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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgin View Post
    Dude...listening to people complain is obviously a strong suit if I'm still hanging around this forum.
    That's pretty funny! LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by DouglasJRizzo View Post
    If the shop is due to be sold, I would very much get in WRITING what the new owners want and expect from you and how they are going to compensate you, who will be over you, etc. Don't leave that to chance.
    That was the biggest concern I took away from the OP. And, I feel needs a little more elaboration.
    "New ownership" can spell doom. Depending on the dynamics of the situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    That was the biggest concern I took away from the OP. And, I feel needs a little more elaboration.
    "New ownership" can spell doom. Depending on the dynamics of the situation.
    Here's what we've got...

    Owner A starts up business back in the early 2000's. Shop grows over next 20 years, including two moves into bigger facilities.

    2018, owner A approaching retirement age, begins planning to sell shop to current "operations/plant manager".

    Late 2019, "operations/plant manager" takes over as owner B, owner A makes announcement that he will stay on as consultant for one year.

    Fast forward to today, the details are foggy to me but what I think is going on is owner A is leaving his consulting position to finally head to retirement, which opens up a position in management for quoting/ordering materials/routing, etc. Current shop foreman potentially taking this role.

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  5. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgin View Post
    Here's what we've got...

    Owner A starts up business back in the early 2000's. Shop grows over next 20 years, including two moves into bigger facilities.

    2018, owner A approaching retirement age, begins planning to sell shop to current "operations/plant manager".

    Late 2019, "operations/plant manager" takes over as owner B, owner A makes announcement that he will stay on as consultant for one year.

    Fast forward to today, the details are foggy to me but what I think is going on is owner A is leaving his consulting position to finally head to retirement, which opens up a position in management for quoting/ordering materials/routing, etc. Current shop foreman potentially taking this role.
    I figured (and, was hoping for you) that that was the story. That is the "best case" scenario, with the best chance of success. Good luck with your decision.

    More often than not, new ownership spells ruffled feathers with management and customers. And, new (sometimes strange) customers.
    And, worst of all, tightened screws on the books. IMLE, new owners tend to forget the first rule of shop ownership: "it takes money to make money".
    They want their money back, plus profits, ASAP. And, it just doesn't happen that way.

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    I look at at this way, as a programmer you’re only responsible for your own work. As a foreman you are responsible for a lot of people and their work. The extra pay that may come with being a foreman is not worth it in my opinion.

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  8. #46
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    dodgin #1 - You need to ping CarbideBob and ask to buy his dinner one evening in exchange for some conversation. That is one man with many lifetimes of experience you would be wise to draw from.

    #2 - Take the job. Ask for well more than the measly 5% raise, but I would encourage you to take the job. I'm not going to bore you with my life story, short of saying that you'll grow most in life, personally, professionally, when you are being pushed outside of your comfort zone.

    Don't allow yourself to get consumed by work, such that your wife & kids suffer. Inside of work though, embrace the suck, smile for others, and go try something new & uncomfortable.




    The way I see it - We are so damn fortunate to be born in this country where opportunity is ours to take or leave. It would be a damn shame to let it go to waste, when quite literally, billions of people around the world would trade our worst day for their best, just for the opportunity to get ahead.

    EVERY job is temporary anyway...

    When it all crashes down, you'll better equipped & experienced to do better on the next go-round.

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    I want to address the comments about "programming being easy, can outsource it, and cam jockey comments"

    Yes, you can outsource, how successful will that be when you don't have the tools the programmer used, or your fixturing is less than ideal, machine is loose, the 2-5-10 email exchanges/phone calls to get what works and makes good parts? Also, I imagine outsourcing would be more expensive, unless your programming time is intermittent with few new jobs...

    As far as being easy, ya I wouldn't say it't that difficult *per se'*, but getting good programs is another matter. When I started here they had hundreds or thousands even of programs from multiple guys. I could probably count on one hand the good/stable runs I ran into (not saying I have seen each and everyone, just whenever they wanted me to look at something and fix it they were bad). Cutter comp turned on with straight line moves, .125 endmills milling .150 holes at 30ipm, no provisions for fixturing or setup instructions, and so on and so forth.

    Cam jockey... interesting, but is supposed to be belittling? Is an engineer a *just* a cad jockey then? Sure, some are I suppose. I like to think me as being a cam jockey, I go above and beyond. I don't just 'punch' keys on a keyboard. I have to decide the how to hold the parts, order of operations, just one piece so I can wing it, or will this be around for years? Will the setup guys understand my work instructions, what are the best tools, do I go for maximum efficiency, or get a nice smooth stable program? I suppose if all that is still just a cam jockey, so be it.

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  12. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    I want to address the comments about "programming being easy, can outsource it, and cam jockey comments"

    Yes, you can outsource, how successful will that be when you don't have the tools the programmer used, or your fixturing is less than ideal, machine is loose, the 2-5-10 email exchanges/phone calls to get what works and makes good parts? Also, I imagine outsourcing would be more expensive, unless your programming time is intermittent with few new jobs...

    As far as being easy, ya I wouldn't say it't that difficult *per se'*, but getting good programs is another matter. When I started here they had hundreds or thousands even of programs from multiple guys. I could probably count on one hand the good/stable runs I ran into (not saying I have seen each and everyone, just whenever they wanted me to look at something and fix it they were bad). Cutter comp turned on with straight line moves, .125 endmills milling .150 holes at 30ipm, no provisions for fixturing or setup instructions, and so on and so forth.

    Cam jockey... interesting, but is supposed to be belittling? Is an engineer a *just* a cad jockey then? Sure, some are I suppose. I like to think me as being a cam jockey, I go above and beyond. I don't just 'punch' keys on a keyboard. I have to decide the how to hold the parts, order of operations, just one piece so I can wing it, or will this be around for years? Will the setup guys understand my work instructions, what are the best tools, do I go for maximum efficiency, or get a nice smooth stable program? I suppose if all that is still just a cam jockey, so be it.
    All so true! I have worked in shops where the programmer (CAM jockey) would not be capable of setting up, and running his own program.
    Because he wouldn't know how! I've never understood how somebody can become a CAM guy without having many years at the machine first.
    How can you dictate a machining strategy? If you don't know machining fundamentals.
    I remember in one place the CAM guy and set-up guy would damn near throw down several times a week.
    After the USB-stick had made countless trips from the office, to the machine, and back. I was a programmer there, LOL.
    That job did not last, I think maybe a month. Management was just the worst fluster-cluck I had ever seen.
    They would bitch at me for taking too long because the set-up guys had nothing to do. While the other idiots running shit programs back and forth were fine.
    All because they looked busy. When in fact, they were accomplishing jack shite.

    The best one I saw was on a lathe. Set-up guy was real tired of having to pretty much re-work all the programs coming out of the office.
    He was always getting bitched at because he would be standing at the control finger-fucking the code in to something usable.
    Its been a while, so I don't remember the exact specifics of this, but basically: guy was given a program, and stock. It was maybe 4"dia, 4"long, chunk of steel.
    There was only something like .150" stock to hold? He cut the jaws, clamped the stock, and started to edit. Foreman walked by, and bitched him out, basically saying:
    "Run it as programmed! We don't have time for your bullshit!". Guy tries to explain, the cut parameters are way to aggressive for the work-holding.
    A few minutes of yelling pass, foreman walks away. Guy turns rapid all the way down, pushes the green button, and starts rolling his tool-box towards the door! BANG!

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    @wheelie. I worked at a place where the guy who was one of the worst machinists in the shop (bad surface finishes, extra spots in the wrong place, broken tools, etc) was the most loved because he hurried all the time (hence all the fuckups) and he always told the owner "be done in a couple hours" (3 times a day mind you LoL). Sometimes the illusion is more important than the work getting done, which i can't understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    The best one I saw was on a lathe. Set-up guy was real tired of having to pretty much re-work all the programs coming out of the office.
    He was always getting bitched at because he would be standing at the control finger-fucking the code in to something usable.
    Its been a while, so I don't remember the exact specifics of this, but basically: guy was given a program, and stock. It was maybe 4"dia, 4"long, chunk of steel.
    There was only something like .150" stock to hold? He cut the jaws, clamped the stock, and started to edit. Foreman walked by, and bitched him out, basically saying:
    "Run it as programmed! We don't have time for your bullshit!". Guy tries to explain, the cut parameters are way to aggressive for the work-holding.
    A few minutes of yelling pass, foreman walks away. Guy turns rapid all the way down, pushes the green button, and starts rolling his tool-box towards the door! BANG!
    He should have put a G04 in there (give himself time to roll his tools & himself well clear,) and left the rapids at 100...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    He should have put a G04 in there (give himself time to roll his tools & himself well clear,) and left the rapids at 100...
    He wanted to be in shouting distance when the bomb went off. It was a good show. Not a terrible crash. But, it did crash.
    Part got pushed out just like he said it would. Wedged between tool and chuck. Threw a Z overcurrent, but it was too late.
    The huge dent was already in the way-cover. Trashed the tool. Knocked the turret out.
    We got along because of a common interest (dirt-bikes). I still run in to him every now & then. Good dude.

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    Its obvious I wasn't clear with my statement about programming being easy. I meant programming is easy to evaluate. You load the program, push the button. It makes a good part, or it doesn't. Being foreman is never black and white, always shades of gray.

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    Can't say I read though all the posts, but if the shop runs outside the of regular business hours, would you be the Joe they call if there is an issue? Now that you are a part of management and all.

    Saw this happen to my father in a previous life. Called in at all damned hours. Fact that you are still being paid by hour is obviously better than salary for this scenario.

    Long story short, wouldn't be surprised if X months down the track they try to make you go on to salary.

    If you take the jump I would try to keep my hand in a little bit with the programming.

    Good luck, whatever way u go.

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    There are line positions, and there are staff positions. Neither is inherently better than the other. Programming is one and foreman is the other.

    Here's the thing, though, which one sees in engineering all the time: Being a good engineer will get you promoted to engineering manager, but literally none of the skills transfer. Just because you were a good engineer does not mean you will be a good engineering manager.

    Same thing here. If you're a good programmer, do you really want to give that up to learn a completely new job, which you may or may not be good at?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jatt View Post
    Can't say I read though all the posts, but if the shop runs outside the of regular business hours, would you be the Joe they call if there is an issue? Now that you are a part of management and all.

    Saw this happen to my father in a previous life. Called in at all damned hours. Fact that you are still being paid by hour is obviously better than salary for this scenario.

    Long story short, wouldn't be surprised if X months down the track they try to make you go on to salary.

    If you take the jump I would try to keep my hand in a little bit with the programming.

    Good luck, whatever way u go.
    The current foreman has been in his position for over a decade now and still maintains an hourly rate. Keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way. There's also only two shifts in the shop and from what I've been told the second shift guys aren't usually as quick to call the foreman as they are to call the lead guys in their respective department. Hopefully this is true but I'm not banking on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose View Post
    Same thing here. If you're a good programmer, do you really want to give that up to learn a completely new job, which you may or may not be good at?
    The idea didn't particularly interest me, no.

    I accepted the position and negotiated for 10% instead of the 5% they offered. I figured unless I'm forced out in some way I'm going to give this a shot for a year. After a year I'll evaluate how I'm feeling and where I'm at, and from there either stick with it or jump back into programming...whether it's with the same shop or a different one.

    Thanks to all you guys for the input. It's been a lot to think about and, as usual, various perspectives from the myriad of personalities hanging around this forum has helped me out quite a bit in thinking this through.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgin View Post
    I accepted the position and negotiated for 10% instead of the 5% they offered. I figured unless I'm forced out in some way I'm going to give this a shot for a year. After a year I'll evaluate how I'm feeling and where I'm at, and from there either stick with it or jump back into programming...whether it's with the same shop or a different one.
    Yeah man - That's what I'm talking about!

    BTW - I think that's an answer to your original question as to which position is more valuable...

    Best of luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    Yeah man - That's what I'm talking about!

    BTW - I think that's an answer to your original question as to which position is more valuable... to them/for OP

    Best of luck.
    I've never made more money than as a programmer / ME (sort of- fixturing, tooling, processing, work instructions, etc)...

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    So, I haven't read thru all the comments, so idk what people are saying and I'm only answering the question from the topic.

    I think that you should find a Programmer that can do some work that a Forman would do, not as much but something. In my opinion that would be the best choice, you might have to pay him little more than usual but its still better than having 2 people at ~$80,000 salaries. Just have 1 at $100-$110 that does both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackwolf4278 View Post
    So, I haven't read thru all the comments, so idk what people are saying and I'm only answering the question from the topic.

    I think that you should find a Programmer that can do some work that a Forman would do, not as much but something. In my opinion that would be the best choice, you might have to pay him little more than usual but its still better than having 2 people at ~$80,000 salaries. Just have 1 at $100-$110 that does both.
    ^ This is pretty much what I do. I program full time, but I also manage tooling/spare components, *some* workflow, material ordering, machine/program troubleshooting (old programs that need rework and stuff). Honestly, I am probably not fully compensated for doing both jobs, but I like being salary and the freedom it brings. I don't work at a sweat shop, don't get bogged down working 50+ hours, come and go when I want, paid lunch (even hourly guys get a paid lunch here), etc etc. Overall a nice place to work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    ^ This is pretty much what I do. I program full time, but I also manage tooling/spare components, *some* workflow, material ordering, machine/program troubleshooting (old programs that need rework and stuff). Honestly, I am probably not fully compensated for doing both jobs, but I like being salary and the freedom it brings. I don't work at a sweat shop, don't get bogged down working 50+ hours, come and go when I want, paid lunch (even hourly guys get a paid lunch here), etc etc. Overall a nice place to work.
    Well, the salary as well depends on where you are located I think. But doing all of that sounds fun to me, I would be up for it even for the same money I have right now doing just Engineering/Programming. That's probably one of the most important reasons I've started my own shop on the side. I love to hustle, and hate to sit around

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