Most of us tend to live our lives in a fairly straightforward manner, especially where our work lives are concerned. Almost thirty years ago my husband— yes, the builder— was a CPA for one of the Big Eight accounting firms in Boston. Everyone who worked for Coopers was part of the race to make partner. That meant long days, and during tax season sometimes all night as well. There was an option, after five years, to go abroad for two years and work for the company with their clients who had international divisions. We were young. A two-year all paid trip to Europe sounded amazing. Many people cautioned my husband not to take the position, “You’ll get off the partner track.”
We decided to go anyway. For two years, we lived in an 800-year-old farmhouse in Holland. My husband worked reasonable hours because in Europe everyone leaves the office at five so there was no work to be done. We traveled a lot, because everyone in Europe gets six weeks of vacation time. We came back to the US and decided maybe the rat race of the “Partner Track” wasn’t exactly what we were looking for.
Opportunity knocked! Once we made that first decision to go to Europe the next leap was easier, and the next, and the next, until my husband became a contractor running his own business on his own schedule with lots of opportunities to ski, bike, travel, raise six kids and enjoy life.
This week I came across a job that really caught my interest:
Project Manager: Apprentice
Great opportunity for the individual that would like to learn the process of building and project management. Learn framing from a master carpenter. Learn siding and exterior trim. Work with plumbers and electricians. Learn to manage all professional subcontractors. General Contractor looking for a person willing to learn all aspects of the building process while at the same time using your hands. This paid internship will be for 1 year. It will provide future opportunities.
I thought immediately, “ Here is a job for some ambitious person in the trades or even perhaps just thinking about going into the trades. They could get some serious hands-on experience like an old fashioned apprenticeship— better than going to trade school because they would be learning in the field.”
Of course, it would be a lot of really hard work and there is only a guarantee of one year’s employment “but still”. Maybe after a year, this project is so successful the job continues as more than an internship. Maybe after a year of working with a master carpenter, plumber or electrician you discover that you want to go in that direction. Maybe you discover building work is just not for you. Opportunity is like that…you have to see past the short term and into the possibilities.