How did you get into your career?

SmokeShow

Active member
Nov 30, 2006
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Lawrenceburg, KY
Took drafting at VoTech in HS. Graduated in 2000 & went to college for civil engineering thinking I wanted to become a surveyor - thought it paid well and would allow me to be outside most work days. Had to have engr. degree to sit for the surveying lic. after 4yrs of "apprenticeship". Thought it was dumb to that my time under an engineer doing surveying & engineering couldn't count as apprenticing for both simultaneously so I decided 8yrs was silly to be credentialled in both and figured being credentialled in engineering would be more valuable. First year out of college I took a job at the local county gov't reviewing construction plans while GF (now wife) finished up her schooling. Moved back home & after some failed interviews & turned down engineering sales job, I literally applied to every engineering firm in the phonebook (dated myself there, huh LOL ). One called me in for an interview & I'm still here working in solid waste consulting engineering industry (landfills and power plant byproduct fills). Everything from permitting new facilities to CQA on multi-million dollar construction projects. I enjoy the design & construction CQA aspects but the clientel is a relatively small niche and they know it and aren't the best folks to work for sometimes. Takes its toll 15years in this year. Unfortunately, civil engineers don't make the money most people think unless end up pretty high up at large corporate firms or own their own practice. I'm hopeful for the latter at my small firm of <50 ppl.
 

NC-smokinlmm

<<<Future tuna killer
May 29, 2011
4,713
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At Da Beach
This thread couldn’t have came at a better time Tom. It’s really cool seeing how people made their way to where they are. Also really cool to see people passionate about what they do.

For me I literally grew up in two different shops. My step grandparents owned a full service Goodyear with 15 bays and 20 employees. My step dad worked there from the day they bought it and currently owns/ runs it. He’s ran it since I can remember. I spent countless hours there, playing in the tire rooms, hanging out with some of the best mechanics in the area. I started working there at 12. Worked every day after school, saturdays while they were open.Went to tech school at 20, spent 9 months and 50k on a piece of paper. Honestly knew more than 3/4 of the teachers. Came back, got married, went back full time to the family buisness doing light duty diesel work as the only tech doing it. I quit the family shop (which was supposed to be mine) at 28. They had notified me that year that I had been there 16 years and it just kinda hit me. I had some home issues in the year before I quit and it just pushed me further away from everything and everyone. So I verbally took a job out east, packed up and quit. I had been doing side work at home in my shop to fund my hobbies and keep my mind busy.
Ended up working from home for a year before I stopped in a boat dealer along my drive to get parts one day. They hired me two weeks later and here I am 2 years later the service manager for the place.
I am getting very burnt out again and sick of dealing with customers treating you like they stepped in shit and you came out of it. You break your back for them and go miles ahead of anything they could ask and it’s never enough.

So who knows where I’ll go next. I have a great supportive girlfriend who wants me to push myself and grow. However she also keeps me from working myself to death.

Safe to say I’m currently lookin at new opportunities in life. Hopefully something where I can be flexible and see my kids more, travel more, and just enjoy life again.

Sorry if I sound like a Debbie downer, just being honest where I am in my walk.

love this site!
Marine busines is RUTHLESS, just do what I do now... Laugh at the A Holes that treat you like shit and cling to the good ones...

I say this bc do it while you can and gain the trust of a couple dozen heavy hitters bc the correction is going to hit hard and boats freeze when economy cools...
 
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clrussell

pro-procrastinator
Sep 23, 2013
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Marine busines is RUTHLESS, just do what I do now... Laugh at the A Holes that treat you like shit and cling to the good ones...

I say this bc do it while you can and gain the trust of a couple dozen heavy hitters bc the correction is going to hit hard and boats freeze when economy cools...
that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Although some days some of those guys just get under your skin. Which is probably their goal. But it’s funny how fast I can lose respect for a great customer who has a very minor bad experience and won’t even give you the chance to fix it before they start treating you like a stray dog.( Very recently this happened.) guess what... they go to the back of the line next time, no more special treatment unless they come directly to me and our sales manager and apologize. Otherwise, Fuck em. There’s other fish in the sea.
 
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Leadfoot

Needs Bigger Tires!
Dec 27, 2006
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Western MA
www.matpa.org
Does your work expose you to a lot of radiation or cancer-causing stuff? Not a slight, just see you had cancer and so did your mentor. I fully understand correlation doesn't equal causation. Just curious.
We have a group of people in our department that deal solely with "Medical Imaging Equipment" (X-Ray, MRI, CT, etc) but we are/were not part of that group, so exposure is minimal. I'm sure being in the hospital environment I'm exposed to more than some other professions, but not significant enough to have caused our issues. If it had been similar cancers I would have started investigating more. His was brain, mine was colon, but I can't say I didn't have similar thoughts to you at first.
 
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lutzjk913

Well-known member
May 5, 2010
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groveport, ohio
that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Although some days some of those guys just get under your skin. Which is probably their goal. But it’s funny how fast I can lose respect for a great customer who has a very minor bad experience and won’t even give you the chance to fix it before they start treating you like a stray dog.( Very recently this happened.) guess what... they go to the back of the line next time, no more special treatment unless they come directly to me and our sales manager and apologize. Otherwise, Fuck em. There’s other fish in the sea.
its more of a lake where your at.

sorry. I had to. LOL
 

Dozerboy

Well-known member
Jun 23, 2009
4,406
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TX of course
I love the stories so far.

I grew up farming and doing construction in my family businesses. I loved farming, but my grandparents retired and everything was sold off. I did all the dirt work for the houses my dad built since I always had a nack for it. At 15 we built a house for the owner of a excavation company. He brought out his best operator to dig the basement and I was in Aww of how the machine looked like an extention of his body. I made friends with them and we continued to do work for the owner. The plan was for me to take over my dad's construction company, but reality started to set in when my dad had his 1st panic attack when I was 16. I started to see how stressful it was to own your own company. Unfortunately he didn't know how to turn "it" off a problem I suffer from.

At 18 I went to work for the owner of the excavation company. Well going from a foremen with my dad to an laborer/equipment operator didn't go over to well for my punk ass. I job hopped for the next 15 year chasing money and big dirt and demolition projects in TX, NE, WI, and CA. I learned a ton about all aspects of operating equipment from old school guys. I loved the work but was getting burnt out. I love to learn new things and pass my knowledge on to others, but there are only so many ways to move dirt or take down a building. I became a Foremen doing environmental/construction work for the oil field. While my crew was working I was seeking off with oil field guys and chemical plant operators. Learning all kinds of cool shit about byproducts of oil. Well while looking at a move into the Chemical plant world the punk kid in me came out, and it was apparent starting at the bottom and playing chemical plant politics wasn't gonna work out. I moved on to be a supervisor for a dirt/concrete company and was miserable, but it fed my desired to pass on my knowledge. I got lucky a few months ago and found a great company doing large dirt projects. I have a large crew, so plenty of people for me to "educate". I also pretty much set my own hrs, so I have more time for my family. Thats helps me to be able to turn "it" off some.
 

Chevy1925

don't know sh!t about IFS
Staff member
Oct 21, 2009
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I love the stories so far.

I grew up farming and doing construction in my family businesses. I loved farming, but my grandparents retired and everything was sold off. I did all the dirt work for the houses my dad built since I always had a nack for it. At 15 we built a house for the owner of a excavation company. He brought out his best operator to dig the basement and I was in Aww of how the machine looked like an extention of his body. I made friends with them and we continued to do work for the owner. The plan was for me to take over my dad's construction company, but reality started to set in when my dad had his 1st panic attack when I was 16. I started to see how stressful it was to own your own company. Unfortunately he didn't know how to turn "it" off a problem I suffer from.

At 18 I went to work for the owner of the excavation company. Well going from a foremen with my dad to an laborer/equipment operator didn't go over to well for my punk ass. I job hopped for the next 15 year chasing money and big dirt and demolition projects in TX, NE, WI, and CA. I learned a ton about all aspects of operating equipment from old school guys. I loved the work but was getting burnt out. I love to learn new things and pass my knowledge on to others, but there are only so many ways to move dirt or take down a building. I became a Foremen doing environmental/construction work for the oil field. While my crew was working I was seeking off with oil field guys and chemical plant operators. Learning all kinds of cool shit about byproducts of oil. Well while looking at a move into the Chemical plant world the punk kid in me came out, and it was apparent starting at the bottom and playing chemical plant politics wasn't gonna work out. I moved on to be a supervisor for a dirt/concrete company and was miserable, but it fed my desired to pass on my knowledge. I got lucky a few months ago and found a great company doing large dirt projects. I have a large crew, so plenty of people for me to "educate". I also pretty much set my own hrs, so I have more time for my family. Thats helps me to be able to turn "it" off some.
Turning it off can be hard to do. My mom has a terrible time with it, my dad can just flip it on and off without issue. If stress is high at the shop, i have a hard time with it when going home. i can help switch it off by entertaining my self with the kids or going out in the garage and working on things or prepping for trips. Sometimes it takes me some effort to get it switched but eventually im lost in my own world lol. I have found that when im out on vacation somewhere im extremely bad at staying switched off, surprisingly. i have to set reminders to call the shop and check on things.

working with family, thats another hard switch to make work. we are business partners during work hours, family once we walk out the door. Ill tell ya, its a f***king bitch some times when ive had a full blown argument with either of them and we had dinner plans to go out with my family and them after work. over time as we have learned each other in a work environment, its gotten easier and easier though. I still call them mom and dad at work though, just cant do the whole first name thing.
 

2004LB7

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2010
3,268
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Norcal
I think that may be an area I do well in. I think it goes hand in hand with an abundance of patience. In my work, I've been complemented on my ability to keep a cool attitude and not get frustrated when dealing with upset guests, taking care of emergencies and meeting deadlines, etc. I've had one coworker even ask me how I do it. I think it is all about state of mind and deciding what is truly important and what are the consequences.

Believe in the wisdom of Rick Sanchez and you will see that nothing really matters except what you want 😁
 

darkness

Active member
Jul 15, 2009
855
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Working with family, thats another hard switch to make work. we are business partners during work hours, family once we walk out the door. Ill tell ya, its a f***king bitch some times when ive had a full blown argument with either of them and we had dinner plans to go out with my family and them after work. over time as we have learned each other in a work environment, its gotten easier and easier though. I still call them mom and dad at work though, just cant do the whole first name thing.
You got that right. My parents owned a trophy shop for over 20 years. My brother and I were always part time/full time employees the whole time. I don’t know how they spent every waking moment together without killing one another lol. Plenty of very silent days at that place of work 😂. But Mom and Dad will always be Mom and Dad.
 

NC-smokinlmm

<<<Future tuna killer
May 29, 2011
4,713
37
48
At Da Beach
I'm a stress ball, can't turn it off. Im trying to learn, only way I can get past it is going fast enough in my truck that I can't think about anything other than driving or I'd be a greasy spot. It sucks but it's reality...
 

countrycorey

Trust Me I'm an Engineer
Jan 30, 2010
1,394
4
38
LA
I kinda grew up in it as my dad was an operator at a nuclear power plant until he retired 10 years ago. Also grew up working in cars and trucks and lawn mowers with my dad and taking things apart to see how they worked and why they stopped working. After high school, I wanted to be an operator as I loved the rolling shifts and off days. After graduating high school in 02, he talked me into getting a degree so I got my mechanical engineering degree from Ole Miss. My first engineering job was for Uncle Sam researching Blast effects on various items and how to mitigate it. That was the most fun job I have ever had, period. Wanting to follow in the family business, I got a job at a nuclear power plant in 2010. Since then, I've traveled halfway around the country working at several different nukes, met my wife, and got a permanent position at a nuke 5 years ago.

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Fingers

Village Idiot
Vendor/Sponsor
Apr 1, 2008
1,663
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White Oak, PA
Hell, I'm going to be 61 this year and still haven't settled on a career.

I've been paid to be:
Body Mechanic.​
Dish washer​
Computer Operator​
Operations manager​
Software Engineer.​
Carpenter​
Mason​
Heavy Equipment operator​
General contractor​
machinist​
Welder​
nuclear refueler​
Specialty crane tech.​
Machine shop owner.​
and a few I am probably forgetting.....​
 

TheBac

Why do I keep doing this?
Staff member
Apr 19, 2008
13,816
225
63
Mid Michigan
Hell, I'm going to be 61 this year and still haven't settled on a career.

I've been paid to be:
Body Mechanic.​
Dish washer​
Computer Operator​
Operations manager​
Software Engineer.​
Carpenter​
Mason​
Heavy Equipment operator​
General contractor​
machinist​
Welder​
nuclear refueler​
Specialty crane tech.​
Machine shop owner.​
and a few I am probably forgetting.....​
......and one of the smartest people I've ever met.
 

countrycorey

Trust Me I'm an Engineer
Jan 30, 2010
1,394
4
38
LA
Hell, I'm going to be 61 this year and still haven't settled on a career.

I've been paid to be:
Body Mechanic.​
Dish washer​
Computer Operator​
Operations manager​
Software Engineer.​
Carpenter​
Mason​
Heavy Equipment operator​
General contractor​
machinist​
Welder​
nuclear refueler​
Specialty crane tech.​
Machine shop owner.​
and a few I am probably forgetting.....​
They don’t let just anybody be a nuclear refueler. How'd you manage that?

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Mike L.

Got Sheep?
Staff member
Vendor/Sponsor
Aug 12, 2006
15,518
151
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Disneyland, CA
Hell, I'm going to be 61 this year and still haven't settled on a career.

I've been paid to be:
Body Mechanic.​
Dish washer​
Computer Operator​
Operations manager​
Software Engineer.​
Carpenter​
Mason​
Heavy Equipment operator​
General contractor​
machinist​
Welder​
nuclear refueler​
Specialty crane tech.​
Machine shop owner.​
and a few I am probably forgetting.....​
Jon,
you might just be the smartest person I have ever met. We talked a few times about a lot of things and I told you that I learned something every time we talked. You returned the compliment and I must say it moved me coming from you. Thank you my friend. We need to talk more often.
 

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