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Learning fast to get a job


I just watched the 2002 film Catch Me if You Can and am applying it here:

You know very little about woodworking, but you need a job, and you bluffed your way into a job at a shop making everything from furniture to entry systems, you start in a week. What do you read, what do you watch, who do you talk to, etc.? :-)

3/1/16       #2: Learning fast to get a job ...

It's one thing to get a job; its another to keep it.

If you don't know how to operate the equipment that you will be expected to use, then you are a danger to yourself and others.

You obviously have some gift of the gab. Use it to fess up, apply a little charm, and see if they will keep you on.

3/1/16       #3: Learning fast to get a job ...
james mcgrew Member

Woodworking is a solid tangible profession, integrity is everything

sit down tell them the truth and hope for the best.

3/1/16       #4: Learning fast to get a job ...

Your boss will discover what you know or don't very quickly. Likely he has seen exaggerated claims before. Your vocabulary will give you away. If you manage to stay employed past the first week, make a serious effort to learning how to do something well, sanding?

3/1/16       #5: Learning fast to get a job ...
Robert Member

Stay away from the stationary machinery, for your sake and the employers sake.

3/2/16       #6: Learning fast to get a job ...
Mitch Suber  Member


If your new employer is very sharp, he probably knows more than he is letting on. I seldom can find help that knows a 100% of what they say they know. If they are dishonest, or flat out lying, I don't hire. My experience I coming in my door is in regards to cabinets, so they never know what they think they do about our procedures. I accept that.
However, your employee will appreciate your honesty in saying what you don't know. Obviously by your post, you want to learn and keep your job. Unless your fast talking us too? Employers like employees who want to learn, so take that strength and use it.
Now if your employer didn't catch on to your limited experience, I would be wondering about him. Maybe he is in over his head.
By the way, loved the movie. That guy really had a lot nerve. You really want to learn something to use in this business, watch "Madoff" next.

3/2/16       #7: Learning fast to get a job ...

I hope none of you felt I've been misleading, this was only meant to be hypothetical. Let's take out the trickery, you're starting at the bottom in one week. What resources do you use to take in as much as you can in that week?

3/2/16       #8: Learning fast to get a job ...

Start with basic integrity and honesty - you have much to learn in that area.

3/2/16       #9: Learning fast to get a job ...
james mcgrew Member

"you bluffed your way into a job"

Not a play on words this is what you said..

3/2/16       #10: Learning fast to get a job ...
Kevin Jenness

If the hypothetical hire misrepresented his experience to get the job that will be obvious quite soon regardless of his weeks's cramming, so there's not much point in trying to hide it. If the shop needs someone who can step in and be productive right away he may not last. If he is honest about his situation and actually eager to learn it may work out. Many owners prefer to train a novice with a good attitude than retrain an experienced person who is resistant to new ways. Overcoming the distrust engendered by initial misrepresentation, if that is what occurred, could be tough though.

Basic references that I return to are Hoadley's "Understanding Wood" and Joyce's "Encyclopedia of Furnituremaking", but they don't give much insight as to modern shop operations. If you know anyone in the trade ask to shadow them for a few days to get familiar with the basic machines and practices. Read the archives here and try to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Do the same with Youtube. When you start, listen to and copy the foreman and the workers who work fast and make few mistakes. Look closely at work going into and coming out of finish. Concentrate on the fundamentals and shoot for a high standard, repeat and develop speed. Good luck

3/2/16       #11: Learning fast to get a job ...
Robert Member

Is this a Mel kinda thing.

3/2/16       #12: Learning fast to get a job ...


You sound like a uni student who talked his way into a job that he is not qualified. Now you think that you can "cram for the test".

We work in a tangible industry. When you make mistakes it is obvious to anyone. The fake it until you make it doesn't really work.

Work experience is not reading a book.

3/2/16       #13: Learning fast to get a job ...

And in this tangible industry, work experience is something you can't fake. I've seen guys come in and say all the right things and not be able to produce anything- and it's what you produce that gets you paid.
I've worked with fellows that became as skilled as multi year veterans of the trade in less than 18 months and with the veterans who never became really skilled- but they had the edge through having experience.
Best to be honest, want to learn. If you're lucky, you get teamed up with good teachers. Be a wiseass, look for all the shortcuts, and bullshit your way through the day? Get fired.

3/2/16       #14: Learning fast to get a job ...

I'm far more likely to hire for good attitude, willing to learn, and might not have ever cut a board, than the guy that claims to know it all. After all the guy that knows it all will show my limited 30+ years of experience up in a flash. But I still need to learn new things.

3/3/16       #15: Learning fast to get a job ...
D Brown

As far as faking ones knowledge,

It's sort of like reading a book on how to play the guitar , you will have no experience playing after reading.

"knowledge without experience is simply information" MT.

3/3/16       #16: Learning fast to get a job ...
John S  Member

The only thing I can think of that you can learn in a week and that will make any difference is learning to read a tape measure. Not that hard to do, but vital to being successful in the wood business.

3/9/16       #17: Learning fast to get a job ...

What position were you even hired for?

Its quite possible they are going to put you in a position that requires little or no experience anyway. That may be the reason you even got the job to begin with.

You may very quickly find your self stacking wood, cleaning dust collection filters, and working at the out feed side of machines all day. Get ready to be micromanaged. Don't think, and do what your told or they will just get mad and find ways to make you miserable so you quit.

3/28/16       #18: Learning fast to get a job ...

The American way. I got many jobs this way. Must say I started as a carpenter.. I didn't operate machinery I didn't understand..said I never used one like this or we never had this tool at my old job...made mistakes and corrected them on my own time and money for materials...and here I am 24 years later and have been in business for myself for the past 18.

8/18/16       #19: Learning fast to get a job ...
James G. Hill Member

You can start by making furnitures for domestic use.

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