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Who would you hire?

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  • Who would you hire?

    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

  • #2
    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!


    • #3
      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


      • #4
        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.


        • #5
          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
          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


          • #6
            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.
            Last edited by flylo; 04-25-2012, 02:16 PM.


            • #7
              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 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...
              Esoteric Garage


              • #8
                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.
                Last edited by MetalMunger; 04-25-2012, 03:18 PM.


                • #9
                  As a friend of mine said....

                  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.
                  Allans Rule: Anything worth doing is going to be a pain in the butt.


                  • #10
                    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..
                    Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                    • #11
                      Let us know what you decide & how it works out. Thanks!


                      • #12
                        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.
                        It's only ink and paper


                        • #13
                          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.
                          Last edited by Willy; 04-25-2012, 11:44 PM.
                          Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                          Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                          Location: British Columbia


                          • #14
                            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.


                            • #15
                              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 :-)
                              Craftsman 101.07403
                              Grizzly G0704
                              4x6 Bandsaw