I would like input from the forum members here who are responsible for hiring in their firm. 14 years ago I owned a small HVAC firm in Houston doing work for light commercial spaces. I held a municipal class B license which allowed me to repair or replace existing equipment. Basic idea was no engineering was allowed. Like for like equipment only. I did all the work myself, mostly on rooftop package units but also larger split systems. As I made my calls I found myself shaking my head at what previous mechanics had done. Things you guys would have in your Hall of Shame. Point is, I took pride in my work and tried as I could to do a good job. I took every little seminar offered thru dealers, reps, or manufacturers. However, my work was limited to commercial retail spaces (strip centers) and zero refrigeration equipment. With that background in mind, I ask this question.
I have been reading on this site posts about entering the field by persons interested. The advice given is almost always the same. Take an entry position, keep your mouth shut, ears and eyes open, live in a tent, do anything asked of you, never marry, etc. I get the idea. Work hard and don't make waves. Learn and you will be told when you are ready. Accepting all this, and accepting that I will have to re-enter this field at a low rung on the ladder in responsibility and pay, why am I not only unable to get a job offer even as a helper, but for the most part, employers are not even willing to take a resume from me much less meet to visit.
I have read many posts here and I get the idea employers are sick and tired of hiring young men who either do not know what a hard days work is much less be able to do it. Are employers so bitter about hiring dead ends that they have resolved to spend the rest of their business days hiring only trained working proven mechanics off other employers and never put anything into new men?
In many respects, I consider myself a superior hire to some young men coming out of school. I have been in the field and done the work. I have spent the last 14 years in an industrial plant keeping 50 year old equipment going, including literally hundreds of large air fans. I usually diagnosed electrical problems for the contractors and then they pulled the new wires and I terminated them myself. I worked on a daily basis with natural gas burners as they were the core of the business. This meant diagnosing and replacing all the system safety devices like flame probes, high temp limits, etc. If you start to see that many of the things I have been doing cross over, you see what I see.
Basically I see an HVAC mechanic as a cross between many talents. He must be a good electrican as many problems are the result of electrical failures. I am a good electrician. He must be a good mechanic changing bearings, blades, and other mechanical repairs. I am a great mechanic. Last, he must intimately understand the principles of a refrigerant cycle and all of the devices which make that happen efficiently. Here is my deficiency. Too much has changed in 14 years for me to look an employer in the eye and claim to be proficient.
For those who would dismiss me as a hack or wannbe or Johnny come lately looking for big bucks I say this; even if I was offered a $25/hr job today, it would be a pay cut from the job I just left. I ran a large industrial plant that covered 6 city blocks and maintained millions of dollars of equipment. It took me 8 years to become the boss. I am not that guy writing in complaining his boss makes big bucks and he gets nothing in return or looking to start a firm to get rich in a year. I need a salary of $1000/mo and a commitment from an employer that I will get my chance to fill in the gaps in my training. I cant even get an employer to look me in the eye, much less hire me even for $6/hr.
I directed this to the members who hire. If you knew this potential employee existed in your labor pool, would you want to at least talk to me based on what you have read? If not, can you share what aspect of my background makes you hesitate? Please be honest and open. I have tried to do the same. Thanks in advance and sorry for being long on the typing.
Hey texan dude I had the same problem no one would even look at my resume. I assumed that it was because that I was younger and a minority. But than I realized in this economy it is who u know not what u know ( u can insert blow in thre if u want) I ended up starting my own shop after getting the proper licenses and all that.
basicly hang in there some body will give u a chance and remember to network the guy that sales u tacos might know some one that owns a hvac shop and needs help
p.s. if u can do all that and only want 6 an hour we would consider hiring u
Get to know the counter guys at your local supply house. They are usually the first to hear who is hireing. They can also tell you what companies to stay away from .
Ok Texan here is honest and open:
Originally posted by texan30
If not, can you share what aspect of my background makes you hesitate? Please be honest and open. I have tried to do the same.
In your booming area of Texas there is no reason you can't find a decent job in less than 48 hours. There is no part of your "background" that would cause hesitation. Therefore there must be something evident to others in your demeanor and/or appearance that causes the hesitation.
There are only 2 requirements to be a good a/c tech and employee.
1. Be nice
2. Be athletic (not clumsey)
Your employer can teach you all the rest.
[Edited by Steve Wiggins on 12-12-2004 at 12:31 AM]
"And remember my sentimental friend......that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others" - Wizard of Oz.
Sorry for the buzzkill but here's the deal, you are looking for a *starting* wage of $25.00/ hour, in this field, you absolutely will not find that... No way, no how... Many of the posters on this board have vast amounts of experience and do not yet make that wage. Reasses whether this is the field you want to work in and adjust your expectations.
Check out this page:
43K is median wage for someone with more HVAC experience than you in Houston TX.
Reread what you read. I said I was needing $1000/mo to start right now to get back into the field. I said that would equate to about $6/hr. You completely misread what I said.
My mistake, sorry... I thought it was 1000/ wk. :-)
So you are saying you can't get hired for *$.75 over minimum wage*?
Something smells in the state of TX... Want to move to MA? We are lacking people who know how to work here...
No doubt Texas has the same problem with people not wanting to work. In my previous job I was the person who did all the hiring, training, and firing. The job environment was much the same as HVAC. Hot as hell. Cold as the Alpines. Getting rained on. All with the addition of an endless stream of dust to deal with. Noone wants the job. I mean noone. The people working there are only doing one thing; trying to figure out how to get out and away. I do understand the sarcasm coming from employers regarding "the new guy". Damn, how many "new guys" do we have to go through to find one decent one? I understand this attitude and it has been earned by many many "new guys". However, businesses are there to engage in business to turn a profit. This takes employees paid at a rate that leaves potential for profit for the firm. Notice I said potential. Employees are no more responsible for firms to make profit than for employers to make sure Johnny's boat motor and trailer don't get repossessed. Market conditions, overhead expenses, and many other factors effect profit potential. Since mechanics do not live forever, new men (or women) have to enter the field. I have just been amazed at the degree of resistance, not that it exists. I was only trying to see if people hiring had come to the conclusion that they would only ever hire men coming from X trade school and noone else, ever. If thats the case, I would know exactly what I need to do to secure a job. Go join X trade school seems logical. Just trying to make a plan, thats all. I will rejoin the industry as an employee or self-employed again. With my personal situation as it is, it just doesn't make sense to be self employed again. Thanks for the comments guys.
You have stated that you will be taking a large pay cut. A lot of employeers will think that you will only work for them until you can find a job paying what you are getting now.
The shifting from one area to another will brother them.
30+ years ago after I graduated I had a hard time getting the first job. Go to one employeer and the the answer was "We would love to hire you kid but you do not have enough experience. Go down to the shop down the street that was paying $.05/hr less and the answer was "We would love to hire you kid, but with your background and our pay rate you will not stay."
At one time I was a Chief Engineer, my resume stressses all my experience. When interviewing for one job I was told that after reading my resume I was not a good fit, there was almost no chance of promotion. The existing chief was my age and he did not plan on retiring for years.
You may need to detune your resume.
Good luck and hang in there. I did find a job after a time.
Old snipes don't die they just loose their steam