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Thread: Career Change, First Day Expectations

  1. #1
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    Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Hi there everyone!

    With all of this insanity with work situations I'm glad some of my preparation may have paid off. About three years ago I figured out that I might need to learn some different skills in case I needed a better option for work. So I began to learn how to weld. My usual job in banking basically stopped having opportunities and the pay stagnated. Last year I found I could make more money and enjoy life a lot better building industrial valves and pneumatic systems. So I kept going with that and learning as much as I could. Well, March this year got laid off due to state mandated Covid shutdowns, so back to job hunting again.

    Good news is I finally got a new job to get back going again--can actually say I passed a test (basic, just mig 2F and 3F, but a weld test none the less and my first one to do) based on my own self taught skill. It's still a beginner job, assembling and mounting dump truck beds and other commercial vehicle bodies and trailers, welding hitches and aluminum bodies and tool boxes, etc., but pays better than what I was making doing bank loans or selling insurance and can lead to better things.

    The question I have is how do I prepare myself. Obviously I got a look at the place and liked it, got an idea of what the work will be like. I figured out I should expect of myself to do the following:

    1. Be on time and prepared. Have spares of everything.
    2. Diligently check to keep things restocked and in good working order. Change tanks, put in new wire spools, etc.
    3. Keep the place clean and take out trash.
    4. Be nice and work well with others, ask how to help.
    5. Learn stuff at every opportunity.
    6. PPE all the time. I have two Miller respirators, a scoop hood and a pancake hood w/ ArcOne lenses, safety glasses, earplugs, etc.

    What else? Again I've worked in an assembly shop but not a weld and fab shop before. Burned lots of wire and rods but always on my own time before. I've been out of work for 5 months (first month and a half I finished up a business degree) so I know that some things might not be obvious to me as it would to others and want to get things right. I know enough to know that I don't know much, but I'm willing to try. Any tips or experiences on this?
    Last edited by yellowfin; 08-10-2020 at 06:48 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    I'm curious how an entry level welding job could pay more than a loans officer or insurance salesman? I think you're getting a little too far ahead of yourself. If it's a good shop they'll probably put you with a journeyman or more experienced worker to learn the ropes. Pay attention and ask questions if you're not sure but don't bombard them with a zillion questions or try to think ahead of them. The worst thing to do is try to impress them with your knowledge. I worked with a couple newbies right out of school and it was really annoying when they tried to act like they already knew it all. Keep the work area clean and don't leave stuff laying around. If they have a clean up at the end of the day is when you grab the broom and roll the cables up. Show up a little early, they might have a bunch of forms for you to fill out for personal info and banking info etc. Have safety glasses, gloves, steel toed boots and coveralls. Good shops will provide most of these and even have work boot and prescription eyewear allowance. Don't be surprised if you have a prank or 2 pulled on you like asking you to go get a metal stretcher or sky hook. Beware though they may have slang names for some tools. I was sent to the tool room to get a horse *ock and thought the guy was kidding. It was a long straight shaft grinder most commonly used for grinding the root pass on meter runs.

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Insurance sales pays commission and if you're in a new area you didn't have prior contacts in, particularly the northeast where people are very clammed up, you make less an hour than a lot of jobs. It's totally dried up. Banking pay has totally gone to crap since 2008 because of regulations killing profitability-- maybe 10% of spots on the payroll pay more than a gas station manager. Mergers cut out all of the back office jobs that were the professional living. So if you didn't get the higher up job already you're stuck in the retail might as well be McDonald's level.

    By comparison there's damn few people that know how to turn a wrench or run a bead that will show up every day and keep clean. 100 to 1 computer button clickers to guys who can do stuff. So they pay more.
    Last edited by yellowfin; 08-10-2020 at 07:57 PM.

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    So how much did you make before and how much is the new job paying? That will put it in perspective.

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    So how much did you make before and how much is the new job paying? That will put it in perspective.
    With overtime expected in the schedule, it'll be like a 40% increase per week.

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    One thing you'll find out quick is that working in a fab shop will be much more physical than sitting at a desk. You'll probably get a little sore from using muscles that you haven't used much before. Lots of bending and sometimes contorting your body. Welding is heavy hard work. Good idea to get used to wearing a P100 mask or respirator. A lot of people in the past haven't used anything and it comes back to bite them. Nothing wrong with looking after your lungs and what you're breathing in despite what others think.

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Congrats on landing a new job yellowfin.

    Keep doing what you are doing. I agree with a lot of what has been said. Couple points to reiterate are 1) show up early and 2) Let your performance and work ethic do the talking ( which it sounds like you already know). Well thought out questions are good.

    One last point is don’t take anything personally. Being the new guy, you may get some “abuse” but how you deal with it is key. Laugh and have fun and you will fit right in.

    Good luck and keep up the good work. You have made a huge and smart leap.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  13. #8
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    A quick question related to this: is using starch on my clothes still useful for a shop using mostly Mig and also using a plasma cutter and other spark producing tools, or is that just for guys that run stick a lot?

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Heavy cotton coveralls WITHOUT zippers. One spark and you can't get them off. Try to find the coveralls with the round hooks and loops, like jeans have on the top of the waist, like the type large shops supply. Also don't get the expensive fire retardant coveralls. They are thin and although they won't catch on fire and burn, they basically melt a zillion holes in no time. The other option is to wear Carharrt style overalls but then you'd need a good long sleeve cotton shirt or leather jacket that would get hot in the summer. I used to wear a mock neck T-shirt to protect my neck. Get a welders cap or beanie to protect your head and never wear a cap with a nylon strap. Actually never wear anything nylon, it will melt and stick to your skin. If doing lots of grinding or overhead welding you can always put on a leather jacket or sleeves and/or a leather apron.

    https://www.uniqlo.com/sg/store/men-...003270017.html
    Last edited by Welder Dave; 08-14-2020 at 02:13 AM.

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    OK, an update: safety training starts in a week, they said they're getting guys back from vacation who will be catching up on work then be available to help train me on all the stuff. Compiling all the PPE I have plus ordered another pancake which is designed to have safety glasses underneath, another beanie to increase my supply to 3, extra filters for the Miller respirators, more earplugs. Got heavy 100% cotton work shirts, will get coveralls if necessary (guys in the shop when I went in to test were wearing jeans). What else comes to mind?

  16. #11
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Forget the pancake hood. It's a wasted expense and are only used by some pipeliners. Shop should supply ear plugs, gloves, standard 2" x 4-1/4" cover plates, P100 masks and possibly safety glasses too but some people prefer their own style safety glasses. Get coveralls unless you like getting in your vehicle to come home when you're absolutely filthy. They will probably tell you what you need to supply on your own and what they supply. It doesn't hurt to ask.

  17. #12
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    Forget the pancake hood. It's a wasted expense and are only used by some pipeliners.
    I've been using mine for a while now and it's helped me doing all forms of work both inside and outside using stick, fluxcore, and Tig. I see better and am much more comfortable and thus produce much better work than any of my other four hoods of different brands and types acquired over the course of three years. Shouldn't I want to use the equipment I'm best with if I have the option?
    Last edited by yellowfin; 08-18-2020 at 12:09 AM.

  18. #13
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Pancake hood is completely open on one side which is why they were made for pipeliners. In a shop setting I could see getting sparks and even a good sunburn on your face on the open side.

  19. #14
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    It was hilarious today when someone asked me if this was a work from home position.

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Buy good boots, spend the extra cash, you won't regret it.
    Morgan

    Everlast PowerARC 200STi (2018)
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by yellowfin View Post
    It was hilarious today when someone asked me if this was a work from home position.
    Thats a good one...of course it is...20 miles of weld lead from the house back to the shop, call in and say hey mac turn me up a wee little bit.... nope to much back down about half what you turned it up....yup there it is ok gotta weld this.

    Have fun and be safe and good luck

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  24. #17
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Thus far after two weeks going pretty well. A bit of an adjustment getting up earlier than I have for work in over a decade but the people are nice and the work very straightforward. Interesting thing about argon is they have a giant central tank outside and pipe the argon all around like shop air off a big compressor. It's impressive.
    Last edited by yellowfin; 09-07-2020 at 12:00 PM.

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by yellowfin View Post
    Thus far after two weeks going pretty well. A bit of an adjustment getting up earlier than I have for work in over a decade but the people are nice and the work very straightforward. Interesting thing about argon is they have a giant central tank outside and pipe the argon all around like shop air off a big compressor. It's impressive.
    A shipyard i worked at had railroad cars full of the gases (oxygen argon mix gas etc) and had a acetylene genarator

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  28. #19
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by yellowfin View Post
    It was hilarious today when someone asked me if this was a work from home position.
    All through my life I would have people ask me what my number was and they would phone me at work. These people had no idea what real work was and when I suggested that if they phoned me at work I could get fired they got a confused look on their face.

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  30. #20
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    I'm surprised there aren't thousands of people being fired everyday for using their personal phones at work. Half the time their phone takes priority over their work. It's really bad when you go into the bosses office and she tries to hide her personal phone... she's still holding in her hand and was just talking on. Even worse is when she decides to turn her highbacked chair backwards and have a nap for an hour then wakes up to use the washroom. Never did realize that the curtains in her office were translucent and you could see through them. They had little holes in them. My cubicle was directly in front of her office. I could see her talking on her phone and she often talked loud enough to hear her. Her boss was in another province and she took full advantage of it.

  31. #21
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by Popeye an old miner View Post
    A shipyard i worked at had railroad cars full of the gases (oxygen argon mix gas etc) and had a acetylene genarator
    I thought acetylene generators were illegal.
    Or was this a long time ago, I'm 65 & thought my dad told me that when I was a teen.
    Last edited by CAVEMANN; 09-08-2020 at 04:54 PM.
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    I think in some applications acetylene generators are legal. I think the biggest issue with newer models is having a way to dispose of the waste they produce.

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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    I think in some applications acetylene generators are legal. I think the biggest issue with newer models is having a way to dispose of the waste they produce.
    From what I remember dad saying was it was an issue with pressure, because the raw acetylene would explode at 15 psi or so IIRC.
    The only acetylene generator I've seen was the one in my grandad's blacksmith shop, but don't remember too much about it.
    Last edited by CAVEMANN; 09-08-2020 at 10:19 PM.
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    Im guessin it was one that was newer, this was about 10 years ago, and I dont really know what exactly it was they had that provided the acetylene, i was just a welder, welders welded, the fitters used the torches there. But t, they said there were no bottles used in the orentation and safety class before we went out in the yard. There was piping there for all the gases used and manifolds evry where for whatever gas was needed. I never saw a bottle of anything anywhere in that place.

    That be nice. The one thing I never liked about this racket is wreslin them bottles, hell some of them weigh more than i do. Had one slide on some ice one afternoon outside the breaker when i was loadin up the weld rig i used out there it took my left knee out, put me in a pain for about 7 months til it finally healed up..2 years later i ended up with a reconstruction on it
    Last edited by Popeye an old miner; 09-13-2020 at 07:49 AM.

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  36. #25
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    Re: Career Change, First Day Expectations

    I toured a fill plant and they use 50 PSI for filling but all the piping is heavy wall and welded connections (I think it was 1/2 inch piping). They said 15 PSI would take forever to fill. It still takes a few hours but they fill about 6 cylinders at a time. Very controlled conditions. We couldn't go in where the acetylene generator was but we could see it from the fill station though. There were sliding doors they opened so we could see it. You can't have any metal on your clothing and everything had to be really clean to work in the acet. generator room. They said disposing of the used sludge from the calcium carbide was a big reason large shops don't have acetylene generators.

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