Dark Times, Bright Spots

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It's important to concentrate all your energies on the right construction field and not go off in every direction. So where to start?

Let’s look at some facts. If you're an experienced roofer born in the United States, it’s hard times because you can’t compete with unskilled laborers that are new to this country - not if you expect a living wage. And only established roofing companies are getting the calls to fix roofs when other roofers make mistakes.
And as an aside, I'm not knocking these new comers either. All my grandparents hopped on a boat and came to America. Yet there may be job opportunities here.

These new arrivals have driven people out of the construction industry. Most new arrivals don’t have driver’s licenses though. Yet there's still a need for people who can operate heavy equipment.   So you might want to consider going to school to learn to operate the equipment.

But that means a school loan. There are three kinds of good personal loans. Car, mortgage and school And you can defer a student loan for 6 months at a time if you can’t pay because of finances.

Note that contrary to myth, there are no SWAT teams working for the Education Department. And the poorer you are, the easier it is to get the loan because Uncle Sam co-signs. Also, they can’t take your house for failure to pay a student loan.

Which gives me what writers love; a lead in as to why heavy equipment operators are needed today.  People are staying in homes longer as new construction is still half of what it was. If may stay that way too because the pre-bust housing boom was generated by political money expansion. Still, existing homes will always have the need for some type of emergency repairs.

For in bad times, maintenance is neglected, but emergencies must be acted on. Water damage from bad pipes and broken water or sewage lines all require heavy equipment, whether it's to dig new sewage or water lines or to haul away damaged boards and drywall. Also, you need highly skilled people to kill the mold that develops from water damage.

Which brings me to my next point. Because people in this country even in bad times still expect to live somewhere reasonably nice, apartment living is way up.  This means there are jobs in building apartments. Also, older apartments are more profitable for owners to keep as demand raises apartment rents. These apartments must be maintained or at least repaired in an emergency. True, bad landlords may not fix holes, but he or she doesn’t want to do 20 years in the pokey because a tenant dies from lack of heat; so heating and cooling's a good bet perhaps.  In addition,there’s a need for apartments in places where unemployment is low, like in North Dakota, as workers migrate. So moving to low unemployment areas is an option.

In higher unemployment areas, work can be found by advertising yourself, if you have many skills, as a person who can convert spare rooms into apartments. In tough times people take in boarders. Yet they don’t want to share family space. It was OK to watch Uncle Charlie fumble around looking for his dentures, but we don’t like that in strangers whether we're the ones looking at the stranger looking for his dentures or he's looking at us looking for our dentures.

Finally, contact your Congressperson. See which programs you qualify for. They love to help. Call your Congressperson’s local office (and your state legislator’s office too). The local offices have the experts generally and will be more likely return your call.

I love to read your comments. If you have one, please post it.
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By Jeffrey Ruzicka

Jeffrey Ruzicka is a retired executive of a small company that specializes in
industrial water treatment. He lives happily with his wife in Western Pennsylvania and is a contributing writer to Nexxt


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  • Jeffrey Ruzicka
    Jeffrey Ruzicka
    Thanks.  I appreciate your feedback.  I worked a long time in this field, and the horror stories I've seen dealing with cheap work being contracted over good work is a real problem.
  • Eric H
    Eric H
    I think this guy knows what he's talking about. I am in construction and I see the new guys with little or no experience doing the stuff I used to do People just are afread to spend any more than they have to to get things fixed or renovated so they hire the cheapest guy they can find and have problems down the road.

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