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Tips for New Construction Workers

As the daughter of a carpenter, I’ve been around construction work all my life, and I picked up a few tips along the way I’d like to share.

  • Join a union as soon as you can. This will help protect you, especially if contractors or bosses try to cut your pay, unfairly treat you, or especially cut corners, resulting in the harm of both you and your job.
  • Take side jobs in the winter if you can. This will likely be your slowest season. Some people will have interior repairs these months if you can find them. Develop a good relationship and hand out your card so they’ll recommend you.
  • Never cut corners. If a boss asks you to, tell him no and report it to your union rep or another higher authority. This could save your life.
  • Be wiling to start as an apprentice. Experience is everything in this industry. If you can get your foot in the door—even while doing Vo/Tech work—that will be key to getting other jobs.
  • Collect tools as you go. Most jobs will require your own tools and truck, so those are integral to the job. You can often get starter ones at flea markets, from family members (ask for them as graduation gifts!), or even dollar stores just to get started. As soon as you can, though, invest in the better tools; they will make all the difference.