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Old 02-04-2017, 07:31 AM   #1
miket
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Default Things turning bad at work. Need advise. Go out on my own? Suck it up?

Things are turning real bad at work and Im not sure what to do. I have been working for an oil tool company for 9 1/2yrs. I started there as a machinist, then programming while running a machine and then within about 6 months added supervisor duties while running a machine and programming ( I have been a machinist/programmer/leadman etc since 1993 ). I moved up financially and the company treated me well. There were definitely some tough times, including when the Deepwater Horizon burned and the layed off all the cnc guys except me. During this time I had a boss above me that was over the entire machine shop. Without getting too detailed, he is very favored by the owner of the company.

Approx 2yrs ago they split the machine shop and put me as manager of the CNC Dept and the other guy ( the one that was over the entire machine shop previously ) Around the beginning of the year they put me over the entire machine shop but left the other guy as a manager, though he was not over anything. ( the owners favored guy ) We weathered the oil crash very well until April of last year. We layed off a couple of guys but things started picking up this summer and we hired a few.

Then the owner sold his flagship product line in July. It was the money maker, a rental.tool that had a high margins. Now we are left with a very good product line, but one that has a low margin, with high costs to make.

I can divulge too much but things are not looking good. We layed off 2 more guys this week and now I got a 15% paycut ( supposedly all salary got the cut ) and then was put on hourly. Too many chiefs and not enough indians. The operations manager asked me, the other ( favored ) manager and the QC manager what we want to do regarding who is in charge now. Every just sat there. Nobody willing to give up "power". They expect me to run a machine, program and run the shop. So I told him I cannot effectively do it all, (while the favored guy keeps his same minimal duties). So I told him I would just run a machine and program. The other two guys duties will not change.

So now, I will admit I am quite irritated I am back on a machine. Quite irritated that I have to compete with a guy that has the owners unwavering favor, and that no matter what happens, no matter what I do, my default duty is back where I was 10yrs ago.

Now I am looking for options. I do have a few options that I am exploring. Next post will explore these.
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:42 AM   #2
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In 2013 I bought a CNC Mill ( VMC ) and started running jobs on the side. Made some decent money even though it was just part time. For a while after the oil.crash business stayed relatively steady. But this past year was super slow.

Slow business and having to pick up insurance costs at work has lead to.my wife having to work for the first time in our marriage ( part time, minimum wage )

Finally things have started picking up again for my business in mid December while things are getting worse at work. But who knows how long the work.will last? I am entertaining the possibility of quitting my job and going full time for my shop ( though I may very well get layed off first ). I am thinking that if I go full.time I will be able to.find more work. Some companies dont seem to like the idea of me being part time, though I am NEVER late delivering parts.

But quite frankly, I am scared. I have a wife and 4 kids. I already feel bad enough that she has to work now, if I go full time and go broke I will be devastated. Not because of myself, but for them.
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:45 AM   #3
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Well, I live by this rule. Only you determine what kind of day you have. Being disgruntled will eat you up! Never quit a job until you have another one.
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miket View Post
Things are turning real bad at work and Im not sure what to do. I have been working for an oil tool company for 9 1/2yrs. I started there as a machinist, then programming while running a machine and then within about 6 months added supervisor duties while running a machine and programming ( I have been a machinist/programmer/leadman etc since 1993 ). I moved up financially and the company treated me well. There were definitely some tough times, including when the Deepwater Horizon burned and the layed off all the cnc guys except me. During this time I had a boss above me that was over the entire machine shop. Without getting too detailed, he is very favored by the owner of the company.

Approx 2yrs ago they split the machine shop and put me as manager of the CNC Dept and the other guy ( the one that was over the entire machine shop previously ) Around the beginning of the year they put me over the entire machine shop but left the other guy as a manager, though he was not over anything. ( the owners favored guy ) We weathered the oil crash very well until April of last year. We layed off a couple of guys but things started picking up this summer and we hired a few.

Then the owner sold his flagship product line in July. It was the money maker, a rental.tool that had a high margins. Now we are left with a very good product line, but one that has a low margin, with high costs to make.

I can divulge too much but things are not looking good. We layed off 2 more guys this week and now I got a 15% paycut ( supposedly all salary got the cut ) and then was put on hourly. Too many chiefs and not enough indians. The operations manager asked me, the other ( favored ) manager and the QC manager what we want to do regarding who is in charge now. Every just sat there. Nobody willing to give up "power". They expect me to run a machine, program and run the shop. So I told him I cannot effectively do it all, (while the favored guy keeps his same minimal duties). So I told him I would just run a machine and program. The other two guys duties will not change.

So now, I will admit I am quite irritated I am back on a machine. Quite irritated that I have to compete with a guy that has the owners unwavering favor, and that no matter what happens, no matter what I do, my default duty is back where I was 10yrs ago.

Now I am looking for options. I do have a few options that I am exploring. Next post will explore these.
I would start with having a clear and open conversation about where the company is, where its going and why. I would not have that conversation with one person but with everyone in leadership position including ownership.

I would look at it with the perspective of what can I do. How can I help and what can we as a team do to get through this hard time.

The idea of ownership having a manager that he likes the best can't be your focus. Its an uncontrollable and you need to focus on what you can do. Strong leader can lead from any position in the company. It's time for you to lead up the chain for you, your family and the company that you have invested so much time in.
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:50 AM   #5
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cant really help with the job versus own business decision but prayers up for your family.
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:55 AM   #6
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Default Career advise

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I would start with having a clear and open conversation about where the company is, where its going and why. I would not have that conversation with one person but with everyone in leadership position including ownership.

I would look at it with the perspective of what can I do. How can I help and what can we as a team do to get through this hard time.

The idea of ownership having a manager that he likes the best can't be your focus. Its an uncontrollable and you need to focus on what you can do. Strong leader can lead from any position in the company. It's time for you to lead up the chain for you, your family and the company that you have invested so much time in.
I was just reading the post but got some really good inspiration from these words. THANKS!
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:55 AM   #7
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This is what I see
The owner favors the guy but really has no faith in him or you would have never moved up to start with. The owner , ( if he is smart ) , would not want to lose you as he has already recognized your talent.
Have a conversation and just ask them what value you bring to the table and if they have plans for you. Hopefully the economics will improve for you.
There is two kind of leaders.
Those who are installed there and those who rose there on their own merit. You know what category you are in.
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:59 AM   #8
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I do not know anything about your job etc. Sounds like you can stay on and if NEEDED by all means venture out. Squeeze what you can out of them.

If it bounces back your still in if it doesn't and your cut you have the option to be your own boss. Best of luck
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:04 AM   #9
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I would ride it out for now, while pushing hard on the side work. Days are getting longer, save all you can. If you do get laid off, look at prior weeks/months profit margins on the side machining, and re-evaluate going full time then. Tax deductions for business owners are great, especially a sole proprietor/ or small llc.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:05 AM   #10
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I would suck it up and stay where you are.......until I hustled enough jobs for your sideline business. Then go for it! Sure it's scary. But hunger and several mouths to feed are a great motivating factor. You have a great skill set that will always be in demand.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:06 AM   #11
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THIS ( all the above responses ) is why I posted this here. Excellent, thoughful ideas/answers. I sincerely thank yall.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:08 AM   #12
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Hate to hear this Bud. For some reason I thought you were a partner in that shop.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:09 AM   #13
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The best cure for red azz is trail dust!
The way I see it, they have no loyalty to you at at. I'd find another company and never look back. I've worked in the oil / chem construction and maintenance industry since the late 80's....so thats just how I'm geared.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:14 AM   #14
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I can't say what is right for you in this situation, but have been in similar stressful situations.

I agree with the previous poster that you can't let your focus be on the favored manager, but on yourself and what you can do to help yourself and the company. I was given the advice to always enter situations well and leave them well. So I would suggest not doing anything rash, but be open and honest with your employers about your concerns and hopefully they will be honest with you. Perhaps you work through the rough spot at work and things pick back up, or they may shut down even further and they may become one of your first customers in your own shop.

I am praying for a positive outcome for you and your family.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:16 AM   #15
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I would start putting out feelers for a new job while keeping a close eye on where things are going at your current position. Having a solid offer somewhere else will make the decision making much easier and a lot less stressful.

As for your side business, if larger, well established operations are struggling, a small operation with shallow reserves will struggle even more with the added stress of having not having a cushion to fall back on during slow periods. The time to jump ship and go from a part time side business to full time is when you get to the point of having long term contracts that exceed your part time production capacity for the foreseeable future.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:17 AM   #16
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Somehow things will improve for you. A good friend of mine retired from making military parts for aircraft after decades working for the same employer. He then started his own machine shop at home. Turned out to be a good move on his part. Other shops that only did contact work would refer customers to him who only needed small runs of parts. But he stayed very busy. Some of those ended up being big, long runs of parts that kept him on the go for many years.

But things changed. Factories shut down or were bought out by foreign investors/companies. They'd severely slash expenses and only use him on standby. When a big Japanese company bought out his steadiest customer and then closed them down, that finally brought his shop to a standstill.

I don't have any advice, but will send prayers up for you.

Last edited by Fishy; 02-04-2017 at 08:20 AM..
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:28 AM   #17
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Excellent stuff, keep it coming. To clarify, I work in the machine shop of an oil tool company. We are kind of an offshoot of the real business, which is sales and rentals of oil tools. The machine shop was started to reduce costs, improve quality.and reduce leadtimes. We have been successful in those endevours. But we, overall, have a minimal impact on the business and no impact on sales etc. There is quite a possibility that the machine shop will close down while the core business survives.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:33 AM   #18
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I love being self employed! The question is is the risk of losing it all worth the possible reward of being your own boss? It sounds like you have been well compensated so it is unlikely that you will surpass your current income level quickly by going Lone Ranger. If you find yourself miserable at your current job I would say leave however as suggested above a renewed focus on helping your current company prosper could be very rewarding as well.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:33 AM   #19
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We haven't had anyone in management that actually had any machining experience in a long time. We just don't worry about them too much. There are guy's in the shop that are favorites, but I'm not one of them. I just refuse to play the games or get into the politics crap. I just come in and do my job and do it good. I may not make the same pay as the "pets", but after 40yrs and many layoffs, I'm still here. I wish I had some sound advice for ya Mike, but I do wish you all the best from a fellow machinist.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miket View Post
Excellent stuff, keep it coming. To clarify, I work in the machine shop of an oil tool company. We are kind of an offshoot of the real business, which is sales and rentals of oil tools. The machine shop was started to reduce costs, improve quality.and reduce leadtimes. We have been successful in those endevours. But we, overall, have a minimal impact on the business and no impact on sales etc. There is quite a possibility that the machine shop will close down while the core business survives.
Okay Thank you. If you have minimal impact on the business and no impact on sales why dose the shop exist? Why is leadership keeping it open. What is the value of keeping it open?
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:42 AM   #21
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All good advice

I think I would be seeing what kind of similar jobs were available and weighing that against staying and cultivating my own business or taking another job and growing my business

I have heard from multiple people about how hard it is to get a business going and the lean times it brings.

Good luck in whatever you end up deciding to do
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:49 AM   #22
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Old 02-04-2017, 09:00 AM   #23
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Okay Thank you. If you have minimal impact on the business and no impact on sales why dose the shop exist? Why is leadership keeping it open. What is the value of keeping it open?
The owner likes to have the ability to get a part asap if needed and we are cheaper than having another shop make them. Other shops charge a premium to get parts immediately, and when it is busy many shops wont even call.you back. We maintain low stock levels so it is common to get an order for a part that must be done "before we go home".

What I was really trying to say, is that the machine shop can only keep costs down and run efficiently, but we cant help get customers or improve business conditions overall.
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Old 02-04-2017, 11:00 AM   #24
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Wow!
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Old 02-04-2017, 11:35 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by miket View Post
The owner likes to have the ability to get a part asap if needed and we are cheaper than having another shop make them. Other shops charge a premium to get parts immediately, and when it is busy many shops wont even call.you back. We maintain low stock levels so it is common to get an order for a part that must be done "before we go home".

What I was really trying to say, is that the machine shop can only keep costs down and run efficiently, but we cant help get customers or improve business conditions overall.

From the outside looking in. You need to open up communication with the owner. I would want to fix the issue with that side of the business not being able to grow sales.

You are there to support the other business but if your not worth your expense you will be eliminated. Thats why outsourcing exist.

Best of luck.
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Old 02-04-2017, 11:41 AM   #26
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No one knows what's right for but you. I stayed at a job for 30 yrs. I had the usuall kids, bills, and the works, I hated getting out of bed most all of those days. If I had the chance for a redo, no way would I do it over. What would you do if you could do it over?
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Old 02-04-2017, 12:36 PM   #27
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It's a tough call in any circumstance but with kids future on the line it's hard to take a gamble. I led from the bottum for about 10 years but stuck with it. It worked for me, I'm now consulting with a premium paycheck. Not a guarantee but it does happen.
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Old 02-04-2017, 12:43 PM   #28
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I wouldn't stay at a job where my position was primarily a liability for the company.

The best is the situation where no one knows exactly what it is that I do ... but they do know they can't do it without me.


Is it a possibility that they could cut back on your hours to allow you to spend more time at your side job? That would seem like a win/win for the short term for both of you.
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Old 02-04-2017, 01:06 PM   #29
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My career path exactly parallels yours , except I started in 1977 on Acs , then NCs , and finally CNCs with just enough Manual and Welding Knowledge to make the things I needed for jobs / setups . I also had to do Quality Control / Instrument Certification which helps for an ability to cover all aspects . The only difference is my Wife's Job , Oil Company , had us transferred around a bit . For that reason I never bought my own equipment , although I had many friends who have . The biggest problem they encountered was not having money set aside for broken machines / tooling which you probably already understand how expensive that can be . The next biggest problem was if their shop grew and they purchased additional equipment was finding competent help . The ones that have been the most successful were the ones whoo kept it to just them ; a one man shop . Their wives / kids even help with some of the work . One other thing to consider is the area you are in ; obviously the closer you are to a Large Metro Area the more opportunities to find small run jobs . One individual back in Oklahoma somehow hooked up with a Company in either Montana or Wyoming making a little part for them back in The 80s and they have continued to use him . That little job year in and year out has always provided him with enough income to meet expenses so that everything else he would pick up was profit . He runs his business out of a building that is basically a Two Car Garage with a little work area . All that said , i would work for The Company you are with and build up a Cash Reserve for Your Business . You have obviously proved your worth where you are at . If possible I would have your wife or yourself try to find the time to take some Business Classes to better prepare you for that side of Your Business . Good Luck !
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Old 02-04-2017, 01:06 PM   #30
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Quote:
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I wouldn't stay at a job where my position was primarily a liability for the company.
The best is the situation where no one knows exactly what it is that I do ... but they do know they can't do it without me.
Is it a possibility that they could cut back on your hours to allow you to spend more time at your side job? That would seem like a win/win for the short term for both of you.
What I did was the opposite. Everyone knew exactly what I did but they never thought they needed me until it was too late. No one ever budgets or schedules for survey until the job stops so all jobs become rush jobs.
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Old 02-04-2017, 01:35 PM   #31
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Different opinion....

Starting a legitimate business in this environment is pretty much idiocy in the extreme.

Get on your knees and thank the gods that you have a job. Shut up about the owner's pet and do your job, and as an employee your job is to do whatever the ownership and their representatives tell you it is.
If you don't or can't swallow doing your job... quit

But I'll tell you that in my considerable experience the grass is not greener, and there is always a reason the pay is higher.

Took me several careers, a couple of businesses, a million dollars and a couple of near bankruptcies to learn to keep my head down, mouth shut, do my job to the best of my ability and never rock the boat.

Javi
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Old 02-04-2017, 02:25 PM   #32
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I'm with Rod. As your hours are decreased you will make more at home. Maybe work towards you doing the machine shop work out of your house for the company you now work for. Your in business, they still have a machinist for quick jobs, every one is happy.
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Old 02-04-2017, 02:27 PM   #33
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I disagree (maybe). If he knows he is needed because the pet can't do his job he needs to bluff the owner. If they can do without him then keep his head down and stay quiet until he gets enough side clients to start up full time. Miket can make that call.
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Old 02-04-2017, 02:37 PM   #34
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Would it be possible to talk to your employer about you being their go to guy if you left and opened your own shop? Would you trust them? Im assuming they know you do sideline work..
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Old 02-04-2017, 02:40 PM   #35
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Would it be possible to talk to your employer about you being their go to guy if you left and opened your own shop? Would you trust them? Im assuming they know you do sideline work..
His side job is more than likely at the root of the issue. Never met an owner happy with an employee being in potential competition.

Javi
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Old 02-04-2017, 03:13 PM   #36
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Good point.
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Old 02-04-2017, 04:14 PM   #37
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Would it be possible to talk to your employer about you being their go to guy if you left and opened your own shop? Would you trust them? Im assuming they know you do sideline work..
Yes. I have thought quite a bit about it. They do not currently know. I do have a bit of concern that they may find out. I dont think they would get too upset because we are not a contract machine shop, but I dont want to risk it. We only make parts for our assembly dept, we dont do any work for anyone else. So I am not competing with them.
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Old 02-04-2017, 04:16 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Atfulldraw View Post
I wouldn't stay at a job where my position was primarily a liability for the company.

The best is the situation where no one knows exactly what it is that I do ... but they do know they can't do it without me.


Is it a possibility that they could cut back on your hours to allow you to spend more time at your side job? That would seem like a win/win for the short term for both of you.
I have considered this also, but I am a bit worried the owner will get angry and fire me. Not real sure how he will take it if/when he finds out.
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Old 02-04-2017, 04:20 PM   #39
miket
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What I did was the opposite. Everyone knew exactly what I did but they never thought they needed me until it was too late. No one ever budgets or schedules for survey until the job stops so all jobs become rush jobs.
To a degree I feel the same way. I am the only programmer, and have been since 2008. We have tried to get 3 other guys over the years to learn how to program but everyone only attempted halfheartedly then gave up. It is not rocket science ( far from it ) but it is a skill and takes a bit of effort that they dont want to apply.
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Old 02-04-2017, 04:21 PM   #40
poisonivie
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One thing I've learned about being laid off, sooner is better than later. Have your conversation with the owners and fix it or #$% it up. Get it over with one way or the other so you can concentrate on moving on with your life.
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Old 02-04-2017, 04:22 PM   #41
miket
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I'm with Rod. As your hours are decreased you will make more at home. Maybe work towards you doing the machine shop work out of your house for the company you now work for. Your in business, they still have a machinist for quick jobs, every one is happy.
Absolutely. This will be the plan if I dont have the guts to make a bolder step.
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Old 02-04-2017, 04:23 PM   #42
Charles
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What is your long term goal, working for yourself full time or working for someone else?
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Old 02-04-2017, 04:28 PM   #43
wow
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I feel your pain.
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Old 02-04-2017, 04:42 PM   #44
dauphlp
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Whatever you do make sure it's your decision. It will be the only one you can live with if things get tough
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Old 02-05-2017, 05:53 PM   #45
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What is your long term goal, working for yourself full time or working for someone else?
Long term I would much prefer working for myself. I will admit I am not a risk taker. I am very conservative so it does make going out on my own pretty nerve wracking, but at the same time I feel like I have accomplished something at the end of the day. Working for someone is not fulfilling at all for me.
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Old 02-05-2017, 06:54 PM   #46
Chew
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See if you can become a teacher in your field. I work part time at Lonestar. $40 an hour

http://www.lonestar.edu/machining-technology-dept.htm
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:02 PM   #47
dustinm
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THIS ( all the above responses ) is why I posted this here. Excellent, thoughful ideas/answers. I sincerely thank yall.


X2


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Old 02-05-2017, 08:58 PM   #48
Deep_sea
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I had a good job working offshore but things were slow. I had a side job of construction and it seems that the only time I would get a call from my offshore work was when I committed to a construction job. I finally had a decision to make and quit. Nothing compels you to get your butt into gear and sell some jobs like bill collectors and hungry kids. Everyone is different, but this is how I decided to go. Right now i am so busy I can't keep up. And hiring people is my biggest problem.
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:05 PM   #49
boy wonder
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Does your employer ever get on TBH?
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Old 02-05-2017, 09:08 PM   #50
CoolHandLuke
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Does your employer ever get on TBH?


Fark his employer! So what if he does!!!
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