What to do ?

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What to do ?

Postby tsr235 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:14 pm

Hello

I am a 46 year old male who has hit his mid life crises, what to do next with my life. I am currently employed, always have been, but I would like to take up a career outdoors, I feel I am to old and commitment laden to go to university, I would be fifty by the time I finished any coarse and maybe to old to employ. The idea of Dry Stone Walling seems to fit what I am looking for, I am practical with my hands, am enthusiastic and it is an outdoor job. If I were to take up training, are there the work opportunities out there either as an employee or self employed, I understand there is a ressurgance in the art of Dry Stone Walling and so many coarses nowdays only lead into a saturated cul de sac.
Any kind words of guidance would be most appreciated.
Many thanks

Gary.
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Re: What to do ?

Postby jerryg » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:18 pm

Hey Gary maybe we can come to some sort of arrangement. I too am having a similar bit older than you life crisis. I have been working outdoors for 36 years and have just about had enough of the incessant rain and floods, mud, sleet frost and snow, awkward tight customers and would like a cushy indoor job to see me through to retirement. Maybe we could swap jobs.
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Re: What to do ?

Postby tsr235 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:32 pm

If only life was that simple Jerry, I dont mind my job, it can be varied at times, some basic plumbing, shiopfitting, ramp construction for disabled access and minor adaptations to homes of the elderly or sick, I just want to be outdoors doing something different and worthwile, and I like the idea that stonewalling fits in with conservation and an end product to look at. Second, I hope you get this reply because I am unfamiliar with forums and i have probably posted it to myself ! :shock:
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Re: What to do ?

Postby SteveB » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:17 pm

Hi Gary, I was made redundant (printing industry) at 49, had a dabble at several different jobs before having a go at dry stone walling, I'm now 57 and have a few years experience as a working waller, so it's nowhere near too late. I have drifted away from walling a couple of times, more due to being fed up with working away from home than anything. I was quite lucky in being able to 'learn' the trade whilst working, rather than doing courses etc.
Work closer to home is now getting harder to find so I'm back walling again (I hope!) and still find the work satisfying. Give it a go
Good luck
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Re: What to do ?

Postby Nigel » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:22 pm

I hit that point about 7 years ago and it took a couple of years to get into it. To start with I did anything I could to keep the days filled up and the mortgage paid. I was lucky as walling is in the family, so I could pick up a bit more work than most just from my name and family contacts.

It sounds to me that you could make this work quite well. first of all, go self employed, but keep your job, see if you can pick up some small jobs for evenings and weekends, it sounds like you are a handyman, so advertise those services as well, just to keep you busy, as your walling work increases, fade out the plumbing work.

Just a thought, the plumbing work might pay better, it might not be a bad idea to keep a bit of that money coming in.

Its also going to depend on where you are in the country, if I travel 10 miles north west or north of here there are loads of wallers, but if I go south, south east of here next to none, it can be that localised.

Hope that helps, BTW, on the weekend introduction course I went on once, there was only one person that was considering doing this for a living.

Nigel.
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Re: What to do ?

Postby Tracey B » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:47 am

Don't be too quick to dismiss the idea of doing a DSWA training course run by your nearest branch.
Not only will you learn the basics of walling with your native stone, but also whether you actually like it.
Its a fine opportunity to network, ask questions and to research the local walling scene in general.
As with so many things in life, what you get out of a training weekend will very much depend on how much you are prepared to put into it.
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Re: What to do ?

Postby waller 69 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:25 pm

how honest do you want this? to be a good, competent waller, if you ain`t done it before, your gonna be at least 50 before you make a living from walling. there are no short cuts in life and walling can be unforgiving....dont for christ sake let me put you of walling but dont give up a paying job and start from scratch it will kill you...tell us where you are roughly and maybe one of us will show you the ropes, what have you got to lose?
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Re: What to do ?

Postby stonewaller » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:55 am

I'm 50, been doing it for 20 odd years and still not making a decent living, I have never earned more than my partner, a part time nurse and we all know how well paid they are. Mind you I am saying this from the luxury of a seafront apartment in California whilst away training. I am not getting paid for the training mind you. If I knew what I know now about the sweat, the rain, the aches, the pains and I was in an office wondering what to do.... I'd do it all again WITHOUT QUESTION.

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Re: What to do ?

Postby tsr235 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:56 pm

Thanks for the reply folks, all very interesting and taken on board. waller69, I live in Lincolnshire, Grantham to be precise, lots of stone walls here but all gone to rack and ruin, very sad :( and I may just take up your suggestion Tracey B of trying a coarse, I can only gain whatever the outcome.
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Re: What to do ?

Postby waller 69 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:16 pm

you want to see the walls in the cotswolds, new and old, i have neither the time or the patience to put it right....walling has a lot in common with golf, if it goes right nothing on earth can wipe the smile from your face, if it goes wrong you spend your time faffing around in the rubbish wishing you never started the job. the funny thing is, i can only remember the good days........ to add, i wall for pleasure not money, i will never be "rich" if i continue to do it the right way, but knowing there are more einstiens than good wallers about today comes with its own reward......
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