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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109

    Don't stand around !

    So, here is my story:

    I had 2 quarters of HVAC training under my belt, with a background in electronics. Then, through a local Good Will program, I got an interview with a local company for an "on the job training" position. The company (better not name them) had a position open for a sheet metal apprentice. Ultimately, I think I would like to do service work, but a foot in the door of a "good" company, sounded good.

    I get to the interview, and the HR lady tells me " I don't think you would be happy doing sheet metal work on commercial sites. I think you would be good with the customers." I am thinking, great, but are there any of these positions available ? She tells me about an opening in the install/change out dept. I have read on this site that a lot of techs start out with installs, so again, I am thinking great!

    I get hired at $12.50 per hour (not too bad to start) but I figure it is like getting paid for training, so I probably would have done it for $10. Anyone who has done residential installs knows this work can be physically demanding, and I did my best to keep up with seasoned guys in that part of the job. I was told that we have 2 guys on a truck, so we shouldn't have try to cart around those 5 ton ac's by ourselves. Some of the guys were doing it, even though the boss said don't do it.

    So, ok, this is my 2nd career and I am a little older than most of the guys in the dept., but I am still in pretty good shape. After 3 weeks on the job, boss comes up to me and says, "you have got to start picking things (knowledge) up quicker". I ask, "do you have any suggestions?" He tells me to go to Menard's and walk up and down the aisles to see the things we use on the job. I say ok, even though they have a warehouse on site that has all the parts we use.
    He also tells me "I see you standing around too much, get in there and do something, even if it is wrong." I tell him that I am observing the process and am trying to learn, but I assure him that I will start jumping in more as I learn better what to do.

    Long story short, I get the axe after 7 weeks. Even though, I started "jumping in" more, (even though the senior tech I was with didn't necessarily like it).

    I feel that I was not given a fair chance to learn the job, I mean 7 weeks ? I was never late, did not use my phone on the job, only missed 2 days to finish up 2 HVAC classes I was still in when the job started. Now, I probably would not have stayed in install/change out for more than 2 years, and then I would have tried to get on in the service dept.

    I guess it is back to school for me, too bad fall quarter has already started. Actually, I learned a lot while I was working, I just wish they would have given me more time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,589
    If the head guy wouldn't teach you how do you learn? I'm in the same boat I'm the head guy and my helper I just can't give him anything to do because I'm too busy to watch him screw stuff up, and he basically has zero experience. I don't know how to teach people, I just like when people stay out of my way. He dosen't "jump in" or "stay busy" and it isn't my job to motivate him. Well that was a rant sorry.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109
    Quote Originally Posted by Joehvac25 View Post
    If the head guy wouldn't teach you how do you learn? I'm in the same boat I'm the head guy and my helper I just can't give him anything to do because I'm too busy to watch him screw stuff up, and he basically has zero experience. I don't know how to teach people, I just like when people stay out of my way. He dosen't "jump in" or "stay busy" and it isn't my job to motivate him. Well that was a rant sorry.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    This is the reason that I was hesitant at first, to "jump in" and slow down the senior tech, as I know we have to get this stuff done. I worked with 3 different techs, all with different ways to do things, and different places they stored things on their trucks. I get the feeling that they were just "using" me during the busy season, only to dump me when it started to get slow.

    I understood that there were classes from manufacturers that we would have access to, during the slow season. I was looking forward to that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    6,966
    were you older then the 3 lead techs...?
    "when in doubt...jump it out" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1qEZHhJubY

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxster View Post
    were you older then the 3 lead techs...?
    Yes, I was the 2nd oldest tech, but the other "old" guy had much more experience than I do.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    west burbs,il
    Posts
    145
    Straight from trade school I had a couple offers, one from a company that was on channel 9 news for scamming people lol and the other was a commercial sheet metal shop (russian mafia) lol good guys though. Went with the russians, there was a language barrier but we managed to communicate thru hand gestures and grunts. Worked with em for 6 months, had same problem you had with 2 of the guys. Working my butt off- got fired essentially, hired back on 2 months later for a year. I learned alot and eventually got along with all the guys. When dudes start talking crap about you to the boss its cause they're afraid to be outshined and maybe loose their job or stuck.
    Even after school you still settle for the undesirable and work your way up. But great experiences and knowledge to back pocket. Keep looking and keep trying, and ask if you can help with what ever. I started by blobbing mastic on duct seams.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
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    109
    Quote Originally Posted by canusayinsanity View Post
    Straight from trade school I had a couple offers, one from a company that was on channel 9 news for scamming people lol and the other was a commercial sheet metal shop (russian mafia) lol good guys though. Went with the russians, there was a language barrier but we managed to communicate thru hand gestures and grunts. Worked with em for 6 months, had same problem you had with 2 of the guys. Working my butt off- got fired essentially, hired back on 2 months later for a year. I learned alot and eventually got along with all the guys. When dudes start talking crap about you to the boss its cause they're afraid to be outshined and maybe loose their job or stuck.
    Even after school you still settle for the undesirable and work your way up. But great experiences and knowledge to back pocket. Keep looking and keep trying, and ask if you can help with what ever. I started by blobbing mastic on duct seams.
    That's the thing, I got along with all the techs, save one. It was the head of my dept. that seemed to resent my presence. The first few days I was taping duct seams and using duct seal on joints we did not tape. They even had me drilling holes through concrete for about 5 hours one day. Later, one of the senior techs told me that was a test. If a guy drills holes most of the day, and comes back the next day, we know he is willing to work. I told my boss this, and he said " I must not have seen that". He came out to a job site for about 10 mins. per day, and from the sound of it, that is how I was evaluated.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    1,114
    I don't suggest getting a first job with a direct company. Go through a temp agency like Aerotek. If the company doesn't want a permanent employee they wont pay the money to use a staffing agency. If they try to can you for a really bad reason the staffing company wont work with them anymore. It allows you to get a job and if you don't like the company you can go to Aerotek and find another company while staying with the same company.
    If you're too "open" minded, your brains will fall out.
    Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
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    109
    Quote Originally Posted by XcelTech View Post
    I don't suggest getting a first job with a direct company. Go through a temp agency like Aerotek. If the company doesn't want a permanent employee they wont pay the money to use a staffing agency. If they try to can you for a really bad reason the staffing company wont work with them anymore. It allows you to get a job and if you don't like the company you can go to Aerotek and find another company while staying with the same company.
    I will try this, thanks XcelTech.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Down by the river
    Posts
    1,689
    1- The residential worker always have the attitude the the person they teach is out to get their job. I never understood this mentality until I went into Industrial work, it really is an amazing fact of the trade.

    2- By the 4th week of work you should have had a nitch that you could do that did not have to be observed, coulda been your fault for not doing it as well as the lead man, but regardless in 4 weeks you shoulda learned a few things to do unsupervised.

    3-There is alway's 3 sides to a story, your side, the boss' side and somwhere in the middle is the truth. I don't give a damn what, where and who you do this is life.

    4- Whatever you do, do not stand around infront of the boss. Always make yourself busy
    It's hard to stop a Trane. but I have made one helluva living keeping them going.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,090
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Mech View Post
    1- The residential worker always have the attitude the the person they teach is out to get their job. I never understood this mentality until I went into Industrial work, it really is an amazing fact of the trade.
    This is a major issue on the non union side of the trade and one of the major reasons I joined a union.

    I worked non union residential and commercial/industrial for 15yrs before realizing this was taking place. Run a call and get stumped, call the office for a senior technician's help, senior tech shows up and solves the problem but never takes the time to explain how he figured it out, that was the standard operating procedure. Come to figure out that they were threatened, if they taught me how to solve these problems then I could become as valuable as they were. It's a vicious cycle in this trade.

    Now that the guys above me aren't threatened by me as their jobs are 100% secure, they share a wealth of knowledge with me. I have all my apprenticeship teachers, engineers, senior techs, other companies techs, factory guys, and a union membership of over 1000 men just one phone call away if I need help.

    I cannot even begin to tell you how invaluable that is in this trade, it really makes my job a joy to do. I never have that hopeless stranded feeling anymore.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109
    Quote Originally Posted by zw17 View Post
    This is a major issue on the non union side of the trade and one of the major reasons I joined a union.

    I worked non union residential and commercial/industrial for 15yrs before realizing this was taking place. Run a call and get stumped, call the office for a senior technician's help, senior tech shows up and solves the problem but never takes the time to explain how he figured it out, that was the standard operating procedure. Come to figure out that they were threatened, if they taught me how to solve these problems then I could become as valuable as they were. It's a vicious cycle in this trade.

    Now that the guys above me aren't threatened by me as their jobs are 100% secure, they share a wealth of knowledge with me. I have all my apprenticeship teachers, engineers, senior techs, other companies techs, factory guys, and a union membership of over 1000 men just one phone call away if I need help.

    I cannot even begin to tell you how invaluable that is in this trade, it really makes my job a joy to do. I never have that hopeless stranded feeling anymore.
    The whole union, non-union thing is a bit perplexing to me. I would gladly join a union shop, as I was in a union for 27 years in my last job. I was even shop steward for a few years, until the forced retirement.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Mech View Post
    1- The residential worker always have the attitude the the person they teach is out to get their job. I never understood this mentality until I went into Industrial work, it really is an amazing fact of the trade.

    2- By the 4th week of work you should have had a nitch that you could do that did not have to be observed, coulda been your fault for not doing it as well as the lead man, but regardless in 4 weeks you shoulda learned a few things to do unsupervised.

    3-There is alway's 3 sides to a story, your side, the boss' side and somwhere in the middle is the truth. I don't give a damn what, where and who you do this is life.

    4- Whatever you do, do not stand around infront of the boss. Always make yourself busy
    Yes, I learned to recover the freon and help tear out the old line set if it was being replaced. I was doing some brazing ( I still need some practice at this) and I learned to fill the system with nitrogen and vacuum pump for leak test. As well as tearing out the old duct work and cutting the pvc for venting and drain lines.

    I quickly learned that standing around when the boss was there, was a big no no, so when he showed up at the job site, and I didn't have anything to do, I would go out to the truck to "get something". I thought this was a good idea, until he told me I was "wandering off". I felt, I could not win with this guy.

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