I got a wild hair and decided to do a google search heat exchanger fitters. I was wondering what kind of job openings were out there, benefits and what the salary was.
One of the first results is a good example of why I left the welding field. The job opening was through a temporary agency, which was advertised as a temp to permanent position.
Why do companies use a temp agency? Most of the times its because the company has problems retaining employees. To cut down on the drug test and paper work, the company goes through a temp agency. The temp agency does the interviewing, drug test, screening, then sends the person to the welding shop.
No salary and no benefits were listed in the job opening.
Why should people stay in a field where the companies have problems retaining employees, and employees are not offered benefits?
If this was a good job, people would be lining up at the door.
Fab shops offer terrible benefits, lousy pay, and then they complain when they can not find skilled workers.
Why are kids going to college and leaving the manual labor jobs behind? Because kids can make 2 and 3 times working in computer then they can make welding.
Back in the late 1980s and into the 1990s weldshop foremans were worried about the number of young people going into welding. Instead of offering improved benefits, just hire employees through a temp agency.
Why did I leave the welding field? Because the pay, benefits and working conditions suck.
While I was growing up adults and teachers asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. What I really wanted to do was Anthropology, the study of ancient civilizations.
My other choices were to do something with the outdoors, or to create something, such as a scientist.
When I finished high school I took a job at a welding shop, which was not even something I had considered.
In the 1990s I looked into opening some kind of outdoor gear review magazine. But the magazine was cost prohibitive. The companies that would print the magazines wanted a couple of hundred thousand dollars up front, and that was even before I found anyone that would carry the magazines.
From the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s, I was waiting for something to come along on the internet that would help me build a website. There was basic HTML sites, but I wanted something that was dynamic and able to handle steady updates.
In early 2006 I opened the forum. Later that same year I opened the blog but in a different format then what we see today.
Between the forum and the blog, I have achieved something I have wanted to do since I was a kid. I get to go play in the woods, then write about it.
Creating content on youtube, the forum and the blog is like a scientist creating something. I do my research, do my observations, then write about my opinion on the research and observations.
The internet has given me the ability to express myself like a real-life job would never have.
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.
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.
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.
Then there was the mandatory night-shifts and weekends. When my second son was born, taking off for his birth was the first day I had off in maybe 6 weeks. And that was working 10 and 12 hour shifts.
I felt like my life was one step above slave labor. The companies paid their employees barely enough that the employees would literally beg for overtime.
One bastard supervisor I worked for once told me, if you play an employee good he will not want to work overtime. If you pay an employee a low wage, the employee will have to work overtime.