Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.

 
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:05 PM   #1
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Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


I just had my 50th birthday, still doing OK but thinking it would be nice to avoid the heavy work a bit more and try to find a niche doing finish carpentry or something lighter, leave the heavy stuff to the younger guys.
Any guys out there tackled this one?
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:19 PM   #2
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


Yes, last subdivision (production framing) I did I was late forties. It's just too physically demanding. I framed a small addition last fall, and that's ok. I'm 62.

Start moving towards trim and cabinet work. It is only going to get harder. I'm still out on site, but sub out the really hard stuff. I'm currently starting to get into position to be doing only shop work.

If you need to take Advil for aches every day, you're working too hard. And don't do that anyways, it's bad for your liver.

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Old 04-01-2012, 09:31 PM   #3
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


Kato you have 20 years on me...

I took the company to the next level, now rarely do I ever do site work, my job is to run the company and keep the crew busy.

You can do this too Dave if you put your mind to it.

Every once in a while I jump back in and do a bit, but my body reminds me to get out
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


My problem is that I love the work. It's Sunday night and I'm already excited about what I get to do tomorrow. And I've been doing this for more than 40 years.

I'm one lucky dude.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:52 AM   #5
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


Not much younger than Kato. Usually (but not always) if I'm going to do a lot of heavy work, I'll hire a helper. Hauling drywall up to the third floor will wear me out on a hot summer day. I'll also sub out some things I used to do myself. Renovation and restoration is where I'm most valuable. Renovations are also where a lot of hacks work, so people knowing what you can do can make a big difference.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:01 AM   #6
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


I switched to just installing doors. Most are simple one man jobs and occasionally you have a larger setup which is a matter of having a helper for the day.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:20 AM   #7
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


I am only 34 so I don't mind the heavy work. I actually enjoy it at times for the workout but I do have a buddy who is the same age who does trim work and he keeps telling me I need to learn so I can fall back on it when the heavy stuff finally kicks my butt. I am a stubborn SOB though so it's gonna be a while before I listen to him.

Of course a day off do to heavy rain helps.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:11 AM   #8
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


I got out of installing cabinets 3 years ago after doing it for 29 years at that point. I now just sell and design the past 3. But I do miss being out in the field really bad.

I'm in my mid 50s now and though in very top physical condition, (still run, workout, teach dance), humping cabs over my head for 3 decades in all temperatures and in sometimes not pleasant conditions just got the best of me.

Now that I sit in a nice air conditioned and heated office surrounded by a world class showroom of my products I still don't feel I fit in. I just crave getting back out there with my tool belt and my truck full of tools. I suspect that feeling will never leave me......ever.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:26 AM   #9
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


Happy Birthday!
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:49 PM   #10
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


What about teaching your skilled trade to the younger ones? Englishdave, I see you are located in Vancouver. I keep reading in construction industry magazines that there is a looming crisis in Canada wherein truly skilled journeymen and master tradesmen are getting to retirement age and that in a few more years we are going to have huge skilled worker shortages. There are plenty of unskilled labour schlumps, but not very many who are getting properly apprenticed the way they used to.

Apparently this "crisis" is considered serious enough that many government departments, both federal and provincial, offer incentive programs and lots of colleges now offer apprenticeship programs where the teachers are skilled tradesmen getting close to retirement who can't slug it out physically every day anymore, but they still want to be involved in the business and, most important, they have the knowledge required to teach those skills that a basic teacher doesn't have.

Our local college in my hometown teams up with Habitat for Humanity, so part of teaching will include still being out in the field involved in an actual project. But you won't be doing any heavy physical stuff. The students do all the work; you just explain and guide and share all the tricks of the trade you learned over the past 25+ years. You'll get paid what college professors get paid (not sure if that is good or bad compared to self-employed contractor earnings - hahaha), but maybe you'll find this to be an idea worthy of considering.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:19 PM   #11
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


This is so true. I am the average age of a skilled trade in Canada. We make up 40% of the skilled trades. We are already starting to retire.

The shortage is going to be huge. This is good for the young guys coming into the trades. There will be high demand for SKILLED and trained guys. Which means their wages will go up.

I've apprenticed 3 guys. No more for me. It costs the employer at least $5,000. to train someone up. The government "incentive" is small. It's really not much of an incentive.

If the government said "ok, we'll pay the true cost" then more contractors would probably apprentice guys. But right now it's mostly only the unions that apprentice guys.

My question for our government is - what will you do? There simply will not be enough men/women to build the buildings that companies want built. I'm not talking renos here, I mean large buildings like factories, hospitals, government buildings, condos, etc.

What will happen is simple - less buildings will be built. This will affect rental rates and all sorts of things.

It's a good time for any young guy to get into a trade.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:30 PM   #12
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


I remember when I first got into the union, they told us that in 20 years many guys will retire and it will be alot of work for the union carpenters. About half that is true. Many are retiring, but there is little work for carpenters, and our union is so weak that many contractors will work labors as carpenters for the lower wages.

I can also see a major shortage of builders in a few years in my area once the unlic. auto workers get to old and the fly by night builders run out of work. But first they have to be cleaned out, then it will boom.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:51 PM   #13
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


55 here and still doing decks and a little framing. After about 3 days grrrrrr! Arthritis gets bad. 8 hour days are enough any more than that is pretty brutal
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:23 PM   #14
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


Just turned the big 60 and the old body can't handle the heavy stuff. I cut back the hours and went into the finish carpentry work.

Last edited by JohnJak; 04-09-2012 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:37 PM   #15
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by katoman View Post
This is so true. I am the average age of a skilled trade in Canada. We make up 40% of the skilled trades. We are already starting to retire.

The shortage is going to be huge. This is good for the young guys coming into the trades. There will be high demand for SKILLED and trained guys. Which means their wages will go up.

I've apprenticed 3 guys. No more for me. It costs the employer at least $5,000. to train someone up. The government "incentive" is small. It's really not much of an incentive.

If the government said "ok, we'll pay the true cost" then more contractors would probably apprentice guys. But right now it's mostly only the unions that apprentice guys.

My question for our government is - what will you do? There simply will not be enough men/women to build the buildings that companies want built. I'm not talking renos here, I mean large buildings like factories, hospitals, government buildings, condos, etc.

What will happen is simple - less buildings will be built. This will affect rental rates and all sorts of things.

It's a good time for any young guy to get into a trade.
I don't know how the youngsters are in Canada, but around here you can take one look at them and tell they don't have what it takes. They just want a bag of pot, a tattoo on their butt, and a car bumper hanging from their lip. This is why kids that grow up on a farm are the best they learned what work is before becoming ruined by peer pressure and shopping mall culture
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:17 PM   #16
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishslave

I don't know how the youngsters are in Canada, but around here you can take one look at them and tell they don't have what it takes. They just want a bag of pot, a tattoo on their butt, and a car bumper hanging from their lip. This is why kids that grow up on a farm are the best they learned what work is before becoming ruined by peer pressure and shopping mall culture
So true and sad.

I'm 42 and work alone. Some days are brutal on my body but I pick a steady pace and stick to it. I've done roofs alone, hung drywall on walls and ceiling alone ( I do have a lift now) but just last Thurs I pounded some fence posts into the ground and my back seized up tighter than a you-know-what.
I'm going to have to start choosing my jobs better or look for someone part time.

Has anyone had any luck with labour services for occasional help?
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:37 AM   #17
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


Yes, I've had good luck with temp labour services. If they send you a slacker, send him back. Just tell them what it's for. They ask the guys available who wants to do this job.

What I like is that they look after all the deductions, comp, etc. This is an excellent resourse for occassional labour.

You just set up an account with the company, and then just call when you need someone. It works well, they have guys who for whatever reason don't want a full time job.

Helps us and the guy
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:25 AM   #18
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by katoman View Post
This is so true. I am the average age of a skilled trade in Canada. We make up 40% of the skilled trades. We are already starting to retire.

The shortage is going to be huge. This is good for the young guys coming into the trades. There will be high demand for SKILLED and trained guys. Which means their wages will go up.

I've apprenticed 3 guys. No more for me. It costs the employer at least $5,000. to train someone up. The government "incentive" is small. It's really not much of an incentive.

If the government said "ok, we'll pay the true cost" then more contractors would probably apprentice guys. But right now it's mostly only the unions that apprentice guys.

My question for our government is - what will you do? There simply will not be enough men/women to build the buildings that companies want built. I'm not talking renos here, I mean large buildings like factories, hospitals, government buildings, condos, etc.

What will happen is simple - less buildings will be built. This will affect rental rates and all sorts of things.

It's a good time for any young guy to get into a trade.

If you ask me, there is lots of guys in my shoes. I'm 36 and I have approx 10 years of experience in the trades, I have a wife, and 3 kids.

I am no longer in a situation where I can become an apprentice. There is absolutely no way I can take a big pay cut for the next 4 years.
I would enjoy the learning, but imo the biggest hurdle that we face is the fact that there is no way to expedite the process for guys with experience.

I could take 6 months off of work, and sit in a classroom for that time learning. I'd do it in a second. I am committed to quality, doing it right and I love learning. (unlike 9 yrs ago)

But there is no system to allow that here, I have to enroll in a 4 yr program, and I don't have that much time.


I'm considering hiring a journeyman then apprenticing under my employee but other than that, I don't really see an option.
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Last edited by JT Wood; 04-10-2012 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:09 AM   #19
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Re: Getting A Bit Old For The Heavy Work And Looking For Ligher Work.


JT, just google "carpenter red seal". Tons of info there. You can "challenge" the exams. What that means is if you can show hours in, you can just pay a fee and write the exams.

There is lots of information as to what is included in these exams (there are five in total).

So, if you studied, you can pass these exams. Yes, there's a lot to learn. But you COULD do it if you set your mind to it.

There are many pros and some cons to being licensed in Canada. It opens the door to union work, it is also a sales tool. When confronted by a customer asking you why, I tell them "I'm the carpenter here".

One negative is that as a licensed tradesman you assume certain legal ramifications.

Being licensed doesn't make someone a "great" carpenter. That is up to the man. I've known great carpenters who were licensed and great carpenters that were not licensed.

All the license really says is that this person has passed the exams that have been set out. So he will have a good base knowledge of the trade.

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