In this video, you can hear about the personal story of someone who is starting a career as a laborer.
- My name is Nick Crow. I'm the general foreman for the concrete crew. So that tails all the scheduling, ordering of concrete, pumps, getting the man power laid out, making sure the deadlines are met. And just overall people management. My brother's always been like a father figure to me so as I got older I kind of looked to him for where I should be going, what I should be doing. He was working at the lube shop. Said he had an opening, then he pulled me over there. At that point in time I had had, just had the first child and we were in a small apartment. Me and my wife and my brother in law. Pretty tight with two adults and a baby in one room. So I just needed to get out. Needed something where I had some growth and I had stopped, I couldn't make any more money there. So he said come over to the apprenticeship. Take a small pay cut in the beginning and then six months later I was making more than I ever was there. And then, now making four times more than I was making there. Now we own our own house. They have a front yard to play in, backyard to play in. They have their own bedrooms. Whole lot better. Able to provide everything. It's not a question of can I buy it for them, it's if I should buy it for 'em. Yeah, it was kind of scary at first. I showed up nervous, didn't quite know where to sit, who to talk to, what to do. Just kind of ran to the guy who I was told to report to. I came out, told him it was my first job. Brand new apprentice. And so they set me up with a journeyman who kind of just took me under his wing and made sure he, you know, this is our lunch table. This is where the laborers sit. This is what we do. This is what kind of our routine on this job is 'cause each job has it's own little niche where you know what you're going to do for a couple days out of the week. The day can be like controlled chaos. One step at a time, just baby steps to get through the day a lot of the times. But it's just there's so much going on. Especially like when you're pouring a deck or something like that. You're pumping 600, 700 cubic yards of concrete which one yard's 4,000 pounds of concrete. So, when you have machines that can push that much pumping off right over your head, people are yelling, screaming, telling you to fill in a hole over here, pull mud backwards. You get 20 people trying to accomplish the same task, you can get crazy real fast. And then it calms down. You get to the end of the day, you go clean up and dust yourself off and get ready for the next one. Myself, I have a hard time going in the same place over and over and over again. I need change, even leaving a job for a week or two, you come back, you're another level higher. You know, I've progressively like this job, I've got to see the mountain clearer and clearer, looking at Mt. Hood every day as I go up. Every level's a better view, a better picture. And it's just, you always have somebody looking out for ya. Every body's paying attention to each other. One guy's struggling, we'll reach over and help the other guy out. We like to call ourselves firefighters sometimes 'cause you're fighting one fire after another on the job site. You go around, put this out and oh, we got to go drill and glue some bar in over here. So you go over there and do that. You got to go strip this form out. So you go over there and do that or you've got to remove this for these guys so they can put up a wall. So, even though your day's planned out it always changes about 10 o'clock. Being in the apprenticeship program, it was a nice balance in what you learn out in the field opposed to what you learn here in the classroom. I was able to go out to the field. Learn how to do the real hands-on stuff that I was doing on that particular job for that company, but then I could go back to class, learn how to read blueprints. Learn the science behind what I was doing. Takes you 20 minutes for the elevator to get you down to the ground and you stop and you look back up and you're like, well a year and a half ago I was walking right out and going down and into the pit and now I'm at the top and it usually doesn't hit until the end of job and it's, it's a satisfying feeling. Especially when later on, you're downtown with your kids and they can point up and yell you did that job and you did that one and you did that one. Biggest advice I got is just don't be nervous and go for it. If you think you're maybe try it out, just get in. I've had buddies that I prodded for like three, four years. Now they're in and they love it, but they were just nervous about a transition or change. Just, just get it in. Worst you're going to do is not like it and get out.