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I need advice from Hambers and people who do this stuff for a living

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by brandonwillis, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. I hated school.

    I was good at it, but i hated it.

    i put 8 years in at college. one AA and one BA.

    today i work with my hands. i own a shop. but it was my choice.

    I'm fortunate that my shop has done well through all of this, but that's not the case for everyone.

    finish school. give yourself a fighting chance. give yourself the leverage.

    and believe this... that after spending 8-10 hours a day working on other peoples stuff, i have no desire to do anything of my own.

    my dad always told me to work smart, not hard. I like working with my hands, but i'm a unique situation.

    finish school.
  2. Tacho
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 85


    Something to consider is changing your major. There are other technical B.S. degrees out there without all of the math.
  3. 392HEMI4SPEED
    Joined: May 3, 2007
    Posts: 609

    from Wisconsin

    Stay in school. I did very well in college and graduate school, but I could have done extremely well if I had applied myself just a litte bit more (less partying and chasing women). I firmly believe that almost anyone can learn anything if they study hard enough. Devote your spare time to studying more or get a tutor if you need one (like others have said). Take it day by day, lesson by lesson, chapter by chapter. You will be proud of yourself when done (and your Parents will be proud of you), with each test, each semester, with each job opportunity. Not to mention the future ability to spend money on the things you enjoy.

    Your Dad is right, "find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life". It is a true statement, but not a statement many can make. I can make it and I'm thankful for that.

    Always remember "No one is going to do it for me" and trust those who have been there, done that. School can be easy (if you really study) after school is sometimes the hard part.
  4. 68 C10
    Joined: Jun 15, 2009
    Posts: 47

    68 C10
    from Athens, GA

    Couldn't agree more.

    I'll be 23 in a month and will finish my undergrad in May and I can definitely sympathize with you about the chemistry and calculus. I started school as a journalism major but switched to forestry two years in. Doing that required me to go back and take a lot of the base math and science courses that I had always tried to otherwise avoid. I flunked chem II a couple summers ago, then barely got by taking calculus the following semester. I finally realized that I had to stick my nose in the books at all times to figure the stuff out. It wasn't always pretty but I eventually got the job done and I couldn't be happier about the way things have turned out- I'll be getting a degree from a school that I love, I've enjoyed the courses I've taken and I've made a ton of awesome friends along the way.

    Believe me, when I screwed up chemistry and then almost screwed up calculus, I really thought about saying the hell with it and quitting. At that point I figured I'd go follow my uncle around and start working on airplanes like he does, but I knew I couldn't live with myself not seeing things through. If you tough it out and go through with things like you want, you'll have a lot to be proud of and tons of open doors will open up to you,
  5. Algon
    Joined: Mar 12, 2007
    Posts: 1,216


    If you feel that strongly about it as others have said look into changing your major if not getting a tutor etc. Regardless I wouldn't quit outright and piss the opportunity away to work on cars. There is no reason you can't further your automotive skills aswell as it's always good to have something to fall back on. I had the grades but all I cared about was the cars and building them so after getting into my first shop I spent the cash on the cars and equipment instead of college. Honestly that is all I care about now too :D but it's not all corn liquor and pin-ups.

    Nearly all of my friends own professional automotive fabrication shops, some in direct competition with each other and right now most are down to the owner being back on the floor by himself if not with a skeleton crew. I subcontract to these guys and anyone else who will or can pay right now even though I work full time in a higher end restoration shop. I get around because when you need anything from a convertible top to a tube chassis I do that. So instead of calling an upholstery shop, a chassis shop, a metal shaper, a painter or a mechanic you call one guy. Even at that most people are broke right now and the rest are cheap so it's often not worth it.

    You also need to remember all the hype has made this stuff popular, so there are droves of little rich kids and 50 year old bandwagon jumpers posing as old hotrodders openings shops. You might get to fix the job later but it's the clean shop with the nice sign and a good line of bull that usually makes off with the cash. They come and go but this a feast or famine business and that one job can make all the difference. In all honesty what is sad is that it is the worst quality shops I've worked for or delt with that do the best financially. Goodluck man either way just don't cheat yourself.
  6. mullskull
    Joined: Dec 30, 2009
    Posts: 217


    this is a hard question to answer.....we all have our own path to walk
    i went to a tech highschool for welding and auto mechanics, i have been working in garages since i'm 13-
    when i graduated i attended Engine City Tech to get an education on Diesel and HD-Truck repair.
    i went to work in my trade of choice for 15 years, most of that working on Detroit Diesel engines.. a Damn good union job (local 15c operating engineers)-
    it was not enuff to keep me there- i have always been interested in creating objects.. i started taking night classes in all sorts of stuff, jewelry making, black smithing, casting... it opened my eyes to a whole different world.. a world that has taken me all over the country.
    i left the business 8 years ago, to pursue a career in design and fabrication, mostly jewelry, and accessories- i have not regretted this decision once!
    what i miss about that job most are the guys i worked with, and the places it took me.. i don't miss laying in a bilge at 2am in january-
    The reality is this.. you eventually become what you work on, old and broken down.. Secondly you are just a number, there is not much "loyalty" in shops anymore..
    finally Most shops are part changers.. the business has changed drastically(diesel repair). i was greateful to have been the kid in the shop i worked in, i learned quite a bit from the old timers..once they left the place just changed.. laptops took the place of mechanical craftsmanship...

    however i will say this, i'm grateful to have had those jobs, it has drilled into me a work ethic that most of my peers do not have.. it paid for a bitch'n set of tools.. and an experience that i could never repay-
    i'll be 40 this year.. no regrets, i love what i do... sometimes i look at what i do for a living and say how the hell did this happen!!

    i'm really glad to have a huge college tuition looming over my head..
    if i don't have the cash i don't buy it... i do have quite a few toys.. following my dreams was the best thing i have ever done...

    really think about just what it is that you want???
    for me turning a wrench is better as a hobby...
    i don't believe that one needs to go to school just because.. that's just a scam.. that's just what they want you to think..
    choose carefully before you go into a massive amount of debt, once you have that you'll be a slave for life-
    but then again one can't be too idealistic either...
    life is dead smack in the middle of a huge gray area!
  7. SlmLrd
    Joined: Oct 27, 2007
    Posts: 988

    from DAGO

    I wouldn't tell anyone to drop out of school. By all means, finish what you start. I will tell you this: I know a ton of people with years and years of college schooling, that are broke and miserable.

    I also know tons of people that never finished High School that are doing well financially and doing what they love- even in this economy. It all comes down to what are YOU gonna do with what you have?
  8. Bigbillyrocka
    Joined: Jun 19, 2010
    Posts: 169


    Go to they're always in need of welders. If ur willing to travel every now and again. But big time money!
  9. dixiedave
    Joined: Nov 23, 2010
    Posts: 45


    I dropped out of college to work. I regretted it for years. I went back and got by BS in Manufacturing Engineering in 2004. My pay scale doubled immediately. The other advantage is that even in these hard times, there are jobs out there for engineers. It isn't always the funnest job, but it pays the bills and provides for the fun stuff in life. Calculus is hard but I recommend that you get a tutor to help with it. It is actually okay to learn if you have a great teacher.
  10. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,229

    Deuce Daddy Don

    If you are sincere---Stay in school & finish!----In the meantime, get a job welding to support your self. Our economy will not stay this bad forever!---Get started in the construction field where you can use your talents of welding!---Join the service, excel in the welding field as a metalurgist, getting paid while getting an education.
    Life is what you make it!----Good luck!---An old timer welder at 78-------Don
  11. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,426


    I went to college for one year because Mom and Dad feed me the line about getting a better job down the line. I quit after getting a job in a restoration shop for the summer, that lasted for 14 years. I really loved that time, worked on some of the greatest cars in trhe world. Then I did carpentry and home repairs until that marked died, now I'm back restoring cars and building Hot Rods in a friends shop. No regrets, put two kids through college, one a top shelf University the other a local State College. Neither kid has a full time job in their field of education. We don't build anything in America, we just educate people. If you can build or fix something, get paid for it and feel good about yourself and have a happy customer go for it. A deploma is something you hang on a wall, it's value will always be in question.
  12. heatmiser
    Joined: May 6, 2009
    Posts: 253

    from mia

    do what you have a passion for... if you don't know what that is yet that's ok, but don't commit yourself to doing something you hate just for the sake of a "decent" living... now, since you have little responsibility other than yourself, its an opportunity to take a risk on trying something that inspires you more- its much more difficult (but not impossible) w/ kids and house payment, etc... if you choose something you have a passion for, you can't help but to excel.... you will find a way to get through tough times and you will love what you do... and the money will follow...
  13. Being that you already weld you'll have a leg up on the rest of your engineering collegues in that you'll understand what it takes to build something. I'm an electronics engineering tech, an electrician, an instrumentation tech & millwright, the few engineers I hold in any regard are those with practical experience. Oh I work in oil and gas and I make off like a bandit. You can't go wrong learning. I've never stopped that's why I have 4 trade licenses. BTW tommorow is a stat holiday here and I'm working but I don't mind because I will make in 1 day what most people would be happy making in a week.
  14. muffinman
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 8

    from Honolulu

    a bit of side advice-sometimes schools will set up (slightly) paid or volunteer internships with companies in your field of study. the actual work is usually pretty sucky, but it gets you a direct glimpse into the end product of what youre studying for. good thing is you can go from job to job easily and hopefully get a decent feel for the future work. maybe youll find something interesting and pick up motivational steam-even land a future spot in a company. .....or maybe youll learn that its time to try something a little different. business? art? im sure theres something you can study thatll pair up nicely with welding.
    just as 'if you love your work, youll never work another day in your life', same thing can be said for school.

    you already got a trade, time to further your education!
  15. Giovanni
    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
    Posts: 173


    I haven't read all the posts. running late for work. But I am in the same situation. I almost have my associates from the community college of rhode island, and am in a transfer program to the university of rhode island. Sometimes it sucks, but stick with it. I'm a machinist by day and do way more than i did two years ago, and make way less.
    Depending on what discipline you are heading for, you won't need need much in the way of chemistry. But Engineering has some serious calculus. I would recommend not only a tutor, but a study group. I know what it's like to be beating your head against a wall and just not getting it. Get up, take a walk around the cafeteria, and refocus. Eventually it will click and you'll be saying, "that was so simple".
  16. povertyflats
    Joined: Jan 8, 2007
    Posts: 8,283

    from Missouri

    You do not want to be a welder long term. I am in the medical oxygen business. I have had a lot of welders as customers over the years. The heavy metals, the poison chemical coatings on the rod or wire, the burning gases, the oily coating on new steel, and etc cause early lung diseases. Welders and former welders die much sooner than my other customers.
  17. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 5,111


    BW, I have taught in the Eng Tech classes at a community college level. You can pursue either a traditional ME, or an MET which has less emphasis on higher math. Understand that most math teachers will not be able to give you a good answer, to why...or offer a "real-world" application to the example you are finding a struggle. I cannot recommend a better book, than a paperback, titled A Mathematician's Lament by Paul Lockhart. It's short, simple and to the point.
    Calculus is actually intuitable...once you find a sense of it's level-of-thought.
    It is a level of thinking, in math, after algebra and geometry.We are talking about RATE, a change in velocity (in this case) called (^V) delta V. Could be speeding up, or slowing down. So dV/dT is accel or decel over time. The differential will enable you to calculate the the each second/interval to bring about the perfect "stop". And in stopping a car, your boot-clad foot just did it! All the numbers, variables, constants (think correction factors) and operations(+,-,ln, etc) are approachable if some one can relate them to things you've seen. On the subject of chemistry, you might want to look up and muse upon the word "electronegativity" as it describes the bonding quality/ability of all atomic elements. Think glues! Some are temporary, (post-its!) called co-valent, and some are permanent-like, called ionic, (high strength epoxy). After this, the rest is balancing of charges, to create a molecule that endures. Best of luck, in the asking, you will find what is needed.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  18. Stay in school and get a degree!!! In this job market you need to be competative, and having a degree will get in in the door to many jobs opportunities. Knowing how to weld is a great thing, but having a degree in whatever will give you more options. At the very leat you can always fall back on welding if you have to...
  19. finn
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 885


    Stay in school. I struggled with math doing my BSME. Even changed to Business for a while before I buckled down and returned to Mechanical Engineering. What really helped me is involvement for a couple of semesters as a Co-Op student at the design department of an automotive supplier. Got my head straight.

    I ended up getting a BSME and then a job as a test engineer doing dyno devlopment (performance and emission work) for a Diesel Engine Manufacturer. Never looked back and was able to retire as a manager with 110 direct reports, including a couple dozen PhD's, at 58. Now i do what I want (just bought a Tig setup and built a 32X54' shop, so you're ahead of me).
    My dad was an engineer (WW2 Gi Bill). He struggled in school too, but stuck with it and had what I'd consider a successful career.

    My 3 sons also got their engineering degrees and make 70-100K. The oldest does Antilock brake development in the auto industry. He struggled too, but stuck with it.

    The guys who said it's all about learning how to solve problems are correct. Don't settle for the MET degree, go for the BSME. It will help get you in the door. What happens then depends on you.
  20. papaford60
    Joined: Feb 13, 2011
    Posts: 39

    from illinois

    Think of it this way, you are young, the economy is crap, everything you learn is a building block to what you can be, plus I don't see that many good looking girls under a car. whats the hurry, enjoy
  21. havi
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,877


    No doubt! In the autobody program I was in, I didn't see a single girl. Just a bunch of guys. how boring is that? lol.

    I just want to add that as I am at work today (I'm the saw guy with a computer for ordering barstock, my only perk, lol), with time to think about it, I make $3.50 less an hour than every welder, or machinist, or assembler, simply because my 2- 2 year degrees are not in any of those exact fields. I have 12 years more experience, but that doesn't matter, the paper that says you graduated does. It's a blind corporate world nowadays, as they only look at your on-paper credentials, and not your lifetime experiences.... too many others that can beat ya in that. The kid they just hired last week already makes about what I make, and within 6 months will make more than me. I say get the degree. My 2 cents.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  22. dgasbag
    Joined: Feb 23, 2005
    Posts: 124

    from Upstate NY

    Life is tough......but it's tougher if your stupid! Stay in school....finish....and then chase your passion. There is plenty of time for cars!
  23. druids62
    Joined: Oct 1, 2009
    Posts: 188


    dgasbag has summed it up perfectly. Anything worth having never comes easy. I have been a Tool & Die Maker for 30 yrs. and have always enjoyed it. I've even received a government citation for some of my efforts, but when the local governments are helping to lick stamps on the purchase orders headed to other lands with cheap labour, your trade certifcates are not worth the paper they are printed on! I have a shop full of equipment, but its difficult when there a now literally dozens skilled shops quoting on the same jobs to produce widgets on a day to day contract! Please stay the course in school. There is plenty of time to get your hands dirty.You may be able to tie the two together some day!
  24. Stay in school. You are still young. Soak up as much knowledge as you can. Don't worry too much about making big money now, you will have time for that. I went to college when I was in my 30's and 40's. I had a tough time with the upper levels of math also. Compounded by having to work by day, go to school at night, homework, taking care of the house and family etc. I had wished that I went to school when I was younger.

    Once I finished and received my degrees it opened new doors for me. My wages more than doubled and now make a real good living. Do I have a dream job.........maybe not. But it ain't bad, and it provides me a good life and money to spend on the stuff I really toys.

    Stay in school bud, it does get hard, but get the help you need. There will be some classes that you find hard and may not be able to ace. Don't worry about it. Set your goal to finish and graduate. All the good stuff will come after that and you will have an advantage over advantage that no one can take away from you.

    Good Luck.
  25. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,302


    About ten years ago I had a friend and high school class mate die from welders lungs. 40 years of inhaling welding fumes got to him. Stay in school and do welding on the side. The better the education the better the job and pay. 13 bucks an hour, I don't ever remember making that much!!!!! I started out at $1.25. But then again, I'm getting old.
  26. Francisco Plumbero
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,531

    Francisco Plumbero
    from il.

    My daughter is in her second year of Chemical Engineering, I think she is in NRPE class and Diffy Q, she took calc 2 or 3 over the summer and Physics 203, taking these two monster classes helped her a lot by unloading her plate a little during the semester. She is very happy to be done with basic physics and now moving into the specialized courses. She is always worried about GPA and studies like a mad lady. She is in for at least 6 years, wants to get a business degree and a biochemical engineering degree. The kids ask the professors what kind of money they may make, they just laugh. The one guy told them not to worry about money, there are fewer doctorates of bio chemical engineering than NFL players in the world. Next year she is going to be a TA in calc 101, she scored a 100 plus in the class. She also had problems with the way the classes are scored, you get a 35 on a test and they curve it cause no body else gets it that well either, except for the one kid who got the 120 cause he even knew the xtra credit problem, in the end a 33 is a B. Sure that screws with your mind a bit. The other thing you have to realize and I tell her all the time is that just any guy can roll through life and score victories until his one devastating defeat, but it takes a real tough fighter to fail, raise their eyes, look at the task, and rise up again to do a second or even a third battle. You truly will never die from calculus or any other class, you can always retake a course and enter the arena again. Put it in this perspective: If you bought the toughest hottest new play station game on the planet, could you, would you expect to, battle through it on the first try and win? Wouldn't you be disappointed if you could, what accolades would there be? Men have died on fields of honor to give us this privilege, the opportunity to better ourselves without impedance. Six figure jobs are the spoils, the trophy from a battle, You would never quit the game because of a set back, life is this game. Engage it, do battle with it's challenges and reap the spoils of success. It is in every possible way worth it, every penny, every tear, every tuition payment, every instant, every sacrifice. Become, transform, succeed.
  27. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,867


    It took me three tries to finish the second semester of English when I was in college.
  28. ol'chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,283


    A degree tells future employers you are not a just a task monkey, but trainable for other jobs. While in school, take a few business courses, in case you end up with your own business, even if those courses don't count toward your major.

    Making a living at a hobby isn't all it is cracked up to be. The hobby becomes work. Do a job, then keep your hobby on the side. It can be much more enjoyable that way.

    I am self employed painting murals. Most of my work is in schools all across S.C. I love doing the work, but I never paint at home when I'm not working. I keep a truck in the garage to build when mural work is slow. I make money either way and don't get burned out on either. Plus, I can pay my bills when either is slow!
  29. Ghost of ElMirage
    Joined: Mar 18, 2007
    Posts: 758

    Ghost of ElMirage

    Stay in school!!! FOR GOD'S SAKE KID!!! Because once you have your education no one can EVER take it away. You'll thank me someday
  30. Regardless of what degree you have,there has to be a market for it.there is no sure thing out there. Even with a degree. choose your path carefully and work hard at it.

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