My first job out of college I worked at a place that helped people get a contractor’s license in the state of California. My job title was research assistant and the place called itself a school and I suppose that’s at least partly true.
At that time, individuals seeking a contractor’s license needed 4 years of experience and then they had to fill out a somewhat complicated application and take a lengthy examination. I have no idea how they do it now. What our company did was take an experienced applicant and completed his application and prepared him for the examination.
You could make a good argument that we weren’t doing the world a great service because the operation was based on a hardcore sales drill. Some of those men were shamed into signing up for the course and many of them weren’t smart enough to do the application or pass the examination without our expert hand-holding. Do you really want that guy building your swimming pool?
And for the record in terms of gender, I remember one woman going through the entire time I was with the operation which I think was about 2 years. There were some complications with that job that I’m not going to get into right now and but let’s just say that the people who ran the place were not very nice but I liked my job and working with the students.
The purpose of this post is to mention a particular student that I thought about yesterday when I was driving home from work coming up under the topic of: I wonder whatever become of _______________.
Once the salesman finished emptying the student’s wallet, he was brought to me for processing which included collecting information for the application. They had to choose a name for their contractor’s business and it couldn’t be vague or misleading. You couldn’t call it “Super Special Contractors Inc.” if your license was just for plumbing. And if you were a sole proprietorship you couldn’t have a business name that sounded plural.
I remember this one guy and his wife who sat there bouncing a tiny baby on her lap and they wanted to call the business Joe-Bob Plumber & Son. I explained the whole sole proprietor/not plural thing and they were disappointed. They hoped their son would want to go into business with his father someday.
I was horrified that this poor little baby, couldn’t even walk yet, was already saddled with the expectation of taking over his father’s business. (And if I recall further, Dad didn’t pass the examination on his first attempt.)
So I wonder what happened to that kid. He’d be old enough to work with the old man now. Did he go for the plumbing or did he run off to New York to become a dancer and bitterly disappoint his parents?
The photo is from around 1974 and that’s me with the pretty smile and my grandfather, Fred Wilder of the Orleans Wilders.