High-paying trade jobs are sitting empty as high-school grads opt for college

Almost everyone has a college degree these days (30.4% for those over 25 years old with only 27% of graduates engaged in careers in their field).  What’s disturbing about this fact is that too many graduates lack relevant job skills.   But is that true?  I mean we hear this all over the internet, so it must be true, right?  And if it is true, does this mean that will all of the book learning that people get that it is just enough to render them slightly incompetent?  Oh, God. 

We do know that the value of a college degree has been devalued.  Any hot shot who works hard on his own outside of school can build a nice portfolio of digital products that solve problems, apps, and whatnot and showcase to them to any company who can use them.  

Instead, why can’t someone, anyone, including a  college graduate, pay attention to market forces and find out what [high-paying] jobs and the parts around the country that they’re flourishing can be had?  What the BostonomiX article tells us is that there are high-paying trade jobs all across the country.  Check out what is happening in Shale Country, meaning Midland, Texas. 

Steps involved to become a truck driver.

GET THE TRUCK DRIVING MANUAL FROM YOUR DMV. This manual will tell you all you need to know about obtaining your commercial driver’s license (CDL) within your state. Review the information about fees, classes, and restrictions. Study its contents to learn about the various traffic and safety laws associated with commercial driving.

The DMV manual is for information purposes only. You’ll need to take a truck driving license exam from a local truck driving school.   WHAT ABOUT LENGTH?  HOW LONG ARE THE COURSES?  Anywhere from 30 days to 10 weeks to a full year.

Each program has its own tuition and fees, but many schools also offer tuition assistance. The timeline of each program can also vary. Some intensive programs may finish within 30 days to 10 weeks, but more in-depth programs can extend out to a full year.

TWO PARTS OF THE EXAM: Written & Road Skills.

If you want to do interstate driving, you’ll need an FMCSR or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Exam. 

This is a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination conducted by a licensed “medical examiner” listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.  A DOT  physical exam is valid for up to 24 months. 

Once you pass the written exam, you never have to pass it again.  However, you must take and pass the physical portion of the exam every 2 years.

Then sign on with Truck Driving Placement Services. Where do I do that?  Finding a job with this service may take 30 to 60 days.  Oh boy.  I don’t trust national databases since they have no skin in the game with regard to hiring you.  Instead, try proven jobs boards, like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and others.  Though Glassdoor is my least favorite jobs site, their review page is pretty good.  

Once you’re hired, that company will put you through their own training protocol. Oh, God.  Just shoot me.  Orientation will last 3 to 5 days.  Orientation teaches you about the company and its various policies.  During this orientation, you will need to complete paperwork for the company, pass a drug test, and pass some basic physical exam.

The company will give you another “DRIVING TEST.”

ADVANCE IN YOUR CAREER. Most beginners start in the field of long-haul trucking, regardless of how many endorsements they received while taking the state CDL exam.  You advance to better positions after gaining several years of experience.  So what I would do is test for endorsement after endorsement each quarter or year so that you’re so qualified for so much that no one can deny your status or your hire.  Local and specialty trucking jobs usually require experience.  You will also need experience before you can earn a better salary as a long-haul trucker and before you can qualify as a driver trainer for others. 

All Trucking is an all-purpose site that helps you navigate all the questions pertaining to truck driving. 



“The failure rate among managers is very high . . . 65% of managers add zero or negative net value to [a] company”

The failure rate among managers is very high. I think it exceeds 65% of managers add zero or negative net value to the company.

Had no idea it was that high.  

No wonder companies are willing to pay good CEOs such large sums of money for performance. 

The failure rate in managerial positions is overwhelming.  The problem with bringing in someone with such an abysmal success record is that they can bring in someone who will destroy the careers of everyone they’re supervising.  With some companies, they can bring the whole damn company down.  The ethic of people deserve an equal chance to fail and succeed isn’t a very practical ethic when you’re putting someone in a high demand position where the consequences of failure can be overwhelming for that person along with all of the people whose destiny is determined in large part to that supervisor.  Better to hire a manager with odds of improving things from 50/50 to 60/40 to 70/30. 

Predicting success or failure of a candidate strictly from an interview is .12% which is not as good as conscientiousness, which is close to managerial productivity.

Truck Driver Shortage: Time to Get Behind the Wheel?

And if you can endure the hours of sitting by taking vitamin C to guarantee excellent circulation, then a trucking job, perhaps unrelated to your major, would at least give you the chance to travel and see the country. That’s not bad. Take lots of pictures and video.


Homework Before the Interview?

Liz Ryan offers some excellent direction here on prepping yourself for a job interview.  Her insights apply to any adult career seeker.  Though anyone can benefit from what she advises, younger kids just chasing a job at their parents’ urging may not need these.  If you’re just looking for a job to get a paycheck, the hiring manager may not ask much of you, in part, because you’ve not asked much of yourself.  But if you’re asking more from yourself, if you’ve got the courage to do so, then it is important to do some research about the job you want and about the company you want to work for.  You’ve got to decide.  No one else.  Not some agency or some hiring manager but you.  The catch is that you’re the one responsible for your decision and what it asks of and requires of you.  Here is her guide published at Forbes.

You should plan on at least two hours of preparation time before an interview.

If that sounds like a lot, think about how many brain and heart cells you will invest in the job if you take it!

You need to know as much as possible about the people you’re thinking about working with — before the interview begins.


1. Extra copies of your resume.

2. A pad-folio with a notebook tucked inside it.

3. A good pen.

4. Printed directions to the interview location (in case you lose your connection).

5. Your questions for the interviewer, written out on your notepad.

6.  KNOW THE ANSWERS TO THESE 10 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION (THIS IS your pre-interview research project):

1. What does the company do?

2. Who are its customers, and who are its chief competitors?

3. How large is the firm?

4. How old is it?

5. Where does the company have locations?

6. What is the job title for this job (from the job ad)?

7.  How do you think this job fits into the organization’s overall goals? (You’ll check this out with your interviewer.)

8. Who owns the company? Is it publicly traded, or privately owned?

9. What have you learned about the company by checking Glassdoor?

10. Who are the people that run the company? What have you learned about them on LinkedIn and by reading the company’s website, newsletter or blog?

7.  A hypothesis about the Business Pain your hiring manager is experiencing — the reason they ran the job ad and got approval to hire someone in the first place.

For instance, your hypothesis might be “I think these folks may need a new Regional Training Coordinator because they’ve opened up six new locations in the past 10 months. Undoubtedly some of their new hires are coming up the curve more slowly than others. That costs money and even customers. I’m going to probe to see if my hypothesis is correct.”

8.  Powerful stories that illustrate your awesomeness at work, including at least a few of these:

1. A story about a time you saved the day.

2. A story about a time you had to work with a difficult person.

3. A story about a time you had to go it alone without a manager’s direction.

4. A story about a time you learned from a mistake.

9.  Interview clothing that makes you feel powerful and amazing.

10.  The mindset “I’m going to this interview to meet new people and learn new things. I don’t have to impress anyone. My job today is to stay cool and let these folks see my brain working. I want to see their brains working, too. If it’s meant to be a match, then it will be. If it isn’t, that’s fine too!”

It can be hard to keep yourself from groveling and basically begging for the job when you need money, and almost everyone has been there.

It will help you to remember that you got the interview already — and getting the interview is by far the hardest part of getting a job.

If these folks like you and your background well enough to interview you, other companies will too. You are not desperate, even if the rent is almost due. You are mighty. You have to see it first before anyone else will!

Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns. Liz’s book Reinvention Roadmap is here.

“All 3,000 are multimillionaires.”


This was stunning.  But it should serve as a lesson for anyone looking for work.  More often we’re looking for the short-term gain, paying attention to hourly pay or monthly salary and maybe, just maybe a question or two about benefits.  But there are other perks of a job package that so many of us don’t pay attention to, perhaps because we don’t feel readily qualified and so some folks are giddy with themselves at a time, meaning contract time when they should be a little more vigilant about what they’re signing on for.  So you need to ask.  Ask about stock options.  Bob Wenzel’s put up this terrific post at his site, Economic Policy Journal.

Ken Langone, founder of Home Depot and author of I Love Capitalism, quoted in The Wall Street Journal by Peggy Noonan:

Home Depot has changed lives. “We have 400,000 people who work there, and we’ve never once paid anybody minimum wage.” Three thousand employees “came to work for us fresh out of high school, didn’t go to college, pushing carts in the parking lot. All 3,000 are multimillionaires. Salary, stock, a stock savings plan.”

Did you get that?  Fresh out of high school.  So kids who preferred to work for a wage rather than chasing an elusive, wealth-destroying dream in a state college or university are doing far better than college graduates.  Turns out that the “Earn more money by going to college” is a lie for most people. 

Here is Langone’s book.