What It's Like To Be...

A Welder

January 16, 2024 Dan Heath Season 1 Episode 10
What It's Like To Be...
A Welder
Show Notes Transcript

Pushing perfectionism to its limits, suffering third degree burns from slag, and having your welds “shot” by X-rays with Matt "Lucky" Reed, a welder in Florida. What happens to welders' eyes if they don't wear protective hoods? And what's a time-tested way of trolling a fellow welder?

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  1. What do people think your job is like and what is it actually like?
  2. What’s a word or phrase that only someone from your profession would be likely to know and what does it mean?

Dan Heath:
Some people know what they want to do with their lives from a very young age, and other folks learn very early what they don't want to do.

Lucky Reed:
I grew up on a tobacco farm. I know hard work. I've had to work every day, from five years old all the way up. I did a nasty job that I didn't like to do.

Dan Heath:
That's Matt Reed. He goes by Lucky. As a kid, he says his chores on the farm started at 4:30 AM every day.

Lucky Reed:
I'm from a small little town in southern central Virginia, got about 200 people in it. A lot of people there, they don't go many places. I knew right then and there, I was like, "Two things is not going to happen. I'm not going to be a farmer, and I will never work a job that I hate ever again. Whatever I do for a living to make me money, it's going to be something that I love more than anything in this freaking world." From five years old to 18, I did a job I did not like to do. I hated it.

Dan Heath:
But then in high school, Lucky figured out what he did want to do. His guidance counselor had suggested that he take welding, and it clicked.

Lucky Reed:
I ended up taking two periods of welding. I smoked his whole course out in two weeks. He looked at me, and he said, "So you really want to learn how to do this?"
I said, "Absolutely," and that's all I did every day for three hours a day, all the way until I graduated high school. I just welded.

Dan Heath:
I'm Dan Heath, and this is What It's Like To Be.

In every episode, we walk in the shoes of someone from a different profession, a piano teacher, a TV meteorologist, a stadium beer vendor. We want to know what they do all day at work. Today, we ask Lucky Reed what it's like to be a welder. He welds pipes for companies in the oil and gas industry. We'll learn how X-rays are used in welding, and what's different about welding in outer space, and also, what the worst injury Lucky ever got was like. Trust me, it'll make you wince. Stay with us.

I'm going to ask you something that is almost unimaginably stupid, so I just want to make sure that my brain is locked in here. The big picture is that we need welding when we need to connect pieces of metal together. So far so good?

Lucky Reed:
Right.

Dan Heath:
But then, there are times when we can connect metal together without welding. I'm thinking about putting together a bed frame at home, or an Ikea cabinet. You're using bolts, or sometimes adhesives. At what point do we need welds, and why?

Lucky Reed:
All welding goes by a code, just like there is anything. You have a home inspection code. You've got these wizards, these welding engineers, they use mathematical equations to figure out how much weld will hold per square inch. A bolt and a nut, eventually over time, that's going to give away. Salt air, anything, eventually bolts rust up, and sometimes, you can't bolt it together. You can't drill a hole, or bolt a hole. It has to be welded together. Welding is used in many different trades that are other than welding. What I mean by that is, a mechanic, he's not a welder, but he can weld. There's parts of that car, where the firewall mounts to the rest of the car, that's got to be welded. That's got to be what they call spot welded. You can't bolt that together, because it falls under a code. There's different forms of welding. A lot of people don't know this. Did you know that astronauts can weld in space?

Dan Heath:
No.

Lucky Reed:
They can, and a lot of people are like, "Nah, you're full of s**t," and I'm like, "No, I'm not." They're like, "Yeah, you are, because you've got to have oxygen to do that. You've got to have certain gases, and there's nothing like that in space."

I'm like, "Yes, because it's a different type of welding. It's called cold welding." When two alloys meet in space, because there is no oxygen, when they touch each other, they become permanent, and you can't separate them.

Dan Heath:
Wait, does that mean you would be out of a job? Some doofus like me could just connect the two parts together if I was in space?

Lucky Reed:
Well, you've got to become an astronaut first. If you become an astronaut, I don't know why you'd want to be a welder.

Dan Heath:
Two days out of high school, Lucky got a job as a pipe welder for a company in Savannah, Georgia. He said those first few weeks were a little intimidating.

Lucky Reed:
When I got on the job site, I was worried, and nervous, because I was listening to all these other welders that looked my age, and they were talking about how they were the hottest welders back in their hometowns, and this, that and the other. I was like, "Man, I'm in over my head. I don't know what I'm doing." Come to find out, they were all full of s**t. Then, I got this one old guy that really took me up under his wing. I've always been good about that, though. I think the way my dad raised me, the way that I have manners, I think that really made me approachable for the older generation. When I was learning, those old guys didn't want to teach us younger guys. The only reason they would teach me, they were like, "Because you just do what the hell we tell you to do."

They're like, "It's hard to take them over there, because you can't break their habits. They already think they're the best in the fricking world." He was like, "Anybody that thinks they're the best in the world is never going to get better." That clicked in my head, too. I was like, "Okay, I got that. Never be the best, always find the flaw," and I do. Every time I make a weld, people ask me, "How do you get these beads so good? How can you get them so straight?"

I'm like, "I pick every flaw in every weld, and when I find it, I'm like, "We're going to fix it." There's no such thing as a perfect weld, never. You welded something, I could pick you apart and find every mistake you made. Even my buddies, I can find every mistake they make. You could lay a slick weld, and then I could look at you and be like, "Do it again." You'll light back up, and you'll mess that freaking thing up. It'll look god-awful, and you'll be like, "What happened? I just had it." It has to become consistent. This has to be done and practiced over and over, time and time again, to the point that it becomes like eating, where you do it and you don't even think about it.

Dan Heath:
That's really interesting. I never thought about just the obsessiveness you would need to be a great welder. Do you think you have to be a perfectionist to be a good welder?

Lucky Reed:
I wouldn't say that you've got to be a perfectionist, but I also would say that it wouldn't hurt not to be.

Dan Heath:
Because it's never perfect.

Lucky Reed:
Yeah. I just made a weld today. They were like, "Dude, it looks great." I'm like, "Nope. See that spot right there? I've come too far over the left. I should have stayed over that way a little bit. See that little spot right there? See that right there? I leaned my rig back too far, so the color changed on me."

They're like, "Are you freaking kidding me?"

I'm like, "What? That's a flaw."

They're like, "Oh my God. Lucky, you really are your worst enemy." When it comes to welding, I am, and that's what has made me get to where I am. I never am satisfied with where I'm at. I always know I can do better.

Dan Heath:
Have you ever had one where you finished, and you were like, "That one's actually pretty much perfect?"

Lucky Reed:
I've had a couple, I ain't going to lie. I've come to work the next day after a late night hanging out with the fellas, and I laid one down, and the whole time I'd be welding, and I'd be behind the hood. I'm like, "Oh my God, I'm about to have to grind this whole thing back off. I guarantee you this will look like some hammered dog s**t." Literally, I get done with the weld and pop my hood, I'm like, "Well, I'll be damned. Look at that. It ain't bad. I don't have to grind nothing. Well, hot damn. Okay," and get back on to it.

Dan Heath:
What do you think it was about you that made you such a perfect fit for this profession?

Lucky Reed:
I wouldn't say the perfect fit, but I don't quit, man. I don't quit. That's just how it's always been with welding. I was hooked. There's something about it, man. There's something watching that metal just getting hot and liquid, and taken from pipe to pipe, right when you're freaking moving left to right with your wrist, and everything becomes in sync. You might even be lucky enough to even catch a song, to where you're getting to the same beat, and you're just rocking that cup, and you're just hitting it every same time. Then you get done, and you're like, "Holy cow."

The next guy behind you that's walking past to go to the dumpster comes by, and is like, "Damn." He stops, and he looks at it, or your boss even comes by and does that. That makes my day. When my boss comes by and is like, "Holy s**t, man. You did that?"
"Yeah, who else did you put on it?" I love that. That's the best feeling in the world, when your boss comes... I tell people all the time, bosses are not dumb. They can tell which ones are there just for the paycheck, and the ones that actually do it because they love it.

Dan Heath:
Walk us through a weld. First of all, I'm picturing you with one of those giant welding helmets on. Is that right? Is there a name for those?

Lucky Reed:
Yeah, we call them a hood. Some people, beginners, they'll call them shields, or something like that, but we call them, that's your hood.

Dan Heath:
Do you wear that?

Lucky Reed:
Yes sir. I have two in my box I keep with me constantly, and there's probably more welding hoods in this house right now than my old lady wants to admit.

Dan Heath:
You are a combo welder, is that the right terminology?

Lucky Reed:
Specialty combo welder.

Dan Heath:
What does that mean?

Lucky Reed:
A combo welder is a pipe welder, in layman's terms, that can do TIG welding and stick welding on carbon and stainless pipe.

Dan Heath:
Okay, what's TIG and stick?

Lucky Reed:
TIG, that's a slang term that we use. A lot of inspectors will bust you for that one. The proper term for it is GTAW, gas tungsten arc welding.

Dan Heath:
That's just a type of tool, or a type of methodology?

Lucky Reed:
It's a type of process. That is a welding process in general. That one, you have a torch in one hand, and the wire is manually fed by you, so you're doing two things at once.

Dan Heath:
Wait, tell me more about that. Just talk to me like I'm a fifth grader. Walk me through what you're doing on a weld.

Lucky Reed:
All right. We'll get our pipe tacked up and everything like that, just four pieces of little drops of metal just to hold it, just so I can weld it. Inspection will come through, they'll look at the tacks that I put in. They'll look at the fit up. I work with a pipe fitter. A pipe fitter basically does all the prepping, the grinding, pulling the measurements, figuring out how to get the pipe from point A to point B. Once he buys off with it, I'm good to put the root in.

Dan Heath:
What's the root?

Lucky Reed:
The root is the first pass in the piece of pipe. When you have two pieces of pipe, we put a gap in between it, basically a space. The pipes aren't slammed up together, they're spaced apart, and we use different gaps, like 3/32", eighth inch, 5/32". Some people even get all the way up to a 3/16th gap, and that's the space in between pipe A and pipe B.

Dan Heath:
Okay. As you weld, you're basically melting the metal to fill that space? Is that the idea?

Lucky Reed:
Right, I'm fusing it. I'm fusing pipe A to pipe B with the metal that I'm putting in.

Dan Heath:
I saw some of your TikTok videos. Again, sorry for the dumb question, but some of them had this beautiful symmetry to them. It almost looked like a zipper when it's zipped up. It was almost like they were teeth intertwining.

Lucky Reed:
Yeah.

Dan Heath:
Are there certain patterns that are common, or was it just the video that I happened to pick?

Lucky Reed:
No, what you got, that zipper look that you like, that's what we call walking the cup. Just like there's different processes of welding, there's also different techniques to welding.

Dan Heath:
By the way, I thought your TikTok videos were very entertaining, even for somebody who knows nothing about welding. You do a lot of smack talk in them, which I appreciate.

Lucky Reed:
That's the love and hate relationship for me. I believe there's a difference between being cocky and being confident. I'm never cocky. I don't ever go around bragging about my abilities, but if you come to me and run that mouth, I'm going to shut you down real quick, because the humble don't stumble. Just because I'm humble doesn't mean that gives anybody the right to just come up and be like, "I could out weld you. I could do this, I can do that." I always tell them one thing: "Kid, I'm about to be your step daddy." I have fun with it, in a way. I don't ever really get mad. My smack talk isn't them getting me riled up. I just like to answer them back, and give them something, because it gets them riled up. Then I'm just like, "Hey, you have not one weld on your page. How are you sitting here telling me that I suck, and I don't even get to see your work? No way. Just sit in the back, please. Get your sippy cup."

Dan Heath:
You're like, "The work speaks for itself."

Lucky Reed:
Right, exactly.

Dan Heath:
How do you know when you've nailed it with a weld? Can you just feel it, or do you have to do some formal test on it? How does it work?

Lucky Reed:
You just have to know, really, what you're looking at. Inspection takes care of inspecting and everything like that, but you really just have to pay attention. Take pride in it. I always tell people, they'll come over there, younger guys that haven't been welding for a while, they'll look at it, and be like, "Man, you think I should go get the QC, quality control, inspection?"

I'll be like, "Do you think he would buy off on that?"

He's like, "What do you mean?"

I'm like, "Well, if you wouldn't buy off on it, chances are, he ain't going to buy off on it," which means accept it, say that it's good and send it on through to let whatever testing, if there is any testing, because again, we go back to the code. Whatever the code says, we have to do what the code says. If it says you need to radiographer that pipe, then you're going to X-ray that pipe. If it says then you dye penetrant, then you dye penetrant. Even inspectors have to follow by the code just as much as us welders have to follow by the code.

Dan Heath:
Oh wow. You actually X-ray some welds to check their integrity?

Lucky Reed:
That's a pipe welding thing, but the majority of the time, and I'm talking 99.9% of the time, we are going to get shot. That's what we call it, getting shot. If you hear a pipe welder say, "I'm getting shot," that means he's got something out in X-ray. Most jobs, it's two, you get two bad X-rays.

Dan Heath:
Is that an industry standard, you fail two, you're out?

Lucky Reed:
For the oil and gas industry, and sometimes it's one and done. In the aerospace industry, I did work a job for a solid seven months. It was one and done. One bad X-ray, you were gone. That was it.

Dan Heath:
Oh, wow.

Lucky Reed:
I was like, "Y'all want perfect every time?"
They were like, "Yep."

Dan Heath:
From what I was reading, there's a big shortage of welders. Is that right?

Lucky Reed:
Tons.

Dan Heath:
Why is there a shortage?

Lucky Reed:
I believe Thomas Edison was the man that said, "A lot of people were afraid of success because it's dressed in hard work and bib overalls," and I honestly believe that.

Dan Heath:
Hey folks, it's Dan. We're always looking for new people to talk to on the show, and we've just invested in a new, fancy tip line. By that, I mean a voicemail box. The number is (919) 213-0456. I know you're not going to remember that, but it's in the show notes, so you can just find it right there. If you know anybody you think would be great for the show, send that number to them, have them give us a call. Thanks, and back to the show.
What's the most frustrating part of your job?

Lucky Reed:
Oh god. Man, we could talk on that for a few hours, too. Sometimes boredom. Sometimes with pipe welders, it's hurry-up and wait. You're waiting on material. You might be waiting for an engineer to sign a piece of paper so you can make a weld, or whatever it may be. That can get a little bit annoying.

The biggest pet peeve of mine above all would probably be, as a welder, we carry buckets to throw our stubs, what we call a stub, just the little piece of wire that we can't use because it'd burn our hands up. They don't throw them in the bucket, they throw them on the floor, and I'm like, "Why do y'all want to throw them on the floor just to, in the next six hours, turn around and pick them up all over again? Throw them in a bucket. Just throw it in the damn bucket, and at the end of the day, we empty the bucket. It's done. Why the hell you want to be over there looking like a chicken picking up corn in my backyard, look like a bunch of roosters out there pecking corn?" Bending over, pick up the rock, bending over, pick up the rock.

Dan Heath:
I can't wait to see what you're like about 20 years from now. You're going to be the grumpy old boss.

Lucky Reed:
Oh, God. At that time, I hope I'm just traveling around the world, letting my money make me money.

Dan Heath:
Well, I was going to ask you about that, actually. Do most welders stay welders for most of their career, or did they become the manager of welders, and then a manager's manager? What's the career path look like?

Lucky Reed:
It really all just depends on what you want to do. Like I said, we were talking about it earlier, you could be a welding engineer, you could be quality control. Some people will take turning routes, be a safety guy. I wouldn't suggest that, the welders really dislike that dude.

Dan Heath:
I'm surprised that quality control would be a promotion. I would've thought that was like switching from quarterback to referee or something.

Lucky Reed:
Not really. See, that's a big hit-and-miss subject. When you talk about inspectors and quality control with welders, sometimes these guys... I always tell them, at the end of the day, they're above you. They're above you. That is the one that basically signs your check every day. Now, he might not, the owner of the company does, or the HR, but he's the one that is being like "Hey, you've got a little piece of porosity right there. You might want to get that out." He's helping you. Him inspecting that weld is just like a second opinion before the X-ray guy gets it. Remember, two, you're gone. You've got this middle guy, which is the QC.

Dan Heath:
Would you want that job?

Lucky Reed:
Yeah, absolutely man.

Dan Heath:
Yeah.

Lucky Reed:
Now, when you're a welder, and then you become a welding inspector, and people know that, you will be very respected in the trade, because you served your due. You didn't just jump over a welder and be like, "Well, I can't weld. I'll just go be a CWI." You can do that, but you will earn so much respect if you are a welder and you go get your CWI, because then when you're out in the field, and you're like, "Hey look, you've got a little undercut there," they can't say, "Can you do that?"
"Yeah, I can do that."

Dan Heath:
You're like, "Step back, let me show you."

Lucky Reed:
Well, no, you can't. As an inspector, you can not pick up that hood anymore. You only have two jobs as an inspector. You're there to observe and to report. It's not my job to tell you how to weld. It's not my job to fix your mistake. It's against the rules, and you really shouldn't do it. I tell a lot of inspectors, "Y'all better quit doing that." You can offer advice. If I was a CWI right now, and I saw a welder struggling, I could be like, "Look, this is how I do it. This is on you now." Then, what we have is welders coming back being like, "Well, he said to do this, and I did it, and it didn't work. I'm getting ready to get fired because I took his advice?" That's why it's not a good idea to try to teach somebody as you're an inspector. You're only there to observe and to report, that's it.

Dan Heath:
I meant to ask you earlier about safety issues. It seems pretty obvious, given that you're working with high temperatures and molten metals, safety has got to be a constant concern. What are the more common types of injuries that you've got to be very aware of?

Lucky Reed:
Burns for definite, that's going to happen. Not so much with TIG, that's more or less like flux core, and stick. With TIG welding, there's no sparks, and there's no hot molten slag from the metal.

Dan Heath:
Oh.

Lucky Reed:
When you're TIG welding, you don't get sparks and you don't get slag, but when you are TIG welding, you get a high amount of radiation. You said you looked at my TikTok, correct?

Dan Heath:
Mm-hmm.

Lucky Reed:
That bright light that you see, that's what we call the arc. That is actually brighter than the sun that comes up in the sky, that you drive and work to every day.

Dan Heath:
Wow. You just have some special gear to make sure your eyes don't get damaged?

Lucky Reed:
My welding hood. I have a lens in that.

Dan Heath:
Okay.

Lucky Reed:
I have a lens in it that allows me to be able to see. Think really high sunglasses. If you take your welding hood and you look up at the sun, it'll just look like a big round ball.

Dan Heath:
If you look at the arc without the hood, what would happen?

Lucky Reed:
You'd get what we call a flash burn. Basically, it's sunburn on your eyes.

Dan Heath:
Wow.

Lucky Reed:
It's very painful. Even as a welder, you will still get flash burn from other welders. When I lift my hood, and my buddy is over here next to me and lights up, and that light hits me, if I don't have something... I typically wear sunglasses behind my hood to stop that if we don't have welding blinds, or welding curtains, or something like that.

Dan Heath:
How long does that flash burn last?

Lucky Reed:
The longest I've ever had it was three days. That was horrible. I was literally blind for three days. I couldn't see nothing. I had to just sit in the hotel room. I could only listen to music. Couldn't read a book, couldn't watch TV, couldn't order food, couldn't do nothing, because I couldn't open my eyes.

Dan Heath:
Unbelievable.

Lucky Reed:
That was a nightmare.

Dan Heath:
What's the worst burn or other injury that you've experienced?

Lucky Reed:
I got a third degree burn on my foot. I did not know it was a third degree burn, because I just didn't know what third degree burns look like. My mom, I came over to the house, and she saw it, and she was like, "Oh my God, look at your foot."

I was like, "Yeah, I burned it two weeks ago."

She's like, "That's third degree. What did they give you at the doctor?"

I was like, "What doctor?"

She's like, "You didn't go to the doctor?"

I was like, "Nah."

She's like, "What'd you do?"

I was like, "Poured alcohol and salt on it."

She was like, "You what?"

I was like, "Yeah, what's the big deal, mom? Why are you so freaking jumping out of your hide?"

She's like, "Do you realize the majority of people that die because of infection, it's from a fricking third degree burn?"

I was like, "Oh. Well no, I didn't know that."

Dan Heath:
What happened to your foot?

Lucky Reed:
A piece of slag came down in behind my boot. I'd rolled my pants legs up to take care of my socks, to get my socks put together, to pull them up, and I just forgot to put my pants leg back over top of my boot. I welded something with stick, and I went to go chip the slag, and the slag popped off, came into my boot, and I kicked that boot clear over the side and ended up busting out a windshield of a car.

Dan Heath:
Oh my God. Slag is basically molten metal?

Lucky Reed:
Yeah. Basically, it's a composite that shields it. It's the flux coating from the rod. You have the metal rod, and then you have this flux coating around it, and when you burn that rod, that flux seals that metal underneath of it, and then you'll see it. It'll be black, and it'll start to peel up if you did it right.

Dan Heath:
That sounds absolutely horrifying. I'm with your mom. I'm like, "How could you have not gone to the doctor? Come on."

Lucky Reed:
I had to go back to work. That's always the thing. I'm always worried that the doctor is going to take me and be like, "All right, you can't go to work."
I'm going to be like, "What? Hold up. Nah, that ain't happening." I told you, man, I wake up every day, I'm excited to go to work. I love what I do. I don't want anybody to take that away from me.

Dan Heath:
You were born with 10X the normal supply of work ethic. It's amazing.

Lucky Reed:
A lot of people say that, man. Really, man, I'll tell you, it's just my parents, man. The way they raised me, they were old school. They were very old school, and when I was younger, I'm not going to lie, I was a rebellious kid, just like anybody would've been. Now, looking back, I'm like, "Man, thank you mom and dad."

Dan Heath:
Lucky, we always have a lightning round of questions at the end of the show. Let me just fire away. What's a word or phrase that only someone from your profession would be likely to know, and what does it mean? I think you've probably got a lot of choices here.

Lucky Reed:
Yeah, but probably the most common one would be drag up.

Dan Heath:
Drag up? What does that mean?

Lucky Reed:
I'm quitting. I quit, I'm out. If I'm dragging, that means I'm quitting. I'm going to the next job. I'm not going to stay with that company.

Dan Heath:
Dragging means you're done not just for the day, but with the job?

Lucky Reed:
Yeah, and actually, it's funny. Six months ago I went to go work for this local company. Like I said, I'm a pipe welder. They didn't do pipe. They were fabricators, so they built boats, and stuff like that. I just went over there because work was slow, and I needed some money, this, that and the other. When it came time I was getting ready to go back to where I'm at now, to weld pipe and everything like that, I was like, "Hey man, I hate to break the news to you man, but I'm dragging. I'm dragging today."

He was like, "Dragging?"

I was like, "Yeah, dragging."

He said, "What does that mean?"

I said, "Well, it means you wouldn't come off the cheddar, so I found something better."

He was like, "What?"

I was like, "I'm done. This is my last day here. That's what dragging up means. I'm leaving. I'm not coming back tomorrow. I'm going to this other place to make more money."

He's like, "Oh. Well, around here we just say we quit."

I was like, "Well, as a pipe welder, we say we drag up."

Dan Heath:
I love it. You were quitting and he didn't even know it.

Lucky Reed:
No. I've had a couple of good ones too like that, that I've quit jobs and I've caught them in a joke, and they'd laugh about it. Some do, some don't.

Dan Heath:
Okay, question two. What's the most insulting thing you can say about a pipe welder's work?

Lucky Reed:
Man. Oh, here's a good one. This is a real good joke that we always do to each other. Is that a little undercut I see?

Dan Heath:
What's that mean?

Lucky Reed:
Undercut means, you're taking from the base metal, but you're not depositing weld metal. It's causing a concave feature. It's an etch. Think of a hangnail. You know how you get that divot when you pull the hangnail off, it's got that divot in there because you've taken meat away? That's what you did with the pipe. Undercut is taking away from the base metal and not adding metal.

Dan Heath:
That's a great analogy, by the way. That's something that would mean you botched it, basically.

Lucky Reed:
Yeah. That's always the joke, and that's what inspectors always say. They'll be like, "Is that a little bit of undercut?" It will get a welder tuned up. They'll be like, "That ain't no fricking undercut, man. I brushed it with my file." They'll get to going.

Dan Heath:
One last question for you. If a young person asked you, "Should I get into welding," what would you say?

Lucky Reed:
Abso-fricking-lutely. Again, like we talked about earlier in the show, this is like Donkey Kong, it takes levels. You're going to have to practice. There's going to be a lot of times you want to quit. You're going to have to really put yourself through the wringer, but once you get good at this, you can make $3,000, $4,000, $5,000, $6,000 a week. Travel, I've got two of my buddies right now, they're in Hawaii. They work on the Air Force base out there, welding gas lines up for them. I've got buddies out in Belgium right now. I've been personally to Mexico, Brazil, many different places for welding.

Absolutely, get into it. Practice your heart out even when people are laughing at you, and think, "It's Saturday night, we should be going out. Why are you in there welding?" Ignore them. Keep at it, because eventually, you're about to be making $3,000 to $4,000 to $5,000 a week, traveling, paid traveling. They will pay you to go to these places, and you make that money. You'll come home, and I guarantee you that everybody else will be like, "Well, I've got this much for my bar tab, and I've got this," and you're going to be like, "Yeah, I've got it. Don't even worry about it. Stop counting you money. You ain't got to worry about that."

Dan Heath:
Lucky Reed is a specialty combo welder. You can check out some of his welds, and you really should, by the way, it's fascinating, on TikTok or Instagram. You can find him in both places at Lucky_weldz, that's "welds" spelled W-E-L-D-Z. I really loved that conversation with Lucky, what a great personality. What struck me was his style of perfectionism, where to him, his welds are never perfect. He can always spot the flaws. 

They can always be better, but somehow, he doesn't let that affect his joy, and contentment in the work. I just really like that idea that you can be perpetually dissatisfied and perpetually satisfied at the same time. Maybe there's some natural, inherent relationship between the two.

Folks, that's what it's like to be a welder. If you liked the show, you know the drill. Do us a favor and leave us a review, and reach out. We love hearing from you. I'm Dan Heath. 

This episode was produced by Matt Purdy.

Take care.