Wow, just spent an hour reading this whole thread. Quite a diverse group here.
I've been an industrial maintenance technician since 1974. Had 3 jobs in 35 years. Learned the ropes OJT in a Wilson Sporting Goods tennis racquet manufacturing facility for 9 years. When they left town, I went to work in an injection molding plastics plant - Canford manufacturing, which was soon bought out by Rubbermaid. Worked 15 years there, and then they closed up shop and left town. Went to work at an Albany International extrusion plant and I'm still there. Hoping this recession hits bottom before too much longer, or the future might not look to good. This company supplies the paper industry.
I've worked with many guys with a diverse set of talents/skills throughout my career, and learned a lot from many of them. I've done mechanical repairs, electrical, plumbing, painting and carpentry, welding and fabrication, and some lathe and milling work. With the modern equipment, sometimes my job involves uploading programs, or using a computer to diagnose problems. During the 15 years in injection molding, I learned to be a pretty good analytical thinker, and troubleshooter.
Being in this line of work has made me a self reliant person as a homeowner. I do almost everything myself, including diagnostics and repair of our computerized vehicles. The only homeowner jobs I hired out were roofers, and a septic tank replacement.
My dad was a union carpenter, and I helped him with some side jobs as a kid when he was between union jobs. He taught me the basics. He died when I was only 14.
In my teens, I pumped gas and learned the basics of vehicle maintenance. During college, I worked a couple summers doing mowing and landscaping in a cemetery. I had a lot of people under me there!!
Also did some bartending and worked in a tire shop for a few months.