What was your profession and if you could start over would you do it again?

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Forum topic by jim C posted 01-21-2013 01:08 AM 1876 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jim C

1472 posts in 3121 days

01-21-2013 01:08 AM

This is for the retired/still working folks that worked all those years in a chosen profession or a position that they mitigated to and made it their business/job for their working years.

I started in a screw machine shop in the mid 60’s as I was a Chicago gearhead drag racing and working on cars to make them faster. As a result I loved working with my hands and machine tools seemed like a logical vocation. I progressed into a Tool & Die apprenticeship and completed that in 1971.
I worked for various tool company’s and in 1975 the company I then worked for purchased a CNC machine from Switzerland that revolutionized our metalworking trade, eventually rendering precision grinding obsolete. Everyone thought it was the end of the trade, but it proved to exponentially lower tooling costs and actually increase business.

At this employer, I was able to become the programmer and operator of this machine and eventually left and went to work for the U.S. division, responsible for importing the equipment. I was a technical sales person.

Shortly after, I partnered with the division President and the national applications manager, we decided, in 1978 to start our own business and to purchase a machine and provide jobbing services to small and medium contract manufacturers, who could utilize the process but not justify the $100,000+ cost of the machine.

I opened in December 1978, eventually bring in my partners, and we expanded the company, eventually machining aerospace, computer electronics and medical components.

One of my partners passed away from brain cancer in 1992, and I bought out the other partner in 1993.

In 1997 at the age of 50, I sold the company to a corporation, but continued to run it as a division until 2004.

Although in, the prior 20 years I was relegated to management, due to employee growth, i never lost the passion of working with my hands.

That’s why I took up woodworking, (and continue to beat the ball into submission in golf)

So that’s my story about what I did in my journey to where I am today.

Partnered with my wife and still at it for 42 years
Started, managed, and sold a successful mfg. business
Raised 2 beautiful children
Have 2 great Grandchildren.

I wouldn’t have done it any different. Great memories, wonderful friends, good times for sure.

So, what is your story, and would you have done it any different?

Let it all out.

It’s an off-topic discussion that, for a change, just might stay civil!

Life is good.

29 replies so far

View patcollins's profile


1685 posts in 2888 days

#1 posted 01-21-2013 01:15 AM

I am a mechanical engineer, but for the last 12 years since I got out of school I did the same job that mostly electrical and computer engineers do. Its been an endless hassle of babysitting adults making sure other people do their jobs, I start a new job in a few weeks!

I loved the subject matter in college but I think if I had it to do all over again I might try something like going to cullinary school.

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3201 days

#2 posted 01-21-2013 03:18 AM

I’ll Play. For the last 8 years I’ve worked in the commercial HVAC/R field. I worked for a few years as a steel worker but after the plant closing then being bought and re-opened I decided that I wanted something more stable. The heating and A/C trade always interested me so I went back to school and after graduating I went to work for an entertainment company that produced Disney on Ice. I worked as a traveling Ice Engineer (just a nice way of saying that I was one of the guys that made the ice floors) and traveled all over the U.S. and several parts of the world. This got old fast and I moved back to the Chicago-Land area and went to work for a commercial service company.

I have no regrets about it because I have learned more than I ever thought I would. From a simple conveyor toaster to 1,000,000 BTU heaters, from small reach in coolers to large walk-in freezers and everything in between. Truth be told though I often wish I would have stayed in college and pursued my first degree in architecture.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

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Mark Smith

509 posts in 2063 days

#3 posted 01-21-2013 05:29 PM

I spent 28 years in law enforcement and I’d do it over assuming I could do it in the same time frame. If I had to start right now there is no way I’d go into law enforcement. It’s a thankless job and getting worse. Too many people out there want to put you in prison for making a mistake when you only had a split second to make a decision. They get to sit back and watch the video over and over and use slow motion and freeze frame, but don’t realize you didn’t have that luxury. And that’s not the only issue in law enforcement. It’s just not a good career to get into any more.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18285 posts in 3698 days

#4 posted 02-04-2013 01:04 AM

I would’ve been a PGA golfer. Always working outdoors in fairly good weather. Beautifully landscaped workplaces. Caddy to carry your tools to the job site. A polite crowd that never boos, only cheers. Work when you want to, but enough to maintain your union card ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10117 posts in 4075 days

#5 posted 02-05-2013 09:28 PM

I am retired… BUT not still actively “working”...

I was fortunate to be able to get into an Accounting Office for a good Accountant… he taught me the business & I went on to school (I already knew what the school was teaching!)...
Business expanded into getting IBM Electric Accounting Machines (EAM) to do Accounts Receivable for a few clients… (Punched cards: sorter, collator, interpreter, reproducer gang punch, keypunch, and accounting machine… some using plug-boards to control their functions…)

I was chosen to get trained to run them… I LOVED IT!
Data Processing was my LIFE… I ate, dreamed, and thought about it all the time!

It eventually migrated into computers... systems analysis – design… programming…
... learning several programming languages & operating systems… eventually working on the Internet!
... (I believe the Internet to be the greatest thing since the wheel)...
... to finally becoming Self Employed doing all that plus being a Consultant.

If I had to start over, because I loved it so much, I would positively do it again!

I found it very fascinating and rewarding!

Oh, along the way, (in my spare time) I taught data processing and programming at a few Trade Schools…
Talk about being Rewarding! That was one of the most rewarding jobs I have done… Teaching!

Yes, I would do it again…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3608 days

#6 posted 02-05-2013 09:55 PM

I was in the Dental proffesion for 30 years man and boy Orthodontics trained, and then when I got parkinsons retired and then bought a large hotel.Bronwen and I sold that when my wife got cancer and had a tumour removed from her neck so far she has not had it return though it was malignent.I built myself two workshops one for wood and the other a machine shop then extended my woodshop and although I am plauged with poor health I do my best and enjoy the wood side of things more than the metal as it suits my artistic requirements better as I have always been interested in art and design. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3308 days

#7 posted 02-05-2013 10:02 PM

Jim C,

I found your thread to be interesting and have been watching it for the past two weeks….......Well over 400 views and only 5 responses. I guess people don’t like to talk about their careers.

I spent 4 years in the Marine Corps straight out of High School in 1967. Two tours in Viet Nam. After getting out of the Corps in 1971, I spent the next 9 years working various jobs (mostly Sales) before I bought a small town hardware store in 1980. 5 years later I decided to start my own Custom Woodworking Business and did woodworking professionally until I retired earlier this year.

The only regret I might have is that I didn’t make start my woodworking business earlier; but then again, I will have to admit the experience I gained by working the other jobs first helped me tremendously when I started my own business.

Would I do it all over again? most definitely…..wouldn’t change any of it.

-- John @

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Joe Lyddon

10117 posts in 4075 days

#8 posted 02-05-2013 10:33 PM

I felt that I didn’t qualify because I was not “still working”...
... but, finally posted anyway… LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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jim C

1472 posts in 3121 days

#9 posted 02-05-2013 11:05 PM

The post may be starting to gain traction. I don’t know why folks don’t want to talk about their past professions.
I was proud of mine as you are.

Joe Lyddon,
Glad you posted. I love interesting life stories. Thanks

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3460 days

#10 posted 02-05-2013 11:19 PM

I was a jr. High science teacher for thirty years. It was a decent living and I often enjoyed it. Sometimes it was horrid and in the 30 years, two of them were forgettable. I’m glad I didn’t miss it but like I told my daughters. If you can do something else that fulfills you and you’re interested in then try for something that delivers that but at the same time delivers a paycheck a family can live on more comfortably. Thankfully both of them took my advice and although no job is perfect and will have it’s ups and downs, their paychecks are much more substantial. As a teacher, your salary after 30 years with a masters degree will often be the same as other college graduate’s starting salaries. That’s the case in my family anyway.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18285 posts in 3698 days

#11 posted 02-05-2013 11:48 PM

If the number of people I have known who live for the day they can retire, there is your answer.

I grew up on a small dairy farm. I knew there had to be an easier way to make a living than working 8 hours on Sunday and 14 to 16 on the 6 work days. I graduated high school with an appointment to the Air Force Academy, alternate to Annapolis and an offer to take the appointment to Merchant Marine Academy. I couldn’t pass the last physical for the Academy because of my eye prescription. I had no interest in Merchant Marine. I started college with an academic scholarship. My first math professor had a PhD on the end of his EE. He said he was teaching because there weren’t many good jobs that paid very well for engineers. He advised me to get in the trade and I did.

Assuming I would never be one of the 125 that make the PGA “Green Card Cut”, I have no regrets. If I regret anything, it is that it is coming to an end. I enjoyed the work and the reputation of being the “only guy in the world” (customer quote) that could do the job ;-) BTW, that customer also said he didn’t want to be screwed on the price ;-)) ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3455 days

#12 posted 02-06-2013 12:03 AM

Well, from High School to 8 years in the military. Got out and worked my way thru college. Finished PhD in Psy. Also had an MBA. Worked in MH for several years then landed a program director spot for DHS. Left that after several years for a Director’s spot for a Hospital. Don’t care for Hospital work. Really a different kind of environment. I’m used to standardized work. Hospitals do what they want, when they want and ignore the rest of the world. I retired. I had a ranch so, I came home to work the ranch full time. Got too old for the work and now I only have 20 acres, 4 horses, 3 donkies, 3 dogs, 1 cat and two chickens. I turned my 40×50 metal barn into a woodshop. My productivity depends on the amount of lazy I wake up with. The only thing I really really miss…..the military. Forgot to mention that I taught in the University for 9 years. Kinda fun….

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View GuyK's profile


356 posts in 4102 days

#13 posted 02-06-2013 12:04 AM

48 years in the retail food business. 20 spent working in a store, 28 as salesman. 7 of those 28 spent behind a desk, As Director of Retail,taking care of other sales people. They were good jobs, but not near as much fun as being retired and spending most of my time in a wood shop. I do miss the thousands of people I met over the years, but a little sawdust on my shirt makes up for all that.

Almost forgot my greatest achievement, being married for near 42 years, to a great lady. Having two sons, and two fantastic grandchildren.

-- Guy Kroll

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jim C

1472 posts in 3121 days

#14 posted 02-06-2013 12:10 AM

All great stories!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10117 posts in 4075 days

#15 posted 02-06-2013 06:53 AM


Were you wanting ME, retired, NOT still working, to reply to this thread? LOL


-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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