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View Full Version : I might have a job at a real shop. What to do?



mototed
12-04-2012, 03:36 PM
Hi guys,
Been away for a while because of unemployment. Got laid off from my environmental construction job two months ago, made good money, but that job has burned my old body out. Been playing with machine tools and welders for 20 years now in the basement shop when I was at home. Not to mention electronic circuits,automation controls,etc etc. just like every body else on this site does.
Well I know this has been covered on this site before but this is what happened. I cold call this fab shop that makes really neat products. I poke my shy little head in the door and it was a small operation. Three guys in the back. It didn't take long before they were showing me shop and joking around. They told me I should go to the office and see the owner. After I took a deep breath, I walked through his door, and we talked for 1 3/4 hours. Laughed a bunch, showed his new water jet cutter,all the projects he had going on, his one speed Monarch lathe. (messed up gear box)
We talked about everything, I had a small steam engine that I had made and showed it to him and he was very impressed.
Well,he so happened to have his machinist quit one week ago. I was upfront with him about being self taught on machine work, but I think he was also impressed with my skills in electronics as I gave some subtile suggestions how to improve one of his projects. I think he will hire me. I'm going to go back Monday and ask him.

So is it going to be
(A) Impossible for Ted to work at this cool job because he has no real experience in this field
(B) Maybe Ted can wing it, and sell the fact I can help him with his website presence witch does not exist at this time.

I'm a little nervous working on other peoples machines with out the comfort of my basement shop hide out.

Thanks, Ted

cuemaker
12-04-2012, 03:47 PM
Instead of thinking of A the way you have it, view it more as B.. except you bring much more to the table than helping his website presence.

Ted is pretty smart, you may not know how to do a whole lot, but I bet sure as sh!t you can figure it out....and maybe more importantly, can you learn to do it with instructional help, from a popular machining forum that you frequent Plus you bring a whole lot more to the table than machine and website skills...

In a small shop, ANY small shop, its about working together. I run a small shop (not machine work), and if I feel you wont fit in, I wont hire. If I feel you will fit it in and have some confidence in how you can impact my business for the positive, I just might hire you.

Of course, playing Debbie Downer here...He could already have another individual in mind...

flylo
12-04-2012, 03:51 PM
You'll do Great because of your positive attitude! I learned long ago that you can teach most anything, but you can't teach attitude. Also your not a know it all, so your teachable. You'll do Great!;)

RussZHC
12-04-2012, 03:53 PM
In the discussion already had, was there mention of terms of employment/conditions?
I hate ever saying "impossible" but if he is counting on you to step into the same position the departed machinist had, you may be up to your neck before you get a chance to breathe. My assumption would be someone quitting means the work has backed up. If they offer you a 90 day trial, would you accept?

Opposite to that, in some ways, is your larger skillset (as opposed to being "just" a machinist only familiar with a given lathe or mill say) sounds like it has some good but perhaps slightly unknown value to the potential employer. As example, if he has a new water jet, perhaps no one currently employed there is running that as part of their regular duties. Would give you the chance to learn (?) and grow while working. Suggesting improvements to projects helps give him a feel for what you are capable of...if it were me, I would be tempted to put in some of my own time and fix that Monarch gear box...same reasoning.
Comfort level means a lot in many situations.

Grind Hard
12-04-2012, 03:55 PM
I have seen self-taught people in many fields who have far exceeded the capabilities of long-standing professionals. I have also delt with hacks on both side of the fence.

On one hand a self-taught person can spot new and innovative ways to do things that a long-time pro might not consider. On the OTHER hand, the Pro might be doing it that way for a reason.

In this situation it comes down to... do you fit in and are you willing to shut up and learn. That'll be far more important than ANY skill you may have or lack.

Good luck.

Harvey Melvin Richards
12-04-2012, 04:07 PM
I have found that I usually prefer an employee that has had a wide range of jobs and experience. That is unless those jobs were all for a month or 2 duration. I run a shop that does a wide variety of things, so I need a wide variety of experience.

MotorradMike
12-04-2012, 04:26 PM
As others have said, you have a great attitude.
I think you'll do fine just because of that.

If it was me:
I'd take it slow, taking too long is better than a mistake. Take less pay before going too fast.
Ask about each machine before you use it. One has a broken gear box, there may be other surprises.

bborr01
12-04-2012, 04:45 PM
Hi Ted,

I think you will do fine if the guy hires you. If you have the machining skills to build a steam engine, you have the skills to do lots of basic machining jobs which most jobs are. Also, don't be shy about asking questions. Lot's better to ask a question than mess up a job.

You probably used small machines to build your steamer but don't let larger machines intimidate you. Same basic skillset, just on a different scale.

Best of Luck,
Brian

mototed
12-04-2012, 05:01 PM
Thanks everyone,
Some times a boost in confidence will do wonders.
I'm not one of those people that brags a lot. I guess sometimes you have too.

BigJohnT
12-04-2012, 05:57 PM
Sounds like fun...

John

PixMan
12-04-2012, 06:03 PM
You'll be fine, just keep an open mind.

There's a LOT of things about a home shop that do not transfer to a commercial shop. Primary among them is the time thing. At the home shop, for most folks time isn't money. Not so in a job shop. There you have to use the tools for their productivity rather than tool life. The shop should be providing good carbide tooling, so don't get wrapped up into how nicely you can hone a HSS tool. Index the insert to a new edge and carry on. Some for milling cutters and end mills.

Rustybolt
12-04-2012, 07:05 PM
You'll do OK Ted.
When you encounter something you're not familiar with just think it through.
I've been doing this for awhile and I encounter stuff I've never done before all the time.

Boostinjdm
12-04-2012, 07:32 PM
A slow machinist is better than no machinist if the job has to be done.

Rich Carlstedt
12-04-2012, 08:14 PM
Having run shops, I'll take a positive attitude and willingness to get the job done, over all the paper/Apprenticeship degrees any day.
Have had my share of prima donnas who thought their knowledge allowed them to do what they pleased, rather than getting on board.
just think of the guy that bailed out at 90,000 feet ( ?)..He never had experience, but gave it his best..thats what is needed for most jobs

Go for it !

Rich

mickeyf
12-04-2012, 11:47 PM
I might have a job at a real shop. What to do?

Your best.

(But relax :D)

malbenbut
12-05-2012, 04:19 AM
If the machinist was working on a single speed lathe you should have no trouble maching his output as you can only work at the speed the machine runs at. tell the owner you would start work for a trial period. At the end of the day it may be ypou who doesn't want to work there.
MBB

SGW
12-05-2012, 07:43 AM
You've been upfront with the guy. You haven't pretended to be something you're not. If he he wants to hire you, it's because he thinks you can do the job. Believe him! :D

As somebody else mentioned, the biggest factor may be the speed you work at...or perhaps not. Having the job done right the first time beats having it done faster but incorrectly. As you get into the routine you'll naturally get so you can work faster, anyway. Presumably you'll get paid what you're worth.

Georgineer
12-05-2012, 07:50 AM
Thanks everyone,
I'm not one of those people that brags a lot. I guess sometimes you have too.

"If a man bloweth not his own trumpet, by whom shall it be blown?"

George

krutch
12-05-2012, 02:17 PM
I was hired in a shop because the foreman owned a harley and he knew I worked on them. I had very little experiance on milling machines, but did know how to use one. I was nervious about not being able to 'cut the mustard'. What actually happened was I got paid to perfect my abilities. My work ethics got me a raise within a couple of months and eventually I was made the night foreman and got another raise for that. I don't know who was more impressed, the owner of the business or me from my finding out I knew more than I gave myself credit for.
You'll do alright! Better than you think you'll do.

As a side note, the other people working at the place didn't have my work ethics and would take every opportunity to goldbrick. I was steady at the work and the forman and owner could see my results. I got favoured treatment and was shunned by the others. OK by me, I was too busy getting experiance at machine work to worry about how I looked to others.

Grind Hard
12-05-2012, 02:25 PM
As a side note, the other people working at the place didn't have my work ethics and would take every opportunity to goldbrick. I was steady at the work and the forman and owner could see my results. I got favoured treatment and was shunned by the others. OK by me, I was too busy getting experiance at machine work to worry about how I looked to others.

This can lead to issues, if unchecked. Was subject to some horrible backlash from my coworkers at one point, it was extremely stressful having to deal with their petty sabotage and backstabbing every time management changed.

Eventually they all left "to make more money" elsewhere, and I lasted another 10 years. ;)

mototed
12-05-2012, 03:07 PM
You guys some how figured out my work ethic spot on.
I've held 3 jobs over the past 35 years, The only one I left on purpose was when my last boss offered double what I was making at my job from hell. It took me a year of his begging for me to come work for him, and it turned out him and his business partner were hands down the best guys I've ever worked for. He still gives me work to do from the house now and then.
I'm going to pay this shop a visit on Monday. One of the products he builds are those trains that haul people around shopping malls and amusement parks. He had been wanting a steam whistle to put on them. I suggested to just use an audio sound system, and he had been playing with that ideal,but still wanted a real one. I just finished a prototype single tone, about 10" long and 2" in diameter.
The guy is pretty easy to get along with so I think I'll just walk into his shop Monday morning blowing this thing on the way in.
I'm just going to ask him to hire me for two weeks and see if I work out.

My wife calls my tools "toys" and in truth thats what they are to me, but I love playing with what she calls our toys. This guy has a playground full of toys!
I'm prepared for disappointment and will hit the prospective employer up for some contract work. Iv'e been looking down that path too.
I'll post agin Monday and let you know how this unfolds.

Take care
Ted

alanganes
12-05-2012, 10:19 PM
Sounds like you have made up your mind, but here's my take:

As someone else pointed out, you have not misrepresented yourself or your abilities.

It sounds like you may bring a bunch of additional skills to the deal that are not in the organization now. Those skills may turn out to be as valuable as your skill as a machinist, or possibly more so. This may be a chance to make a job for yourself that suits you to perfection.

So you go do your best and either carve out a spot there or decide that it is not working out for you (or the owner). If it does not work out, well, you are not working now, so what have you lost? There is little to no downside to this opportunity for you, in my view.
Go knock 'em dead!

krutch
12-06-2012, 01:01 PM
This can lead to issues, if unchecked. Was subject to some horrible backlash from my coworkers at one point, it was extremely stressful having to deal with their petty sabotage and backstabbing every time management changed.

Eventually they all left "to make more money" elsewhere, and I lasted another 10 years. ;)

My problems with the other workers started shortly after I hired on when the boss and foreman went out for lunch and I went back to work when lunch time was over. No one else started working and urged me to join them in their slack off. I happen to say "I ain't in a union" or something to that effect and kept working. They didn't approve of me after that. BTW, it wasn't a union shop.
Only real trouble at that place was a lot of the other guys working there were hired out of the bars. They worked OK, but were hung over a lot of the time. There was too much goofing off, too. Some of the worse things was when they would toss crap over the top of room dividers or throw used up grinding discs across the shop. They thought that was funny. I don't know if anyone ever got hurt from that, but it sure pissed me off. I'd hear them say things like "krutch will dime us out about X". Not something I ever did, but that they did not trust me was obvious. They always got themselves caught at that crap.