Water Welders is celebrating its birthday with a giveaway worth up to $50! Check out the details at the bottom of this post.
One year on the Internet.
That’s like 50 in dog years.
I’m really excited to write this post, not just because Water Welders turns one, but because it’s the first personal post I’ve written since the site’s creation. I haven’t spoken about the development of Water Welders or my life until now based off a couple of assumptions:
- People only come here to read about underwater welding, not journal entries.
- My life is boring.
But then I remembered my football coach’s words:
You should never ass-u-me.
My Career Disappointments & Learning Experiences
Ever heard of Missouri? That’s where my Beth (my wife) and I lived. We met during college and planned out the rest of our lives – down to how many kids we would have. Life was simple. While Beth hit the books and earned her masters, I worked at an online vacations company practicing what I loved: Writing.
One day, just a few months before I was to be married, my boss came in to my office with some bad news. I lost my job.
I was devastated, of course. Thoughts started spinning through my head.
How would I bring in the bacon? What type of shotgun would my father-in-law threaten me with if I couldn’t find another job?
Control was an illusion. No matter my qualifications, my job security was ultimately at the mercy of my employer.
Fast forward several months, just two weeks out from marriage. After close to 10 interviews and many, many applications, I had received a total of zero job offers.
Then something amazing happened: First one, then two, then three job offers hit my phone in a span of a week and a half. I accepted a new position with a truckload of gratitude. It had better pay and benefits, but more importantly, my boss valued me as a person, not a number like my old manager.
My new position promoted college education. I worked with presidents and public relations departments to produce content that spoke volumes about their programs. I loved it!
Two lessons learned:
- The most important factor in job satisfaction? Leaders who care about you.
- I love working in education.
Transition into a New Project
It’s never been enough for me to have just one project to work on; I’ve always needed a “side project”. Fresh out of college, I started my own tiny business as a social media consultant. I created social media accounts for companies and produced creative posts for them on a daily basis. Though fun at first, my motivation soon fizzled as I realized my content was only shown to a small audience, and it would take many years to see “success” through a sizable fan base from my work.
After a few years, I started to look into creating something of my own – a website. Though I had a boss that cared about me and a steady job, I wanted to develop a new resource with long-term value. And I wanted complete control of the development process. I’m kind of a control freak.
The Search for Topics
I plunged into research, staying up for hours to look for hot online topics. I knew that whatever topic I chose, it must have these characteristics:
- Narrow niche with depth
- Career application
I almost gave up multiple times during this research phase. Nothing stood out to me.
On a slow Saturday morning, my mind started turning over topics in my head, checking them off one at a time. Then I thought, What topics do I love reading and thinking about, but I’ve never experienced myself? What topics would push me outside of my comfort zone?
Professional diving? Good, but tons of websites already focus on this.
Welding? Again, same problem.
If welding and diving married and made a baby, we would call it underwater welding.
Okay, that’s not exactly what happened in my head, but let’s pretend for the sake of a funny story. Underwater welding was a perfect topic – focused, applicable for jobs, and (bonus!) – it was mysterious.
Like global warming and Lady Gaga, many people knew about it, but few (if any) fully understood underwater welding. And after just a few days of research, I realized that the dangers and salary of underwater welders was exaggerated on both ends of the spectrum. That made the truth more valuable, and it gave somewhat of a legendary quality to this field of work.
I set out to change people’s mindset of underwater welding by creating Water Welders. And I’m still doing what I love – working with (diving) schools and educating others!
Our Overseas Life
Fast forward again to present day: Beth and I currently live overseas in Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia. It’s a long story on how we got here, but we don’t regret it for a moment. We’ve resided here for about nine months now and work with a humanitarian organization. We’ve learned some Georgian, though we’re not even close to fluent.
Beth teaches English classes at a university, and I produce online content for our organization, writing stories of our teams’ experiences and asking people for money. The pizza’s not that great here, but they have some amazing cheesebread. If you decide to visit this part of the world, you must see the Caucasus mountains. Nothing compares to their snow-capped beauty!
I do all of my work for Water Welders online and through many, many phone calls. Whether I’m here or in America, my tasks are relatively the same day in and day out.
The Past & Future of Water Welders
Over the past year, I’ve created an eBook, written many newsletters and spoken with hundreds of people in education, maritime and welding industries. Water Welders‘ front page has expanded into several columns including Biz Wave, Diver Exploits, underwater welding salary (which I continue to update) and my featured blog.
In the next year, I have some big plans for the website which I will share with you as I develop them. Water Welders may still be my “side project” at the moment, but I want to give it the attention it deserves.
A huge thanks to all of you who’ve visited this site – especially to those who’ve signed up for my newsletter! I hope you’ve learned something of value that you can take with you on your life journey into underwater welding.
Giveaway To celebrate Water Welders turning 1, I’m giving away one free copy of “Underwater Welding: A Welders’ Mate” authored by underwater welding expert David Keats – up to a $50 value! This book has a plethora of information on the subject of topside and underwater welding in it, and David has used this knowledge to found his company, Speciality Welds which sells wet welding equipment. Rules: To enter the contest, you must make a comment/question in the comment section of one of these 3 posts, then reply to someone else’s comment. Try not to say something random. The winner will be chosen through a drawing and contacted through email. Underwater Welding Salary & Risk Factor Top 10 Commercial Diving Employers Underwater Welder’s Equipment Deadline: November 21, 11:59 pm (CST)