My grandfather, may he rest in peace, was a welder back in Asmara. He owned his own shop and made home and kitchen appliances. But when it came to his kids, my father included, he wanted them to go to school and not spend time at the shop. He may not have seen the value of his craft or that trade as a whole. To him, scholarly education was more valuable than teaching his kids how to use their hands to make small ovens, pots, pans and fixing roofs. Sadly the shop closed when he passed and that trade ended with him.

Without comparing one field to the other, way too often trade jobs are looked down upon as less than prestigious than office based jobs. Not sure if it’s the belief that they pay less or that inevitably your hands will get dirty, but trade jobs are not top of mind when kids and parents talk about dream jobs. Doctor, lawyer and accountant are always the common ones.

Where I work I deal with locksmiths, electricians and mechanics. They all lament that it’s gotten harder and harder to find new talent as fewer students enter trade schools. I’ve asked them what are some of the benefits they find in working in their trades. One of the cool features they boost about is mobility, the freedom to get up and travel anywhere and be able to work. Their talent lies literally in their own hands.

Also, they’ve mentioned that their industry may appear insular but that’s what has protected them all these years. While from the baby boomer generation to present day millennials, many jobs have either become obsolete or sent offshore, trade jobs such as elevator maintenance, heat and air conditioning, plumbing and roofing have remained here and just as valuable.

So if you are looking to add another chapter to your career folder or learn a new skill, try the trades. The jobs are in high demand and you’ll be empowering yourself with a skill that will reward you your whole life.