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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Posts
    2

    I had a HVAC career burnout

    Hey everybody, what you are gonna read here is kinda hard to come out and say, but I need other HVAC people's opinions.

    I have been in the HVAC trade for over 10 years, mainly residential and some commercial, since 2005 in the Phoenix area.

    I'm sure it's the same for most other places, you have a busy season, and a twiddle your thumbs season, here summer you work crazy hours being on call, when it cools down, that is pretty much it except for some checkups, most don't use their heat here.

    Since the economy went bad, I found employers became worse and wanted more out of less people "if you don't like it there are others who would love to have a job!" etc

    Being forced to work on days off, working your on call shift and finishing to have the boss tell you, "sorry but so and so is sick, you have to do his on call days for him"

    Well, by summer 2009 I was not happy anymore, hated the trade, but I kept rolling, but it's hard to fake being happy, I wanted to quit so bad.

    Well, Sept 1st 2009 I got "let go" for being late to the service meeting one to many times.

    It was my fault for getting a don't care attitude.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Posts
    2
    I have not worked since then, and have been trying to get back into the trade, since then have did a short sale on my house, went through a divorce, and now live with my mom, I hit rock bottom!

    On a job application I can't say I have not been working all this time because I got tired of HVAC, so a friend suggested I just say I was a self employed HVAC tech, and that is what I have been saying.

    I'm not getting any bites like I used to, I used to be able to go anywhere and they would hire me on the spot, of course the economy may have a lot to do with that.

    My cousin thinks me being a self employed HVAC tech may threaten companies, that they may think I'm going to take their customers or do side jobs, I had not thought about this until he said it.

    He thinks I should say I was a self employed auto mechanic ( of course I can fix just about anything on cars )

    What do you think?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Memphis
    Posts
    2,502
    I'd just tell the truth. It's the best thing to do.
    Life is like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Vancouver , BC
    Posts
    283
    Quote Originally Posted by hvac hero View Post
    I'd just tell the truth. It's the best thing to do.
    X2

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    884
    Tell the truth. Try something fresh. I can see how many residential AC techs get burned out.
    Long hours on the same old stuff.
    Go to commercial or industrial.
    I see a much wider variety of equipment since I started working commercial.
    Instead of just split systems and rtus, I also work on small chillers, cooling towers, water source heat pumps, low temperature freezers for storing blood plasma, swimming pool AC units for controlling humidity. I still get a share of clogged condensate drains and bad run caps. The variety keeps it from being boring and there are always new things coming up.
    I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
    ― Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    128
    go commercial, i work in nyc and im busy all year round, I started off in residential great way too learn without getting overwhelmed, residential there are lots of layoffs all the time economy is tough people don't care about their ac system too cheap find some cheap mechanic to do it for free, commercial you cant get by bs ing and selling parts you need to know what you are doing, plus big companys have big budgets, people have to be comfortable at work to produce, home they can care less or refrigeraton always busy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    303
    Don't lie, all they have to do is ask for income verification and you're SOL. Raven makes some good points, and commercial is where most of this game is played in NYC. In SC, and I'm going to bet AZ, that's not the case so just jumping into a new job might not be a 123 process. Did you ever consider looking into energy service companies? I'm sure there are ones in the residential market by you. It is definitely a change of pace and you need to learn a new set of skills.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
    Posts
    18,833
    Commercial.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    110
    If you lie, employers will find out, especially in a place like Arizona where the trade is relatively small and everyone knows each other. Also, a smart employer would likely look to see if you had a license with the ROC and if not and you say you're self employed, that means you're the kind of person to do work without a license, which is a huge red flag. Being honest is always the best way to go.

    That said, we hear from techs at other companies in the area the same complaints. It is hard to find a good company to work for that values its employees and treats them well, but from the other side of things, good techs in this area (we're in Tucson) are also hard to find. We've been looking for a while for multiple openings we have with little luck.

    I agree with others that you need to be honest, not just with employers but yourself. Figure out if you really want to be in the field and how dedicated you are. Our techs bust their butts and pull long hours because we treat and pay them well and they know they're helping our business grow, which will lead to future career opportunities for them. You have to have that kind of passion and lots of patience to find a good company that sees value in you.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    110
    Also, as others said, we're commercial and don't slow down in the winter.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,773
    Quote Originally Posted by 1965C-10 View Post

    I'm sure it's the same for most other places, you have a busy season, and a twiddle your thumbs season, here summer you work crazy hours being on call, when it cools down, that is pretty much it except for some checkups, most don't use their heat here.
    I'm ALWAYS busy.

    I work a MINIMUM of 40 hours a week, every week unless I choose not to. I have been this busy or busier since I started with this company in 1995.

    While I realize that not every company is run this way and that my employer doesn't "OWE" me these things, he is gracious enough to provide them and I bust my a$$ to repay him in the only way that I can.

    From what I've seen of the trade, residential tends to be cyclical in nature. Busy when it's hot, busy when it's cold, slow in between times. Commercial tends to be crazy-busy when it's hot, crazy-busy when it's cold and kinda steady between times.


    I agree with those who said to be honest.

    Relocation may be necessary to find a job. Look at the refrigeration side of our trade. It's kept me fed, clothed and a roof over my head for nearly 40 years (my dad was a tradesman, too)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California/Nevada
    Posts
    3,670
    Here in Los Angeles the HVAC trade is practically ruined, being an AC tech is basically a temp job.
    unfortunatley this is goingto spread to the rest of the country.

    the other bad news is, this is happening to every career.


    if you're an AC tech and you are hired year-round, i say stay at the job and find a new passion for it.
    try something new like commercial if you can.


    i've worked at an AC company for 2 years, then went to a couple of rinky-dink ones, i just say i worked 3 years at that company.
    employers are checking apps more carefully, but i wouldn't list any 3-month jobs.

    i know someone who became a contractor and ever since he got his license he says many companies don't call anymore.
    if you get a license, never put it on your app unless you have to claim time as "self employed"
    (by the way, saying you're self employed doesn't really fly anymore. if you call yourself self employed, then their attitude is you should be on a yacht somewhere)


    advertising is probably the largest expense, and companies don't want to advertise so their techs can hit jackpots on side jobs.

    if you have down-time, you can go learn something else, but i would be carefull about leaviung a trade ou have some success in.
    if you make money or not should be the deciding factor

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    new england
    Posts
    627
    From my experience try and land a commercial position. Working on retail accounts will keep you busy and for the most part and Stress Free just my 2cents. I work on everything from 6,000 btu mini splits to a >800 ton chilled water. It's year round work with the summers being 3-4 months. Did I mention the boilers and burners are also year round with reheat and domestic h20.
    Chaos equals cash$$$

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