July 15, 2015 0 Comments Thoughts and Feelings Working in Alberta

Thoughts in July

In a conversation about studying computer science at one point and eventually arriving to the trades:

I didn’t grad, just did years 1 and 2. I started in BComm and ECON, then family urged me to try CS (personality wise, I was more of an engineer or science-type apparently). After years 1 and 2, realized it wasn’t for me and went back to BComm and ECON. This was in 2013.

On paper I am a Year 4 Math and Econ student (since I have all ECON courses required for an ECON major as well as the grad school stream… taking them and a lot of math as electives when I was working on CS as well), or BComm if I apply for re-admission (BCOMM is competitive, so they don’t save spots).

Programming experience wise, not so much outside Java and C++. Will admit I was not a keener when it came to programming. I didn’t take too much interest in it, but I would have loved to talk about things on the hardware side for hours, or something about economics or finance. Even today I still delight in discussing stock technicals and fundamentals and when I have breakfast I’m always browsing random stocks and my broker’s stock scanning and other analytical tools. Making fake portfolios to test my theories, tracking insider buys, performing calculations on different returns for various real estate products/strategies, etc. I’m also the type of guy who will love to crunch numbers and draw out a 10-15 year theoretical strategy to become a millionaire based on multiple financial assumptions.

I somewhat on purpose steered clear of hardware after a while as it was quickly becoming an expensive hobby. Lost track after i7 came around. Had an interest on how things worked in that area. Also something that quickly changes, so what you spend thousands on today would very quickly become outdated.

I’ve considered more education, but my current income is $8000 – 15000/month (I’m a heavy equipment operator and trucker) and it is hard to find a field of study with that level of pay (without 5+ years of experience, anyways), though I would take a pay drop for potentially 2-3 years if I were to work on my apprenticeship.

As for thoughts about housing,

I’m still stuck in between condo/townhome/detached at this time. Obviously detached is almost everyone’s favourite, but they make it sound so cheap “just afford the monthly mortgage payment”. But there is all sorts of BS you have to deal with on top, like taxes, home insurance, utilities (which dramatically rise when you have a big place), and upkeep, like mowing the lawn and shovelling snow. Tax gets a lot of people, as you got to put aside another 150-200+ a month. Then with condos hope you don’t get nailed with a special assessment and I have a bad history of people messing with my car. Easy to rent out but in case you need to, hard to sell. Detached are much more liquid as quality family homes are in short supply.

Thoughts about trucking:

Trucking wages are not that great (in comparison to trades anyhow), usually 2x/hour outside the patch, 3x/hour oilfield related, 40/hour for a semivac. But it is the hours that make your money, as the work/life balance is terrible when you’re busy. I did some 26 hour shifts last winter. Even at current 2x/hour+10% + 50/day LOA for out of town work right now, 15 hour days out of town can still get a bit over 500 a day. With the patch at 3x/hour (I got 38 on vacs) it is even more, though consistency with vacs is very questionable. Was clearing 5k cheques but you can be laid off anytime. Some guys literally worked for 3 weeks and were axed last winter. But when you’re busy all you do is work… you’re basically a robot, hence why I want to get a trade so when the day comes I want to relax I can make good money without being alone forever. Some guys in that industry age fast…