General Labor Jobs are Still Relevant
In the age of laptops, instant messaging and Bluetooth, the word "employment" evokes thoughts of computer classes, social networking tutorials, and hurried brushing up on last-minute marketplace developments. It's easy to forget that not all jobs have to take place in an office, with a cell phone on one ear. Here is a look at a few underappreciated hands-on careers.
High-ranking executives board planes every week, relying on the skills of the technicians, maintenance crews and engineers who keep aircraft running and safe to fly. Aircraft maintenance engineers perform routine mechanical work on aircraft and conduct regular FAA-required inspections, keeping their aircraft in top flying condition. Their specialized skills are needed to maintain turbine engines, landing gear, pressurized sections, instruments and other complex aircraft components. A background in mathematics, electronics, and mechanics is beneficial to those seeking this highly skilled labor job. (Click for more info.)
There are millions of cars on the road, and with repairs needed at some point by each and every one of them, automotive service technicians are an important part of the nation's work force. This trade has evolved from simple mechanical repairs to intricate electronic and technical work, as on-board computers and self-diagnostic systems are a common part of modern cars. Automotive service technicians may use complex engine-analyzing equipment and highly calibrated instruments and gauges, as well as simple hand tools. Problem-solving is an important part of this career path, as there may be several possible causes for any particular problem. Using reasoning skills and analytical tests to eliminate possibilities is part of what makes an automotive technician one of the most important labor jobs. (Click here for more info.)
Truck drivers are an everyday part of life on the nation's highways. Every product must be shipped from somewhere, and though many products travel by air or water freight, nearly everything needs to be carried by truck at some point. Truck driving can be a strenuous job, as drivers frequently work well over the typical 40-hour work week. Some runs, called "sleeper runs," even require two drivers who trade off between driving and sleeping in a berth behind the cab. Aside from driving, truck drivers are required to unload their cargo once they reach their destination, and sometimes they may be the only one there qualified to do so. With this labor job's long hours and demanding attention requirements, dedication and a willingness to work hard are sometimes more valuable than unique job skills or an expensive education. (Click here for more info.)
These labor workers are sometimes thought of as the artists of the mechanical trade. Contrary to a regular auto body technician, who focuses mainly on repairs, custom auto body technicians are called upon to restore or custom-build auto bodies, frames, parts and sometimes entire vehicles. Their clients may range from motor enthusiasts who prefer the expertise of a high-end technician over the typical shop employee, to wealthy collectors who are willing to spend a lot of money on a rare auto or motorcycle restoration. Since these workers are not usually part of a large company, there may not be a set of guidelines or common techniques for their labor. It may be up to the individual technician's judgment how to best complete a project, finish a paint job or build a custom part. (Click here for more info.)
Diesel engines are bigger, stronger, and more durable than gasoline-burning engines, and diesel mechanics regularly find themselves working on big trucks, buses, construction vehicles, or even train locomotives. Similar to automotive mechanics, diesel mechanics are increasingly required to deal with complex electronic repairs, as computerized diagnostic and regulatory functions become more common on diesel engines. Versatility is also important, as a mechanic may be called upon to handle a small electrical problem one day, and a major engine overhaul the next. Inspections and preventative maintenance make up a big part of the career as well. (Click here for more info.)
These laborers are responsible for installing and maintaining the miles of power lines that connect electricity users with the power plant. This often involves erecting power line poles and towers, digging trenches, and installing the cables manually. For towers and poles, line installers may raise themselves off the ground in a bucket truck, or they may have to physically climb the tower. Line installers are often repairing damage done by wind, storms or hurricanes, and may often be working in bad weather. Work may also be dangerous, since installers are working with large amounts of electricity, so observing safety practices is necessary for this labor career. (Click here for more info.)
This area of labor employment can be rewarding, since motorboat mechanics are usually employed near bodies of water, frequently working around marinas and recreation areas. Mechanics may work on outboard motors, which are removed from the boat and transported to a shop for repair, or on inboard motors, which are repaired on the boat itself. These boats may include small motorboats, large yachts, fishing boats and cabin cruisers, and the clientele can range from vocational fishermen and divers to wealthy vacationers and tourists. As in any mechanical career, problem-solving skills are important, as well as the ability to work with and communicate effectively to customers. (Click here for more info.)
In addition to motorcycle engines, motorcycle mechanics may work on other small-engine vehicles such as motor scooters and ATVs. Their work may range from repairing or replacing one small part to rebuilding an entire engine, and they may be required to know how to work on several types of engine, as motorcycle engines can vary. The tools involved can be complex, computerized diagnostic equipment or small hand tools, and mechanics may work on many different systems, including transmissions, brakes, and bodywork. Most work for dealers, only servicing the makes or models their company sells, while independent business owners may choose to make their specialty as broad or narrow as they choose. (Click here for more info.)
Stonemasons create stone construction works of all sizes, ranging from simple walkways and retainer walls to extensive building facades. They work with natural cut stone as well as with artificial stone, working from detailed drawings in which each individual stone is numbered and precisely positioned. Though they may use artificial means to hold stones in place, such as mortar for groundwork, or metal brackets and rods for wall work, their goal is to make their work look as natural as possible. Thus, an artistic eye and a fair amount of training play a major role in stonemasonry. (Click here for more info.)
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