Writing an article on the topic of ‘is being an electrician worth it’ is difficult for a multitude of reasons. The main one is that everything is subjective. What is a great part about being an electrician for me may be someone else’s idea of a complete nightmare.
I thought the best way to tackle the topic is to break the question down into three sections, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, that come with life on the tools. Take each point with a pinch of salt and bear in mind that I love my job as a sparky so I’m kinda biased when it comes to this stuff.
Is Being an Electrician Worth It?
In my opinion, after a decade on the tools, being an electrician is absolutely worth it. I have met some great people along the way and had a variety of work that is unrivalled by any other job. Of course, there are bad days when the rain is hammering down but I wouldn’t swap it for all the comfy office chairs in the world.
That single snippet sums up nicely my thoughts on the trade. For those not interested in sitting in an office, trudging off to the same 9 til 5 every day, being an electrician is a great opportunity to earn the same as our clock-punching friends but enjoy the freedom that comes from a life on the road (even if the road is a beat-up old works van)
It’s not all roses out there on sites and in customers’ homes by any means, but overall the number of days I come home annoyed and upset are far far fewer than the days I come home feeling a high level of job satisfaction.
Writing this article has forced me to sit and work out what it actually is about the job that I enjoy, and what bits I don’t like so much. When reading it’s worth bearing in mind that most of my career has been spent as a commercial electrician and the different electrical paths can take you in very different directions from one another.
The Good Stuff About Being an Electrician
In my opinion, the best bits about being an electrician are the ability to work with our hands every day producing practical solutions to problems. A customer needs a new power supply to a machine they have bought, no problem, we go in and within a few days, or even hours sometimes, the machine is up and running.
Practically minded people that enjoy solving real-world problems are well suited to electrician life. Analytical brains help fix faults we often can’t and are relying solely on interpreting test instrument numbers. The constant move forward in new technology is another positive that keeps even the most easily bored constantly engaged in learning new skills.
There’s no escaping that electrical gadgetry is everywhere, and it only seems to be growing. Elon Musk and his famous Tesla corp have given another welcome boom to the industry with the now incredibly high demand for electric vehicles and a distribution grid capable of delivering this new consumer demand.
All this new technology from electric vehicles, to the latest in computer-controlled lighting and home automation, means that as electricians we are constantly learning and trialling new technologies. The future looks very bright at present and there are unlimited career routes that an electrician can travel down.
The Bad Stuff About Being an Electrician
The bad points about being an electrician in my opinion are the amount of travelling required, the intense deadlines that can plague the industry and the high level of personal responsibility. How electricians deal with pressure plays a key role in their enjoyment of the career
Every day, electricians are signing test forms stating that their work is safe. Everyone signing their name knows that if they have made a mistake the consequences are far more severe than a missed meeting or a delay in production.
I also make mention of deadlines because in our industry deadlines are often fixed and incredibly tight. Overrunning on a job can range from an unhappy customer to fines of thousands of pounds per day on big construction sites.
The consequences of delays mean that electricians can often work several weekends in a row over time in order to hit the deadline. These long hour days, coupled with a need to often travel long distances for work can result in a lot of time away from families and friends (probably more than those contemplating a career in the trade realise at first glance)
The Ugly Stuff About Being an Electrician
It’s hard to deny that being an electrician is still a very male-dominated environment. Being heavily male-dominated, construction sites can at times be boisterous places made up of very ‘strong characters.’ There isn’t the usual professional speak associated with business environments which can be a blessing for some or a curse for others.
The vast majority of electricians I have met are pleasant and friendly but there have been occasions on-site when voices have been raised among various tradesmen with each trying to get their point across. Thankfully I’ve never seen anyone on site come to blows but I am told by some of the old guard that it used to happen.
Construction sites are in general fun places to work but they also require someone to be able to hold their own at times. What counts for banter among some people leaves the rest of the guys on site thinking what a w£$%er. Fortunately, the bad apples are in the minority and I guess all workplaces have their Kevins to deal with.
This post very much skims the surface of if being an electrician is worth it. Across the site (especially in the becoming an electrician and electrician life categories) I have drilled down into the specific aspects of an electrician carer for those interested.
Ultimatly, readers are only going to know if being an electrician is worth it by picking up a pair of side cutters and going for it (under safe supervision of course). I retrained from an early career as a chef and have never looked back. The endless career paths to choose from make it a great career choice and in my opinion is most definitely worth it.