the best way to go is work whereever you can BUT go to school at night with a union apprenticeship program.....
yes it is typical, the mindset is why should i show this guy and have him end up taking my job. construction is cut throat business, and thats all they way up the ladder, someones always looking to abuse or take advantage of a unknowledgable person or company for that matter
but there are good shops to work at...
you can find a good company with a person who is willing to show you the ropes....you do this by hurrying, working hard, not complaining, starting from the bottom and learning the ropes
one thing you dont want to do is act like you know it....most painters can tell in 3 minutes if guy knows how to paint and it cant be faked
another way to climb up the ladder is bouncing from company to the next, each time you move is a fresh start, you see how each company does things and you watch...remember the object is to get the paint from the can to the surface as fast as you can, even if your masking caulking and cleaning up, you can stiil see how things are done, thus grow your experience and knowledge
the bottom line is where are you going to be 20/40 years from now...retirement? still painting?..35 years ago i was making 6 bucks an hour and living large as a tract home painter...little did i know it condemned me to a life of painting....I have had a comfortable life and the past 22 years my own business and my own time, but I am not rich....so i say paint where you can, but try and go to school or visit your local union and inquire about their apprenticeship programs on your off time