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Bloomberg To HS Grads: Be a Plumber

timothy posted about a year ago | from the series-of-tubes dept.

Education 368

An anonymous reader writes "This being college graduation season, the insights provided by commencement speakers should be familiar by now: find work in a field you're passionate about, don't underestimate your own abilities, aim high, learn to communicate and collaborate with others, give something back to your community. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, whose current job is Mayor of New York City, evidently decided to break the mold by advising less academically adept youngsters to consider a career in plumbing. High wages, constant demand, no offshore competition. 'Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College — being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal'. Ouch! And hey, like a lawyer, a plumber can always dabble in politics."

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368 comments

Also (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#43761501)

Plumbers don't have to put up with as much shit as most IT workers

Re:Also (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761591)

Bloomberg to the high grads: be a plumberg!

Really? (2)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year ago | (#43761679)

Funny, that's not what I was thinking when I had to hire a plumber because my main line out of the house got clogged with "flushable" wipes. (I was so glad that I wasn't the one dealing with that literal shit. I was totally happy to pay him for his work.)

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761723)

Which highlights another good reason to be a plumber. Everyone understands why the job is necessary but nobody wants to do it. Which is pretty much the exact opposite of IT.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762129)

Whoosh!

Re:Also (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761791)

I'd suggest being an electrician over a plumber. No matter where technology goes, we're going to need electricity. And with electric cars booming, someone's going to have to build that electric infrastructure.

Re:Also (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761905)

Higher chance of sudden accidental death tho.

Re:Also (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761953)

Once our children are in school and my wife gets back into the work force, I'll seriously look at bailing out of IT and getting into a trade.

Re:Also (3, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43761989)

Try being a politician, it seems to have worked for Bloomberg. Funny he didn't offer it as an alternative.

Re:Also (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about a year ago | (#43762059)

IT isn't a trade? Yeah, actually you're right.

My father always said, "computers are a tool, not a trade".

But with most trades, it's useful to be able to apply your tools well. So most IT/CS geeks would do well for themselves to "diversify" somewhat into a specific trade, and not limit their knowledge/education solely to kicking computer HW/SW. Focus on what you do with it, not the tool itself.

Re:Also (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762017)

Plumbers don't have to put up with as much shit as most IT workers

Nor do they have to take shit from IT workers.

Re:Also (4, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year ago | (#43762021)

    Ummm.. I worked with a plumbing company for a while.. There was a whole lot of shit, literally. I was lucky, I just did their IT work. I could talk to the techs who had done messier jobs from a distance. If their blue uniform is now brown, don't get too close. :)

    It was entertaining, and absolutely disgusting, watching them clean out of of the tank trucks. It registered something like 10k pounds overweight, because of the sewage sludge that had built up in the bottom of the tank. At least the guy who went in to clean it got to wear a biohazard suit and respirator.

    I only had to deal with the trucks while I was wiring up their GPS tracking. It was the first chance I had to drive a 10 speed truck. (private property, CDL be damned). The drivers were gone for the day, and the other staff present were afraid to try to drive it up to the shop. The work/cargo vans were harder to drive. Their blind spot is anything but in front of them.

Hey, if it was almost good enough for Einstein.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761507)

it should be good enough for Joe Bag-o-Donuts.

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/40027-if-i-could-do-it-all-again-i-d-be-a

Re:Hey, if it was almost good enough for Einstein. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43761711)

You may be laughing, but the behavior of plumbing at relativistic speeds is actually quite difficult to predict. Plumbing around black holes is even worse, although the upside is that at least EPA won't nag you if you happen to be releasing toxic chemicals into the black hole: it all ends up as mere mass, charge, and angular momentum anyway. (Bilingual bonus: in my native tongue, "illegal dump" translates as "black dump".)

Not actually a bad idea. (4, Insightful)

GlennC (96879) | about a year ago | (#43761517)

As much as we need competent programmers, DBAs, network administrators, etc., we also need plumbers, carpenters and electricians. Not everyone has the talent or desire for college, and I think we as a society ought to recognize that. Of course, that means less income for colleges and bankers providing student loans, so I'm not surprised that this is being billed as a radical idea.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761743)

Not everyone has the talent or desire for college

This right here is what needs to stop: just because you're a plumber, or a carpenter, or an electrician, doesn't mean you're dumb. Likewise, going to college doesn't mean you're smart.

People need to stop looking down on blue collar jobs, and stop treating "going to college" as the highest honor they can bestow upon on themselves. There are way, way, way too many people going to college and doing pointless and ultimately useless degrees. Hell, there are way too many people going to college and doing things like CS degrees who couldn't code their way out of a paper bag.

We need to get back to the idea that learning blue collar work is just as socially acceptable as white collar. We need to get away from the idea that you must go to college and get a degree or you're a "failure". We should bring back real apprenticeships; for blue and white collar workers.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (1, Redundant)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43761779)

A thousand times this. I've a great deal of respect for tradesmen, and if it's money you're after you could do a lot worse than the trades.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43761819)

You are absolutely right. The only yardstick worth measuring with is the "are you happy with what you do".

On a side note: CS degrees arent supposed to be able to program, which is why they mostly can't - you need to go to a trade school for that. If you happen to bump into a CS grad who do know how to program, and not in the sense that they know C++ syntax, but can actually construct and document a system from scratch, they sure as hell didn't learn that in college.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761849)

CS degrees arent supposed to be able to program

Exactly, but the majority of kids going into CS degrees don't understand this. They've been sold on the lie that they have to go to college, and they're going to college to learn CS and become a developer.

A good 80% or so of people entering CS courses should instead be going to trade schools, or an apprenticeship with perhaps one or two days a week spent in the class room covering the theory they need.

Instead they spend four years racking up debt and come out the other side not much better off for actual skills than if they'd not bothered in the first place.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (4, Insightful)

gstovall (22014) | about a year ago | (#43761869)

:) With only a few exceptions, the best software designers I've worked have degrees in engineering, physics, or mathematics. It drives the people with C.S. degrees nuts. :)

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (2)

gstovall (22014) | about a year ago | (#43761923)

Sorry to reply to my own post.

I personally don't think holding a degree should even be the primary criteris...

Am friends with a couple of high ranking software architects at a major (world-wide) package delivery service. One of them has a degree in physics. The other worked his way up from a manual labor job in the shipping department -- he showed a willingness to self teach on computers so he could fix a problem in the shipping department process, and his aptitude, inclination, and hard work propelled him along to his position of authority/influence.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (2)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43762169)

It's just as socially acceptable, but you're deluding yourself if you think that trade school or an apprenticeship are equivalent to what you're getting in college. College itself is about teaching people how to think and right now they aren't doing such a good job of that.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (2)

bonehead (6382) | about a year ago | (#43762173)

just because you're a plumber, or a carpenter, or an electrician, doesn't mean you're dumb. Likewise, going to college doesn't mean you're smart.

Some of the smartest people I know are tradesman. I don't know a lot of plumbers, but I know electricians, carpenters, and mechanics who are absolute geniuses.

And some of the biggest morons I know have PHDs. They may know a whole lot about their field of study, but that's ALL they know. College professors, in particular, seem to be very unaware of reality and completely lacking in common sense.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (2)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year ago | (#43761753)

As much as we need competent programmers, DBAs, network administrators, etc., we also need plumbers, carpenters and electricians. Not everyone has the talent or desire for college, and I think we as a society ought to recognize that. Of course, that means less income for colleges and bankers providing student loans, so I'm not surprised that this is being billed as a radical idea.

One of the worst things that happened to the UK back in the day was the stigmatisation of "trades" and the new idea that to be worth anything you had to get a degree. This had a twofold effect - a lack of people who saw a skilled trade job as a viable option, and a devaluation of the degree as everyone scrambled to offer one that would be suitable for all levels of academic achievement.

It's something we're still suffering from, and we need to get away from this idea that everyone can have every opportunity if they want - some people are not cut out for academia, and there is nothing wrong with that, but they might make an extraordinary skilled tradesman. Until we re-level that playing field and take the stigma away from jobs where you get your hands dirty, we'll be stuck with the fallout.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761789)

Also, I am waiting for the Latino community to rise up and complain that he is anti-immigrant as this will take work away from all the latinos that hang out in front of home depot.

Re:Not actually a bad idea. (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year ago | (#43762047)

There are plenty of service jobs which require local talent. Add HVAC, and CDL licensed truck drivers to your list.

Joe the Plumber wasn't a plumber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761519)

Joe the Plumber wasn't an actual plumber, as he didn't have a plumbing license.

Of course he wasn't in the income bracket that was targeted for tax increases (due to having been targeted of insane tax breaks) either...

But that's the republican strategy. Tell the proletariat they are the 1 percent, even though it's obvious they aren't. This makes it easier to convince them to vote against their own interests.

Joe the "plumber" got a tax break from the Obama administration, but Michael the Bloomberg got a tax increase.

So yes, below average students should be plumbers and get a plumbing license, but they shouldn't ever vote for republicans.

Re:Joe the Plumber wasn't a plumber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761795)

Plumbing license? What the hell is that? Do you mean contractors license?

Re:Joe the Plumber wasn't a plumber (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762023)

I love it when liberals get butt hurt. They get SO catty.

On second thought, wrong word. They start behaving like flaming, lisping homosexuals, about to whack you with their purse while shrilly screaming "stop that!".

Re:Joe the Plumber wasn't a plumber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762067)

> Joe the Plumber wasn't an actual plumber, as he didn't have a plumbing license.

Leave it to a liberal to think that just because someone does not have the official paperwork and approval from the state's bureaucrats, that what they actually do or did for a living is therefore not true.

Re:Joe the Plumber wasn't a plumber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762213)

Except for "undocumented guests" or whatever they are calling them these days.

You can be sure this turd ADORES illegal immigrants. The fact that they are not "documented" would in no way prevent them from being true "immigrants".

Could be true (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#43761525)

Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, whose current job is Mayor of New York City, evidently decided to break the mold by advising less academically adept youngsters to consider a career in plumbing

Without reading TFA, the key part is "less academically adept". Not everyone is well suited for a CS degree or an MBA

Perhaps not as plumber specifically, but if someone have no talent or interest for their current degree, they should switch to something else instead of just pushing on (as everyone in CS seems to do)

Re:Could be true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761721)

It could be true even for the more technically adept. Software and engineering jobs are more transportable than many job categories. A guy in China or India or Kentucky very likely can do your job as well as you -- or well enough -- for less than they pay you. Companies don't even try to resist this kind if temptation. Corporations rarely consider the implications beyond the next fiscal year. A problem they might have next year isn't even on their radar and is heavily discounted, nor do they seem to have realistic ideas of how much it costs to bring a new employee up to full productivity. Yes, he can crank out the code or designs but he takes longer to understand what you are trying to do because most tasks are extensions or variations of things that already work (or almost work).

And by the way, plumbing is a technical occupation.

And not everybody who goes to college is in the engineering school for God's sake. Guys who went to business school are running most companies.

Re:Could be true (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43761801)

Guys who went to business school are running most companies.

Are they? I don't know any business owners who went to business school. I do know a lot of successful business owners from diverse backgrounds who are tough, resourceful, resilient, charming, lucky, and upon occasion ruthless, which are not qualities you are taught in school.

Skils || Trades == Jobs (3)

DeionXxX (261398) | about a year ago | (#43761527)

People with skills and trades will almost always find work even in shitty economies. If you know how to make something, build something, or fix something that everyone uses, then someone is probably going to pay you to do that.

My advice to kids, whether family or kids I mentor, is to finish school with a skill. Doesn't matter if it's programming or plumbing.

Re:Skils || Trades == Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761571)

I agree with you.
My issue is society's view on those trade skills. Thankfully I'm married, but imagine trying to date someone when you're a plumber.
There's a social cachet in having an office job. A trade worker, not so much, unless your SO is also a trade worker; and so are your friends and family.

My entire family has college degrees and a couple of PhDs. Call it ego or whatnot, but changing social ladders is embarrassing.

But when it comes down to what matters, I personally believe money will always trump prestige - short of being a hooker.

Re:Skils || Trades == Jobs (1)

DeionXxX (261398) | about a year ago | (#43761613)

I think that has to do a lot with education too. Just because you're a plumber doesn't mean you don't read or have interesting hobbies that can help you relate to those with PhD's.

I think your family would prefer you being with someone you love that is also financially stable, than with someone who has a degree but no real job opportunities in this economy (see poli sci, etc)

Re:Skils || Trades == Jobs (4, Insightful)

KernelMuncher (989766) | about a year ago | (#43761657)

A friend of the family was somewhat distraught when her son skipped college after HS and took a welding job. He was living the redneck life with a big pickup, wore a hardhat to work every day, etc. The years go by and this man goes from being an apprentice to a master welder. Then he decided to form his own welding crew with some coworkers from jobs he'd had from various jobs. Now the guy who everybody said was taking the wrong path owns his own business and makes absolutely gobs of $$. True story.

Re:Skils || Trades == Jobs (1)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | about a year ago | (#43762011)

I imagine it is similar in the US... If he were in Canada, the next step for the successful welder would be to start recruiting tradesmen from India or China.
  1. 1. advertise for higher skilled jobs at below local labour rates for a month or two
  2. 2. claim an inability to hire in a few months, bring in the temporary foreign workers (TFW)
  3. 3. Profit!!

http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/higher_skilled/trades/index.shtml [hrsdc.gc.ca]

While I think the advice to go into trades is fine (there is likely more demand right now.) what Bloomberg says about no foreign competition is likely b.s. I don't know how long it will take, but there are donut shops and gardening centres here with TFW's. There is no low skill job that is not routinely farmed out already. Trades are not immune either:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/12/07/bc-chinese-miners-new-documents.html [www.cbc.ca]

Re:Skils || Trades == Jobs (2)

drunk_punk (2841507) | about a year ago | (#43762153)

A good welder is worth his wieght in gold... Having been a plumber for a number of years, you can make a pile of money in trades, because at some point in your life you will be presented with the situation that you will need somebody in the middle of the night to come to you to fix something. And that individual will cost hundreds of dollars an hour. And you will pay the bill gladly.

For once, I agree (1)

moeinvt (851793) | about a year ago | (#43761535)

Bloomberg is a pompous, gun grabbing, authoritarian, elitist, fucktard 99.99% of the time. However, he was able to accumulate a fortune, so I guess he knows about money.
On this point, he's right. As of now, trade schools are probably some of the best deals around in terms of ROI for education. I'd rather be a plumber or an electrician than have a sociology, political science or ethnic studies degree (and the associated debt) from a prestigious university.
If anyone asks my advice, I tell them to look in the medical field. Going for MD is a long, hard, debt-laden road of course. Many jobs can be had with only a 2 or 4 year degree however.

Re:For once, I agree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761593)

"Bloomberg is a pompous, gun grabbing, authoritarian, elitist, fucktard 99.99% of the time."

Which is why he wins NYC elections. He's one of their own.

Re:For once, I agree (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43761617)

On this point, he's right.

Sure, as long as demand, relative to supply, holds up. What are the odds? With the influence of unions (which have artifically propped-up trade wages) beginning to go by the wayside and theoretical increased attendance in trade schools (as per Bloomberg's advice), I'd say those odds were slim.

No, this is yet another case of "do as I say, not as I do" which is the M.O. of successful mouthpieces like Bloomberg. After all, it's not as if he and his ilk are going to actually give the peasants advice that might threaten to put them on a more level playing field... :p

Re:For once, I agree (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about a year ago | (#43761691)

That is where things like building codes help out because most states require new construction to have licensed trades doing the plumbing and electrical.

Re:For once, I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761845)

You missed his point. If there is a demand for 500 plumbers, but there is a supply of 1000 plumbers, the amount of money the plumbers can charge will drop, especially if there are no unions to help artificially keep prices up. What does licensing have to do with that? They could all get licensed. Are you suggesting that the states limit the number of licenses they give out based on the local demand?

Re:For once, I agree (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about a year ago | (#43761675)

and degree in the medical field (even the cheaper ones) can lead the more technically minded to work in healthcare IT....That does not mean medical field persons can't get in (I am one that fits that) but there is a lot of desire for people who know how to work in the environment and who can work in IT.

Re:For once, I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761741)

True, but the non-MD jobs do 80% of the work and get 20% of the pay.

Re:For once, I agree (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#43761853)

There are many millionaires running businesses such as used car dealerships and vehicle salvage yards who started as mechanics.

There are many structural and pipeline welders who moved into owning their own contracting businesses or into inspection or who are making a very nice living in the nuke power station world.

There are many machinists who moved into owning their own successful machine shops.

Re:For once, I agree (1)

Znork (31774) | about a year ago | (#43761995)

Frankly I'd be a bit iffy about the medical field. It has advantages with the guild like features keeping wages high in some positions and there are some obstacles to off-shoring, but it's also a field that will likely come under increasing pressure from AI and robotics in the not too far future. The gains to be made are simply so compelling and anything from diagnostics to surgery is potentially better done by machines (which in turn, due to the nature of the field, means that having an actual human doing either will basically be malpractice.)

Trade jobs that are hard to offshore and difficult to cost-effectively automate are probably a good choice. I'd stay away from the transportation sector as that too is likely to get automated to a significant degree within our life time.

Kinda the same route (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761551)

I usually work with IT support, but took a sidejump as a construction worker for 6 months years ago.
It was good because:
-You can leave your work when you go home
-You feel less like a cog in a machine and more like a decision maker (if you're in a small team)
-You can see the work you do, and you can see the difference between good work and bad work
-It's fun to work fast, easy to take pride in a good job
-It trains your body (bye bye back problems)
-You learn to work with different people. Construction workers, carpenters, plumbers etc are a lot about social networking and less about skirting around the issue. You will gain more can-do attitude and learn to work with people who are that way
-Pay is actually decent compared to working at a grocery store etc. 30-50% more.
-Less jabbering with customers, more plain work.

The downsides:
-Have to get up early.
-It's hard work.
-Bosses in these workfields are usually very temperantal. They're either very happy and fun to work with, or very angry and irrational.
-Possibly dangerous, both short term and long term (but don't let that deter you).

I recommend it!
There's always jobs for people who aren't afraid to do physical work. Just view at as getting paid to do excercise.

Great! (0)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43761553)

We can all plumb our way to fame and fortune plumbing the depths of each other's plumbing (sounds like a politician's wet dream - pun not requiring intention).

Not always! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761559)

Plumbing used to be great in the UK £50-60K was possible. Then Europe opened up and Eastern Europeans started cutting into the wages considerably, it still pays better than the median wage, just a lot less than before.

Know what you want to do, and plan accordingly (5, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43761589)

If you love working on cars and want to be a mechanic, you don't go to college for engineering, you go to trade school and get certified. If you want to work on planes, you go get your A&P, you don't get a degree in aeronautical engineering. We need people to fix our cars, unclog our pipes, weld stuff, etc. These jobs aren't glamorous, but they are stable, pay much better than you think, and can be obtained by attending a much cheaper trade school than going to a university. I currently work part-time doing unskilled labor, and one guy I work with, after only being there 7 years, makes over 70k a year working no more overtime than many salaried employees. When he tops out in 3 more years he will probably be making close to, if not more than $100k. And this is in a job that requires no more than a high school diploma.

Re:Know what you want to do, and plan accordingly (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#43762001)

. I currently work part-time doing unskilled labor, and one guy I work with, after only being there 7 years, makes over 70k a year working no more overtime than many salaried employees. When he tops out in 3 more years he will probably be making close to, if not more than $100k. And this is in a job that requires no more than a high school diploma.

Where the hell do you live and what kind of job pays an unskilled laborer $100k/yr? (I'm presuming in USD.) More to the point, what the tax rate and cost of living where you are?
 
These questions may sound facetious, but they're serious - someone in a big city may make impressive sounding money, but actually be just treading water because of the local cost of living. (That's one of the reasons people endure hellish commutes - to get out of the city to where land and living is cheaper.) That, and I find it exceedingly hard to buy unskilled labor making anything anywhere near $70k except where labor is scarce - so why aren't people flocking there and driving down the labor rates?

Re:Know what you want to do, and plan accordingly (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#43762103)

Where the hell do you live and what kind of job pays an unskilled laborer $100k/yr? (I'm presuming in USD.) More to the point, what the tax rate and cost of living where you are?

Atlanta airport, working on the ramp. A single person can easily live here for 30k a year, if not less. And remember, that 100k is with OT of time and a half. He has 7 years, pay scale tops out at 10 years. First year is about 1800 a month, 10 years gets you mid 4k a month. And that is base.

Re:Know what you want to do, and plan accordingly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762165)

Where the hell do you live and what kind of job pays an unskilled laborer $100k/yr?

Sounds like UPS. The drivers make amazing money for their relatively low skill. It certainly isn't an unskilled job though. Driving for a living has an under appreciated skill set as much as IT work does. They do have a long waiting list and working part time loading the trucks for seven or eight years then suddenly ramping up to incredible income is the standard career path for your local brown wearing parcel delivery man.

Nothing wrong with the Trades (3, Informative)

dakohli (1442929) | about a year ago | (#43761599)

There is nothing wrong with becoming a Tradesman. Plumber, Electrician, Welder or Mechanic, etc

Just as we need Engineers, Nurses and Lawyers (I can't believe I'm including Lawyers!), we need the folks that keep our machines running. Just as not everyone has the money, or the aptitude to become a Doctor, I know many people who do not have the abilities to become a carpenter or metal worker.

I don't much care for the way some look down on the tradesmen that keep things running. Where I live there is a shortage of plumbers and electricians. Out west there is a shortage of carpenters. As a resul the ones that do exist command high wages, and are busy with lots of work. All this without the debilitating school loans that many University Graduates have.

From my perspective, it sounds like good advice

Re:Nothing wrong with the Trades (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year ago | (#43761917)

I look down on them because of their widespread bad business practices: the majority of the time you can expect price gouging and poor workmanship. They'd be better off working for Microsoft with that attitude.

Re:Nothing wrong with the Trades (1)

dakohli (1442929) | about a year ago | (#43762137)

I look down on them because of their widespread bad business practices: the majority of the time you can expect price gouging and poor workmanship. They'd be better off working for Microsoft with that attitude.

OUCH!

I'm sorry that you have experienced the worst side of the human experience. It has certainly not been mine. Yes, I have encountered the occasional scammer, but by and large the tradesmen I have had direct contact with have been honest. I have heard people complain about the $50/hr plumber or mechanic, so they hire the $20/hr guy who comes in and does a crappy job, then they end up paying a competent worker the 50 bucks an hour anyways to make it right.

If you hire someone who takes you to the cleaners, you have a right to be upset, but if you failed to get references, and do your research, you have to accept some of the blame as well

Re:Nothing wrong with the Trades (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about a year ago | (#43761957)

Just as we need [...] Lawyers (I can't believe I'm including Lawyers!),

Explain to me why we need lawyers again?

Becuase of the alternative (1)

mha (1305) | about a year ago | (#43762013)

Hiring price fighters to aid you in arguments with your !"$%# neighbor is more expensive, and if the neighbor hires their own fraught with high risks for YOU.

I think I prefer lawyers, after thinking about this for a few seconds.

Why just for less academically adept folks? (2, Insightful)

capedgirardeau (531367) | about a year ago | (#43761609)

The most insulting part of his statement is that a hands on trades type job is just for the less academically adept.

While I am partial to electrician work, a trades type job is great for just about anyone.

I am actually getting out of software development full time and working toward becoming a professional electrician because I am very into renewable energy and would love to work outside installing solar and wind equipment.

Electrician, plumber, carpenter, mechanic, heavy equipment operator, landscaper, etc are all great jobs for a person who wants to do them, academically adept or not. Suggesting they are only for "less"er people is insulting, stigmatizing and shameful.

Re:Why just for less academically adept folks? (2)

cnaumann (466328) | about a year ago | (#43761761)

Because it is unrealistic to expect the less academically adept folk to go onto college, get a degree and a job that requires one. It is exactly the same thing as advising the less athletically adept folks to look at jobs that do not require them to be professional athletes. This does not mean that Engineering is only for non-athletes.

The statement should be obvious, but it really is not. In the last several decades we seem to have fallen into the belief that college is for everyone. It really isn't. People need to be told this.

Re:Why just for less academically adept folks? (1)

minsk (805035) | about a year ago | (#43761993)

I'd rather see "more practically adept" going into trades than "less academically adept". But while there's a social stigma attached, it is going to be the people who aren't capable of doing a white-collar job (plus the few who want to do a trade anyway). So the average contractor stays expensive, overworked, and incompetent.

If folks are neither practically adept nor academically adept? No clue. Retail? Unskilled labor until they lose a limb?

Re:Why just for less academically adept folks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761963)

Because academically adapt people like myself are completely incapable of doing the jobs of these hard working people! You could turn it around and call it them "trades adept" and us academics "less trades adept", there's no difference. We're all good at what we do, and that's the advice here -- do what you're good at!

This is good advice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761625)

My cousin went to a 2-year college and is now a plumber. I have a Master's degree in computer science. He makes $20k more than me a year. He's also younger. Sigh.

If it can be automated, it will be automated (1)

blarkon (1712194) | about a year ago | (#43761631)

If your job can be automated, it will be automated. Most jobs that involve sitting in front of a desk at a computer will be automated as AI improves. AI won't get rid of *all* the jobs, but it does allow one person to do the work that at one stage would have required many people. Plumber is bloody hard to automate and it's pretty difficult to come up with software that allows one plumber to do the work that five plumbers did a couple of years ago.

He's right (1)

HangingChad (677530) | about a year ago | (#43761635)

But doesn't address how we could reshape our educational system to fit that new model. Perhaps make high school six years, with the last two intensive training in trade specialties, for those going that route, and college core courses for those going on.

That would change college from 4 years to 2 and let them focus on specialties, almost like a finishing school.

Everyone goes to school until they're 20, with an option to learn a trade, then you're on your own.

Re:He's right (3, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#43761669)

In European countries where people go to school until the age of 19 or 20, and where trade school pupils have their own track, a university degree programme still lasts five or six years (because an M.A. is considered the basic degree, not a B.A. like in the US). So, longer high school wouldn't necessary lead to shorter university studies.

Re: He's right (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#43761731)

This. So much this. The idea of a "well rounded" education is garbage past about 10th grade.

Re: He's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761867)

I strongly disagree. I'd like it if everybody could get more of a rounded education and that the trade schools had at least a few literature and history requirements. It's hard to beat history, literature, political science, and related humanities and social sciences for learning the depth and breadth of who, what, when, where, why, and how somebody is going to fuck you over for their own profit.

Re:He's right (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about a year ago | (#43761863)

Actually I think that the first 2 years of high school should focus on things you will need to survive: money management, how financing works and why revolving credit is not a good thing; reading and writing.
The second 2 years should allow either continued academic *or* tradescraft. fo you go the tradescraft route you'll get two years focused on only the stuff you need for a particular field. Plumbing: math and geometry (drain slopes), chemistry (solvents and glues, interaction with metals), and of course hands on.
-nbr

Re:He's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762085)

But...but... when people get a clue... how will banks make money? The whole economy will collapse!

Union Plumber (1)

AlleyTrotte (1842702) | about a year ago | (#43761645)

As a retired contractor I have dealt with union plumbers most of my life. When I retired (2007) a journeyman made about $35/hour with $18/hour in benefits (Health & Welfare). That comes to about $110,000.00/year, but most took the winter off and collected unemployment about $600.00/week. Not bad for 5 year apprenticeship. JUST SAYIN' John

I was wondering if anyone would mention unions (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43762027)

The San Francisco plumbers' union was (is?) famously a Mafia operation. What's it like out there? Is he getting any kickbacks? Etc.

Re:Union Plumber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762229)

How do you collect unemployment if you take time off? Does your state (which must be Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, or you are lying since every other state caps the payments below $600/week and that's current rates not 2007 so the list is probably shorter for your specified year) not have eligibility requirements? My state says you have to be laid off or furloughed through no fault of your own. No quitting. No taking time off. As a contractor you were complicit in unemployment fraud if you gave those guys an excuse to collect unemployment. Did you tell the state you laid them off when they "took the winter off?" Did you tell the state that they were furloughed when they "took the winter off?" The state will verify the reason. Either you are lying now or you lied then and helped others mooch off the government and now you're complaining about it.

And $600 a week is very generous. Maybe your state shouldn't give out that much money and cap it like other states. Also, remember, these folks may have been union but they paid for those benefits. Or maybe this is another situation of right for me wrong for you. The leader of the Tea Party in northern Indiana was living off unemployment while rallying people against moochers. He said it was OK, he earned the benefits. I guess your union plumber people didn't earn theirs but he, and all the other Tea Party people that have collected unemployment, did. And for the record, they did earn those benefits and unemployment helps fuel the economy by stimulating demand. I don't care that the Tea Party people collect unemployment only that they complain when others do it.

It's a question of incentive and respect (2)

dzoey (578558) | about a year ago | (#43761649)

When I hear people complaining that they can't find skilled people, the part they usually leave off is "I can't find skilled people....for the amount of money I want to pay."
If there's a shortage in the market, then the value goes up, attracting more people, so there shouldn't be a problem in the long term.
The mayor did have a valid point that there's nothing that makes a lawyer worth more respect than a plumber, other than class behaviors.
I'm not sure how much respect of a profession matters in attracting people. Lawyers don't get a lot of respect but many people want to become lawyers for the money. No reason that shouldn't work for plumbers.

Know This... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761681)

It's always better to be a Morlock than an Eloi.

Skilled trades trump white-collar almost any day. I'm a systems technician and I consider myself blue collar. I am looked down upon by the white-collar employees, but they sure treat me real nice when their computers are acting dodgy. Yes, I make less, but I have far less headaches, I don't take my work home with me, I don't sit in endless meetings, you get the drill.

Once a plumber or electrician gets to the journeyman level, you will never want for a job again in your life, and you can actually repair, fix, and service things your white-collar acquantances could only dream of doing.

Still, it's always better to be a Morlock than an Eloi.

Why is this idiot still around? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761713)

What is wrong with New York?!

Bloomberg == pathetic (0)

Stumbles (602007) | about a year ago | (#43761755)

Bloomberg saying be a plumber sounds reminiscent of a certain monarch in France saying you can just eat cake. History shows those in power with such disdain for those they govern will eventually regret their abuses.

Re:Bloomberg == pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761967)

This is solid advice if you didn't have your head up your Antoinette. This is great advice and incurring a college expense just to end up doing something that a trade school could have trained you to do is stupid and bad for all parties involved. The nice thing about being a plumber is that you can expense your vehicle and tools. There's nothing wrong with billing out 75 dollars an hour without having to pay 200K to go to Harvard.

Two things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761781)

Plus the only two things a plumber needs to know are:

Shit flows downhill
Payday is every second Friday

True (2)

lennier1 (264730) | about a year ago | (#43761799)

Bloomberg made his money off the finance industry and he's in politics.
Trust him when he says that the world will never run out of assholes.

Of course it is when you compare it to Harvard... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761807)

Go to a community college, transfer to a university for the last 2 years, and save potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. A few years after college (aka experience), they are worth the same. Unless you plan to be President of the US, there is no real reason to go to these top schools.

Marine Engineering Degree != Marine Engineer (4, Interesting)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about a year ago | (#43761809)

I teach engineering at a maritime academy and it dazzles me that so many students pay through the nose and suffer through 4+ years of regimented academics for a license that they could get by just sailing as a paid vessel assistant for a few years after high school and taking a Coast Guard examination. This is a practice called hawsepiping and used to be the norm for the profession. Marine engineers are really (for the most part) mechanics, and much simpler vocational school would be more than adequate for these jobs.

Admittedly the students also get a "marine engineering degree" over and above the training for the license that is transferrable to a lot of shore-side professions, but most of that is lost on the students. All they care about is getting the license and many whine and cry about having to read, write, do math, and take engineering coursework. I do think that degree is worth what they pay, but it really a form of insurance so they can remain employed after they come ashore, and getting 20 year old boys who aspire to be sailors to think about what they are going to do later in life (hell, later in the *day*) is hard.

College isn't a "good investment for most people" (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about a year ago | (#43761835)

Because for most people, college is trade school for people "too good" to go to trade school. That's putting it charitably since for the majority, it's probably just a 4 year extended vacation with some academics.

The reality is that most people would be substantially better off if they had parents that actually stayed together by that age in their lives and would let them work full time while living at home to build a really large amount of savings. In terms of material prosperity they'd have little to no debt, 4 years work experience toward their future and a massive pile of cash even if they were making minimum wage for the whole time.

Bloomberg is an annoying busybody JEW. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761873)

Fuck him and the Jew horse he rode in on.

Dabble In Politics (1)

janovsk1 . (2926583) | about a year ago | (#43761891)

Or maybe go into theoretical physics.

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43761897)

frankly I'd rather work a mediocre desk job with a decent way, than to labor at plumbing all day. sometimes there is a reason the pay is good, not many people want to do that everyday all day.

You need to work with a plumber (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about a year ago | (#43761931)

You need to work with a plumber for 5 years before you can become a plumber. And then you must pass a test Looking at the help wanted ads there no plumber apprentice jobs out there

Is the end goal of life a high salary? (3, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#43762029)

Is the end goal of life a high salary?

I understand his advice, if followed, and if you work your way, either through trade school or apprenticeship, to journeyman, and then to master, you can expect a $80K+ a year income.

Is this the end-all, be-all of human existence?

A high salary is not why I went into the sciences - I went in with a passion for knowledge and knowing how things work, and why, and how to build things that, because they were barely within the boundaries of the rules, did amazing and astonishing things. A high salary resulted because I was successful at pursuing this passion.

I would instead advise people to try to find three things for which they feel passion, and are good at, and then find someone willing to pay you to do one of them.

If you can only find one thing for which you have passion, if you can still find someone to pay you to do it, then you are ahead of the game, compared to what Bloomberg suggest, if it happens that none of your objects of passion include plumbing.

There are plenty of people who look at the top end paychecks available in a profession, and choose a profession on that basis. Those who do will never reach the top end of that pay range if they do not posses a passion for the profession; they will always be middle tier, and they will watch the clock until it is time to check out from their job, and "get back to their 'real' life". This is where a lot of unemployed IT "professionals" come from.

For those clock watching 8 hours of their day, they will be miserable, working at something for which they have no passion, having intentionally turned their soul off for those eight hours in exchange for money. They will sell half their waking life into misery to benefit the other half of their waking life. And at the end of the day in their "real life", they will find they can not take joy in their "real life", as they anticipate, after sleeping, returning to their job for the next 8 soulless hours of work.

Do something you love, and for which you have passion; reclaim your soul for those lost 8 hours of your life.

If I could have I would have (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#43762065)

If there was a local hiring apprentice plumbers near me, I would not think twice about ditching IT forever.

Re:If I could have I would have (1)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#43762119)

Why don't you move? Or try electricians as that's just as useful as plumbers and can't be shipped overseas either. (unless you want to work overseas)

Good luck with the unions =)

Art and Science (4, Interesting)

Gim Tom (716904) | about a year ago | (#43762095)

Even 40+ years ago, when I got my BS in engineering, any sort of hands on experience was disappearing from the requirements. Even the lab instructors often didn't know how to use some of the instruments (Oscilloscopes, signal generators, etc.) or how to troubleshoot a circuit that wasn't doing what the design said it should.

Engineering is really a combination of Art and Science and no one can learn to be an Artist from a book. Technology needs both and both are required to keep the modern world working. I am in awe and have utmost respect for a skilled craftsman/artisan and our world needs more of them.

I am a third generation engineer, and many decades ago my Father often told me that I should be a plumber or an auto mechanic and there were many times during my working career that I realized just how right he probably was.

Mother Bloomberg (0)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#43762109)

No large sodas, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (really?), "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that the interpretation of the US Constitution will “have to change”, and sure why shouldn't people be plumbers? Or anything else for that matter as long as they don't take the advice of Bloomberg.

“The more I see of the moneyed classes, the more I understand the guillotine.”
  -George Bernard Shaw (Irish literary Critic, Playwright and Essayist. 1925 Nobel Prize for Literature, 1856-1950)

I am a plumber (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762139)

Plumbing has been very hard work. But the fact I can work anywhere in the country( and I have )it's quite liberating to just get up and leave.
I literally have made quite a lot of money from plumbing and my service calls rival or exceed that if doctors or lawyers. It's actually a great trade but its tough.

As a plumber.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43762177)

I am a plumber, that's how I feed my Family and take trips to Europe, build a new home server (24 TB zfs ), and generally make as much as my doctor/wife.
I don't see the downside to working with your hands, and seem to remember that the maker concept is fueling a new attitude to working building/creating/rigging stuff.
It's a win-win.
That and I really like being able to be an asshole if you piss me off, on a construction site it's a man's world.
Try that shit in IT........

for once I agree with nanny bloomberg (3, Interesting)

night_flyer (453866) | about a year ago | (#43762181)

there has been too much of an emphasis in the last 10-20 years for EVERYONE to go to college, whether they were really qualified or not, that the technical trades have been neglected.

Also known as ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43762217)

... fontanero.

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