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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there gentlemen,
well, here's my story, any general advice would be super appreciated.
I am 24 years old...i've worked in masonry with family from the time i was about 12 years old every now and then, and then all through college and up until 5 months ago. 5 months ago I took a job in New York City in advertising, which is what I majored in at college. To put it bluntly, I hate the job, hate the commute, and HATE the pay, it's peanuts (and prob would be for the next year or 2).
I LOVE working with my hands, and I am a skilled brick/concrete/stone mason, I know the trade. I am currently considering getting back into construction next March '06 (winter is slow in masonry), working for the family business, and then a year later going in business on my own.
I guess my question to all of you would be, how successful can I be owning my own construction business. I am in the Northeast...NJ. I KNOW i can make a living, but I really want to be well-off. I know it sounds superficial...but I just want the best for myself. I also don't want to feel like I wasted 4 years of college! LOL.
I'm leaning towards going back to what I LIKE to do...layin' brick!
Guys, thanks for your advice.

-T.C.
 

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Repair/Remodeling Tech.
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Sounds to me like you answered our own questions. You HATE the job, you LOVE working with your hands, you are skilled in and enjoy masonry etc.

As far as making good money, I personally think that, as long as you're willing to work hard at it, ANY business owner should make more than ANY person working for someone else. If not, why would anyone own a company?

BTW, don't think of it as wasted time in college. Your mind may always be willing to do masonry, but you better get your body's opinion on the matter :cheesygri
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re:

Thanks!
I said "wasted time going to college" thing half jokingly...I am one to believe that an education NEVER goes to waste...and at the very least I made a great network of friends from college (and had a lot of great times ;) ).
I guess what I want to hear from some of you older guys is...if you looked back to when you were 24, and "had the world by the balls", would you have done anything different? Getting a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University is a privelage, and I am thankful...should I take advantage and stick it out in advertising a little longer?

I'm just at phase, where I am really questioning my future, and I feel like I'm at a fork in the road. My girlfriend and I are in an excellent, serious relationship...she's quitting her corporate job to do what she really wants to do...teaching. I just want to get myself on the right track...thanks for any input!

-T.C.
 

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Hey tommy, Just like you i also graduated from college, but with a degree in graphic design and advertising. Hated the job as well. i have always liked to work outdoors and with my hands. I started painting when i was 14 and now i am 24 and also opened my own buisness but in the painting trade. Like someone else mentioned in this thread, if you work hard at it you will be successful. well good luck man.

And no college is not a waste, i know that further down the road i will need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Saucedo

Saucedo,

Thanks, and good to hear from someone else in my boat. Just curious, when you say you know you will need the college education in the future, what do you mean by that? With regard to your business?
 

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...jammin
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Tommy C
You did what you were supposed to
You went to a good school
Got a good education
Got a job in advertising
And have realized you don't care for it
I think alot of guys in your position would just stay in advertising because they think they should
Then they turn 38 and look back at how much time they wasted doing something they didn't like
When they could've been doing something they loved

Do what you enjoy doing
Your work should bring you joy
Enjoying your work, now that's something money can't buy
 

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I'm with slickshift. If you don't enjoy it, GET OUT! I didn't get a college education, and honestly never wanted one. College is just an extension of the public school system designed to churn out corporate slaves and working class people. Congrats on unplugging from the matrix, heh!

Like someone else said. You did what they told you...followed that timeless "american dream" i.e. grow up, get house/car, get married, happily ever after. Problem is, nothing is a dream when you wake up as an adult with your feet on the ground and head in the clouds.

I really love to paint. That's why I do it. How long, and how many jobs did I walk out on before I realized what I liked.....too many to speak of. The thing is, if you enjoy what you do, it's not work. I feel like a kid in a candy store every day because I get to do what I love. It's down-right fun for me.

See, back in the day, people didn't work because they HAD to to pay paper money to someone. They worked to fullfill their needs. I paint because it put's bread on the table for my kids. These days most people work both FOR and TO PAY their corporate masters.

So, I say go it on your own, but I also have to ask....WHY WAIT? Either way, good luck man. :Thumbs:
 

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Tommy, did you take any business courses? No matter, you can pick them up at any CC.
I was chipping old brick when I was 4 or 5, went on to other things and in the end found your reality. I go nuts if I have to stay in the office too long, I love creating things.
If you want to combine income with your talent, you will have to go into business. Once you are successful, you can pretty much do what you want. I consider work my exercise routine. I'm 55 today and can still boost 80# overhead, I'm 3# overweight from my original Selective Service physical and with the exception of a few stress related items (being taken care of), I'm as good as I was when I was 20.
 

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Tommy,

If you stay in advertising, you already know, deep down in your heart, that you won't be happy!?!

Obviously you keep thinking and going back to what you know and love the best.....SO DO IT!!

As was previously mentioned, you don't want to wake up one day and wonder why you wasted so much of your life working, not only at something you don't like, but why did you spend your time making money for someone else!?!

Three things to keep in mind though;

1. ALWAYS, be honest with your customers.

2. ALWAYS, do the best job you can do for your customers.

3. NEVER, let your business come before family.


As for your college education. Your degree will not be wasted. It was smart to get an education in another field before making this venture into the trades. If something were to ever happpen where you could not make a living in masonry, then you have a trade to fall back on. Same for your girlfriend.

During my life in carpentry I did other things that interested me. I became a volunteer Paramedic/Rescue Diver. Did it for 9 years. While I enjoyed it, it did not compare to my love for carpentry and being able to see what I had built with my own 2 hands.

I still go back to previous jobs and get a sense of self-satisfaction for the job I did, and knowing that the people I did it for are happy with what I did.

Good luck to you and your venture into the masonry trade and starting your own business! :Thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, guys, these are all things that I really need to hear! Keep 'em coming!

Don, I like you're 3 commandments!
 

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Yeah, Tommy C, I got a son who is a little frustrated with college. He works summers in construction to pay his way. His mom and I are high-school drop outs and encourage him. The consensus thing I hear about college is that it weeds out people, and that above all, you learn "how to learn". Your efforts were not wasted. You deserve to feel good about your college experience as being meaningful and useful.

But eventually, you may have to deal with your involvement in construction as being less and less "hands on". Either by aching joints, promotion to management, owning your own business, or, all of the above. What I am suggesting is that you need not feel guilty or useless because you are not creating something with your hands. It is no shame, just less rewarding.

But honestly, having made that transition myself, I hate what I do. I used to go home tired because I got things done. It felt good. Now I'm tired for different reasons, and it doesn't help me sleep.

I have a brother who spends his day tying reinforcing rods and his nights selling Amway. He has a wife and five kids. I think his wife and kids would rather have him than the sack of money he is chasing. Personal satisfaction with your job involves your family, and that value is priceless.

No easy answers here. None of us will tell you what to do. Just don't rush your decision and discuss it with your family. Best wishes, dude!
 

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Well put GC!
It took quite a few years doing the office work before I managed to accumulate my current staff and set me free.
I hate paperwork! I'm a woodworker, cabinetmaker. I get my greatest satisfaction from turning a tree into furniture. Best is turning an exotic tree into exotic furniture, my all time high. I could do it all day, everyday........for myself. To do it as an employee would suck, bite, blow, really not be very good.
I may soon be forced to consolidate for health reasons and have decided that the cabinet shop will be the last to go.
 

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Good for you Tommy, making a living doing what you love is the only way to go as far as I am concerned. I started out years ago as a grunt helper for a friend's dad who was a builder/Marvin windows distributor. He needed a hand on an upcoming addition and I was at the time laid off from my extrusion job and he took me on as a noob. I loved it, problem is the money wasnt good at all really, but I gained alot of experience in everything from roughing and trimwork to roofing and siding to windows and doors. He "loaned" me out here and there to his friends crews where I picked up more concentrated roughing experience, problem again is that the pay wasnt the best and it was hard to budget and make the bills when you werent sure when the next check was coming, so after about 6 years I gave it up and went back into the extrusion plant.

At first I was happy as a pig in a mud puddle...ooooohhh....MONEY! But after about 5 years of that I started to get restless again and started hating my job, literally feeling nauseous pulling into the parking lot to start my shift every night. Luckily I spoke to my old friend/boss to borrow some tools for a project I was doing and he told me if I wanted to come back to let him know. My wife knew how unhappy I was and she didnt like me working nights anyhow so she urged me to go for it.

The first couple homes back with the old crew went great, then we got onto a bad one, a big fancy custom, 60 miles from home, just as winter was starting....the long paycheck drought, the 15 beans into the gas tank every day, and ending up making awful money on it after all was said and done broke the crew up finally. One of the other guys and I decided to go out on our own and just starting out with no contacts and such made for another rough spell and alot of time sitting home playing "housewife" instead of bringing in money, but thankfully my wife remained supporting and encouraging and we hit our breakthrough and life is great and Im LOVING busting my tail for 10 or so hours a day, coming home sore and tired with a huge smile on my face nonetheless.

Good for you man, it can get tough, but follow that dream bro!
 

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Nice stuff, Teetor. The best to you and your kind sir!
And Longacre tells the tale of the American dream. Dogged determination with family support, and against failure, a hard row to hoe. I tip my cap to you sir!

The point, Tommy, is that life is full of risks, and your rewards are what you define them to be. But don't think as much of your exended family's opinion as you do for your wife. As a 22+ year married man, I know this. heh heh, no luck, just hard work!

Get after it, whether you stay or go!
 
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