AFAICT the purpose of bullshit jobs (and by extension bullshit education) is to paper over elite overproduction by wasting people’s time. A side effect of this is that anyone who does anything useful (e.g. nursing, trades, trucking) is expected to work 80-hour weeks to support these pseudo-elites. Worse, the lower middle class has a culture where they gladly accept this. That’s 40 hours of overtime pay baby! Truckers are the worst about this, but it’s that entire caste.
So, coding…you’re supposed to be coding 40 hours per week, but also learning 40 hours per week, while also working your side hustle for 40 hours per week, etc. And all because you just plain love REST APIs and always dreamed as a kid that you’d be making them. This gets into my advice column for young people. I tell kids this all the time in real life.
Every tradesman I know has ruined his body after about 5-10 years of working. Tilework, epoxy, HVAC, whatever. They’re all broken men just barely getting by through abuse of CBD oil, alcohol, weed, and painkillers. All coders burn out mentally after about 5-10 years in the trenches actually writing code. The ones who say otherwise don’t do the coding part anymore, they’re writing design specs and so on. The advice I give to young men I talk to is everyone is lying to you and you need to go into these things with your eyes open and realistic expectations. No one is making six figures in HVAC and doing cocaine in the back of the shop. That was a thing in the year 2000, but those days are long gone.
Today you’re going to start at 15/hr and there will be a hard cap around 25/hr unless you’ve got that rare cushy union gig from the old days. If you’re starting today, you’ll probably never see more than 22/hr as an HVAC mechanic. Sad but true. You need to be aware of this because YOU DON’T WANT TO BE 35 WITH A RUINED BODY stuck working hard physical 80-hour weeks for $22/hr with no prospects. You need to plan to go into management. Not want, NEED. And because of the elite overproduction problem, no one is going to promote you to management. You will not be inheriting anyone’s business just because you’re the top mechanic.
There’s a serious class bias against mechanics because of these middle and upper middle class people moving into these areas. Plus, as mentioned all tradesmen are shortsighted and abuse multiple substances. Mechanics are considered interchangeable cogs. Wagies. “Skilled labor” is not a term the middle class has any respect for. You do labor because you’re a dumb loser who couldn’t get into a better school. You can argue with the stereotype until you’re blue in the face but you’ll never convince your Xer boss that he can’t replace you with a Hispanic day laborer. It’s economically irrational and you don’t have to believe me, but most skilled labor bosses would rather go out of business than retain their best workers by giving them raises. It’s just polygamous alpha monkey shit, and what it boils down to is most white men want you not to reproduce so badly that they’ll burn society down to prevent it. The exception to all of this, as I mentioned, is if you have one of the few jobs that still exist for giant factories. Those guys do okay, but as manufacturing goes to Asia so do those jobs.
So the only thing left to a tradesman is to go into business for himself. This is where the white pill is. You aren’t going to become rich by competing with the local magnates, but you will never lack work. The magnates are still selling people’s time because it’s fundamentally a service business, and there’s only so many skilled worker hours they can bill out even in the most cynical case. And it’s a fundamentally local thing. A plumber will never have to compete with Chinese labor unless the Chinese labor comes to your town. The trick, then, is to go into your trade with the expectation of becoming a small-time entrepreneur. This means putting in YET ANOTHER 40 hours per week to learn business, sales, marketing, and so on.
Accounting especially. These things are not by any means common sense and weakness in any one of them can spell death for a small business. Hiring, especially, which we just talked about last week. So while you’re working for your local magnate to sharpen your HVAC plumbing auto mechanic skills, you also need to be writing down notes about the business you’ll be opening someday. Try to get your hands on copies of the spreadsheets and stuff that your company uses for purchasing, getting jobs, and farming jobs out to underlings so you don’t have to make them yourself. Copy the business plan and model if you can. Keep an eye out for underserved communities with good credit. You’re going to have to set up somewhere that’s hard for the magnate to get to and has low rents in the industrial district.
The other option is college, where the advice is basically the same. That is, if you’re doing a useful degree. For example, if you go to the engineering department of any company office in the auto industry, you’re going to find fifty Boomers, five Xers, and maybe one token Millennial. Never a Zoomer. Ever. Are there no Zoomers doing mechanical engineering degrees? Of course there are. And they’re all unemployed. We have a GLUT of engineers. And they’re all treated like wagies. Although I will say, I think mechanical engineers burn out a lot less than software or trades. Some protective spell cast by the pseudo-elites being intimidated by math and science degrees.
One note about mechanical guys: an issue with this protective spell is that elites who don’t understand your field aren’t going to understand why it should continue to receive funding or be done in the US. And engineering fundamentally assumes centralized organization to some degree. Optimizing a system assumes you aren’t building it from scratch like the Primitive Technology YouTuber. I have a lot of respect for redneck engineering, but optimization is lower on his list than getting the damn thing to work despite being made of scraps.