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383 240z
04-25-2012, 11:50 AM
I'm thinking about changing careers. I was a automotive line tech for 12 years, ran a transmission shop for 3 years, built custom hot rods for 4 years. after my time in the custom, and tranny shop I decided that I just could not go back to flat rate auto repair. I was offered an aftermarket automotive sales position, (off road Jeep stuff) I seemed like a good fit because I am an avid off-roader. I have been here for 4 years, went from phone sales to retail store manager in 2 years, and like I said in my first sentence, I'm thinking of leaving.

My reasons are selfish, I'm making decent cash for what I do, I'm in an air conditioned office most of the day, and I don't get dirty, how ever I am not producing anything. All I do is move papers from one pile to another, and put out fires when UPS damages a shipment, or we send the customer a wrong part.

My soul needs my body to produce something. I bought a mill and a lathe, just so I could make parts for my hobby, (hot rods, and Jeeps). I taught myself to weld and use these machines with a decent amount of precision.

Now to the good bits. I live right in the center of the Marcelles shale formation, and the oil and gas industry is BOOMING here. All the local machine shops are busy. One near me, that I have been buying drops from for awhile is hiring. I have been on the main floor several times, nice and clean, well maintained machines. They are hiring. I do NOT consider my self a machinist, however I have an excellent work ethic, ability to work un supervised and smart enough to stop before I get in over my head.

My question to all of you, who run shops, if you your hiring, would you consider somebody like me? The help wanted sign has been hanging for a while, and good skilled workers are hard to find. Let me know your thoughts, and if you would get into this line of work at this time? Thank you Keith

flylo
04-25-2012, 12:04 PM
I don't run a machine shop but I've hired a lot of people & I'll take a good attitude & work ethic over a skillset anytime. You can't teach the 2 things I mentioned. Sounds like you have most of the skill set needed. Good luck!

fjk
04-25-2012, 12:56 PM
As flylo said "I don't run a machine shop but I've hired a lot of people" --
software engineers in my case.

Generally, attitude, ethic, willingness (and demonstrated ability in
an interview) to learn new stuff quickly, ability to think on one's
feet, etc, count for about 80%, and specific knowledge of
a specific technology/programming language/OS/... is about 20%.

Sometimes, though, I've needed someone who knows something
very specific. When that happens, the other factors get pushed
aside.

garagemark
04-25-2012, 01:41 PM
I too do not run a machine shop, but I do hire people. While attitude and work ethics would be tops on the list, the skillset is also paramount. If a resume comes across my desk and the guy doesn't have (in my case, electrical) experience, he will not get a shot to even talk to me. Sounds cold, but when I am hiring, I need craftsmen who can at least hit the ground running. They may not know my specific plant, but with prior experience in the field, they will pick up the nuances of my operation quickly. Someone who WANTS to be a craftsman just can't start here.

On the other hand, if you can do a "walk in", you might impress someone to give you a position doing at least something. And once your foot is in the door, you can probably prove yourself quickly. It's getting the shot that is tough.

By the way, the above may make me sound like an asss, but I work for a rather large company. Their policies are not set by me; I simply must follow what they set when I need to hire. Some of the smaller shops may have some leeway to "try" someone out. Sometimes I wish I could. I've been looking for an electrician for a while now.

Alistair Hosie
04-25-2012, 01:48 PM
Jobs are very hard to find please watch what you are doing. Couldn't you do the paper pushing day job and do your hobby at night and at weekends etc to satisfy your manufacturing need?.Alistair

flylo
04-25-2012, 02:03 PM
Talk to the shop you want to work for, be honest about your ability, desire to do something new, etc & if he agrees take all your vacation to try the new job to make sure it works for you & them before you quit your current job. Offer to do it for free if it opens the door.
When I was in high school I always wanted to be a mechanic, worked on everyones car all the time, took the 3 year auto shop class to get certified. When I got a real job as a mechanic I hated it. Diirty work fixing junk, everyones mad the lift truck broke, It sucked. I had planned to take a 2 year college diesel coarse. Try it before you burn the bridge! Nothing ventured nothing gained & if you don't give it a shot you'll always wish you had.
Even if it doesn't work you'll gain knowlege & know if it's the right move for you & consider it an adventure.

Tait
04-25-2012, 02:23 PM
The machine shop work depends on the oil work, and the oil business may boom for a while and may die out eventually - it is fickle. Then again, off roading could change too. Your call. Do you have a wife and family to take care of?

I also have an urge to make things - I'm making things at home for me and for my friends and family and suspect it is much more satisfying than making things for money would be.

Have you considered making things to meet people's needs in the offroad business? There's a cottage industry for off-roading stuff (see swagoffroad.com for an example).

I'm planning to pick up a JK Unlimited later this year. Here are a couple of things I'll be interested in (assuming they could be made safely):
- Lower driver's seat mounts (I am 6'5" and hit my head on the roof going over bumps)
- Some kind of collapsing ramp to help my dog climb into the back as he ages
- Decent bracket for ham radio (haven't looked for these recently, they may exist now)
- Much better coathanger for those big trips to the dry cleaners (again, haven't looked)
- Secure spare key storage (for when you lock the keys in the car, or are hiking and split up and the wrong person has the keys, or skiing and drop them in the snow (ask me how I know...)).

Gotta go for now, but that's just off the top of my head...

MetalMunger
04-25-2012, 03:08 PM
383,
Remember if you do get a job in the oil patch not to tell your friends or mother that way they can still believe that you are a piano player in house for independent female contractors.;)

Clevelander
04-25-2012, 05:04 PM
Working at what was your hobby is a perfectly effective way to ruin it.

The other thing is that in that businsess everything is real money when it comes to time. Having the knowledge to do the job can be key.

That said the point of talking to them is a good one. Not every employee needs to be an expert on every aspect of the job.

Black_Moons
04-25-2012, 05:20 PM
Consider yourself lucky.. I live within 7 machine shops. Every single one I went to didn't even have anyone working when I droped in. Everyone just standing around costing money blabing about there day. *sigh*

Nobody makes anything around here anymore..

flylo
04-25-2012, 07:07 PM
Let us know what you decide & how it works out. Thanks!

Carld
04-25-2012, 09:37 PM
Keith, if you have a full size mill like a BridgePort and a 14"x40" lathe and lots of tooling and shop equipment go to the shops and tell them you will do the jobs you can handle. Work out a deal where they bid the job and pay you for doing it. Usually it's a 10% handlers fee they will keep on the labor and they supply all material.

If they won't go for that try to get them to hire you and as flylo said use your vacation time as a trial run.

You sound like me. I changed jobs about every 5 years because I got tired of the place or wanted more money. It's odd that a company won't give a raise but you can change jobs and get a raise. I even left one company for a raise and then went back to them later for another raise. He could have kept me by giving me a raise but no, he let me go then hired me back for double the first raise he turned down.

It's much different in today's economy, you better have a job when you quit a job. Sometimes I didn't have a job lined up but my skills and attitude made the difference. The more things you can do the better chance of getting hired.

Willy
04-25-2012, 10:09 PM
Originally Post by Carld

Sometimes I didn't have a job lined up but my skills and attitude made the difference. The more things you can do the better chance of getting hired.


I have to agree with Carl as well, every feather in your cap is step up the ladder when selling yourself.

You have a pretty diversified set of skills going for you already. Work that angle as well. Let the shops you are talking to be aware of your many talents. Quite often this can tip the balance in your favor.

A lot of shops need someone that has not only the mechanical skills but also someone that can run an office and perhaps make a few sales calls.
Hey who knows, you could be in the office for a few hours in the morning and then out busting your ass on the shop floor in the afternoon when things get busy there.

I know a few fab and machine shop owners that could use a guy like that.

fishfrnzy
04-25-2012, 11:54 PM
FWIW, a lot of machine shops geared toward oil and gas work do all kinds of mechanacal repairs as well as production work. Pumps, gearboxes, valves, drives etc all need evauluation and fixing. They may have a need for someone exactly like you. No harm in talking to them. Only downside is it is boom and bust xycles but is more stable if they serve the production side than exploration or drilling which go up and down a lot with permitting and pricing issues.

kd4gij
04-26-2012, 12:42 AM
The best way to get your foot in the door of a place like that is to take some examples of some smaller things that you have made to show, And some pictures of work that you have done. I have a good frend that is self tought and he has landed alot of interesting jobs that way. He just gets board after a couple of years at one place and moves on :-)

383 240z
04-26-2012, 08:14 AM
Thanks for your input thus far. I do however feel a slight need to explain a few things. I am not a job jumper by nature. I stayed as a line tech, for the same dealership, from the time I left tech school until the owner decided, due to failing health and dwindleing returns, to downsize the shop. I was offered ANY position in the dealership I wanted, parts manager, new or used car sales, warranty, F&I. I remained friends with the him until the very end when he passed away just a few weeks ago. When I went into transmissions, (I liked doing them at the dealership) I found a company that very professional, clean, well funded, the owner and I were on the same page as how customers should be treated, and a shop should be run. I stayed with him until I had to follow my wife to Boston Mass. (she took a 6 figure position, my input was not needed!!!) I still speak with him on a regular basis, and he is a customer of mine for his 06 LJ Rubicon. I worked for a trans shop while there, Jim, they trans shop owner here, made a phone call and got me the job with out needing an interview. When her contract in Boston was over, we moved back to PA. I was offered my old job at the trans shop, but did not want to live near any of the shops he owned.

I got to talking to a guy at a car show, talk got to shops and how they needed to be run, he then told me he owned a custom shop and wanted me to drop by, after a few weeks of negotiotion I was an employee of his. I stayed with that company until the work dried up and his wife left him, then due to the divorce was forced to close the shop.

At that point, I started working for my self under the radar. One of my customers wanted a NV-4500 rebuilt for his 91 YJ, I informed him that I was doing this kind of work full time now and to spread the word. I know he was the phone sales manager at my current company, he offered me a sales job on the spot. Again after some negotioan I found my self in a new position. After a while on the phones I was offered a retail showroom manager position at first when the shop was hemmoraging money and needed LOTS of help I loved it. Now that it is just humming along and everybody is trained, I not producing. Keith

David Powell
04-26-2012, 08:15 AM
I worked my way through School and University by working with machinery. Got a good job as an administrator for a Police force, but kept longing to be back with tools and machines, built up a good hobby shop,gave up my job, moved to Canada and have worked as machinist/ mechanic ever since. it has been a wonderful adventure, and still is, but I do wonder whether I would enjoy my hobby more if it werent also my job. Now I am full time self (un) employed the lines are blurred even further, now I " GO TO WORK" in my basement. Sure beats commuter traffic. Regards David Powell.

quasi
04-27-2012, 10:06 PM
when it comes to hiring, I always hire the Girl with the biggest Boobs.