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Need some opinions

John Skip Moore Member

I would like some opinions about why I am having problems finding a position in a woodworking Shop. I have over 30 years exp. in true custom woodworking. Why are shop owner leery about hiring me.
Thanks in advance Skip

1/23/16       #2: Need some opinions ...
Family Man

Well, if your interviews give as much information as your postings- then it's because you are a bad communicator.

With nothing but your name and years of experience how should we base our opinion?

1/23/16       #3: Need some opinions ...
John Skip Moore Member

What I do is show my portfolio of the woodwork I have done. Showing traditional modern etc .From Raised panel stained wood and painted all custom made. I list all the machines I can use and the employment History. I also explain that I owned my owned shop for 25 years.

Yes I know I do not communicate well on key board.

1/23/16       #4: Need some opinions ...
Family Man

I'm just being honest. I personally would not hire someone who had spent 25 out of 30 years working for themselves in most circumstances for my woodshop. You've got your way of doing things and I want them done my way. Old dogs and all.

Secondly, you might have priced yourself out of the market. That kind of experience comes with a price tag many are not willing to pay or able to pay- especially since as you know as a former business owner many hires do not work out.

You aren't young so it's tough to ask you to move heavy sheet stock all day. We'd worry about you being willing and able to do that.

So I'm going to assume your work is good. If that is indeed the case then I think you need to show flexiblity and willingness to take orders and build in different ways and you might even have to be willing to work for a low wage for 30-90 days to prove yourself and have an agreement in place after such a time that if you are pulling your weight then it takes a good jump.

Honestly, 80% of the workers in the business don't make jack (there are companies and positions that are exceptions) and you are at the market's and owner's mercy- a cog in a machine that is replacable. Most shops are set up where what they are looking for is just a laborer that is more highly trained in a few areas.

And it's not because we are greedy bastards, it's the reality of what free trade, automation and the labor force has done.

I know I paint an ugly picture. There have been times where I would have hired the right person with your experience but he would of had to show hunger, willingness to learn, take orders, sincere wisdom and knowledge (not just repeating the same tired dozen things for 30 years that I could teach some greenhorn to do in a month) and he'd probably have to gamble on me at the beginning also as I made sure he was worth the investment.

Good luck!

1/23/16       #5: Need some opinions ...
John Skip Moore Member

Thanks Family Man. I am not set in my ways at all .I do not believe I know it all . I am willing to prove myself first. I am running a 6 man shop now . Looks like owner is looking to get out. He is a builder of High end homes and I price out, order material, build the Units and finish them of the whole house.
So my time there is limited. I have dedicated myself to the success of the bus. I would think an owner would consider my exp. helpful if needed
Maybe I am just becoming obsolete.
I do thank you againf for your opinion

1/23/16       #6: Need some opinions ...
Family Man

"Maybe I am just becoming obsolete."

Welcome to being an American worker in 2016.

I'd ride the ride you have as far as you can. Sounds like a good gig. He might not find it as easy to get out as he thinks or he might change is mind.

1/23/16       #7: Need some opinions ...

I became obsolete about 20 years ago. I run a small shop full of computer driven machines, an office that is full of computers and damned expensive software that just frustrates me. Have you considered starting your own business? Not necessarily wood working.

1/23/16       #8: Need some opinions ...
John Skip Moore Member

Family man. I will ride it out .I am a loyal guy.
Larry ,I have other buss. But still love woodworking,I am sure I can find something
I was curious about how owners Feel is why I started this post

1/23/16       #10: Need some opinions ...
Family Man

Just curious, what state are you located in?

1/23/16       #11: Need some opinions ...

I wouldn't hire you based on your lack of English skills alone - come on - there does not have to be a complete disconnect between woodworking and literacy.

1/23/16       #12: Need some opinions ...
John Skip Moore Member

Family Man : I live in New York
ESC I am sorry we all cannot be as Smart as You

1/23/16       #13: Need some opinions ...
Mitch Suber  Member

Website: subercustomshutters.com

Skip, I personally would not have a problem with your computer skills. Just saying that is not high on my list of skills for a shop manager, definitely not for an employee.
Maybe the problem is that you haven't found the right shop who needs an employee with your level of skills. How many places have you applied, and how many interviews have you been on?
Good luck with your search.

1/23/16       #14: Need some opinions ...

I think Family Man makes some good points. Usually when an experienced person shoots himself in the foot is when he gets defensive about starting salary. The argument usually has something to do with "experience".

The problem is that our customers could care less about your pedigree. They won't give us a nickel more because you have "X" amount of "Experience". They only pay for us things that matter to them.

As you know from your own experience owning a business none of us make money by holding wages down. We make all of our money by shipping product. If you can help us ship product then you're worth whatever you ask.

The trick for you right now is to get your foot in the door. Most of the people in this industry are all hat and no cattle. You have that to overcome. All the blowhards that came before you make all of us employers a bit shy about high start up wages.

Whenever I have had this conversation with an experienced applicant I ask them if they would buy a car sight unseen for the price I ask. Every single one of them smiled and said "of course not". I point out then that's what the are asking me to do.

A better arrangement would be to go to work for what an Apprentice gets paid. At the end of a month, if we both agree you are worth what you ask for I will pay you that wage and pay you retroactively for the difference between what you asked for and our starting wage.

Step 1: Get your foot in the door.
Step 2: Prove yourself.

1/24/16       #15: Need some opinions ...
Pat Gilbert

There is a ubiquitous whine about an inability to find employees.

Consider this video and why it is you cannot use someone with practical wisdom.

BTW I do not agree with the endorsements for B.O., but the speaker has something to say.

The value of practical wisdom

1/24/16       #16: Need some opinions ...
Rich Kuban  Member

Website: closetexperts.com


I would think about how you would have responded when you owned your shop if someone like you applied for a position. You need to step back and look at yourself the way you looked at job applicants and employees.

Companies are usually looking for entry level. They usually have a hierarchy already in place they may not want to upset. Be sure to apply for published higher level positions.

Your age is certainly a factor. Again, remember when you were in the position of hiring. The physicality of the work is hard to ignore. Computer skills are becoming increasingly important as they continually expand into every aspect of work. Focus on improving yours.

I agree you should stay where you are at as long as the job is agreeable. If the company closes, be sure to ask for a letter of recommendation. See if you can get such letters from any other recent employers.

As Family Man mentioned, I would be impressed by anyone unemployed who offered to work for base wage to showcase their skills and abilities to work with others, with an agreement to review wages at certain points. A willingness to possibly forgo higher unemployment compensation would prove a dedication to being employed. That confidence would impress me more than any bluster and inflated resume most people often offer.

1/24/16       #17: Need some opinions ...
james mcgrew Member

When a guy tries to sell me something in one long sentence interrupting me with verses of "How great thou art" I usually give them the "send me an email resume with some photos."

99.5% never do.... a few will but a week or so later.... In todays environment if they do not do what I ask....... I am looking for understandable response and the ability to use some reasonable technology to do so.. if you want to work in todays small shop then todays communication skills are needed. We ain't riding back and forth to look at job situations.

Money Matters Yes But not Up front. How many of you will run out and do a job when all you have been told is the budget,, If you do not have a plan none of it matters, I was told and still believe Money is the bottom line,,, Because it needs to be the simplest and last thing on the list during discovery. If you have no workable plan then it does not matter, Yes price meets plan based on specs.

now the ones I will spend the time on the phone with simply say "I am a Cabinetmaker, And am looking for a good place to work.. then I get to ask some questions, yes the answer matters but it gets us Communicating, then I usually ask what kinds of shops have you been working for, this needs to be reasonably articulate, dead silence will not fly, (We know what we do and have you looked to find that out or are you just looking for a paycheck) A response to this question I did like was, "How are you at getting along with people". Best answer I ever got was "I like to listen. support and find out how they work and look for how we can do that together...We are all experts (Run them off first) We all have Egos. it is when we use it with experience that counts. my main interest is do we have common interest...

Now I got a full shop of Great bench guys and my primary need is good apprentices. if an older cabinetmaker can find a way to teach (hopefully our resident Naysayer will not have shut down all public education) then I am all for it. Some how standing at a bench the day you have an unrecoverable event just does not appeal to me.

1/24/16       #18: Need some opinions ...

Skippy, it's not about intelligence, it's about paying attention, learning to spell, and making the effort to write to the best of your ability.

Your unwillingness to even try to spell words or look them up or even abbreviate them correctly indicates that you will cut corners, do shoddy work and don't care about what your product looks like.

In this case the product is you marketing yourself. If you don't care enough to do that well, then I guarantee you won't give a hoot about any product being made in my shop.

When I see such glaring examples of illiteracy I immediately pass - you are beyond training.

1/24/16       #19: Need some opinions ...
james mcgrew Member

Thank God I came to own the shop before the internet... I would still flunk Grammer !

I do sometimes use the dual screens to keep a dictionary up on one and when the little red lines show up I use it... punctuation however is a work in progress. !

1/24/16       #20: Need some opinions ...

That's "grammar", no need to use an upper case "G".

One period per sentence, no exclamation point after a period, three periods is an ellipsis, three commas is nothing, no space before a comma, one space afterwards, and so on. When in doubt, keep it simple.

1/24/16       #21: Need some opinions ...
james mcgrew Member

Now that is helpful, thanks.

1/24/16       #22: Need some opinions ...
D Brown

Skip , maybe a CNC shop for you .

Amazing that one can tell what type of person and woodworker we might be simply by reading a post . Are all good woodworkers great at grammar and such ?

All I can tell you with certainty is that " things are not always as they appear "

1/24/16       #23: Need some opinions ...
james mcgrew Member

And "A nod is as good as a wink, to a blind horse"

1/24/16       #24: Need some opinions ...

If one is detail-oriented and willing to learn, one can learn.

What continues to amaze me is how the Venn diagram of woodworking skills and literacy no longer overlap. It is possible to be proficient at both, all it takes is that you apply the all of the intelligence that you possess.

1/24/16       #25: Need some opinions ...
David R Sochar

Just as one negative responder should not dominate or dictate your efforts at employment, you also are not seeking employment in every shop. You only need one position.

However, the more experienced the applicant, the more narrow an owner views him. That is, the experience is related to a pyramid - the lower levels can do anything, anywhere, as long it is a starter position. A man with more experience, especially running his own shop, will be "experienced out" and off the grid for most shops. Frankly, many owners or managers may feel intimidated by you.

Age is a factor, though it should not be. When I was in my 30's, I had more than one older employe that did not like me "telling" him what to do.

Your goal should be to determine your core strengths, then find the shop(s) that could use your strengths, then convince them they will benefit from hiring you. That is, you need to sell them more than try to fit in a position that is not good for you.

As for your possible propensity to be stuck in your ways, some shops are smart enough to interject variety into their process as a means of continuous improvement. Again, you need to find them.

1/24/16       #26: Need some opinions ...
Family Man

I for one know a great many great business owners, millionaires, and even folks that protect our country that are no better than our poster (and several of our commentators) at grammar and communicating on the internet. It is a skill I have had to learn myself and still don't rank very high on the bell curve I'm afraid.

I worry far less about the grammar and spelling than the first post which didn't communicate effectively. 90% of what he was trying to say was left in his head and never made it to "paper". For some folks talking is easier- I personally despise it. I'd rather be able to back up with backspace button, take my time and make sure I'm communicating effectively and thoroughly. Almost all of my business correspondence is done via email or text, and if I had my way all of it would be. I know my shortcoming and thinking on my feet is not always one of them so I compensate for them. I would do the same if I were our poster.

1/24/16       #27: Need some opinions ...

This has turned into a review of communication class. I also prefer written to spoken because it allows review before publishing. My first drafts always have errors. Grammar, not so bad, but spelling, thank goodness for spell checkers. Both help with the purpose, communication that clearly makes the point in the most direct way.
BTW, good luck with finding that special position.

1/24/16       #28: Need some opinions ...
Paul Downs

I'd like to know how much money the OP is asking for, by which I mean the $/hr he eventually wants to be earning. Without that number, the rest of this discussion is pointless.

1/24/16       #29: Need some opinions ...
Pat Gilbert

"What continues to amaze me is how the Venn diagram of woodworking skills and literacy no longer overlap"

Show us what it looked like then and now?

Might be interesting.

1/24/16       #30: Need some opinions ...
John Skip Moore Member

Wow This is aw inspiring .I really appreciate all the Help.
Larry you are very helpful and I wish I knew you better
The Video is very well done and worth watching
I promise I will do better with my grammer
When I first wrote the post I have not sleep very well for a few days .After ready all the post I felt much better.
The only time I have to type is when I buy or search on the internet .
My older son is a english major major so I will spend more time with him
As you can see I also need a spell check.
As for salary I make 30 dollars an hour get paid for 40 hrs and work 60 so I can do the quality I should and keep the cost down.
I see the owner maybe 15 min a week
I get some sketch for drawings or incomplete field drawings and not allowed to talk with the designer
I do not want to go into to much detail here But I am sure you get the idea.
Esl You cannot be any further from reality using my internet writing as an example about my work.
I have done work for some of the most demanding customers on the face of the earth
No brag at all but you asked
My Email is Makindust2@aol.com

1/24/16       #31: Need some opinions ...

Hey, you're the one looking for work, not me.

1/24/16       #32: Need some opinions ...
Pat Gilbert

I like the idea of a Venn diagram, but can't find one that outputs a Png or Jpg

It seems to me that the overlap in a 3 circle Venn diagram of the customer, employer, and employee would be:


Trustworthy (think toxic employee vs someone with references)


What does not seem to be in the overlap:

Following dogma to the letter (think practical wisdom)

Working hard but not smart

Age (yea in the employers mind as in the bulk of the jobs do not require high skill but when push comes to shove in is not that important)


Other points?

1/24/16       #33: Need some opinions ...
james mcgrew Member

Pat I am looking at this as well. is this what you want I found a pdf and converted it

View higher quality, full size image (2200 X 1700)

Click the link below to download the file included with this post.


1/24/16       #34: Need some opinions ...
Pat Gilbert

Thanks, I will try and do it later. A three circle diagram is the way to go.

1/24/16       #35: Need some opinions ...
Rich Kuban  Member

Website: closetexperts.com

FWIW, I too prefer written to spoken, recognizing tone is not well conveyed. I try to be accurate and considered. I also like the irrefutableness of written too. It takes too much time, but is good practice. I think the loss of writing skill mirrors the lack of civility. Both are disrespectful of the party who receives it.

1/25/16       #36: Need some opinions ...
Mark B Member

Every time this topic comes up I am always somewhat shocked at how a very experienced, and more so previously self employed, individual is looked at as such a hot potato.

I personally couldn't imagine having to look for a job at the higher levels of this profession and understand completely the issues of the industry on mass being one that needs a lot of low end mildly capable (in my opinion) staff that can be paid pretty low wages. With that though, I know a ton of guys who have been self employed in various professions from excavation and heavy equipment to the building trades and all the way through the IT world, all of which made phenomenal employees when they finally decided to give it up to self employment.

These guys all know how brutally hard it is to be in business and have experienced first hand the actual costs of piss poor labor and the toll it takes on waste, mistakes, abuse of company equipment, vehicles, and so on. Showing up late, leaving early, low production. They most generally know they are never going to earn the money they did (or more than likely thought they did) out on their own so they are more than willing to be "reasonable" in their salaries in trade for the headache of running your own operation.

Im sure Im equally broad brushing thinking most anyone who was even moderately successful in business had to realize that there is no place for stubborn personalities, ego, and things like being dynamic and complete flexibility are essential. I personally can't imagine anyone who made it for even a decade on their own wouldnt be completely clear on such things but I guess more than likely thats not the case.

I personally find the low level hunky's far more frustrating than I ever do the guy who can hit the ground running though you still need the hunky's.

I have this conversation occasionally with an older owner of another shop in my area who always thought you grew your business and then sold it to augment your retirement. In this area that just ain't gonna happen. The shop is worth the tools at auction value, the building, and even with that no one wants to buy a cabinet shop. So then the next step is that a 50+ year old shop owner who has been in the industry for 40 years is unemployable.

1/25/16       #37: Need some opinions ...
Pat O'Sullivan

Website: http://rogershaw.com

Spelling and grammar are important. Doing a good job and being a responsible employee is importanter.

3/31/16       #38: Need some opinions ...

You're having a hard time finding a job in this industry, because there is no money in this industry! You would be better off starting your own small business, realizing there is not much money in this either.

Most of these large shops want to hire cheap labor, not experience. Because that is all they can afford!

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