Inside scoop: What it’s like to be a carpenter
Sometimes a job description isn’t enough. It can’t tell you what a job is really like, what an average day could be, the workload, the education you need or the salary.
Declan Dennehy is a general carpenter and he shares his experiences on working in his field in his own words.
What do you do?
I’m a general carpenter.
What is an average day?
Depends on my field of work. General carpenters perform a wide variety of specialized, as well as general work in the construction industry.
So one day, I could be erecting scaffold to access the side of a building, or build a grand stand for a show. The next, I could be building forms for a concrete foundation.
I’ve also worked installing store fixtures, trim, flooring, and even framing and drywall. It’s a very broad field. Each day is different depending on the task, deadlines, and the weather.
How stressful is it?
Some days it’s a slow grind just to get the hours to pass. Others it’s literal balls-to-the-walls as design changes can come last minute with very little time to accommodate. There are even days where the stress changes because of incidents which can’t wait and can prolong the work day with little, or no notice.
Is it good for intro- or extroverts?
It’s a better field for extroverts. People tend to be, and often need to be, very vocal. Communication is an essential in this field and you need to be able to jump in and work along complete strangers with little notice.
Are the hours long?
Some days can be long. I’ve worked upwards of 15 hour days in the past. In some instances, the job may require even split shifts, where you’ll go home at noon only to be back on the clock at 8:00 p.m.
What’s the pay like?
The pay is very fair. It can be hard work, but a lot of employers start with a 37.5 hour work week. Weekends also tend to pay double. If you put in the time, you will easily see up to six figures.
What education do you need?
The minimum requirements is to be 16 years of age, with a grade 10 education. After that, you just need some basic training, safety certification in WHMIS, Working at Heights and possibly others depending on your area of work.
What job experience do you need?
You can start as an apprentice with none, but for a full Journey person you are looking at about four years of hands-on.