Confidence is Built by Competence

EIN Shannon T 400

April 5, 2021

By Shannon Tymosko

My name is Shannon Tymosko. I am a 2nd year Electrical Apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker (IBEW) Local 105, located in Hamilton Ontario. Electrical was not my first stop on my journey through adulthood. The first adult decision I made, like many at age 18, was to apply for College. I excelled at math and business. Naturally, on the advice of my school guidance councillors; math + business = accounting and so I applied and got accepted to Humber College. It was only a few months before I knew this was not the career for me, and ultimately made a switch to Child and Youth Work. Years later this led to a diploma, a slightly higher paying job than minimum wage at Youth Without Shelter, and a pile of debt. During this time, I maintained a CSR position at Cash Money, and this job helped finance my college years. Gradually this job would evolve to management roles, training coordinator and became my main source of income over the decade.  

Sadly, neither of these jobs were careers that allowed me to thrive. I simply survived. By the time I was 29 years of age I had accumulates $25,000 of unsecure debt, had a $20/hr. office job, fighting for .50 cent raises, with no pension, and poor benefits. I found this job brought me more stress than joy. The reality is, we spend more time at work than we do at home and with the prospect of 35 years of employment before retirement, I knew it was crucial that I found a job I loved.  

In 2017, my best friend Matt purchased a home and wanted to complete renovations. Both of us at the time were what you would call ‘Green’: someone who has no construction experience. With the help of YouTube, friends, and Google we replaced kitchen cabinets, renovated bathrooms and completed an unfinished basement. It was through this process I discovered I loved working with my hands. I felt empowered and proud of each new thing I completed. I knew then, this was something I would like to do for a career. This started me on my new journey of becoming the Electrical Apprentice I am today. To learn more about how I transitioned into the skilled trades you can read the article written by Blake Marchand Shannon Tymosko — Electrical Apprentice, IBEW — Ambassador, KickAss Careers

Fast forward a year and a bit and it is now March 2021 and I have successfully completed my first year as an electrical apprentice and I am counting down the hours to when I can call myself a third year. I am now 32 years old and have paid off over half of my unsecure debt. I’m making more money than I made in any of my previous positions and have a job that I love. As I reflect over the while, I am reminded that I started my journey just on the brink of COVID. I sometimes wonder how my journey would have differed without the current pandemic, but despite the challenges this year has brought I would not change a thing. As an apprentice it is my job to learn, ask questions and grow with each day. Over the last year I have discovered a lot about electrical and truthfully about myself. I found while being an apprentice, I started to build confidence in not just my skills, but in myself. This newfound confidence sparked my interest in other things outside of my current trade. During my free time I took the opportunity to explore and learn some new things.  

Throughout the years, my Stepfather David taught me how to switch over my summers/winter tires, and this eventually evolved into my Daddy/Daughter dates and memories that will last a lifetime. However, we never went past changing tires. It was 2020, that I had gained sufficient confidence and skills to try something new. I have now not only switched over my tires by myself, but I have also done my own oil changes, replaced my spark plugs, air filters and rear brakes.  

I had come to realize, for the first time in my life I have what I consider ‘Independence’! Being in the skilled trades has given me the confidence, skills, and community to complete any work tasks or tackle home projects. No two projects are 100% alike and inevitably I learn something new almost every day I go to work. Because of this, I have developed the courage to try new things, fail, stand back up, and repeat until success. Confidence is built by competence and this is the winning formula. Car repairs were never something I would consider before, yet now I have the basic skills, confidence to try, and invaluable community of extremely intelligent people willing to help. It is liberating to be able to fix your own things and it saves money too. Additionally, electrical apprentices with the IBEW have great health benefits and great pay. For the first time in my life my job will provide a pension. All these aspects lead to my independence and my sense of financial security. I now have a job that I am passionate about and gives me that chance to ‘Thrive not just Survive’. I have learned that through efforts of simply trying new things, we build our confidence. I wish I could encourage more young people to get out and experience the world, get your hands dirty and find your passions. Far too often we get stuck behind computer screens and phones, lost in social media trying to live life through other people’s experiences. 

I am blessed to say this journey has also taken me on a route of advocacy as an Ambassador for KickAss careers. This allows me to take my passion for people that I found while being a Child and Youth Worker and combine it with my new love for the trades. I have been fortunate to be able to do podcasts, be a guest speaker, panelist and run workshops through OYAP for youth, in the effort to try to educate and spread awareness about the skilled trades. I hope that by sharing my story I inspire others to explore to see if the skilled trades are right for them. I ultimately hope to encourage people everywhere to try to find a career that they are passionate about and to live a life they love.

You can follow Shannon on Instagram @lady.voltz  

And learn more about her advocacy for the trade on her website:

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