Because eco-pirate is not a viable job option
April 21, 2010 4:03 PM   Subscribe

MultiFacetedCareerFilter: ideas/plans to shift from my office job into a Blue collar (preferably Green collar) trade skill that I can (eventually) take with my as I travel around the world. Etc.

Given my values and situation (below) my question is:

1) What trade/skills/vocation should I aim for (I already have my own ideas, but want some unorthodox ideas from the green)
2) What is the best way to move towards those goals given my situation. (Want to Stay working full time until switch, want to make switch in 2-3 years or less)

This is a multi-faceted career choice question. I think my criteria are suitably mutually exclusive such that it will be impossible to meet ALL of them, but damn if I am not going to try!

Value 1: I want to work a trade skill, something tangible and build/create/repair with my hands.

Value 2: I want something that engages my mind in some meaningful fashion (creatively or logically or both). I am thinking in the vein of this article

Value 3: I want something I could theoretically eak out an existence (or build a business on) working solo (partly for the freedom of being my own boss but mostly because...)

Value 4: IMPORTANT - something I can do while living on a sailboat and/or that would be in some demand in ports around the world. I don't plan on living on a boat for the rest of my life, but it is my goal to live a cruising lifestyle starting in about 5 years lasting for at least 2-4 years

Value 5: Something environmentally conscious.

Value 6: something recession and outsourcing proof. Again, see the article linked to above.

Situation: Mid 20s. Male. College Educated (liberal Arts). At best "untapped" scientific/mathematical/engineering aptitude (IE, no evidence on resume since High School)

I am currently Contently employed in Tech Support, white collar sit-at-my-desk-all-day job. I don't think my job is in Jeopardy ATM, and I have no plans to jump ship immediately, but I don't think I can make this my life much longer... I DON'T want to rise to middle management or try for the executive track.
That said, I don't want to go back to school full time and lose too much income while I save for my Boat. Even if the dreams of cruising on a boat fall through, I want a backup that allows me to drop out of the corporate world as much as possible and work/create with my hands in a more "meaningful" vocation.
posted by DetonatedManiac to Work & Money (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
#4 makes things tricky. Are you imagining working off of your boat, or things you can in places with small-craft friendly ports?

My first thought was learn how to install and repair solar panels of all sorts, or any "green" energy sources, but the boat aspect makes this tricky, and I'm not sure how challenging installation of existing devices is.

Learn repair skills of any sort. Fixing things so they can be re-used (instead of tossed and replaced with something new) is greatly undervalued (from my US-centric view of things), both as a general trade and even moreso as an environmentally friendly job. And you could have simple tools on your boat, and possibly get hired in an established shop in some new port, where they'd have other tools.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:18 PM on April 21, 2010

Electrician specialising in solar & 12 volt systems. Make yourself internationally attractive by understanding the various electrical systems in different regions.
posted by Kerasia at 4:18 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could become a mechanic. You always need a good mechanic on a boat, and you can't outsource the dude that's working on your engine. They're also paid well if they know what they're doing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:57 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the replies so far! Clarifications:

Filthy Light Thief - I am open to all options. Ideally, for the time that I live on board (which, in a perfect world were everything goes well will last indefinitely) I would be able to work with only tools carried on the boat.

But being real, as long as I can find a port in most parts of the world where the tools/industry needed for my skill to support me economically are available, that is enough

In general - can you provide any more specifics? Is there are specific type of [insert trade] training I should look for, a tech degree or certification that covers a broad part of the trade, or carries a lot of weight? Or is there a job (entry level or apprenticeship) that could be a good ramp up into said trade?
posted by DetonatedManiac at 6:36 PM on April 21, 2010

Bartending. Waiting tables. Cooking. But especially bartending. Not the career path you're looking for, but this is an across-the-board type of job in every country. These could be useful as backup jobs at the very least.
posted by zardoz at 10:22 PM on April 21, 2010

"My first thought was learn how to install and repair solar panels of all sorts"

Funny, this was my first thought as well. I have a friend who did this for a while. Worked for a small green company, enjoyed it, admired the guy who started the original business. But. . . You should know that traveling and working in other countries is pretty hard to do these days, unless you're an English teacher. For any other profession you'd need a corporate sponsor, and even then they'll only want to deal with your expense and paperwork if there's absolutely nobody else they could hire. Usually this means white-collar specialists, pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum from a machinist or another trade skill.

There's the rub.

"something recession and outsourcing proof"

Welcome to the 21st century. These jobs don't exist any longer.

Good luck!
posted by bardic at 11:16 PM on April 21, 2010

Paintless dent repair seems to tick a lot of those boxes.
posted by onya at 1:51 AM on April 22, 2010

You could learn to sail and maintain yachts. There's a fair bit of call for people to sail rich people's yachts for them to wherever they want their yachts to be. Start working your way through the RYA qualifications and you'll be well on your way. You could specialize in navigation if you're mostly wanting the intellectual challenge. There are a lot of jobs on motorboats and they pay better but this goes against your environmentally-friendly proviso.
posted by hazyjane at 4:35 AM on April 22, 2010

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