June 30, 2021

Creating that "Mint" life with 3rd Generation Plumber Bob Baker


Join in for a positive and energizing conversation with 3rd generation plumber  Mr Bob Baker. He is a  social media influencer, bee keeper and cinematographer that share his gifts and talents in an effort to make this world a better place.

Not only is he a 3rd generation plumber but his boys will carry the torch as the 4th generation of Bakers in the Plumbing Industry, and he tells us a little about helping them appreciate early mornings.

Bob is one of few Trade Professionals with a Presence in social media with consistently uplifting material, you gotta check him out. See links below:

Connect with Bob Baker at: https://linktr.ee/bakerplumbing

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Transcript
Jesse:

The two things that every intern said, First of all, it sucks getting up and having to be at work ready to, right? Yeah. They're like, that's ridiculous. Yeah. Like that's real life. The second thing was, like it sucks working in the heat. You just sweating all day. That's all there is to it. So it's the elements and the time they had to get up.

Bob Baker:

No, it's true. I'm up at five 30. Yup. And doing my thing. And then at seven o'clock I, I'm in the house yelling at everybody. I'm like, all right, let's go. What the hell? You're all so early. I'm like, what are you talking about? Let's make it happen. And I get it as a teenager or, to 24 year old. you want to sleep till nine or 10, but that doesn't happen in my house.

Jesse:

10, four, What's going on L and M family. I got a little bit of stinky news to break to you. Our co-host Renee will be cashing in on a whole bunch of overtime this summer. So let's wish them well, I'm a do my best to keep this boat afloat. Now, let me tell you about today's guest. He's a bit of a unicorn how many, third generation plumbers do you know? And if you know, one, are they also a social media influencer? How about a beekeeper? And is he, or she also a cinematographer? My guess is negative. Well, we managed to borrow some time from Mr. Bob baker, who hails from Alberta, Canada. Shout out to Canada. Not only is he a third generation plumber, but his boys will carry the torch as the fourth generation of bakers in the plumbing industry. Over the next 50 to 60 minutes, we touch on Bob's plumbing lineage, his commitment to upskilling his view of this amazing world. And he gets super vulnerable by sharing a major learning and misstep. He experienced, man, it's going to be good. Before we dive into this conversation, I want to remind you, these episodes are commercial free, except for when you got to listen to me. Of course, If you're ready to pitch in and keep us commercial free. Hit us up at Patreon.com forward slash learninsnmissteps you can make a custom pledge or select one of our four membership levels and get you some exclusive behind the scenes. Fans only content either way. You're appreciated. Thank you for tuning in and let us do it here we are with Mr. Bob baker from Alberta, Canada. How's it going, Mr. Bob?

Bob Baker:

It is fantastic. It's a beautiful day up north.

Jesse:

What's the temperature like a seed looks like you got a hoodie on. Is he cool?

Bob Baker:

Yeah. In the mornings like everywhere else, I suspect the mornings are cool. So it's about it's about six degrees Celsius up here. It'll get up to about 22, which is about 70. So we, our summer sort of range between 55 to 80. And so the morning started off a bit. Cool. I was actually, if anybody follows me on the old Instagram or LinkedIn, you'll know I had to feed some goats this morning and some chickens and check in. I don't know if the old check in with the bees. So

Jesse:

I saw your video about the bees. Is that a new, new endeavor that you took on?

Bob Baker:

Yeah, this is my third year. Okay. So the first year I just had a couple of hives last year. I had eight this year. I'll I'll have 10. The whole focus of this year is to get them to survive. Which is the ultimate challenge up here and great white north.

Jesse:

So how do you do that? Like you cover them up or a dome or something.

Bob Baker:

Yeah. They're, they're amazing creatures. Like they'll keep their inside about 35 all by their, by themselves. We just put a couple, like a couple of insulated tarps around them and make sure the wind can't get to them. And that they have proper air flow. It's got building guys on here. You'll know that building airflow is critical to make sure you don't have condensation and mold and all the rest of that stuff. Yep. Yep. So if they can, if they can, as long as they don't get wet and they have enough food to eat, they'll keep themselves warm. But the second I get a little condensation on them. There. Frozen. Yeah. So that's sort of the challenge of finding a spot that you can minimize those risks. And thus far I ha I'm zero and zero for two.

Jesse:

So that's a two winners. They got wiped out.

Bob Baker:

Yeah, we did. I did. I thought I was through it all. Did really well till about the end of March this year. And then we had a crazy, like we were talking about before your little cold. No, yeah, yeah. Snowvid of it. Wellour snowvid 45, which is also minus 45 Fahrenheit. And it lasted two weeks and they just, they didn't make that one. And we were, and I didn't have any chance to look after him because we were so busy saving the world basically , because it was so bloody cold. None of them made it through that one. So that's rough. Yeah.

Jesse:

Negative 45. Like holy hell. I'm glad you made it through that. That's seriously crazy.

Bob Baker:

And usually when it hits that, it's kind of like your snowvid where it's, you know, like three or four days of ridiculousness and then God, and heaven's like, all right, I'll, I'll take the clamps off. I'd let you guys breathe again. But anyway, up here it was T it was a solid 13, 14 days of that. And it like, we, my truck never shut off. We ran like crazy and we're still dealing with the issues that itcaused three months later. So it's bananas when it gets that cold it's it's inhumane for anybody. So that's,

Jesse:

that is the appropriate word inhumane. And so that generated a whole bunch of business for y'all.

Bob Baker:

Yeah. You know, we're pretty well climatized to those that cold weather, but when it's cold, that cold for that long, it really doesn't matter how much insulation you've got or, and if any weak point is exposed and taken advantage of andcracked and yeah, our HVAC equipment is which we get lots of it from was manufactured in, down in Texas there. Yeah. And so I, I actually spend few dozen hours a year on the phone with tech support down in Texas for some of the equipment that we deal with. And it's just not designed. And I don't know how it could be for those types of temperatures. It's just awful it's good. It feeds my children. So I guess I, I, I can't complain. Although I do bitterly, I can't complain, but I do everything. Yeah. Every chance I get, I swear about it. Oh, I hate this. I need to move to Texas or somewhere.

Jesse:

Negative 45. I can't even, I can't even imagine no way.

Bob Baker:

You'll walk out of the morning and you just like, I, like I said, I should be a baby doctor so that you don't have to deal with stuff

Jesse:

so Bob, what do you want the LNM family to know about you.

Bob Baker:

Well, I, like I said, mostly, I would like to probably the reason that you contacted me in the first place, I'm a tradesman, I'm a, I'm a third generation. My grandpa started the company. My dad and then myself were plumbers and gas fitters. I'm not, I found out that gas fitter really isn't a thing in the states per se. But because we deal with so much heating up here gas fitting is actually a certified and ticketed trade up here. So there's two licenses, gasfitter one and gasfitter two or a, and B is what they call it up here. And basically if you're a gas fitter, a you can work up on anything over a million and obviously under a million BTU's. And if you're a, gasfitter your B your cutoff at a a million BTUs is what you're technically allowed to work on. We're pretty proud of our history and our legacy, most of our hashtags and, and that sort of thing are related to 1956. That's when my grandpa started it, he was a, he was a world war II vet, not, he actually was a airplane mechanic. Worked on the planes that fought in the battle of Britain, which the air okay. The Hawker hurricanes and that sort of thing. I do find it interesting that when he finished the law. Or when the war was over, they sent him to rehab. And just by the look on your face, rehab has a different, has a different connotation today, but it's literally, it was literally called rehab and they he went to learn how to be a plumber that was in Ontario and the Eastern side of Canada. And then he moved out here to Alberta to, to start as a little company. And, and I guess as they say, the rest is history.

Jesse:

What's the name of the company?

Bob Baker:

Our baker plumbing and heating. We were, you know, thought long and hard about what we were going to call it. And late into the night, we decided just to use our name,

Jesse:

what's a strong name for sure. And that's a beautiful history. So grandpa started the business and yeah, I, I did kind of get like whoa rehab because in the states it does mean something different.

Bob Baker:

I cant imagine it was just a Canadian initiative. I bet you, I don't know this, but I would bet you that, that although your military is different than ours, certainly today, it is sure. It wasn't considered or isn't considered up here sort of a career path per se. You know, you can serve in the military and they'll help you with school and stuff, but once you're done your school, you're sort of, you know, off your own devices or whatever, whatever the case may be. There's very few career military up here down there. I'm sure that's a viable and honorable A career path to take.

Jesse:

Yeah, no, definitely. In San Antonio, we've got a whole bunch of air force bases. I mean, the numbers, the numbers dwindled a bit over the years. But we do have a lot of people that make careers out of out of serving in the armed forces. And, and I guess when, when you said rehab, that would be a reference to prepping people to go back out into the civilian world. So we, we do have programs now that help veterans transition back into industry. So it sounds like that's a similar. I guess in my head, that would be closest to it. Cause when I hear rehab, I hear, which is not a bad thing. And that, you know, my reaction to it is an indicator of how much work is left to do around it. But when I hear rehab, I'm thinking recovery from addiction or, or recovering from mental, emotional trauma, which is not a bad thing either. Actually that's a pretty damn good thing. It just has this connotation to it. That's not celebrated.

Bob Baker:

And it's the same, I guess, no different up here. When I saw, when I saw the picture, we were going through some stuff and saw his class photo and it literally, you know, class of whatever it was 1951. Rehab. Oh, you don't ask what the hell is going on there. Like, and like you just said, it just, you know, drums up images that aren't aren't necessarily positive, yeah. So he did, he went through that, got his trades, certificate came out here to Alberta, worked for company out, out here for a couple of years and then started off on his own, started his family. And all four of his sons got into the trade, but only two of them went, you know, turn it into a careers. One of them was my dad. He ran it for 25 years or so. And then I've sort of been. At the helm since about 2000, I would say,

Jesse:

okay, that's some time on it.

Bob Baker:

Yeah. I got my ticket in 96 and then started, did the same thing. Worked for him for a couple years, started my own show mostly for tax reasons sorta went gangbusters and, you know, had some learning experiences along the way. And, and it sort of morphed into what it is now. It's family run, family owned and we do everything from plumbing drains to furnaces, to a little bit of air conditioning. We don't do much of that up here, but yeah, people up here are getting more and more spoiled, so they like to. Have their air conditions for the six days they needed. And that's not even a joke. Like there's literally, maybe, you know, eight to 10 days a year where you're like, holy hell, it's hot. I should get an air conditioner.

Jesse:

Yeah. And it goes drop 10 grand and for six days. Yeah. It's interesting how we start believing these pleasantries are necessities.

Bob Baker:

Well, and the marketing campaigns are fantastic. Right. Where they everybody's like, I gotta add that. Yeah. My life isn't complete unless I, unless I have that.

Jesse:

So yeah. Yeah. So what was it like as a young, young Bob? How early, or how young were you before grandpa and dad took you out and put some wrenches in your hand?

Bob Baker:

You know, I, my earliest memories were riding in my dad's truck. Oh. Going out to you know my, my main job as a little kid was rolling the puddy snakes for the, for the sinks dressing out lavs, putting the taps on as tight as I could you know, cleaning up the job site. Then I started soldering. It was terrible. I think I did my first shower, but. Eight or nine. And I told my dad not to. I said, listen, this is mine. I'm doing it. Don't touch it. I installed it, turned on the water and every single joint leaked all over the place. That's awesome. Yeah. So forever. I mean, when I say I've been plumbing forever in my, you know, mental scheme of things, it's been forever. Oh, well done this. So, and it's, I don't regret any of it. It's been fantastic.

Jesse:

Is there like a particular time of year that like the weather just reminds you, man. I remember back when I was working with dad or working with, did you get a chance to work with your grandfather?

Bob Baker:

I did. Yeah. Yup. You know, honestly probably the winter. Yeah. Because you know, winter was sort of all hands on deck. Lots of people around this neck of the woods, head for greener pastures over the winter. Cause it's freezing up here Hawaii or florida or wherever the case may be. But for the bakers, it was always, it was the time to, it was the harvest time really like, but it, it put it in farmer terms. And so yeah, we would be up and out working fixing furnaces and frozen and water lines and frozen septic fields and whatever the case may be for. Pull in my, I do have vivid memories of, of pulling wells by hand, because that's how we did it back then. And having my, having my hands freeze to the pipe, as you start out, you're like this and you pull it off and then you grow up anyway,

Jesse:

The winter time it's like the really cold, miserable times are the most memories I have of working with my dad back in the day. And, and so here in San Antonio tacos are the thing, right? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, you're going to have tacos all day. So we've prepped up some tacos, head out to wherever we're going to, where it was a subdivision or a house or whatever. And the first thing we did, he was like, all right, make sure keep the tacos warm the way we did it. As we popped open the hood and set them on the carburetor, right. Close the hood. And that will keep them nice and warm. We get set up and get everything shook out, grab a taco, and then go to town. Or the damn truck would break down or something. Some funky thing would happen and we'd have to, we'd have to tackle it. And that happened all year round. But the times I remember are the, the winter time when it was cold. And you know, you could see your breath when you're breathing and dad's yelling at you. Like, no, don't hold the light there, put it here. And I'm like, where I can't see what you're talking about.

Bob Baker:

That was probably my first lesson was how to eat a sandwich with it with, with it's still in the bag so that you didn't get your grubby fingers all over the, all over the bread. That's an important lesson. And that was the trade lunch. That's what he would S you know, no, no, don't take it out. You just roll it back.

Jesse:

Good stuff. So, so you're on social media. I know you're on Instagram. I know you're on LinkedIn. Are there any other outlets you use ? Bob Baker: Not really. I mean, most of those two link to our, an update automatically our Facebook page and our Twitter and that sort of thing. But there isn't any quote unquote exclusive content anywhere else. You know what I mean? You're not, you're not missing anything. I want to make sure we put the links in the show notes so that people can access it. And I mean, especially your videos, the videos they're entertaining. But they're also educational. Like they do. I swear, man, I'm watching, I'm like, man, they're exciting. And, and what I mean by exciting, like, it makes me want to do the work and you know, I'm sure y'all are experiencing the same thing we're experiencing down here where we just don't have enough people to do the work that needs to be done. And so when it comes to like recruiting, highlighting, celebrating the careers in our industry, I think your videos do an exceptional job of that. And then you have some cool stuff, right? Like the NA the nature stuff. I love that too. Like, man, this is super cool.

Bob Baker:

Well, first let me say thank you. It's just sort of what we I guess I've tried to incorporate everything I like. I love, I love good music. I always have you know, back in the day you know, when we would rough in the house, we would take some boom box and turn it up to 27. And, you know, you can't do that anymore. But like every, because everybody has the headphones, you know, but it was cranked. So those sorts of songs remind me of working with my dad or, you know, some pleasant memories there. And we just sort of film what we do, whether it's, you know, we, it's interesting, the comments you get, some people are like, ah, man, that would never pass code or, yeah, that's fine. I mean, I'm not here to, I mean, we're as real as it gets, right? Like this is sometimes we mess it up. Sometimes we do a great job. Sometimes we're limited by. The budget of the client this is all I have $85. What can you do for 82? My God. Okay. Well, this is what we can do to make it work. And it's not necessarily the best way, but it's, it's functional. So we've tried to, you know, incorporate that in what we do. And you would know this part of the the downside of, looking at crap all day and, hot boiler rooms or whatever, as you sort of lose focus on how amazing the world is. If you did that, if you worked all day and then you watch the news all night, like, I'm not sure why you know, there's just so much negativity going on in the world, right? So we've tried to focus on the stuff that the things that I enjoy about the mountains and, you know even the city, how it's lit those things just take a moment to say, you know what? It isn't actually that bad. Yeah. Life is fantastic. And if we take a couple of moments to, pull back and, and, and take a deep breath, it's it's for me anyway, it's a a cathartic exercise that, that does mean a world of good when, cause it's a stressful life, no matter what, no, I'm not saying it because I'm a plumber or, or whatever, but it's, I mean, everybody has their own stresses. So however you deal with that for me, it's fantastic. So we just try and share, the lens that we try and see the world.

Jesse:

I'm telling you, it is a beautiful lens. I mean, one celebrating the work. You've got the music in there, so it's like jamming like, hell yeah, they're having a good time. That looks like fun. I want to do that. And yeah. And then

Bob Baker:

let me put a disclaimer in there. It's not fun. You could ask my boys who, you know, I truthfully will have probably the same story I have. They've all been working with me since they were little five, six or seven. And you know, there are days where it sucks. I'm in a bad mood, the things aren't going well, I'm fighting with inspectors as with most people, but there's a filter that you don't really share that with the whole world. And so behind the scenes, I am losing my mind and using all the bad words, throwing stuff around. Even my son's like, dude, you've got to calm down. I'm like, it's gonna, you can lose it. And so the only caveat to what you see there is it, we do try and make it look fun and try and put on a, on a good show and a good face for our trade and our business and whatever. But it's like I say to my own family, you know, 300 feet in the air, my family and my life looks fantastic. It's idealistic. It's, you know what I mean? It's beautiful. But when you get on the trenches, like it's, there's real bullets flying around and grenades going off, like it's, it's real life. We try and make it a halfway decent mix between the two, but there are days where it's and you know that there are days when it just sucks. Yes. There's no other way to S just like, okay, well, I'm going to sleep in my bed tonight. I hope. And, and then tomorrow's a new day

Jesse:

and you just gotta let it roll. I mean, yeah. It's, for me, it's a matter of what, where I target my focus. There's a lot of crappy things that happen all day, every day, just in my little world. Yeah. And I can choose to focus on that. And all that's going to do is piss me off and drag me down. I can choose to follow people on all this social media stuff that bitch and complain all the time. I can choose the focus on the small wins, choose to focus on the deep connections and choose to follow people that are contributing a positive message to the masses. It's all entirely within my control. because, you know, working, fixing, repairing things, it's not always easy.

Bob Baker:

No, There's a thousand challenges as you know, right. From supply chain to engineering, to whoever installed it last to the angry customer. That's, thinking that you're either doing them a disservice the pitfalls are never ending.

Jesse:

Yeah. Now there, there's plenty of landmines out there to deal with and learning how to absorb that and continue. It is a real skill. So you mentioned your boys your boys are working with you, is that correct?

Bob Baker:

Yeah. So there's Isaiah and Peter, and I'll just clarify lots of people think I named them the biblical names because I'm deeply religious. I will just say that Isaiah's named after Isaiah Thomas, the basketball player who played for the Detroit pistons, number 11, who was my favorite player. And Pete was named after pistol Pete

Jesse:

so you're a basketball fan. Okay.

Bob Baker:

Basketball fan. Yes. So we'll clear that up, but Isaiah's 24 and got his journeymen license is plumbing and gas fitting just in January of this year. So he's yeah, he's a full-fledged journeymen P is halfway through. So he has another couple of years left too. He's 21. I suspect that he'll finish his ticket here in the next couple as the path that he's on anyway. Good. So we're now into officially with Isaiah graduating our fourth generation super excited about it's been fascinating to me to see my boys try and navigate their own worlds in today's society. They didn't do really well in school, not that they were bad students, but there were some struggles that are for sure. But it's been interesting to see them grab onto this plumbing thing. And honestly, I can see where they'll be better at things than I am with, the way they think and the way that they handled problems and situations, and then things where I'm like, well, you know what, this was going to be a weakness for you. So you better, spend some time on this. It's been fascinating to just sort of take a step back and watch your own kids. And particularly in the trade, you know, go through some of the same challenges that you had. And I'm like, oh, he's totally gonna mess that up because I did. I'm like, yeah, man, I watch this he's going in. And then he navigates it and I'm like, oh, wow, man. Yeah. So, and then, well, and then there's a time where I'm like, this'll be a piece, the cake. And he phones me 27 times. Cause he can't figure it out. I'm like, dude, yeah, you're a moron. That's it. We can't figure this out sorta speaks to me how everybody's different. And even if you're in the same family you know what I mean, and share many of the same experiences, your approach to many of those are completely different. So it sort of gives you a to me anyway look into how someone who's not part of my family that doesn't have any of the same shared experiences that I have tackles, a plumbing problem from a completely different angle. And my initial thought is, are you stupid? Like why this is how this is done that's been, the joy of social media really is to be like, oh, I never would've thought in a million years that that was a solution to a problem that I've had. , that's fantastic. And I think to myself, how am I so stupid? How am I a moron not to have seen that. That's a beautiful solution to a problem that I experienced. 27 times a year that I can't like, I just like, I hate this, but I'm going to go through it. Cause I don't know any other way to fix it. So it's that that's for us in the S the benefit of, of social media and, watching my own kids develop their own experiences has been, it's been fantastic. I highly recommend it to anyone that you can pull it off.

Jesse:

I applaud you in, bringing your sons into the trade and, and nurturing their growth. I've worked with my baby brother a bit and it's like, dude, please. Like, it doesn't have to be that hard. And so that takes some patience, but also I know a lot of folks that, that have built careers in the industry. That don't want their kids anywhere near a shovel or anywhere near a repair or a job site. You know, my dad, he was not very happy when I decided not to go to college. Now looking back, I love every minute. I mean, it was the most amazing choice I could ever have made. But it was, it was tough. It was tough for him. I'm sure he wanted the best for me. Right. He wanted me to, to go off because I was a nerd boy, school was not hard for me. School was easy. The only problem I had in school was behavioral issues. But when I got out on that first job site, man, I'm like, oh my goodness, this is, this is what it's about. And I got to work with him fetching tools, cleaning out ditches, rolling the puddy snakes, like you said, that was all of them, all the fun stuff. But when I actually got out there and started working with other men, I was like, oh yeah, this is, this is what I need to do. But too many people feel like it's what Rouse say it this way, they lack an appreciation for, for what the trades can be and really are. And so for you to make a commitment, to get your son's fourth generation, that's special. I imagine it wasn't easy. Did you deal with any, any family members or people. Let's just call them haters. Did you deal with any haters about bringing your sons into the trades?

Bob Baker:

There always is. It doesn't matter what you do. There are always the haters. I guess it's because the reason they are is because they don't understand the process, they don't understand the, the increased intricacies .Of the actual, what you do as a tree, as a plumber or an HVAC tech or any of that stuff. I mean, they literally think that you're, that I clean toilets all day, or, you know what I mean? Or I change, I change sink cartridges all day long, which, any, middle-aged dad can do that. Like I don't, how can you do that? That's so boring. I'm like, you know what? That just speaks to your ignorance of what I do. I mean when you work on electronics, everything is electronics these days, whether it's, a boiler or a furnace to the laser sensored taps that we deal with these days. Oh God. Yes. Right. Like put a chat, the challenges, truly never end aren't going anywhere. I had a conversation with, with their high school principal and he's like, this is where I think he needs to, they need to go. And I'm like, you know, that's fine. We're going to let them decide what they want to do for themselves. But you guys as educators. Are, are doing a bad job. You guys need to emphasize the trades and he literally, this is exactly what he's a super good guy. I've worked in his house. He's the principal. We have a good relationship, so I'm not bagging on him, but he's like, no, Bob, we have the plumbing trade covered, come down to the shop and I'll show you what we have set up for our plumbers. I'm like, okay, cool. And we literally walked in there and he has a toilet and a sink in there and they're practicing roughing in a toilet and the sink and event kind of like, dude, that's the problem. That's what you think, plumbing. Like you think it's covered. If you can glue two pipes together and make sure the flow goes the right way and understand how, what a toilet does, not how it works, but what it does. You know, cross yourself over because you know what plumbing. And so how do you, how do I explain, you know, 40 years of trade experience into, a way that, that makes it appealing and passionate. And I think you spoke to it at the beginning, and we've tried to incorporate that into our social media you can look through all my videos and there's probably a one toilet every two weeks, the rest of it's, you know, all kinds of crazy ass crap that I get called at every single day and deal with. So it's an amazing, it's an amazing array. The the trade world is an amazing array of problems that need to be solved. And it's not. Toilets and sinks. It's part of it. It's part of it. That's the easy stuff. That's the easy stuff, right? I have that stupid air gun you may have seen or not that the blast, the toilets, and this is my favorite tool of all, because they don't get to, I don't get to use it enough because I don't do that many toilets so that would be, our message to anybody that's thinking about it, that whatever you see on the surface, which is true of anything whatever you see on the surface is literally, a millimeter thick. And if you want to get involved with that and be part of that than it is in fathomable, how deep it goes and how complex it is and how involved you can get into it. If you truly have a passion for it, it's like, there's the opportunity. Are only growing. I, I think, and you won't see this on any newscast anywhere that the the trades are the only growing industry.

Jesse:

Oh man. You know, When I was 18 years old. I graduated high school decided to work in the trades. I had the fortune of, of working with some great mentors. And Johnny Martinez was the first journeymen plumber that wasn't my dad. Or wasnt part of my family? Cause we have a few plumbers in the family and he, he took to me. And he said, Hey man, here, you need to fill this out. I said, okay, whatever. I didn't know what it was. I just filled it out. He made me buy a tool every week. If I didn't show up with a brand new tool on Monday, he would send me home. Yeah. So, so of course, what would I do? I'd go and hit the 99 cent bin and come with a new tool until I couldn't like I had to start graduating, buying better tools. Anyhow, the paper he had me fill out was my official registration as an apprentice for this, with the state of Texas, then I'm like, Hey Johnny, like I got, I got a big raise. I went from like $6 an hour to 13 bucks an hour. Once I got that card and I was 18 years old. So I'm like, I'm banking. I'm killing it. I'm going to be making all kinds of money. I noticed around me, most of my peers were like 12th year Uprint or helpers. Like they hadn't worked to get their journeyman or expand their knowledge that, so I said, Hey Johnny, I don't, I don't like, I want, I think I can grow in this growth, his career, but I don't really know how to do it. Do I have to be working as a helper for 20 years? He was like, no, dude, you got to find an apprenticeship program. So he helped me do that. I found an apprenticeship program and I, it was like the first like orientation or something. And they showed some figures within the state of Texas. The average age of a journeyman plumber back in 1995 was like 48 years old. And for everyone. Two for every one that's going out. There's less than 25% coming in. Meaning right. There was just not enough people coming into the industry. And I didn't, it didn't take me a whole lot of complex math to, to say, holy hell in 10 years, I'm going to be making a lot of money. And so, boom, I committed to it a hundred percent and it's, and it's not improving. The average age keeps going up and the number of people keeps going down and the volume of work like construction. I mean, there's, there's so much to it. Like you said, the complexity, right? There's enormous amounts of construction, commercial, industrial, residential construction going on. Right. You know, that's one end of it. Then we got to keep it working. Yeah. Right. Fix it. And we got to service it. Like there's so much opportunity out there. I, I saw a link was earlier today about the average wages of plumbers. I mean, I'm looking at it right now. The, the, the pay range in the states anyways, is between 28 bucks an hour and $46 an hour. Those are real numbers and they're only gonna get higher. Yep. Now, you know, to your point earlier, it's not always fun. The main thing, well, there's two big things. We started a, an internship program exposing high school students between their junior and senior year to come and work in the trades. And so we asked them like, okay, at the end, right, when they're going back to school, what'd you like about it? What, what's the worst part about it? Cause the plan was to grow that program and they have the two things, the two things that every intern said, First of all, it sucks getting up and having to be at work ready to, right? Yeah. They're like, that's ridiculous. Yeah. Like that's real life. The second thing was, it was summertime. So our summers, our summers are warm. Like it sucks working in the heat. Like you just, you just sweating all day. That's all there is to it. So it's the elements and the time they had to get up. And yeah, that sucks. But you get used to it. I mean, you adapt, you find that your right flavor of coffee and keep on rolling.

Bob Baker:

No, it's true. I, I mean, even now Isaiah doesn't live in the house, live with us anymore. He moved out which is great. But the other kids, you know, it's, I'm up at five 30. Yup. And doing my thing. And then at seven o'clock I, I'm in the house yelling at everybody. I'm like, all right, let's go. What the hell? You're all so early. I'm like, what are you talking about? Let's make it happen. And I get it as a teenager or, you know, a 2018 to 24 year old. You're like, I would love to, I get, you want to sleep till nine or 10, but that doesn't happen in my house. Right. So

Jesse:

10, four, that's important.

Bob Baker:

It's interesting because it's the same up here. You know, I've done interviews for people that are my age that are second-year apprentices. And they're like, dude, I, I got to make 32 bucks an hour. I'm like, well, the going rate for a second year apprentice is 24. And they're like, well, but I got 30 years experience. I, you know what, and I appreciate that, but that's not how this world works. And so I would recommend that you sign yourself back up and finish it because that's how you get paid unfortunately, but, and lots of people say, try and circumvent that and just say, no, no, I got all the experience. I'm like, yeah. But first of all you're not legal re legally responsible for anything. Yeah. That's how it works up here. As soon as you get your ticket, you're you can literally be charged with crimes and prosecuted. If you do something stupid. Yeah. If you're an apprentice, then it's my fault as your journeymen, right? It's like you say, it's how the world works and, and the numbers, I think it, I think you said 48, well, up here, it's now 56 as the average journey. Plumbers age and I, and it's like, Ooh, it's like six to one. Now one guy, you know, six guys retire and one guy's coming in. Oh. So yeah. It's the opportunities like the field is full and ready to ready to harvest. If you guys know how to work, this is what I say to my boys. Yeah.

Jesse:

We gotta be ready to work. touched on something, you know, we talked about the principals saying, oh, we got plumbing covered. And how, how folks out there that have no connection with the trades. Think that it's this simple thing, right? You just gotta work hard. You gotta be strong. But there's a lot. I mean, there's education. You've got to get, go to apprenticeship, learn the stuff. I know here in Texas, once you get your journeymen or any license, there's annual continuing education, you got to keep up with the technology. You got to inform yourself on the safety precaution so that you take care of yourself. It's not like you just show up and you're making 50 bucks an hour. You got to make a commitment to expanding your knowledge base. And there are formal structures to make that happen. So it, again, you're not just going to show up and just go to work. Yeah. Got to build this knowledge base. So you're, you're working during the day and you're learning at night or whatever. There's many avenues to do that. But I think too many people just don't realize like, oh wow, like this is, this is really a profession. It's like, yeah, absolutely. Because. We can make, if we are not educated and do something wrong, we put people's lives at risk. It is a serious endeavor to, to be a plumber to be an electrician, to be any of these, any of these trades. There's some stuff that we really got to know, and it does. We don't just kind of learn it, talking around the damn water jug. We go and learn that stuff for real. I was hoping when I entered the trade, like I could just show up and they'd see how awesome I was. And give me a $20 an hour raise. And they said, no, you got to go to school at school. What are you talking about school? Like, this is plumbing. And then when I got into to the apprenticeship, I was like, oh, now I see cuz in the field. Yes. I'm learning how to do things, but I'm not learning why. Right. Why they're critical, why they're important. and the more why I understand the better decisions I make going forward. So it's definitely a commitment and an investment into oneself.

Bob Baker:

We call once you get a Journeymanand I've said this to Isaiah, I'm like, great. You're now a ju junior journeymen, which is great. Congratulations, high fives. Here's your pay raise. You got 10 years for you're ready to become a senior journeyman because you're now out there making your own decisions. You're out there going to see what you did wrong and make mistakes, and you should be on the internet, upgrading your skillset, learning how things work learning about new products so that you can be as versatile and beneficial to your client base as possible. In my opinion, that is a 10 years. Process from journeymen to someone that actually he knows what he's doing, right. Because the flip side is, well, I know, I know how this works, but I've never installed it. I'm like, okay, well, there's a massive difference between what you read in the book. And, the educational teachers up here will hate me for saying this, but and I've said it to their face, so it's fine. But you know, the S the book world and the real world are not the same thing. Right. Just because you read it in the book and you pass the test doesn't mean that you can show up at Mrs. Johnson's house tomorrow and fix or install or whatever. Right. So there's a congruency that those two things has got to come together and you've got to match them both, or I guess you don't have to, but if you want to make the most money and be the most beneficial. And find the most satisfaction in your job. Then those two things have got to merge together the person who benefits the most is you. Yep. When you do it and really that's at the end of the day, that's who receives the greatest benefit from that.

Jesse:

The practical application of like there's knowledge, I can read it and, and okay. Memorize it. Even,

Bob Baker:

those are that's the engineers in my world right there. They know everything, , but they have no idea how to install it or how it applies to the real world. Right.

Jesse:

The practical application of that knowledge is the, is the differentiator. Yup. Or put that bad boy in place and say, dammit, the way it said in the paper, on the blueprint or on the drawing or in the specs or the submittal. That it's a little different when we go put it together. Sometimes it's a lot different. Yeah. So you talked about building your skill sets and back to the social media, because one, I want to hype it up because you were putting some great stuff out there. And I want to challenge all the other craft men and women out there to follow your example, because we need more of it. But in terms of skillset, as it relates to social media, which of the, which of the three of you between Isaiah Peter and yourself? Who's the cinematographer? The, the video taker, like they got skills so

Bob Baker:

that'd be me. That's you? Oh, honestly, it's sounds boastful, I guess, but just to speak about what we just spoke about, like, I literally took a. Cinematography course online and a camera course. I'm like, okay, how do you know, how do you split up a frame? How do you take better videos? You know? I mean, anybody can Google that right now, how to take a better video and you'll get, 400 hits of what to go look at. And so it just, like you say, you're learning should never, ever stop them. And, I was actually looking at some stuff from a couple of years ago of, you know, stuff that we posted, I posted. And I mean, you can literally see the I'm like, oh yeah, look at that. I learned that. I read that and now I've incorporated that, and now you can see, visually and thematically a difference in what that learning brought to the table and how I've changed? How I do things and how I present things. Full circle back to what we taught the world's an amazing place. Yes. And if you get off your ass and quit playing video games or, watching Netflix all day, like, there's, there's so much for us to learn. And so many opportunity, like yield you'll die a thousand times over before you, learn most of what this world has to offer so, that's where it comes from as is, I'm like, actually I need to do a better job at this and how do I do that? And then you go do some digging. Yup. So preface it. Yeah. And then, yeah. And that's, I mean, some of them are. You know, people are like, oh my kids or whatever, like, that's awful. I'm like, yeah, that didn't work out very good. Did it. I'm gonna try this. I'm gonna try this this time. And my Peter is, is sort of glammed onto it here in the last month or so. And so we've had, you know, it's like, how do I do this and how do I do that? And so he starting to figure out what he wants to do and, you know, sends me his video. What are you thinking about this? I'm like, dude, just, just throw it out there, man. Like, it's, it's harmless, as long as it's, you're not doing anything illegal, then throw it up there and see what kind of reaction you get. Its been a lot of fun messing with that stuff and, and as a stress reliever, I guess, to, to share some of the, some of what we do.

Jesse:

So speaking about learning things that you've learned over life, I'm going to ask you the deep question. What is the, the biggest misstep you've made in your life? That's provided you the greatest learning

Bob Baker:

man. There's been so many of them. I have, I have made million mistakes in my life. I do remember a particular, I was 35, so it was 2005.

Jesse:

Oh, got you again. This piece of content is going to be available. Only through the L and M backstage pass. Some of that fans only. Goodness. check us out at Patreon.com/learninsnmissteps you'll get access to this. And all kinds of other sweetness. That's a pretty intimate, I'm sure painful thing to, to bring back to, to the front of your mind my condolences for your loss. But I, I think be humble, keep two hands on the steering wheel. Like it's so easy not to do that. It's so easy to start celebrating how amazing and miraculous Jesse is and then boom, something comes and give me squared up again, like, Hey, dummy, don't forget. You know, the, I wish I knew this earlier. Like in my twenties, even thirties, I undervalued the relationships that I had. And so when, when things were going well, I was neglectful and maybe even abusive. With the people that they really cared about me, I took them for granted entirely. And then when I got those reality checks, I'm pissed because they're not there coddling me, of course not because I was a jerk to them. And it it's, it's those relationships, the relationships that we build that are going to get us through, they're there with us in the hard times, are there with us in the high times. But in order to, to nurture those relationships, it takes humility. Loved the answer. And I appreciate you sharing that with us. Man, you've, you've lived, you've lived, the life is good.

Bob Baker:

I can promise you there's a, there's a Chinese curse, , , that I learned about years and years ago. And it's may you have an interesting life? It's a curse and I have lived a cursed life according to the Chinese I have anyway, because it's been a very interesting wonderful, awful life all in this all in the same moment for sure.

Jesse:

How do you intend, or what fingerprint do you want to leave on the world?

Bob Baker:

You know, I think it's starting to take shape. I think it's it's going to be the transfer of power and knowledge to my kids and, and. You know when Y I guess just to touch on that one last time when my dad passed away, like the legacy that he left was fantastic. Like, he was a hardworking man. He wasn't a perfect man, but he was a hardworking guy and loved his family. And that's all at the F all that mattered. And when those walls started to cave in, on his life, that's all he wanted. Like, it was, I just want to spend time with my family. That's all that matters. And so, I mean, that's the fingerprint, I guess, but, you know, 30 years from now when I'm dead and whatever that's what I would like to be known as a guy that worked hard that loved his family that appreciated the small things in life was grateful for the blessings in his life and handled the trials in his life is as best he could. I've been in this trade long enough that I have ripped out and remodeled places that I installed. Right? Yup. Yup. So you know, 35 years ago I installed this and was like, this is going to last forever. And then I've been around long enough that I've walked into that, the very same room with a sledgehammer and started smashing stuff because it's, it's time to renovate. So yeah, nothing, nothing. Well, what we do in the trade world, I'll be careful how I say this has any legacy to it. Any piece of equipment I install, any job that I do it has a lifespan, whether that's five years or 35 years, whatever it is. So. I think that the fingerprint is to leave something that's beyond that, which requires us to be more involved and to, and to, like you said create and develop and nurture those relationships with people that care for you, that people that are important to you, because those are the ones that's what, that's, what makes it worth while is the relationships that we have with people. And it's been amazing on the social media front to develop these relationships with people that I would have never had the opportunity to like yourself never. And like, we would have never crossed paths. Yup. If it was 1970, we would have lived our whole lives and done all our stuff and never had a conversation. And the ads true for hundreds of people that I have met through social media that are fantastic people. You're like, wow, you know what I mean? That guy is fantastic. How are we not connected? Somehow? Sure. I feel good about fixing the furnace that nobody else could fix, or that install looks mint because I installed it. But you know, those are fleeting and don't last very long. It's the relationships that we developed it make the difference. So that's the, if there's a message to be had from this whole thing is be humble and create positive. And meaningful relationships with, people worthy of your time.

Jesse:

That's the buzzer beater three point winning shot right there. Bob. That is fantastic. So do you have a good time? That was fantastic. Yeah. Yeah, I did. I'm flying time flies for sure. I wish we could keep talking. I don't want to be selfish with your time. I'm sure you got plenty of things pulling on you to get to go get after some more mint installations, this was awesome. I appreciate you deeply. And, and now that I know you are the cinematographer in the eye, I'm like son of a gun. You've probably seen some of my stuff and that's just me. I'm fine with quick and dirty. That's my style. I just going to try something and throw it out there. It might stink, but that's how I learn. I should invest more time in, in like being taught. And when you said you took a kind of like, shit, all right, now I got to do that. It's like, because, because your stuff is great. And I would like for my stuff to look as, as professional, as presentable as your stuff is, so I'm going to find me something and see what I can do to Polish it up a bit.

Bob Baker:

Well, like you said, learning never stops, right? No matter what you're doing. Yeah. And I, I truthfully, I I've sort of eclipsed learning everything I can learn in plumbing. Like I sorta know what it means. Yeah. I don't know it all. But the honest answer is, is I know where my fields of expertise are and I fit in those and I can fix anything within those lanes. I'm not really interested in learning the new plumbing skills. So I'm going to go and learn how to, you know, keep bees or how to take pictures or how to, you know what I mean, grow a garden or whatever the case may be is say, okay, well I need to diversify my skillset a bit and yes, that's what we, that's what sort of my next I hope 20 years is it's diversifying my skillset.

Jesse:

And that's a perfect message for all the craft man and craft women out there. Right. Keep building your skillset. Yeah. Well, Bob, best of luck with your bees this winter. Thank you. And I appreciate your time, man. Good luck out there. And, and we'll talk again soon. love Mr. Baker's contagious, positive attitude. He's been through some stuff he's lived some life. Thank you for celebrating him. And we also have a couple more celebrations to share with you. It's official. We now have listeners on every continent on this beautiful earth who would have thought a skinny little plumber from the south side of San Antonio, who, by the way, ain't so skinny no more. And we also want to celebrate the L and M family members who go out of their way to give us some feedback. The day we want to celebrate Ms. Stephanie. Stephanie tells us or more directly, Stephanie told me, she said, peanut butter. You are on to something amazing here. And yep. I did say peanut butter. That's a little bit of an inside joke there. Stephanie. Thank you. You gave us that feedback way at the onset of this journey. And it was exactly the perfect fuel that we needed to just keep on trucking and keep on pushing. That was way back when most of our listeners were from San Antonio and girl with your support. We're global now. We appreciate all the L and M family out there. Thank you for joining us and celebrating the men and women that have built careers in our construction industry. Get the word out, be kind to yourself and we'll talk at your next time,