Machine Shop manager position offered. < question>
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    Default Machine Shop manager position offered. < question>

    Hi fellow Machinists,
    Here my situation.
    I'm an experienced manual machinist with over 15 years working in the shop and overall 20 in manufacturing.
    Been employed for about 5 years for this company that works in the energy field (power plants and such) where there is high margin in profit.
    Company has about 40 workers and three departments.
    Machine Shop (no cnc) has about 4 Manual Machinists and 2 apprentices, the actual lead guy is about to retire in a couple of years anyway he is not gonna be in charge anymore.
    The general manager recently let me know that they wanted to offer me the Machine Shop Manager position ( + tool crib )
    I have some concerns about authority, being backed up by upper management since one of the apprentices, his dad is friend with the owner, spends most of the time hiding and on his phone, and the 2 older machinists do pretty much what they want.
    I know I am gonna have to square this up with management and my question for guys with management experience is.
    What's the average pay for that Machine Shop and tool crib manager ? ( an expd machinist makes about $25 )
    Been reading a lot and i see wages between $35/$45 hourly.

    Thanks

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    My experience is that "management" implies a salary position.

    Negotiate on the annual compensation. They will ask for body blood and soul. If you are willing......for a price.

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    I took a job in the same field as a plant manager. They did shop and field work in the Nuclear, Fossil and hydro industry and my job was to oversee the daily operations. They were about the same with 40 or 50 people on staff but many spent their time in the field since that was where the big money was at. I was 40 years old with 20 or so years under my belt and most of the machinist their had probably 10 years on me. Right away This wasn't working out so well. The thought of a younger guy being their boss was a smack in the face to these guys. A few old timers quit and others just bitched and moaned until finally the owner asked if I would just move into CNC but keep the management pay. A few years went by and I finally moved on and even then people where still bitching.

    Maybe since you have some time there you may not hit those kind of obstacles. As CalG said "Salary position". Don't fall for this in the energy field. Outages and shutdowns require a lot of management and if you're in charge of tooling that is a whole other nightmare. At Continental we worked so many hours they had beds in the upstairs offices since we needed to be there almost 24 hours a day. It wasn't nothing for me to get a call at 4am needing me to hire a private plane to send some special tool to a job site.

    ( an expd machinist makes about $25 )
    Been reading a lot and i see wages between $35/$45 hourly.
    In the energy sector someone with good manual background should get $45 an hour easy I've seen field guys knocking down $75+ before overtime. Heck, we had apprentices starting off at $25. If your employer wants you to handle that same job description stay hourly and get all you can negotiate out of it.

    As for the apprentice that plays on his phone? You need to get it out up front that you don't want to be micro managed. If you are qualified enough that they ask you to take the rains then they should have no reason to go behind your back on management calls.
    Last edited by g-coder05; 07-09-2019 at 09:53 PM.

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    Machine Shop Manager in a CNC Machine Shop with 10 guys I would expect 70-80k annual.

    Only other advice I'd give is make sure you understand what managements expectation is going to be specifically. With a change like this, sometimes management is going to want to change and make unknown improvements. You don't want to be bound to their unclear expectations. Make sure everything is on the table for both sides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timetraveler77 View Post
    I have some concerns about authority, being backed up by upper management since one of the apprentices, his dad is friend with the owner, spends most of the time hiding and on his phone, and the 2 older machinists do pretty much what they want.
    I know I am gonna have to square this up with management and my question for guys with management experience is.
    You had better get very clear instructions and authority on these matters, as if you don't you may find your stay very short. Don't ignore pay, but frankly it's secondary to ensuring you can actually function in your new position. You'll still want to keep the resume current, just in case.

    You'll also want to read some books (or at least chapters) on effective leadership. Even if you have the chops, if you don't understand interpersonal dynamics and how to lead with minimal antagonism, you will fail.

    And it won't be a pretty failure (don't ask me how I know...).

    Good luck!

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    I was in a similar situation. Owner asked me to ease into managing the shop because the old that had been from the start wasn’t a good manager with the companies growth. I took the position and totally reorganized the shop. Before this I had implemented the Bom and purchasing system that the old manager just couldn’t understand. One of the workers commented that he found himself full of energy after work lately. He then realized that moving the most used parts off the 12’ mezzanine he was no longer climbing stairs all day anymore!

    We then delivered the first totally, built and tested system on time in the 12 years I was there. Then the old manager started pushing back, purposely putting things where they did belong to disrupt the work. I went to the owner and said it time to move him out to another position until he was ready to retire. I felt bad for him because they were lying to him about what I was doing. When the owner said they weren’t going to do that at this time I suddenly realized they were lying, to ME!

    I never set foot in the shop again until I left the company a year later. Take this as fair warning.

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    If you are a top shelf manual machinist with solid experience in that environment, you should be making $30-$40/hr easy let alone being in a mgt position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timetraveler77 View Post
    I have some concerns about authority, being backed up by upper management since one of the apprentices, his dad is friend with the owner, spends most of the time hiding and on his phone, and the 2 older machinists do pretty much what they want.
    I know I am gonna have to square this up with management and my question for guys with management experience is.
    Intruder alert! Intruder alert! The good part: you are showing that you are smart and intuitive about personnel situations, that's a good qualification for a manager (but you have to also know how to deal with them, i.e. leadership). The potential bad part: you may have to "deal" with this at some level that you think "sucks" that could drive you crazy (okay, that's on the worst end of the scale, but it could also lead to you getting fired even though it's the apprentice who maybe should be).

    Are there lots of other examples like this in the company? Is there evidence that they know and "accept" it? Be careful about rising up in a "private social service" (i.e. they're paying extra to keep losers on just because they are friends/family). These kinds of situations can extremely frustrating if you think something needs to be done, yet you "can't" (because they won't let you).

    On the other hand, they may know absolutely nothing about it and would greatly appreciate your bringing it up but be very careful about it. I would bring it up as "generically" as possible with the GM and get his read on it before getting into specifics. Ideally you'll walk away with "this will never work out" or "yeah, he get's it and will support me".

    I'm also in the bucket of "around" $70K/plus for annual salary (if it's truly a manager position).

    Good luck and give us some updates!
    The Dude

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    Running a machine, you often know the machine’s faults and know how to get around them and still make things work and good parts.
    People are so different some may seem to be babyish and you still have to get them to think about their job.
    Some owners think the boss/ manager job is non producing and feel added pay is not needed /others think the job is worth extra bucks.
    Have you ever held a leader position? Can you handle childish acting people and still not get mad? Will you have the option to go back to your tools?
    QT: [the owner, spends most of the time hiding and, on his phone,] likely because he knows how unpredictable people can be and because workers like to see the owner or boss/manager busy. So, if you take the job you should always look busy/ not stand and talk to your fried when he/ she is on the clock/ not show any favoritism to certain workers/ always talk and seem concerned about the shop, have good rules posted and blame the rules for discipline/ expect some people to act like children.
    QT: [ people where still bitching. ] some people just love to do that and keep looking for reasons, even just making them up to cause friction.
    IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timetraveler77 View Post

    I have some concerns about authority, being backed up by upper management since one of the apprentices, his dad is friend with the owner, spends most of the time hiding and on his phone, and the 2 older machinists do pretty much what they want.
    I know I am gonna have to square this up with management and my question for guys with management experience is.
    I recently went thru this and it didn't work out well for me. I went to mgmt and said they need to get someone else. Being a younger guy but with more experience than the older guys they never bought into me being their manager. I tried various tactics over 5 years to make it work but it never did in the end. I'd be wary about taking this on especially with concerns about management backing. Don't let the money be the determining factor because you're going to spend alot of your own time at home on the weekends thinking about it instead of enjoying them. If mgmt lets the apprentice get away with what you said and you try to correct it, it's likely you'll get overruled and it'll undermine your authority as the manager and the guys with see that.
    I'd be having a serious heart to heart with upper mgmt that if you take on the role they stay out of it.

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    Oh it is one of the apprentices who does that. I thought it was the owner.

    Agree it is mot easy to change bad things that have been practice for a time. QT: [one of the apprentices, his dad is friend with the owner, spends most of the time hiding and on his phone, and the 2 older machinists do pretty much what they want.]

    Might have to threaten to fire the apprentice.
    Last edited by michiganbuck; 07-13-2019 at 07:13 AM.

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    An offer like that can go good or bad. You need to ask yourself "why am I getting the offer"? If you're real good at machining this may only be part of the answer. I was offered a job as Tooling Engineer at a well known national company's stamping division. It was not paying what a full tool designer should make so I negotiated the duties down to CAD work and light/occasional design elements. It didn't take long for them to start bringing me problems with quality, production, and process. I didn't mind as I wanted to prove I could be worth more than I was being paid and I genuinely wanted to improve the operations. That's how it starts, with small problems outside your duties. I even had my duties in writing, which means nothing. At the end of almost one year I had my plate loaded with process documentation, full die design requests, employee supervision, training the the die makers, and several other issues outside my defined duties. Sometimes they just want to squeeze you to see how much juice they can get out of you. Being Shop Manager doesn't mean anything except more responsibility if upper management doesn't back you or makes empty promises that never seem to happen. Some companies want change but won't give you a budget to work with or the authority to enact change. You have to decide what you're willing to do and what you're NOT willing to do. If/when that circumstance arrives where you have to draw the line you need to be prepared for what you'll do when that day comes. The position you're being offered may be the start of something good for you and the company. It can also be the start of a very frustrating and draining experience you'll wish you'd not taken. Can you stay calm when you know you're being played? Can you put up with childish behavior from "adults" that like stirring up trouble? When a drill is no longer sharp it is often tossed in the garbage. The company/owner may consider you no more important than a drill that's no longer useful and you'll be fired if you balk at doing things outside your defined duties. I would also advise negotiating time-and-a-half for time over 40 hours or you'll be there 65 hours a week on straight salary. Insist on be present for budget meetings and know how much your department is allocated. Keep written records of production, and your own actions. Keep a copy of your records at home and hope you won't need them. Resist the urge to work out of your own tooling/instruments, if the job needs instrumentation then the company should purchase it. Do NOT take responsibility for people, things, or processes that you have no authority over. Negotiate the highest pay you can get because you'll likely not get another, even when it's "tied" to improvements made. Work hard, be worthy, be wary. Good luck.

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    Might be good to ask the owner "What do you want me to do with the likes of Robby who has terrible work habits? Fire Robby and the two older machinists may resent your doing that..

    I was asked to run the shop a few times, and even once considered taking such a job, but I am not good with things being done wrong so would not have been able to handle people trying to get my goat, or deliberately messing up. Good thing that I never took such a job.

    QT: [they wanted to offer me the Machine Shop Manager position ( + tool crib
    2 older machinists who do pretty much what they want and an apprentice who slacks.
    Machine Shop (no cnc) has about 4 Manual Machinists and 2 apprentices,]
    I would think +$10 an hour and that is not much money if only a 40-50 hour week.
    Who does quality control inspection, tool selection, sharpening?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AD Design View Post
    An offer like that can go good or bad. You need to ask yourself "why am I getting the offer"? If you're real good at machining this may only be part of the answer. I was offered a job as Tooling Engineer at a well known national company's stamping division. It was not paying what a full tool designer should make so I negotiated the duties down to CAD work and light/occasional design elements. It didn't take long for them to start bringing me problems with quality, production, and process. I didn't mind as I wanted to prove I could be worth more than I was being paid and I genuinely wanted to improve the operations. That's how it starts, with small problems outside your duties. I even had my duties in writing, which means nothing. At the end of almost one year I had my plate loaded with process documentation, full die design requests, employee supervision, training the the die makers, and several other issues outside my defined duties. Sometimes they just want to squeeze you to see how much juice they can get out of you. Being Shop Manager doesn't mean anything except more responsibility if upper management doesn't back you or makes empty promises that never seem to happen. Some companies want change but won't give you a budget to work with or the authority to enact change. You have to decide what you're willing to do and what you're NOT willing to do. If/when that circumstance arrives where you have to draw the line you need to be prepared for what you'll do when that day comes. The position you're being offered may be the start of something good for you and the company. It can also be the start of a very frustrating and draining experience you'll wish you'd not taken. Can you stay calm when you know you're being played? Can you put up with childish behavior from "adults" that like stirring up trouble? When a drill is no longer sharp it is often tossed in the garbage. The company/owner may consider you no more important than a drill that's no longer useful and you'll be fired if you balk at doing things outside your defined duties. I would also advise negotiating time-and-a-half for time over 40 hours or you'll be there 65 hours a week on straight salary. Insist on be present for budget meetings and know how much your department is allocated. Keep written records of production, and your own actions. Keep a copy of your records at home and hope you won't need them. Resist the urge to work out of your own tooling/instruments, if the job needs instrumentation then the company should purchase it. Do NOT take responsibility for people, things, or processes that you have no authority over. Negotiate the highest pay you can get because you'll likely not get another, even when it's "tied" to improvements made. Work hard, be worthy, be wary. Good luck.
    These are good ideas.. I would like to offer a couple things however.

    " I would also advise negotiating time-and-a-half for time over 40 hours or you'll be there 65 hours a week on straight salary "
    Good idea, but not likely to go over well. The best thing you can do (which I did) is to just "lay down the law" in the beginning. Such as "OK, I'll stay and get this project done this week, but I am taking a day off next week, or the next time there is a slowdown (and if there "is never a slowdown", just insist I am taking next Friday off.. PERIOD). This worked well for me in my last job as salary, and it did not cause problems.

    " Keep written records of production, and your own actions. Keep a copy of your records at home and hope you won't need them "

    Ehh... if it comes down to this, you have already lost IMO. I actually did this for about a 6 month time frame. I kept a 'log' of time and what I did- waiting on mat'l, waiting for a tool, waiting for revised models/prints, etc. No one ever asked about my time, or what was happening so it was just wasted effort on my part.
    Funny thing, a co-worker (after the fact) insisted we should do this (log times, etc) as "our assigned project" was going off the rails (understatement of the year!!) and I told him "nope, been there done that", well fast forward 6 months or so and were both laid off. No "exit interview", no explanation other than "budget blah blah". Total BS and we both knew it, but what are you going to do?


    " I even had my duties in writing, which means nothing "

    Amen brother!! (:

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    Keeping records of production and your own actions is not intended for legal purposes, unlawful dismissal lawsuits are an exercise in futility for all but a select segment of society. What I intended to say, but worded badly, was to document improvements/solutions to problems known and unknown. Solutions/improvements are sometimes claimed by others and false allegations are all too often started by co-workers that don't want you to succeed. When it's time to ask for a raise (Hah!) you'll have more persuasive evidence in writing than an oral accounting. When the documented evidence of improvement is ignored you'll know where you stand. Process documentation is also crucial to process improvement. How will you know if switching from D2 to CPM10V on a die section was worth the money (for example). JMO.

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    A 6 machine shop an a 40 person shop. What do the machinists do make and repair fixtures, make an odd machine part, repair something? Does the tool shop have any production jobs, parts ? If that is the case. What will your duties be? Assigning who does what. Plan work process, be sure needed stock and supplies are on hand keep an eye on tools. will you be in charge of just the machine shop or over the whole 40 person crew?

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    Nice that they are asking you...but it is a transition and not all people are good at management.

    In that kind of position you become the middle guy who is responsible for everything. Company looks to you to meet marks and the guys you oversea look to you as the outsider pushing. When things are running smooth all is well, but when they are not how good are you at getting hit from every angle?

    If it were me, my concern would be the apprentice. While it would be great if you could motivate him to stay off the phone...you need to know what your authority will be if he decides not to.
    Actually it would be that apprentice and the two older machinist who do pretty much what they want. Management now may not be able to handle them and its easier to give the hard worker a bump up, make HIM responsible so when things do not stay on track...he'll stay late, come in on weekends to get'r done...all on salary.
    Being in the middle is tough enough...but being in the middle when both sides work against you is tougher. And if you have 2 machinist doing what they want and one apprentice that hides playing on his phone...that leaves who to manage and get the work done??

    If your backed and they guys just need so good leadership to get turned around...and if that is your talent...then it can be a great step up.

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    If the lead guy is the current machine shop manager and he is still employed there maybe you could just ask him what his thoughts are on the slacking apprentice. He may very well have tried to do something about it and was shut down by the owner.

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    It is problematic a slacker is tolerated in a manual shop. At least in a CNC shop he could still be producing if he left a machine running while playing video games on his phone. In a manual shop he is producing ZERO when not turning handles. His co workers and management are tolerating him, sounds like since his dad is buddies with the owner he has diplomatic immunity. If I was offered a job as his boss and I were you I would want complete authority over him and anyone who I supervised. I would ask for this in writing. Personally I would not take the job unless it paid over market and came with a sign on bonus. Junior is going to be a big problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AD Design View Post
    Keeping records of production and your own actions is not intended for legal purposes, unlawful dismissal lawsuits are an exercise in futility for all but a select segment of society. What I intended to say, but worded badly, was to document improvements/solutions to problems known and unknown. Solutions/improvements are sometimes claimed by others and false allegations are all too often started by co-workers that don't want you to succeed. When it's time to ask for a raise (Hah!) you'll have more persuasive evidence in writing than an oral accounting. When the documented evidence of improvement is ignored you'll know where you stand. Process documentation is also crucial to process improvement. How will you know if switching from D2 to CPM10V on a die section was worth the money (for example). JMO.
    I'll split the difference with you.

    I found that regardless, once they have a mind it's over, IT IS OVER. I could have pointed to a dozen things that were an improvement, but it didn't matter in the end.

    To directly address the OP, it doesn't sound like a good deal to me. I would probably pass.

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