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    Default Newbie: What is Expected Day 1 on the job? Career Advice Welcomed

    Hello. I'm brand new to this field. I'm 36 and went the college route (BS in Business) when I was fresh out of high school. After moderate success in the business world, I had a mid-life crisis and decided to study a trade because like working with my hands. Machining is something that greatly interests me and I have mad respect for people who are really good at it. Several of my uncles are old-school machinists who have helped me with car projects - so for the past year I have been in vocational school learning everything I can.

    I love the work, from what I have been exposed to in school, but there it seems watered down/unstructured and I'm not sure what to expect in the real-world. We are kinda left to our own and have a shop for trial and error with little instruction. The manual lathe made sense early on … but the manual mill still gives me trouble, ie I will square something and it doesn't rest on the parallels perfectly - even though I have trammed the mill dead nuts. At times I feel defunct on some things - although I can draw blueprints and write programs, setup CNC mills/lathes, and I can do almost everything basic on the EDM. I feel like a hodgepodge of knowledge with sprinkles of talent, but it's not all come together like I think it should.

    I have about 4 months left that I can stay in school … but I am starting to get coop opportunities. The shop I really want to be at is a BIG shop that focuses on automation machines. I know they have an apprentice program that closely resembles a journeyman program in that they build you up on manual machines before you ever get to touch a CNC (2 years). They haven't had an opening as of yet, but may by the time I'm done with school. Not really sure what to do or whether I should just start with a smaller production/job shop to get my beak wet.

    MY QUESTIONS:
    1.) MAIN ONE: what do most shops expect out of a new machinist the first day on the job? Within the first month-3 months?
    2.) should I keep trying to build myself up in school hoping for the BIG shop to have an opening or go with gaining experience in small shops?
    3.) To avoid being a simple button pusher, should I strive to get into a shop working manual machines or get the CNC experience?
    4.) Will having a BS degree in Business help at all or should I just wipe my ass with it like I have wanted to do for more than a decade?


    I know some of this has been covered in other threads and, believe me, I have read some good stuff. I'm just wondering if there is any new insight and really worried I won't be able to cut the mustard. I would go with a 110 degree shop making less money if there is that one old guy in the corner who is the right person to build me up to the level of machinist I hope to become … and I would gladly bring him coffee and sweep his area. Really appreciate this website! I find the community to be full of very intelligent/witty people. Thanks for reading and all replies appreciated

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    " I know they have an apprentice program that closely resembles a journeyman program in that they build you up on manual machines before you ever get to touch a CNC (2 years"

    What does that mean? An apprenticeship leads to journeyman. Is this a real, Dept of Labor sanctioned program or a scam to get noobs to work for nothing?

    If you are this far along in school a serious program would at least accommodate your ability to finish. However from your description the program is not that valuable and downright dangerous. A real apprenticeship is basically the blue collar equivalent to a bachelors degree. Nowadays you are lucky to get in one. Then , like most education, your success will be dependent on the effort you invest.
    The first day I would look for aptitude. Both for mechanical things and for learning with a topping of enthusiasm. A little humility and we have a recipe for success.

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    Thank you for replying! I really believe I've got the aptitude and the right attitude … what attracts me to the field is that even if I did it for 100 years, I'd still be learning new things. It is exciting to think what skills I may gain in my first few years if I get into the right shop and how that may prepare me for whatever step would be next - either externally or internally with that company.

    It is not an actual Journeyman Program, as they are rare in my state, but I have seen the program checklist and it is very thorough (grinding, heat treating, specialty tool proficiency, etc). I believe it is just their company's training program. You start in the manual tool room and there is a senior machinist there to guide you. It truly is the top notch shop in my area and hoping that through my contacts there that I may be able to land something.

    My program is good in the sense that the shop has lots of nice CNC equipment (Okuma) and it has 100% placement, but actual classroom instruction is minimal and missing basic things - like a sine vise. Everything is so CNC dependent in the program and I feel there is a void with the manual machine understanding that so many hardcore machinists possess. Suppose I was looking for a more hard nosed/structured approach. I've really had to dig through threads and on youtube for actual instruction and then apply what I've learned. Happy with what I've gained - know I have many, many years before I am relatively comfortable - and I firmly believe the best machinists aren't the cocky ones.

    If I take a coop - I would have to attend school at least one day a week … but even that could be "fixed" or I graduate early. Everyone tells me that on the job training will teach me so much more, but I also want to be as sharp as possible when I begin at a shop. The shops I gravitate toward are more automation tooling/die shops … somewhere that will teach me to be more of a machinist than a production runner.

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    Trying to get in the 'big shop' would be good, especially since they have a training program, and from what you've described it sounds like a good one.
    In this area of the country, most employers will not expect you to know everything, just graduating from school, but you should know the basics.
    Wherever you find employment, just go in with an open and attentive mind, and work hard, learn everything you can, and you will do well.
    Also, 30 years from now you will still be learning something new almost everyday.

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    joshuacisme from your posts I wouldn't even know where to begin offering advice. Asking others to make your decisions isn't helping you.

    The only person that can tell you what to do with and in your life is you.

    Wanting to be a machinist because you "like working with your hands" isn't a reason. You could do that by finding a good hobby.

    Here's the best advice I can come up with. Find a job that pays enough so money isn't your main concern and, most importantly, one that you enjoy doing. I don't think the one you seem to want exists.

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    Midlife crisis before 36? I had mine at 46. Caught up for apprenticeship then and had an own little shop for one year and a half. Made mistakes, had to close and work for a wage again. Now at 57 I am better than most mechanics in this country, thatís why Iím no longer employed. They fear me. Just beware, you might encounter the same. To be good isnít desired today. You have to obey, perform whatís been planned down to how you hold a pencil. Some call me a bitter old fart. At least I know the difference between a cup spring and a spring washer, a roll sheet and a pin. Pedant wishes you all the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechanola View Post
    Midlife crisis before 36? I had mine at 46. Caught up for apprenticeship then and had an own little shop for one year and a half. Made mistakes, had to close and work for a wage again. Now at 57 I am better than most mechanics in this country, thatís why Iím no longer employed. They fear me. Just beware, you might encounter the same. To be good isnít desired today. You have to obey, perform whatís been planned down to how you hold a pencil. Some call me a bitter old fart. At least I know the difference between a cup spring and a spring washer, a roll sheet and a pin. Pedant wishes you all the best.
    NO NO NO

    OP, ignore this. This guy^ has some issues apparently. Although there is a smidge of truth about obeying (um, it's called having a boss and work responsibility ), but don't get caught up in any of this nonsense this guy is talking about. If you have the talent and skills, you will find the 'right' job for you...

    It is called work for a reason...

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    #1 Show up on time or EARLY
    #2 Do what the boss needs and always try to do a little more or better that what is expected.
    #3 Listen to what the boss it saying ( he is the boss for a reason).
    #4 YouTube all the machines in the shop and learn what they can do.
    #5 Have a GOOD set of your own tools. You never know when the day to move on will happen.

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    #6 Bring your lunch.
    #7 Leave your cell phone in your lunch box!!

    Thank you,
    Mr.Smith

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshuacisme View Post
    1.) MAIN ONE: what do most shops expect out of a new machinist the first day on the job?
    You should know where to find the aluminum magnet in case they ask you to go get it.


    We would expect someone on Day 1 to show up a little early, bring in your tools (if you have any)and ask where to put them so that when it comes to your start time you're ready to go.
    Just do what you're told, don't be afraid to ask questions, etc... the usual common sense stuff.

    Oh, and leave your phone in your car.

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    every shop is different but most places dont like repeating telling you stuff. so if you got a pencil and paper and take notes that can help. obviously if somebody tells you 100 things in first few days its easy to forget some of them.
    .
    dont look down on button pusher. some button pushers are making $90,000/yr. many cnc have many buttons and nobody and i mean nobody can walk up to a cnc they never saw or used before without needing some training on it. its normal to need 1 or more months of training on each cnc
    .
    mistakes happen. try to not make too many. if you scrap too many parts costing over $1000. in the first 3 months usually you will not get hired permanently. many mistakes are like pressing button but not watching screen to confirm the button you press registered as pressed. or turning or pressing the wrong button and causing a crash. hard to describe. if you make a typo error inputting data thats always embarrassing. like there is no excuse. better to double check rather than regret later

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    with phones every shop different. one shop you are expected to daily use phone for picture taking and putting in work instructions, taking picture of cnc screesn for recording work offsets, sending text messages on asking and answering questions, like tool left on bench needs checking on tool presetter it was not set yet
    .
    other shops you get caught using phone you get fired. every shop different. obviously if somebody playing games on phone rather than doing work that needs to be done thats not good
    .
    might want to ask what is expected on phones on the first day

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    i agree if you show up late they might not say anything but almost guaranteed they will be pissed. doesnt matter if its traffic congestion on the roads or any reason, dont be late

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshuacisme View Post
    Hello. I'm brand new to this field.Ö but the manual mill still gives me trouble, ie I will square something and it doesn't rest on the parallels perfectly - even though I have trammed the mill dead nuts.
    There's a procedure for that, involving a soft face hammer and a round/half round stuck to the moving vise jaw. A 4 step procedure. Is that something you've been taught?

    BTW, squaring blocks sometimes gives experienced machinists fits, too.

    At times I feel defunct on some things - although I can draw blueprints and write programs, setup CNC mills/lathes, and I can do almost everything basic on the EDM. I feel like a hodgepodge of knowledge with sprinkles of talent, but it's not all come together like I think it should.
    Yeah, me too, 30 years later.

    ...MY QUESTIONS:
    1.) MAIN ONE: what do most shops expect out of a new machinist the first day on the job?
    Show up on time (already covered) , do the paperwork, keep your eyes open, be civil, try to remember everybody's name.


    ....4.) Will having a BS degree in Business help at all or should I just wipe my ass with it like I have wanted to do for more than a decade?
    It will be helpful. You'll be able to think of parts making in business terms. Not everyone can. Some shop hands may think of you as overly educated.

    Hang in there.

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    I'm going to agree with Tom about the cellphone deal. Everyplace is different, the new job may not allow your cellphone period, or they might be ok if you don't abuse it...

    For me, current job doesn't care, but I don't really play on my phone, just will answer a text here and there.

    Last job - NO CELLPHONES ON SHOP FLOOR, but since I worked in the office programming I could have it, but was discouraged from using it other than break time.

    2 jobs ago - I was given a cellphone which was company paid. We had color codes on our id badges showing I was a "designated" cellphone user.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    NO NO NO

    OP, ignore this. This guy^ has some issues apparently. Although there is a smidge of truth about obeying (um, it's called having a boss and work responsibility ), but don't get caught up in any of this nonsense this guy is talking about. If you have the talent and skills, you will find the 'right' job for you...

    It is called work for a reason...
    I know somebody like that.. They kept getting fired.. The reason was that they were SO GOOD!!!!! at every job, that they made everybody else look SOOOOO!!! BAD!!! that management couldn't keep them around.. Bad for moral when everybody else is so inferior to the Most Stupendous waiter AppleBee's ever had.

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    How worn out is the equipment. If the head is trammed in, check with an indicator if the fixed jaw on the vise is actually vertical.
    In addition to an assortment of dowel pins I have a 1" ball with a flat ground (flat against the jaw) Light cuts until you can really grip the part.

    Dave

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    Your not going to know everything day 1 and no one would expect you to. My grandfather retired as a toolmaker at the age of 76, having worked as one from the day he graduated high school. There are always new and old things to learn.

    Is your program at a local school? Is this an associates degree program or a certificate? I would recommend finishing the program and aim for the big shop you mentioned, to start out. Big shops will typically have a better training program for new hires, and time allocated for training along with career development. You may have the opportunity to learn a lot, you may not. That’s when the little shops come in.

    My personal experience, do not tell the folks on the shop floor that you have a bachelors degree. Most do not care, but some will hate you for it and go out of their way to make your life difficult.

    On a management side, I would love to hire someone who had business experience who also worked their way up from the bottom machining. It is a great combination for lots of opportunities as you get older.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    I know somebody like that.. They kept getting fired.. The reason was that they were SO GOOD!!!!! at every job, that they made everybody else look SOOOOO!!! BAD!!! that management couldn't keep them around.. Bad for moral when everybody else is so inferior to the Most Stupendous waiter AppleBee's ever had.
    Do I detect a hint of sarcasm?

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    If you show up on time sober with your brain turned on ready to learn, you're already ahead of many.

    The fact you care enough to go online and check into it is a fairly good sign you'll do just fine.

    #1 is safety. Don't try to cut corners, make sure you know what you're working with.

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