Previous careers

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Dec 18, 2010
In the political section there is a thread about the keystone pipeline. While posting in that thread, I started thinking about my previous career in the metal fabrication field. In a way I hate the welding field, in another way I love it, another way I miss it, another way I do not miss it,, if any of that makes sense let me know.

There is something about leaving a job at the end of the day, and you can see something that you built. There is a certain satisfaction in doing a hard days work, going home hot, tired and covered with dried sweat. Its something that a lot of people do not understand, and something a lot of people will never do.

For some people taking the trash out is hard work.

My idea of hard work involves an overhead crane, a pair of straps (nylon or cable), a piece of metal weighing 10+ tons, cutting torch, hammer, wedge and a welding machine.

Its difficult to explain, but there is just something about building a physical object with your hands.

At the last welding job I held, we built some transportation containers for offshore drilling rigs. They were a drum about 8 feet in diameter, with a steel frame around it, a ladder to climb on top, and they were going to Australia. I thought it was pretty cool I was building something that was going 1/2 way around the world.
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Apr 5, 2002
Yeah, it is satisfying... until you're 55 and your body is broken.
Physical labor doesn't pay well either.


Diamond Member
Jun 22, 2003
Hard work is rewarding. I think everyone should, at some point in their lives, take a job that requires it if they are physically able. It really gives you an appreciation of what it takes to run a society. For me, it was landscaping/farming. I used to make my spending money (I was younger and didn't live on my own yet) cutting grass, trimming hedges, planting shrubberies, etc. It was hard work in a very hot/humid environment. At home, my family and I grew watermelon, corn, bellpeppers, beans, squash, etc. to supplement our food budget. You can get a lot of satisfaction seeing an empty field turn into your own dinner...


Diamond Member
Dec 11, 2006
A lot of my friends that work in construction have ended up with permanent damage to their bodies.

While they were working, they were all in great physical shape from the constant exercise. I can think of 4 people off the top of my head that were injured at work at suffer permanent pain from it and thus had to switch careers.

Friend 1: Injured his back during construction work. Injured other things as well that healed (for example was roofing one time and slipped from a loose shingle and fell 3 stories, shattering his ankle and breaking some bones in his foot as well). His permanent back injury made it so that he can't sit still, and it hurts for him to exercise. He's an ex-marine so he used to be really built (still is, just not as big). Due to the permanent pain he goes through, he can never sleep a full night without tossing / turning / waking up. He pops pain medication like candy to help him through the day.

Friend 2: Worked at a fabrication plant, and was doing something that involved slamming metal on metal. At some point he started to notice it was wearing on his should but continued working. One day he somehow twisted something in his neck and had to be rushed to the hospital. A few years later and now he has 4 of his neck vertebrae permanently fused and still goes through constant pain. Pops pain pills even more than friend #1. Since his neck is fused, he can barely turn his head, always appears to be facing straight ahead. The constant pain made him go through a period of deep depression.

Friend #3: Hurt his back at work, some part in his lower back, now has a prescription for the strongest pain pills on the market (oxycontin to name one). His mobility is decent, but he can't sit or stand for long. Constantly shifting around. He's doing a lot better than the first two. He still welds and fabricates.

Friend #4: Hurt his back at work, working at the same place as #2 above. Ended up on disability, can't sit for too long at a desk, so has limited options on finding another job. Not quite as depending on pain pills as the rest, but still has some hefty prescriptions. Has problems working any job more than part time due to the constant pain.

natto fire

Diamond Member
Jan 4, 2000
Yeah I used to work on a saw crew that did fuel reduction for the BLM and NFS. Sometimes our swaths would be so narrow that by the end of our job we would be hiking in over a mile past trees that we had cut down. At least I didn't have to worry about the view from my office, I could just cut a tree down if it was blocking it. :p

I've always had physical jobs and imagine I would go crazy sitting all day for work.
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