Did you know that carpentry has been around since the Stone Age? Wooden bowls, spears, and even coffins have been found at various sites around the world, so it has obviously been a skilled occupation since time immemorial. These days things are a bit more complicated! Carpenters need to know how to work with blueprints and building plans to satisfy clients, put in things like windows, doors, molding, and stairs. They need to be able to work with, cut and measure not only wood, (which is all most of us consider) but metal, plastic, and other materials. So if you ever thought that carpenters were guys who make picture frames or fence posts, think again. They are talented craftsmen who work not only to earn a living but because they love working with their hands and making beautiful things. It’s a profession that is fulfilling for people who take pride in unique handmade products and constantly upgrading their expertise. There are obviously some dangers; if you’re working with saws, hammers, nails, knives, drills and assorted electrical equipment you need to be looking after yourself, but inevitably accidents will occur. It comes with the territory! Some carpenters work for themselves and this is hard; it’s a rough tough world out there! For example, if the economy is bad, if you catch a dose of measles or break your leg, there is no safety net. If you have a glut of work all at the same time, what do you do? There are those who prefer a forty hour week with a steady salary, and who can blame them? The marketplace has room for both. A talent for organizing is needed, and this is an ability that doesn’t necessarily come complete with carpentry skills! (I couldn’t organize my way out of a wet paper bag!) You can learn these at the high school and sharpen them while you learn your trade, though. Maths and art help. Even Noah had to do a bit of measuring!
You will need to know how to handle clients, those necessary but sometimes difficult people who have to be indulged, soothed, placated and ultimately satisfied. Yes, sometimes (a lot of times) they drive you nuts, but they are your bread and butter so all their jokes have to laugh at even if they’re not funny! Seriously, sometimes you can get absolutely pain-in-the-butt people who change their minds after the work is complete. They may even accuse you of being too expensive AFTER they’ve signed on the dotted line! Very exasperating and sometimes expensive, but console yourself with the fact that whatever trade or profession you’re in you’ll never get away from people like this. Sadly they are not an endangered species.
If you’re not self-employed it can be difficult to be hired because many people use sub-contractors, so it helps if you have a large network of family and acquaintances who can help. But it’s an extremely rewarding career, and nothing beats the sheer satisfaction of working with your hands and standing back to look with pride at your finished product – but be warned – it doesn’t come without an awful lot of elbow grease!