I would really like to get some thoughts/opinions on what to do with my electrical career. My long term goal is to become a master electrician and open my own electrical company. Here's my situation...
About 5 years ago I became an electrical apprentice. I worked for a company for about a year before the recession hit and was forced to look for other work. I could have stuck it out but I was only working for 2-3 hours a day if I was lucky and the lack of hours didn't cover my bills. I ran into an old friend and got "suckered" into the low-voltage/Home automation industry and worked in that industry until this past summer (2013). After realizing that I had wasted so many years I decided to go back into the electrical field.
I got hired at a different electrical company and was asked where my blue book was and if I was ever registered as an apprentice before. I didn't even know about these two things and after calling the electrical company I worked with before (5 years ago), they said they didn't do any of that and that the union they were part of took care of all of that. After calling around, the only record I have of my past electrical experience is my record of employment which states that I have 800 hours logged. The new company i'm with says they cannot honor those hours and I have to start all over and register as a new apprentice.
Because of my experience in low-voltage and data from the home automation industry my current electrical company has me working with their data department. For the last 3 months i've been working with data lines and fiber optics. I've spoken to some of their journeymen and they say this is all they do. There is very little electrical work and it is mostly a data company!
I am getting concerned that my goal of becoming a master electrician and owning my own company is getting farther and farther away. I'm not a young man and I have a family I need to take care of and goals that I want to accomplish. Should I go look for work elsewhere? I keep hearing about unions, the IBEW and CLAC, i've done some research online but for every 5 articles I find on PRO-IBEW, there's 5 against it and the same goes for CLAC. I'm hungry to learn, and am willing to work the hours to learn the trade but it just seems like there's so many different ways to go about it.
If anyone has any thoughts/comments and/or suggestions please feel free to share them.