What is your profession?
I’m somebody who’s changed professions a few times! I’m a general contractor, and I specialize in carpentry. I’ve done a few other things in my life. I’ve played some professional football in my time, but currently and for the foreseeable future, I’m working on a construction site and I’m happy to cut lumber all day!
How did you get into the profession?
I finished my degree in Psychology, but as far as what I actually do in life, which is working as a general contractor and carpenter, I started my studies at around 14 years old when I began as an apprentice with a Master Builder. I spent many years working under his wing and learning the trade, and he really taught me everything I know.
Why would you recommend a career in skilled trades?
It gives you an opportunity to be your own boss – to be in control of your knowledge intake, your skills and your expertise. To be in control of your own climb up the ladder, so to speak. You can stay as an apprentice, on the lower rungs as far as skills go, or you can climb as far as you want to go. That’s an ability that you don’t get in every career.
What advice do you have for students or individuals who may be considering pursuing skilled trades?
Remember that “closed mouths don’t get fed.” You can have all the skills in the world, but if you don’t open your mouth and let people know that you’re hungry… and that you’re skilled and talented, nobody will know and the business won’t come to you.
What’s your biggest career accomplishment to date?
I’ve built homes all over my city… some beautiful places, but the thing I’m most proud of is my own home. There’s an old adage about the cobbler always having a hole in his shoe. I’ve been that person for a long time! I’ve built everybody else’s home, trying to save little bits of money here and there. Over the last two years, I bought a small home and did it up the way that I wanted to do it. I was actually able to execute all the skills I’ve been putting together since I was 14 years old.
What is one misperception that people have about your job?
There are so many misperceptions, but the first that jumps into my mind is when people talk about construction, they say it’s only for men. It’s just simply not true. Construction work and renovation work is for everybody. If you love building, if you love working with your hands, if you love running numbers through your mind… this is a job that has no gender.
“This is a job that has no gender.”
Why are you #MakerProud?
I am #MakerProud because I know fundamentally that if I put in the time and the effort, I can learn the skills to do pretty much anything, and be self-sufficient. And that’s a big deal.
“I know fundamentally that if I put in the time and the effort, I can learn the skills to do pretty much anything, and be self-sufficient.”
Find Sebastian on Instagram at @sebclovis, on Facebook at @sebclovis or visit his website at www.sebastianclovis.com.