Go for it, Christophers!

April 24, 2013

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Last week’s “Welding Wire” e-newsletter featured the blog post “Backbone of America deserves a round of beer,” which focused on comments from Christopher W., a young welding student, about welding formerly being on a worst jobs list. He couldn’t understand how that could happen.

We shared Christopher’s comments and asked WW readers how they felt about their welding careers. We heard from welders, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Leon from Trinidad & Tobago encouraged all the Christophers out there to “go for it” and pursue that welding career. He wrote:

“I read with pride the article from Christopher W. There are so many of us that choose to sweat, as Christopher said, to earn our pay check. Yes there are many that also do a good job of pushing paper behind a desk. That is OK too, for we need to have those skills also.

“I have also chosen to work in the field of welding—started in the light metal fabrication sector and moved up to structural steel fabrication. I saw so many opportunities in the field of welding; there are many great and rewarding opportunities and careers in this field of work.

“After many years of hard work and perseverance, I own my own business and am making a valuable contribution to the development of my country. The feeling of being part of something that is bigger than all of us; being a role model to others that may be interested in also making valuable contributions to our society; and the self sacrificing and rewards from such, are a tremendous blessing I must say.

“To all the Christophers out there, think seriously of a rewarding career in this field of work and have the same or similar approach as Christopher. Go back to the class room. Too many of us have left school not being able to afford a secondary or university education and found a job in a welding shop and graduated to being great welders and supervisors. That’s OK too, but we all have to also understand that there are so many new advanced technologies in our field of work that we have to keep with the times and pace.

“To the many Christophers: GO FOR IT!”

Leon was not alone in extolling the positives of welding as a career. Jack, who works for a company with locations on the West Coast and in Hawaii, said, “I have been in the steel trade for 28 years building and repairing U.S. Navy warships. I take great pride in keeping our Navy No. 1 in the world. We should not consider the welding industry as the worst job; in my opinion it is the best job that there is. If you could only experience the pride and excitement when they slide a new Navy ship into the water for the first time and know all of the hard work that went in to it. The feeling is beyond expression. It is in my blood.”

A reader from Canada who once was a welder actually switched back to welding from a lucrative white-collar career. Robert, from Ontario, said, “I was a lawyer for 10 years before getting back in the welding trade. That is proof that I believe in welding as a very good career.”

Daniel from Indiana said, “As a former welder now engineer (still a welder when needed), I do not understand how welding could be on a list of “worst jobs.” I started my welding career in Norfolk, Va., back in 1992 welding in the shipyards. I was a young and eager welder, willing to learn whatever I could. I
can honestly say that I learned a lot from welders older than me (at that time). My former welding instructor told me this, and, still, to this day, I will always remember it: ‘Master the technique to welding.’ Since then, I have held many important positions in welding from a welding instructor to quality control in welding. Welding is the type of skill that is needed throughout the whole world. To all who read this, please understand the importance of welding!”

These are just a few of the comments we received praising welding as an occupation. And if you’re nearing retirement age, here’s something you might want to think about, compliments of a reader named Jerry: “Welding has made my retirement an exciting, interesting, and creative avocation.” Based on his sentence structure, I'm not quite sure if welding or retirement is the avocation, but I’m choosing to believe that to this retiree, welding is a fulfilling avocation, just as it is a fulfilling vocation for many.

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