"I've been working on the railroad,
all the live-long day"
I have certain regrets about my educational and career choices to this point.
Poking around the job listings at CSX, BNSF, and UP, I've noticed that no one who works in the railroad industry seems to make less than $20 an hour -- even while undergoing company paid training and apprenticeship. While the hazards of being a carman or freight conductor might not be my first choice now that I have a family, the notion of being a signal worker roadmaster has a real attraction to it even now. Driving around to various right-of-ways, climbing up on signal towers, making sure signals are wired properly -- it all sounds interesting.
I've also been considering the advantages of working as an electrician. While there is a lull in new home starts at the moment, working in a building trade at least offers the opportunity to free-lance and do maintenance or remodeling work for other folks -- and if need be do it cheap too. If I had been a double-e in college it would be even easier to become a contractor and run my own business.
Of course, there's also cooking. After watching one too many episodes of Triple D
on hulu, I keep thinking how fulfilling it could be to own and operate a restaurant... or even a vending cart. Cooking is basically just chemistry on a macro rather than micro scale, and people always want to eat -- and eat what someone else spends time preparing for them. Of course, it does seem like a large percentage of restaurants fail in their first few years, but there's always chef-ing for someone else.
When I was in middle school and high school I never gained any particular insight into what I would actually like to do for a living, or what any particular careers might offer me. In college I was (among other things) not really even cognizant of the possibility of graduate study or its potential usefulness for careers other than professor (at least in the natural sciences). Now, eight years out of college, still paying for said college, and trying to support a wife and child a do-over looks quite attractive. The question is, having failed to define or pursue a goal up to this point, will I be able to do so from now on?