Did you have a mentor or was there one person who started you on your career.
I'll begin by telling how I started and why I still love to weld after 35 years.
My first job out of college was with a small electronic company.
Since it was a small company, we wore many hats.
I soldered circuit boards, assembled, and tested the company's electronic instruments.
I swept floors and learned how to run a metal lathe for simple operations.
Later I went out and serviced the instruments in the field when they needed repair and helped our sales reps sell the products to customers.
All this was ok but I still remember my first week after I started when I was shown around the shop and got to meet the company welder.
I had seen the smooth TIG welds on the stainless fittings and was delighted to meet the person who had done them.
The company was great and allowed me to watch him weld when time permitted. I was hooked!
So 9 months after I started, I went out and bought a used Airco Heliwelder (made by Miller).
Company was sold in the 90's so I got the boot but I still had my welder.
I still keep in touch with my mentor and bring him my welded parts (and a duplicate set) to critique.
He is wonderful in showing me how he would do the same weld and I save his test pieces as an example to strive for.
For 35 years, his price for this help has been a case of beer. Can't beat that.
I have added equipment and have gotten a little better in my technique, but I will never get even half as good as my mentor and friend.
The one thing I will say though, is that it is still fun and I never stop learning.
I love redintn's comment: "It is fun, till you HAVE to make money at it and there is no work."
Since I am semi-retired and do not make a living from my welding, (I would starve) it is still fun for me after 35 years.
My congratulations and admiration goes out to everyone who does this for a living.