It began to rain as I biked to school this morning. When I turned onto the road that takes me out of the city towards the rural-urban fringe where the trades campus is located, the sunlight that had shone earlier in the morning gave one last hurrah: A rainbow appeared across the sky ahead of me, with one end seeming to point to the college. Ha! I thought to myself. If there’s one thing I’ve learned these past months, it’s that rainbows are not particularly welcome around here, at least not the kind that celebrate sexual and gender diversity.
Of course, I’m more likely to wave a black flag than a rainbow one, but still. The point remains.
Then I was thinking of the other meaning of the rainbow: There’s a pot of gold at the end, right? Which I suppose is really a more accurate reading of this sign, if I want to take it as one.
For the first time in my life, I’m developing a career. When I was younger, jobs were only for the purpose of paying rent and careers were for sell-outs bowing down to the man. When I was a university student, and then afterwards when I worked at a research institute, concepts and critical analysis were what mattered, and jobs depended on who I could impress and what grants they could secure. All of my previous ideas for my financial future were either unsustainable or impractical: Silkscreening instructor, website manager, stained glass artisan, bike mechanic, graphic designer, radio show host…
I don’t mean that these aren’t great possibilities for some folks, but given my skills and my personality, none of them were logical choices unless I was going to simultaneously invest a whole lot of energy into expanding my knowledge. Which I wasn’t: I wanted them to just happen.
Even the idea of becoming a university professor: I think I’d be a rad prof, but you know what? I hate writing academic papers. Loathe it, in fact. Producing my honours thesis was a horrid experience, one that I’d question repeating. So really, while a return to academia is on my to-do list, it’s waaaaaaaay down at the bottom, after “have kids” and “bike across canada” and even “learn to speak Irish”. Why on earth was I considering making a living as an academic?!!!
Which is a long way of saying that even when trade school hasn’t been welcoming and I’ve felt frustrated by the way things are organized around here, I’m very happy to be on my way to being an electrician. Being qualified in a trade excites me, because I’ll be useful for both my problem-solving ability and my dexterity, and for the most part will be able to depend on making a steady living wage based upon those skills.
Also, I’m rather good at it: I am proud to report that I just scored 98% on an exam regarding calculating ampacities for different conductor applications.