College Sucks — A Case for the Trades

I recently had a conversation about a SkillsUSA competition I had attended in Kentucky the day before, when someone asked me, “Why do you care so much about kids being interested in the trades?” Well, here’s why…

I went to trade school, because I was “bad at school.” At least that’s what the perception was, and it still drives me crazy to this day. Everyone always seemed to preach to go to school and become a doctor. “That way you’ll make more money,” they’d say. But I was different. I always knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a carpenter and own my own business. Plain and simple. That mindset was met with a ton of negativity. Which is something I never understood.

The question I seem to get all the time from young kids in high school is, “should I go to school or not?” To me it really boils down to what do you want to do?

By no means do I think that traditional schools and colleges are necessarily bad, but after trade school, I went to college and it didn’t help me with my business. I went to school for construction management. I had some basic classes that and definitely some BS classes but it definitely didn’t teach me how to to start and run a business. It didn’t tell me about the taxes I’d eventually have to pay, what overhead actually means, or how to put a formal contract together. You can only learn that by doing it.

College is great. You want to be a lawyer? Go to college. You want to be a doctor? Go to college. You want to do something that requires a degree? The you have to go to school. But if you want to start a business or you want to be in the trades full time, I honestly don’t think college helps you with that. And if you don’t have any idea what you want to do, if you do go to school, it might eventually lead to taking a job down the road that you don’t really want rather than using those four years to focus on your craft and really perfect it and not have any major debt.

Going back to the original question, I think that its important to me that if kids are genuinely interested in the trades, they NEED a positive support system behind them.

To me, it’s about gaining respect and gaining the quality back in what we do. Starting with my generation as well as the next one.