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Tag: fab shops

Why I left the welding field

My name is Kevin Felts and I have 15 years experience in the welding field. In June 1986 I took a job in a welding shop.

From 1986 – 1999 I worked in various welding shops between southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

Around August 1999 I was laid off from a welding shop. When I was laid off from that welding shop, I decided to go into the computer field.

Between 2003 – 2004 I went back into the welding field for 12 months.

This past weekend my wife and I were passing through the Beaumont Texas area. While we were around Beaumont, I showed her some of the welding shops I used to work at.

Seeing those welding shops brought back bad memories. I realized that all of the shops we looked at had common traits. Some of those common traits were poorly trained supervisors and poor quality pay.

Company A

One welding shop I worked at in in the Beaumont Texas area, my supervisor (lets call him dumbass) and I had worked together at another welding shop a few years earlier. At this other shop, my wifes grandfather was the foreman. When work got low, the workforce had to be reduced, so a few people were laid off. Dumbass happened to be one of the people laid off. This was in 1987.

Employers who treat employees like second class citizens

Kevin Felts working on his bar-b-q pit

For around 15 years I working in various welding shops in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. There were a lot of reasons why I left the welding field – lack of benefits, lack of decent pay and being treated like a second class citizen.

One time my wife called the I was working at and asked to speak to me. Welding shops do not like for employees to take phone calls unless its an emergency. Some dumbass engineer told my wife the shop employees were not allowed to receive phone calls and hung up.

My wife called back again and this time asked to speak to my supervisor. My boss called me to the office and let me take the call.

When my told me what had happened on the fist call, I was so pissed I was ready to whip that engineers ass. How dare he tell me wife should could not talk to me. My supervisor said he will talk to the engineer about personal phone calls.

That is a good example of how people who work in the fab shops across southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana are treated like second class citizens.

Favorite fab shops in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas

In my career across various fab shops in the southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas between 1986 – 1999 and 2003 – 2004, I worked at all different types of companies. Some companies treated employees well, some places treated the employees like crap.

There are a lot of things that set companies apart from each other. Two of the most important have to be management and benefits. Working conditions are also important, as well as safety. But if you dread going to work because your supervisor is an asshole, it makes for a bad work situation.

I have worked for my share of assholes, and I have worked for my share of great people.

Its going on 8 years since I left the welding field. In all, I spent close to 15 years building ASME certified pressure vessels and heat exchangers. I worked on everything from cyanide to water service heat exchangers and vessels.

There is something about working with your hands. At the end of the day you can look at the pressure vessel or heat exchanger and say “I built that.”

The two companies I miss working at, Allied Fabrication in Rose City Texas and Industrial Equipment & Engineering in Sulphur Louisiana.

[Related Article – Welding shops in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana]

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