Cirque Du Ute

I might not look like your average tradesman, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have the most utilitarian work vehicle on the block. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself as I wait for my new custom ute canopy to be finished. Finally, I’m going to have a place for the mats that’s separate from the juggling knives.

My job, in case you’re wondering, consists of running a travelling circus. Yes, you heard me, and yes, that is a real job. Instead of packing everything down into a rickety old caravan convoy, I move it from A to B in a van. At least, I did until I learned that I could have an aluminium tool box built onto a ute tray, along with drawer systems, hatches, fold-out surfaces and lighting, all to my specifications. Now I’m determined to own the coolest aluminium ute tray and canopy in Melbourne – or at least the best suited to my very particular purposes.

As it happens, though, my purposes aren’t all that particular. You’d think that running a circus would have virtually nothing in common with being an electrician or a landscaper, and you’d be right – except when it comes what’s needed in a work vehicle. Or so I assume, judging by the fact that I was able to have all my needs met without the guy I spoke to batting an eyelid.

I’m accustomed to having eyelids batted in my direction, to be honest. I think I’m considered the local fruitcake, on account of some of the things that I’ve routinely loaded out of the van in the past. The cool thing about the service body set up is that it makes for secure storage – the tool box central locking and security system looks pretty solid, compared to the van. So maybe I’ll be able to get away with not unloading three bullwhips, a novelty canon and a PA system at 3am.

From my perspective, my job is just as normal as that of the bricklayer next door. He stacks bricks, and I stack humans – up to ten at a time, I’ll have you know.

The Life of a Tradesperson

So you want to be a tradesperson? It’s a promising option for many, especially those who can’t see themselves sitting behind a desk doing the 9-5 for the rest of their lives. But it’s not a walk in the park either, as it can involve heavy machinery, long hours and a whole lot of learning. Here are just a few things you might want to know before starting off:

  1. The hours will be long: Tradespeople are often the first people out of bed, besides airport workers. And working as an apprentice, which is probably how you’ll start off, you may be working up to 12-hour days or more. Of course, that’s not a guarantee, but don’t expect sensible hours. Carefully consider if you can handle the exhaustion.
  2. You’ll be an apprentice for a while: This is common tradesman knowledge; that you’ll be working under an experienced mentor, probably for a number of years. To nail the stereotype, this likely means you’ll be getting the less popular jobs, and working for longer, with less pay. It’s a period all tradespeople have to endure, and you should come out on the other end with knowledge and an idea of where you want to work- not to mention a stronger character. So before you grab your aluminium accessories and take on the world, be aware that it could be a while before this happens.
  3. The Boredom: An unwritten tradesman rule is that the boring jobs pay better. There are countless trades to learn, some more fun than others, but you have to pick that one that’s right for you, not just whatever pays the most for the least work. Mining, for example, is one of the most boring jobs around , but also one of the best payed. But the ‘fun’ factor is no reason for choosing a job either. Remember, this choice has lifelong consequences. Pick something you could do for years afterwards.
  4. The Physical Side: We’re not saying these experts all have hazardous jobs where they risk life and limb every day. But they can be exhausting, dirty, disgusting and even dangerous. It’s the polar opposite of a desk job, and can involve some pretty unpleasant situations, not to mention the heavy machinery that can very easily put you in the hospital if you’re not careful. Be aware of the risks!

If you’re fully aware of these, by all means go ahead. Grab the best aluminium toolbox Melbourne has to offer, fill it with whatever you need and start your life as a tradie.

Just as long as you’re sure it’s the right career path for you!