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.