Ok. The nachos were good.
So, what I did was switched from tree cutting to welding/fabrication. It wasn’t a direct route, but it is what it is. I started going to school for engineering during winters and working spring through fall. I quit tree cutting mainly for longevity and money. Bounced around and did some odd handy man stuff, and a season of concrete work. Eventually, I ended up at a company doing repair and mock ups for automated and robotic welding systems. That was good, but there was some restructuring and I had to move on. I went to the local steamfitters, and as part of their screening for apprenticeship, did a stick welding course. Didn’t make their apprenticeship, but did go into fabrication. Worked there for a few years then was laid off due to the economic crash, then back to school for welding at the local CC. Got some national certs., completed their program, then back to work I went. The engineering thing got lost in the shuffle, but now I’m a couple credits shy of an AAS in weld technologies.
Which brings me to this- If you do go into the trades, go with the unions. They have a training/placement program in place that puts you on the work with the know how you need, when you need it. It’s a pretty direct rout from new guy to journeyman, and you get paid way better than non-union work.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Carpenters and Electrical workers. I’ve worked on some sites with them and they really are the pros. The Steamfitters is also great too, but they can be hard to get into(at least around here). You seem pretty smart, so go with the ones that will challenge you more mentally. Those are also the ones that are more stable work wise, so you can have a good career with and retire with some benefits. You may not have ample time for recreational activities, but you will have some. Also, almost left out the millwrights. Thats a good option to look into too.
You should also think about some personal traits. Ability to work at heights, mechanical aptitude, tolerance for weather, tolerance for other peoples shit, etc., because they will all be tested no matter which trade you decide on (if any). In fact, fucking with people is probably one of the primary skills in all trades, but to be a fucker, you must at some point have been a fuckee.
Over all, I’ve had a pretty good time with it. I’ve built some really neat stuff, and have an overall good sense of accomplishment and contribution. I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody, but I wouldn’t dissuade anybody from trying either. One of my brothers is a plumber, and he does pretty well, and overall is pretty happy too.