree to make your aspirations a reality-it is possible. That just wasn't my path...

As much as I would have loved to have earned my bachelor's degree, Murphy's law and life choices have left me with a ton of student loan debt and no degree. I used to obsess about and a feel "less than" until about 6 months ago when I just got this huge feeling of peace about my place in life and in this world. There is a saying,"the world needs an a** for every chair." It's intended to make service workers feel better about their chosen occupation, but as I age and grow in my chosen field I finally "get it". I value the young lady who serves me my sonic drink each morning so that I can go dispense meds to a banker and the cycle goes on and we all need each other.

I am a superb pharmacy technician.If there was a pharm tech rodeo-believe I would have all the buckles. My point,aside from glorifying my skill set is this-you can make good money and have a good life without a college education if you work hard and make good choices at appropriate points in your journey.

The secret is finding a TRADE. There are tons of jobs out there that have great hours,flexibility, and pay for those who commit to the industry. Here are a few:
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Automotive technician
  • hair stylist
  • dental assistant
  • plumber
  • electrician
  • restaurant manager
  • retail manager
  • bookkeeper
  • computer technician

Some of these examples are from personal experience and others are from Internet research.

The key to making money at these jobs is being....wait for it......awesome. For every hairstylist I know who is banking-I know a dozen who struggle because they have not built a clientele or put in the hours to build their business. The service industry is full of broke job hoppers chasing money when they could have showed a little loyalty and perseverance and been valued at job A.

An entrepreneurial spirit doesn't hurt either. A plumber who has a reputation for honesty and quality can stop turning wrenches and push paper by the time he is 35 if he makes the right moves at the right time.

My Story
I chose not to return to college the semester after my mom passed away. I was eighteen and frickin lost. I got a retail job based on my killer work ethic at the fast food place I worked in high school. I quickly moved up to an assistant manager position  until the company went bankrupt while I was out on maternity leave at the ripe age of 20! I was desperate for any work I could find to get out of the unemployment line and took a job at a factory,scratch that, sweat shop so that I could afford to buy a birthday gift for my baby daddy(who by the way, just brought me a piece of peanut butter toast-I'm much too excited about this blog and my blood sugar dropped!). My daughter was 4 weeks old when I took this job and my first day was excruciating. It was a sitting job and my body had not recovered from child birth.There was no a/c and everyone else spoke Spanish and ignored me completely. It hurt my little feelings so I took a break, called my ever spoiling father and asked if I quit, would he please make my truck payment next month. He agreed and I left without telling anyone. I have done this twice in my life. The other time was after my 5 hour shift at Burger King when I was 15. My friend Angela came to pick me up. I told the rest of the crew,"look!", pointed to the corner and ran out the back door. I promise when I work anywhere for more than a day I am a quality, dedicated employee.

So I was once again unemployed. I applied everywhere and got several calls for interviews. My ex-step mom said I should apply at Wal-mart Pharmacy. Her sister,whom I had never met, put in a good word for me. I got the interview and met with the person who is still my boss 10 years later.  I got the call and started my work there as a cashier on October 22,2001. I went to orientation at 9 and left at 4. I had to get to the courthouse in time to get married that same day! I was a stellar cashier. I was a speedy, problem solving, customer service wizard. Five months later in March one of the technicians was let go. My boss looks at me and says,"do you wanna be a tech?". I heard,"would you like a $4 per hour raise?" Um yes please. There were two other cashiers who had worked there longer, but I was a much better worker than them. Don't ever think your supervisors are oblivious to your strengths and commitment. I paid the $150 dollar test fee and signed up for the soonest test date. Everyone thought it was too soon and that I would not be prepared but I just saw dollar signs and prayed,alot. I passed,duh.
I worked at Wal-mart for 6 1/2 years after that. I grew up at that job. My mentors there were amazing men and women who I still keep in touch with and love dearly. When my dad died, they brought be a stock pile of Dr. pepper and more fried chicken than my fridge could hold. One manager drove to my house just to give me a hug.

I was courted by a competitor for about three years before I ultimately decided it was my time to move on. My dad taught me not to chase money and greener grass. The Lord's timing is so much better than our own. Had I left the first time I got the itch, I would have not been fully vested in my retirement account there and not gotten to open the pharmacy where I am currently employed. I paid my dues at this company, helped recruit my former boss and could not be happier with my career. My current job description:data entry-new patients, prescriptions, insurance. Troubleshooting-insurance billing issues, sales analysis,recalls.Production-checking typing, filling prescriptions, compounding.Customer service-answering phones, ringing up sales.

Anybody have any other secretly awesome jobs(that don't require a bachelor's degree)  to add to the list?