I’ve been in this trade for thirty years. I remember when I was an apprentice, there was an older journeyman, he was the same age that I am now and he always had something to say. He was a little cranky and didn’t care who knew it.

Once, as a holiday drew near, we were sitting at lunch talking amongst ourselves about it. One guy said he would be going out of town, another said he would be catching up on work around the house. I was young and hungry, with a wife and three young kids at home. Apprentice pay wasn’t much to survive on and I never missed work voluntarily.

I commented that I didn’t want to miss work because of the money and the old man responded thusly, “ I’ve missed work before, I’m going to miss work again, what’s one more time?” The statement made sense to me for some reason and I didn’t think any more of it. The holiday came and went and I’m sure we struggled with the short check (honestly, I don’t remember).

Through the nineties we were flush with work and I pretty much worked as much as I wanted to. Then in 2001, the bottom fell out. I found myself out of work for several months before I found work on the road. We survived.

I worked pretty steady until 2010,Then I lost my job and didn’t go back to work for seven months, and when I did, I had to go halfway across the country. I relied on the help of another journeyman because we had lost everything, house, vehicles. Everything. We’re not the only ones who have gone through it.

We were blessed with good fortune and with the hard lessons, we made different decisions and grew stronger because of it. Not to say that we enjoyed the lessons, or that we recognized them as such at the time. The point is, we survived.

So the answer is; yes, you will survive. It will not be easy, or enjoyable, but try and use the opportunity to take care of yourself and do things for yourself. The best thing you can do for yourself is remember that you will miss work again.

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