When I decided to write this article I was having problems picking a title. Lately I have been doing some thinking. What promoted this was a comment posted on one of my post. The comment was in reference to some of my post sounding bitter.
I want to be honest with my readers, my poor life choices have led me on the path of bitterness.
Who is to blame for my life choices? I am.
Working in the welding field
In 1986 when I graduated high school I decided to enter the workforce instead of going to college. My wifes grandfather helped get me a job at a local welding shop. I should have known something was wrong when the company did not offer and kind of benefits, such as health insurance, or retirement.
In 1987 I got a job at another welding shop, but this job had lots of overtime and some benefits.
I should have know in 1987 that working in welding field was a dead end job. But I justified staying in the welding shops because I was making good money. In 1989 when I was 21 years old, I was bringing home anywhere from $500 – $1,000 a week. That was after insurance and taxes. I felt I was accomplishing something with my life.
Once again I overlooked the obvious. Working 80 hours a week when you are 21 years old is one thing. What was I supposed to do when I got into my 40s and 50s? Would I be able to do hard manual labor at 50 years old? What effects would steel working have on my body?
I blinded myself that welding companies treat employees like disposable products.
This might sound like I am ranting, and it is. What are employees supposed to do when they dedicate the best part of their lives to the company, only to be cast to the side when their body gets old?
In 1995 I decided to go to college, so I attended Lamar college in Port Arthur Texas. Instead of going into computers, I should have gone into something I already knew, such as welding or welding inspection.
By going into computers, I threw away years of experience with ASME certified pressure vessels and heat exchangers.
One of the poor choices of my life was going into a field that offered little satisfaction. With pressure vessel and heat exchangers I got to build stuff. When I walked out the door at the end of the day I had something to show for my work. With computers, I get almost no job satisfaction.
If I ever go back into the welding field I will probably take some kind of welding inspection class.
I have no regrets about having 4 children.
I love my children would not change anything there.
What I regret with my kids is not spending more time with them. Over the past year or so my oldest kids and I have reconnected. In December 2011 my two oldest kids, a buddy of mine and I went on a 3 day camping trip on the Angelina river.
It is great reconnecting with my kids. We had a great time fishing and camping.
One of the things that added to my depression was divorcing my first wife, and the ensuing 2 year long court battle.
Going back to court to fight for every little thing took its toll on my metal health.
Then there was the depression during the divorce. Late 2000 – 2002 had to be some of the lowest points of my life.
A decade of job instability
From around 1992 – 2003 I had to battle job insecurity.
One of the things that added to my job insecurity is I am an asshole employee. Treat employees like crap, and I will either speak up or I will leave.
Some of the companies I worked for treated a 25 cent raise like it was something special. 25 cents per hour does not even cover the change in the price of gas.
Then there are the companies that pay their employees poverty level wages, and expect the employees to like it. Why should I like earning poverty wages, and having to work overtime just to make ends meet?
If expecting a liveable wage is a personality flaw, then so be it.
Why should I lay down and take whatever crumbs the management decides to throw my way? Screw that, I want to earn a good living without having to work 70 hours a week.
My poor choices
Some of my poor choices include going into a career where the employers exploit the employees, and then I complain about being exploited.
Another of my poor life choices was going into a career that offers little job satisfaction (computers).
Maybe I should have gone into engineering with my 15 years of experience with heat exchangers and pressure vessels?