My Next Career

In the summer of 1978 I enrolled in an electronics school to learn the fine art and science of electronics.  I was just out high school and was looking at my options – well they sucked.  The security company I worked for said I’d make a great full-time security officer and I’d heard of some great opportunities washing dishes at the hospital.  I did consider joining the military, but the Navy recruiter insisted that to become an officer, I’d have to go to school for like 4 years.  Seriously?

Anyway, I decided to go to this electronics school to become an electronic technician.  It was an 18 month program; the school had a loan program; and I was impatient. I decided it would be cool to get my FCC license so I could work on radio and TV transmitters.

Just after I enrolled, the school announced that due to lack of enrollment, the FCC license program was canceled but there was this digital electronics and microprocessor class I could take instead.

Halfway through my microprocessor class a family friend said his company was hiring people who knew microprocessors and he thought he could get me in at around $8.00 per hour.  At that time I had two great things: impatience and desire for money.

I took the job.  Two years later, another company said they’d pay me $10 an hour.  So began my career and today, nearly 40 years later, I make more than that, switched to software engineering, and never got my FCC license.

While I’ve had a great career, and could do this for a few more years, my brain, soul, and carpal tunnel syndrome say it’s time to think about hanging up the keyboard, and orthopedic braces to do something else for a living.

So I’ve been thinking about what I’m really good at, that I’d enjoy doing until I qualify for total disability payments.  Over the years I have become reasonably good at woodworking and writing.  I’m not a bad public speaker and am a bit creative.

Earning money as a writer is somewhere between difficult and impossible.  I’ve heard that federal law prohibits poets from earning a living and blogging isn’t much better.  In the eight years I’ve been blogging I’ve not earned any money and each year pay WordPress to keep ads off my blog because that annoy me (the ads, not WP).  Not going to pay for many orthopedic sole inserts that way.

I have heard of people starting podcasts and earning a bit of money with ads and affiliate sales.  Maybe, but so far the only podcast concept I’ve had was a thing I titled, “Get Off My Lawn!” where me and a buddy of mine would complain about young people and all the problems in the world.  However, he’s probably right and best to just skip that  to avoid all the lawsuits.

YouTube has a certain attraction and I even have a YouTube channel.  I’ve got three videos – one as recent as 2015! It has 37 views, 2 likes, 1 dislike (there’s a hater in every crowd). Here take a look:

There are millions of content producers out there and some actually making a living at it.  I did a little research to see if something like a poet-reciting-scroll-sawing-woodworker would have any chance at earning money there.  And came up with a few interesting facts:

To earn money there you have to not offend the algorithm and get yourself banded. Basically, just mindless content that offends no one and gets lots of views for the advertisers.  I know I can do the first part – not offend people.  I’m one of the least offensive people I’ve met.  Mindless I can do for a while, but sooner or later I’ll say something you’ll have to think about.

I’d really have to work at it, but it’s sightly more possible for me to succeed at YouTube than being struck by lightning or win the lotto.

As for subjects you can do on YouTube I did find a number of people making videos with the following subjects.  I looked for channels that had more than 50,000 subscribers and had videos with 50k to 500k views (around the range that you’d need to get to earn enough to buy a decent pair orthopedic shoes).

  • Woodworking Channels
  • Making a table saw from plywood and a used skill saw
  • Concrete pouring  (more complicated than you think)
  • Making forms for concrete pour
  • Heavy equipment operations (as in ‘watch backhoes move dirt’)
  • Trains (as in a ‘live’ stream of trains doing things like, moving)
  • The machinists channels (using lathes and mills to cut metal)
  • Welding channels (tig, arc, mig and arguments on why tig is better than mig)
  • Poetry channels (although I’m concerned the FBI will be after these folks soon)
  • Car crashes
  • Dam removals

and perhaps the oddest one is when I typed in the search bar, “Paint Drying” and came up with this one:

Yup, 85,000 people have watched a 10 hour video titled, “10 Hours of Paint Drying.”

So I think there is hope that the “All Scroll Saw Mouse Reciting Poetry Channel” has a potential audience

Wait.  Well look at that.  YouTube has videos on how to get your FCC License.

Hum.  Maybe I’ll watch a few of those…

Till next time,


About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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16 Responses to My Next Career

  1. “…federal law prohibits poets from earning a living” – LOL! I just knew that had to be in the fine print somewhere.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. George says:

    I think you should devote yourself to woodworking then travel around the country, at least regionally, to craft shows and sell your creations there. The vendors at juried craft shows do quite well. and you get to go on vacations and probably write off the cost on your taxes..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. CJ Hartwell says:

    Hey, you forgot my tip of selling tshirts with witty your witty quotes! I’m tellin’ ya, you’ll make millions! … Well, more like thousands… Okay, maybe hundreds.
    Ten bucks?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is a tough question. I was thankful I could move my teaching job online which was pretty much luck–contacting the right person out of the blue. I’m intrigued where you will go next.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Debra says:

    You have an excellent sense of humor, so maybe a comedian? LOL! There are recent openings in the “social influencer” world, so if you can find a way to make woodworking sexy, you might have a chance! If paint drying was effective for someone, set up a camera and maybe we can watch your cats all day! They may not be too active, but there’s more to watch than paint! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pied Type says:

    I’ve turned to YouTube more than once to learn about/understand something I’m trying to do. A good video is worth a thousand words.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Haha, Andrew, you paint drying video comment really cheered up my Monday. Have a great week.

    Liked by 2 people

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