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My Journey Out - (Read 920 Times)
 
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dkdc
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Post Icon Posted: Sep 3rd, 2016 at 11:49 pm

I graduated from CCC-KC in 2003, and was licensed in Wisconsin and Minnesota. After three years of searching for an associate position and never getting past a first interview, I voluntarily retired both licenses.

I held a number of $8 to $10 an hour jobs, but it seemed I just couldn't go any farther without going back to school. Since I'd used up my lifetime financial aid limit getting my chiropractic degree, that didn't seem possible.

Whenever I looked for work, I kept hearing that CNC Operators were in demand. The local Department of Workforce Development office advertised a "CNC Bootcamp" that would train participants to be CNC Operators in 14 weeks, with the entire cost covered by SC Johnson. They boasted a very high placement rate. I completed a lengthy application process, and did very well until the panel interview. The interview was obviously scripted, and I was doing fairly well until they asked about my chiropractic degree. That's when the interview went off-script. Every question I answered seemed to raise harder questions. I was not accepted.

Having seen the quality of the applicants they were getting, I knew I could do at least as well as any they accepted. The Bootcamp was offered in partnership with the local technical college, and when I compared the Bootcamp with the college's CNC curriculum, it was pretty much identical with the one-semester CNC Operator's Certificate. I scraped together a few hundred dollars and enrolled part-time while working full-time. I was making progress, but with my work schedule, I could only fit in one class per semester. Then I lost my job. I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get through as quickly as possible.

We survived mostly on my wife's income as a CNA for nine months. I worked part-time at McDonald's because they were willing to work around my class schedule. I completed the CNC Operator's Certificate in the Fall 2014 semester, and the CNC Technical Diploma in the Spring 2015 semester.

While I was in school, it seemed that everyone was talking about networking, the "hidden job market", and "it's not what you know, it's who you know." The general advice was to ask everyone you know, "Who do you know that can tell me about CNC jobs?" I found that I didn't know anyone in the field, and didn't know anyone who knew anyone in the field, either.

People also recommended LinkedIn. I created an account, but wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I read several books on the subject—the most helpful were I'm on LinkedIn—Now What? and How Not to Suck at LinkedIn. I put together a profile, including my work history after chiropractic school and my BS, but left off my DC. I started searching CNC and (city name) for every city and town within 50 miles, and started sending connection requests. It didn't take long for LinkedIn to put restrictions on my account. To have them lifted, I had to agree not to send connection requests to people I didn't already know. (Kind of defeats the purpose of LinkedIn IMHO.) So I continued searching, but only visited people's profiles. A percentage of those people would view my profile, and a percentage of those would invite me to connect.

When I ran into LinkedIn's search limit for free accounts, I upgraded to Business Plus. Sure, it was $50 a month, but I figured if it helped me get a job quicker, it was worth that for a couple months. I also signed up for Autopilot for LinkedIn. https://autopilot.li/ I would enter search terms, start Autopilot, and go to bed. While I slept, Autopilot would visit the profiles in my search results.

One person sent me a message saying "Do I know you?" I replied that I didn't know him, but I was a CNC student at the local technical college, and I was trying to connect with people in the industry. We messaged back and forth several times, and he invited me to meet him in person. He ended up offering me a part-time job while I was still in school at $12 an hour. I started out cutting stock on the band saw. A month later, he let me start running jobs on a CNC mill. A month after that, he let me start setting up CNC jobs. Great work experience, both for learning, and for my resume!

A friend showed me Miwaukeejobs.com. Once I uploaded a resume, I could search for job openings, and submit my resume with a single click. If an employer was interested, they would contact me. I left my DC off my resume and all job applications. I figured if an employer found out about it later and wanted to fire me, I didn't want to work for that kind of company.

Shortly after graduation, I accepted a job offer at an hourly rate far above average for new graduates. According to Google Maps, it was an hour away, but with construction, it took an hour and a half. We worked 9 hour days, 5-6 days a week. I learned a lot, but it felt like someone had thrown me in the deep end of the pool to see if I could swim. I think they actually wanted a beginner with five years' experience. That plus three hours a day on the road was too much. I left after eight weeks.

I resumed my job search with all the tools I had used before, and started a new job exactly three weeks from the last day at my old job. The pay was more in line with what other employers were offering, but expectations were more reasonable. I came on as a temp in August, and as a direct hire in October. My boss said, "You might not have as much experience as some people, but you're trainable."

My new employer offers tuition reimbursement for classes that will help you with your job, or a job you could have at that company. You have to get approval first, and pay out of your own pocket, but at the end of each semester you submit your grades, and for every class with a C or better, they reimburse for tuition AND books!

As soon as I had been there long enough to qualify, I gave them a list of programs I was considering, and asked which one would be most useful. They said they would approve any of the programs I listed, but if I enrolled in Tool and Die Making, they would move me to the Tool Room to get hands-on experience, and adjust my work schedule to fit with my classes. Classes start Tuesday, but I have been working in the Tool Room since June 27.

Tool and Die is a two-year program, but since I'm working full-time, it will take me longer. From talking with people in the field, once I finish the program, I'll be worth at least $20 an hour, and wages will go up from there. Right now, I'm making more than $15 with good benefits at a job I enjoy in a company I like working for, with plenty of opportunities to learn.
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news444
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Post Icon Posted: Feb 12th, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Good post.every one like to journey.we can see more beautiful places and good nature.thank you for sharing this information.I really appreciated you.thank you
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