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Thread: Career change

  1. #14
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    After describing my job requirements to my ortho dr a while back, she commented that theres a reason baseball catchers dont play past 40. Im sure that you will say your in great shape, but your going to be entering a field where your ability to make a living is very dependent on your physical condition. You could be making a decision that will affect your and your familys economic status well into the future. Couldnt you just get a motorcycle for your midlife crisis?
    eventu rerum stolidi didicere magistro

  2. #15
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    My first reply would be good luck.

    I now work in IT and too want in the HVAC/R field but trying to find a job has been nearly impossible. Another member stated this, "The firm's owner did not believe in the HVAC schools for the reason he'd had several grads come through his shop and they just didn't work out for him." That's a big problem in this industry. If you have any degree (HVAC/R) or prior degree you might as well forget applying for a job with a owner with a mind set like this.

    I graduated with a 4.0 GPA with a HVAC/R degree from a community college and not some off the wall technical school, joined RSES and have attended many training seminars on my own as well as taken the NATE, ICE and EPA exams. I don't flaunt my GPA on my resume or try to come across as being a know all which I'm not.

    What you get are questions like, why do you want a job like this, this job is dirty why would you want to do this.... and oh boy when they find out what your now earning you might as well write it off. If you refuse to supply it on your application they are likely to just throw it away as a non complete application. You will also find employers asking questions on applications about your graduation dates from schools, marital status, and even your date of birth all illegal to ask. To those I serve it right back by filing a discrimination claim with the EEOC and rightfully so they deserve it. You and I both being over the age of forty have that right. They'll do it so long as no one ever says anything and get by with it.

    I've seriously thought about going out on my own. The industry is changing and I would guess to say the days of the shop not hiring educated employees is going to loose out. More of the HVAC/R equipment is becoming computerized and Joe Blow with the screw driver they won't have a need for. I'm sure to raise some eyebrows on this comment. As an owner I'd outsource all of the duct work install and grunt work like that. There's no profit in it. The next successful HVAC/R business is one who can put together hybrid systems to reduce energy consumption.

    "You could be making a decision that will affect your and your familys economic status well into the future. Couldnt you just get a motorcycle for your midlife crisis?"

    Your right get out of IT where employers offwhore jobs. I got a chance one day to talk to a woman who worked for Sprint at Kansas City who had to train her replacement from India. I asked her why didn't she just walk off. Sprint tied her severance including pension to doing the training. That's the crap who us in IT and even the accounting field have to put up with. I'd buy the HD motorcycle if I'd knew I had some reasonable expectation of having stable employment.

  3. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeerHuntR View Post
    Hello, all, this is my first post here. Sorry if it's a little long. Im posting because Im seriously considering a career change into the HVAC profession (Im currently a degreed accountant). Being a number-cruncher in a big corporation has never sat well with meits always been only about making big money, for me. Ive always had much more of a technical mindset, and have always related much better with my blue-collar relatives than with my college-degreed relatives (or with the office crowd I work with). I even had an associates degree in electrical engineering technology before I was an accountant, and Id gladly still be doing that work if there were any money or abundance of jobs there.

    My thought is: I go to the community college for a year and get the certificate, and see if I can make it as an HVAC tech. My strong electrical background will only help me here (I've already learned about motors, electronic circuits, and three-phase, though it was long ago now). After a few years gaining experience, maybe I partner up with someone at least as experienced in HVAC (probably more experienced) to start our own business, where my many years of accounting and business experience will hopefully give us an edge. I think that at this point I have the training, experience, and mindset to be able to run a small business. I dont want to spend all my time in the office thoughI want my hands dirty, to spend time working outdoors (and yes, I know, in attics too, unfortunately). Its much more who I am as a person, I suppose.

    A strong interest I have in connection to all this is to be able to live in a smaller town, not chained to the big city (I'm in Houston) like I am as an accountant. That theres a major life-long dream, to live and work in/near the country. Its worth much more to me than making the big bucks at this point in my life.

    I know theres a steep cost to count here I have now doubt that that year of school work will be difficult, and for several years (at least) Ill be working for half what I make right now (but money is only so much of the overall picture, and I have my savings and have mostly bought my toys). I also know it's very hot (and very cold) work, at times.

    The big unknown for me is, as long as I make good grades and pass the tests, will someone hire a 44-year old newbie, even with the other things I bring to the table ? Or will most people call me "over-qualified" or think I've got a screw loose for making such a change at my age? Accounting interviewers obsess over that kind of stuff. Also, do y'all like your profession, as in, would you recommend it to others?

    I would greatly appreciate your input. Im going to go insane if I cant figure out some sensible kind of exit from what Im doing now.
    You are considering the same career change that is heavily advertised by the training schools in my area.

    You should be familiar with what happens to entry level wages in any field with an abundance of applicants. They sure as hell don't go up....Even though everything that someone needs to buy is increasing in price right now (it seems that only Chinese made stuff is going down in price at a retail level now- strange how they can do that without manipulation of currencies and markets).

    I bet prospective employers will see your work experience and age as a handicap because you aren't a career and life newbie and can't be easily lied to and manipulated for their benefit.

    If you have really and truly researced entry level HVAC jobs and the pay offered, you know what you are up against.

    There are many facets of the HVAC field... and your desire to leave the "big city" eliminates many specialties unless you are into spending money on fuel for travel.

    If you persue the basic residential and commercial (basic commercial like strip mall or office condos) service work and sheet metal, you are entering a side of the industry with a lot of competition.

    It seems that many current residential and light commercial shops don't want techs, they want salesmen to push replacements... and at around $100 an hour, customers have issues with a few hours labor costs- especially with all the low paying jobs and high costs of living.

    The sheet metal industry is transitioning (imploding) to storefront offices and outsourced fabrication. None of the new union shops in my area have their own in house fabrication. New, highly automated fabrication shops with low "yellow label" production scale wages and benefits are busy supplying material to storefront HVAC outfits while established "blue label" shops capable of fabricating their own material can't compete with the low overhead storefronts and their outsourced fabricated material.

    Two tier wage systems never work.

    Plenty of large established "blue label" sheet metal businesses (and employers) in my area have gone under in the last 2 years.

    Unless you find an "in the country" location with specialized work, you will be entering the cookie cutter HVAC market with plenty of existing competition. I've seen pictures on this site of residential Texas work, and there ain't nothing specialized about a plenum box in the attic with a bunch of flex attached to it... even if that plenum is attached to top of the line equipment.

    As pointed out earlier, your circle of blue collar friends is much different than being a blue collar worker servicing equipment in a white collar world. Most white collar "professionals" view blue collar tradesmen as overpriced laborers. Want proof? Try to use the passenger elevator in a high rise as a service tech.

    If it is a lifelong dream, none of us are getting any younger.

    Best of luck.
    Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

    "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too little.
    When you pay too much, you lose a little money -- that is all. When you pay too little, you may lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

    John Ruskin


  4. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by neophytes serendipity View Post
    You are considering the same career change that is heavily advertised by the training schools in my area.

    You should be familiar with what happens to entry level wages in any field with an abundance of applicants. They sure as hell don't go up....Even though everything that someone needs to buy is increasing in price right now (it seems that only Chinese made stuff is going down in price at a retail level now- strange how they can do that without manipulation of currencies and markets).

    I bet prospective employers will see your work experience and age as a handicap because you aren't a career and life newbie and can't be easily lied to and manipulated for their benefit.

    If you have really and truly researced entry level HVAC jobs and the pay offered, you know what you are up against.

    There are many facets of the HVAC field... and your desire to leave the "big city" eliminates many specialties unless you are into spending money on fuel for travel.

    If you persue the basic residential and commercial (basic commercial like strip mall or office condos) service work and sheet metal, you are entering a side of the industry with a lot of competition.

    It seems that many current residential and light commercial shops don't want techs, they want salesmen to push replacements... and at around $100 an hour, customers have issues with a few hours labor costs- especially with all the low paying jobs and high costs of living.

    The sheet metal industry is transitioning (imploding) to storefront offices and outsourced fabrication. None of the new union shops in my area have their own in house fabrication. New, highly automated fabrication shops with low "yellow label" production scale wages and benefits are busy supplying material to storefront HVAC outfits while established "blue label" shops capable of fabricating their own material can't compete with the low overhead storefronts and their outsourced fabricated material.

    Two tier wage systems never work.

    Plenty of large established "blue label" sheet metal businesses (and employers) in my area have gone under in the last 2 years.

    Unless you find an "in the country" location with specialized work, you will be entering the cookie cutter HVAC market with plenty of existing competition. I've seen pictures on this site of residential Texas work, and there ain't nothing specialized about a plenum box in the attic with a bunch of flex attached to it... even if that plenum is attached to top of the line equipment.

    As pointed out earlier, your circle of blue collar friends is much different than being a blue collar worker servicing equipment in a white collar world. Most white collar "professionals" view blue collar tradesmen as overpriced laborers. Want proof? Try to use the passenger elevator in a high rise as a service tech.

    If it is a lifelong dream, none of us are getting any younger.

    Best of luck.
    You bring up several issues very prevalent today but most predominant is that it's all about profits whether if it's related to wages or selling products and services. They other day a caller to the WLS radio show in the morning in your area nailed it on the head. We once had well paying jobs in this country one being the employer GM and what do we have today, WalMart wages and benefits. I don't know who to blame more employers or the government to allow this to happen. With the spiral down of wages you can expect this to cross into all other job markets with the exception of lawyers, doctors and politician's and and job title beginning with the letter C as in CEO, CIO, etc. So what's a consumer to do with wages that don't keep up with rising prices? They go and buy cheaper products. It's a never ending cycle. Crimminey I walk into my local Red Wing boot store and find crap made in China. Sorry I'll fork my money over to Wesco or White's before I ever buy that $hit.

    About a year ago I called a reputable HVAC service company (union shop) out to check my Honeywell electronic air cleaner. What I got was a service tech who *****ed the whole time he was there sharing his opinion that he'd never have one of those. He decided it couldn't be fixed, shoved a 4 inch pleated filter in and left. I got stuck with a service call bill I want to say around $90. The next morning I emailed his company and shared my opinion of the situation. Later that morning the tech phones and tells me he can replace it for around $1200. I said thank you and hung up the phone. I went out on the www and found what the problem was and replaced about a $5 connector part. I would have been willing to pay for the service to fix it or even replace the cell if need be but not $1200. Why it's no wonder the consumer has the view/opinion they have of blue collar workers. Who's fault is it, the company who pushes replacement or the worker who could care less?
    Last edited by wescoman; 07-13-2008 at 10:26 AM. Reason: correct html code

  5. #18
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    My point neophytes serendipity just like Wesco who has a about a 16 week wait time to deliver a product makes a darn good profit for those of us willing to pay the price to do the job right. They must be doing something right so that's why I believe there are opportunities in the HVAC/R field for those who want or desire to do the job right.

  6. #19
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    And how do you know if the employee sent to fix your problem was a technician or a salesman?

    As a consumer making the call, you expected a repair technician.

    Sounds like you got a salesman.

    How is the service tech employee supposed to care when pay is (usually) commission based and they make more per hour pushing replacements over straight repairs? Or, when the boss is pushing for more high ticket items from Joe Blow the service guy that can fix stuff while Jack Schitt that can't fix schitt is selling high dollar replacements using scare tactics and easy financing.

    Who looks better to the boss, the guy that can fix stuff bringing in $100 an hour or the guy that can sell stuff bringing in $300 an hour?

    It is hard to find the good guys in this business... both as a customer and as an employee.

  7. #20
    Wow, is that really what this world is coming to in your profession? I guess I'm naive, living in my office world.

    You remind me of an incident that happened a few years ago when I was doing accounting for a family-owned sheet metal company. The A/C went out in the office, and the A/C company my employers had a long-term relationship with sent out a tech who tried to pull the same kind of thing: "this compressor unit can't be fixed, and you need to replace it!", apparently not realizing that the unit was just a few years old. The owners were outraged at this and called up the tech's employer to ask about this. The actual repair came to less than $50, and that tech was fired by his company that same day (yes, word got back to us about it). I was amazed!

    Call me simple, but I've always believed that whatever $$ you make now, if you focus hard on being professional, doing a good job, making the customer feel good, while also watching out for your employer's bottom line, you will eventually be recognized and compensated accordingly. That is, as long as you're honest, dependable, and most importantly: you always do what you say you will do.

    Y'all are painting a scary picture there, more than those rats and snakes in the crawlspace mentioned earlier! You're saying that the American lifestyle is going away, if good honest work won't get you ahead.

  8. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by wescoman View Post
    My first reply would be good luck.

    I now work in IT and too want in the HVAC/R field but trying to find a job has been nearly impossible. Another member stated this, "The firm's owner did not believe in the HVAC schools for the reason he'd had several grads come through his shop and they just didn't work out for him." That's a big problem in this industry. If you have any degree (HVAC/R) or prior degree you might as well forget applying for a job with a owner with a mind set like this.

    I graduated with a 4.0 GPA with a HVAC/R degree from a community college and not some off the wall technical school, joined RSES and have attended many training seminars on my own as well as taken the NATE, ICE and EPA exams. I don't flaunt my GPA on my resume or try to come across as being a know all which I'm not.

    What you get are questions like, why do you want a job like this, this job is dirty why would you want to do this.... and oh boy when they find out what your now earning you might as well write it off. If you refuse to supply it on your application they are likely to just throw it away as a non complete application. You will also find employers asking questions on applications about your graduation dates from schools, marital status, and even your date of birth all illegal to ask. To those I serve it right back by filing a discrimination claim with the EEOC and rightfully so they deserve it. You and I both being over the age of forty have that right. They'll do it so long as no one ever says anything and get by with it.

    I've seriously thought about going out on my own. The industry is changing and I would guess to say the days of the shop not hiring educated employees is going to loose out. More of the HVAC/R equipment is becoming computerized and Joe Blow with the screw driver they won't have a need for. I'm sure to raise some eyebrows on this comment. As an owner I'd outsource all of the duct work install and grunt work like that. There's no profit in it. The next successful HVAC/R business is one who can put together hybrid systems to reduce energy consumption.

    "You could be making a decision that will affect your and your familys economic status well into the future. Couldnt you just get a motorcycle for your midlife crisis?"

    Your right get out of IT where employers offwhore jobs. I got a chance one day to talk to a woman who worked for Sprint at Kansas City who had to train her replacement from India. I asked her why didn't she just walk off. Sprint tied her severance including pension to doing the training. That's the crap who us in IT and even the accounting field have to put up with. I'd buy the HD motorcycle if I'd knew I had some reasonable expectation of having stable employment.
    The O-poster has a secure well-paying job, he just thinks what we do looks like more fun. Bad news - if this was fun, they wouldnt be paying us to do it.Thats true for all jobs,grasshopper. If hes really an accountant, he should realize that he could work where he is and retire in ten years and be ahead of where he would be if he switches jobs and works the next 20 years working his way up from the bottom.
    eventu rerum stolidi didicere magistro

  9. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cg2 View Post
    The O-poster has a secure well-paying job, he just thinks what we do looks like more fun. Bad news - if this was fun, they wouldnt be paying us to do it.Thats true for all jobs,grasshopper. If hes really an accountant, he should realize that he could work where he is and retire in ten years and be ahead of where he would be if he switches jobs and works the next 20 years working his way up from the bottom.
    That's all true, but if you are earning good money, but really aren't happy, then what do you do?

    Spend 10 years earning good money while being miserable in your job...

    or earn less and be happy (or so one thinks) more often than not?

    That is a tough call, and if the OP opens a successful business with a knowledgeable partner then money and perceived happiness could both happen... or it can all go bust.

    Worse, you can wonder for the next 30 years... what if?

  10. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by neophytes serendipity View Post
    That's all true, but if you are earning good money, but really aren't happy, then what do you do?
    Ya do what everybody else does, get a vice or a good hobby that takes your mind off work when you're not there....................

  11. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeerHuntR View Post
    .................................................. ...............
    You're saying that the American lifestyle is going away, if good honest work won't get you ahead.
    Welcome to the new "world economy". We're competing against the whole world, and their cheap labor, cut-throat tactics, and geo-politics.

  12. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeerHuntR View Post
    Wow, is that really what this world is coming to in your profession? I guess I'm naive, living in my office world.
    You didn't know they offshore IT jobs? It's one of the biggest things companies are doing. All that bs about there being well paid IT jobs out there is a lie. I can't go to India and take a job there but according to the WTO dictates we here in the USA have to open our IT job market up to the tune of 65,000 jobs minimum per year. People like Bill Gates (BG) feed at the trough of Congress begging for more. Here about 2 years ago I considered getting an MS in IT. I got the graduate assistantship (GA), full tuition waiver and the whole nine yards. I went to the first GA meeting and out of about 16 I was one of 3 Americans in the room. The JAVA class had 10 students in it and about 7 or 8 yrs ago it would have been standing room only or your on a waiting list to get in. Duh and BG can't figure it out why there are no IT students anymore. That's when I started looking around and checking in the HVAC/R job market. Trust me I didn't need another 1.5 yrs without work and a credit card balance of $20K plus. Even with a MS there is no guarantee. If you want some eye opener reading I suggest you read The Big Squeeze by Steven Greenhouse or Cynthia Shapiro's book Corporate Confidential. A good friend sent me this story, trust me the $100,000 is true http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...0057782750.htm

    neophytes serendipity, the company sent out a service tech to answer your question. He had no intent on fixing the problem. He had his mind set that those electronic air cleaners were nothing but trouble and he wouldn't have one.

  13. #26
    You didn't know they offshore IT jobs?

    Wescoman,

    I know that one all too well. Some professions lend themselves to that more than others. IT is especially vulnerable, at least for phone support. But those Indians can't exactly go into the server closet. Accounting has similar limits - there's too much that requires a physical presence here in the US. My presence is so needed there at the office that I can't even telecommute, like some folks in other professions can.

    I would think the trades would be similar - you actually have to walk into the facility to do the work. Hard to do from India. But keep letting the "undocumented workers" in here, and I can see where you might have something to worry about (if there are any that know what you know). Let's hope that never gets too out of hand!

    Everyone, it's been a very interesting weekend, and you've given me much to think about. My biggest surprise is that so many of you don't like what you do (and I'm not faulting anyone for that), and that's my real eye-opener to make me take pause. I'll think good and hard before I ever jump in, if I ever do. Again, thanks for taking the time to talk with me.

    DeerHuntR

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