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Advice Needed - Trying to Enter Profession

Discussion in 'Personnel' started by CJDiesel4, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. CJDiesel4

    CJDiesel4 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
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    Location:
    MA
    Hello,

    Looking for some advice. I am in the process of trying to do a career change to diesel mechanics from the software industry.

    Can anyone recommend any steps, I am older late 30's so going back to school is not really an option. I have experience doing all my own diesel troubleshooting and maintenance on my own engines.

    Seems pretty difficult to try to get a job in a shop especially at my age and background, I get some pretty strange looks.

    I was thinking of just buying an old diesel engine and rebuilding for experience but thought I would see if anyone had any better ideas. Then once I did that get my hands on an old skid steer and rebuild that.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. truckdoctor

    truckdoctor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    mechanic
    Location:
    reno nevada
    You might try to find a shop that will hire you as an apprentice or some entry level position. I know at the dealer I work at they have an internal apprenticeship program where they train new inexperienced hands.I know the mines east of where I am at are always looking for people and they are willing to train you and will give a tool allowance along with a wage. The big mines in this area are fairly low pressure because of all the safety regulations. The other option is to find a small operation that really needs help. The small company will probably not pay well and they will treat you like crap but they will throw you at every problem and let you fix it. Remember as well unless the company is willing to supply you with tools, you can plan on spending up towards $10,000 a year in tools for the first five years. Don't rule out schooling even if you go to school after you start into the industry. It is good to have the papers saying that you know what you are doing.
     
  3. SchuLace

    SchuLace Well-Known Member

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    Cat has a program called Think Big. You would go to school for a few weeks and then work in a shop for a few weeks. You get paid while you are working and I believe you pretty much have a job locked down after you are done with school.
     
  4. CJDiesel4

    CJDiesel4 New Member

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    Truckdoctor - Good Advice - thank you.

    SchuLace - I have looked into a couple of programs from CAT - it seems to be just a lot o rhetoric - CAT Corporate tells me to contact my dealer - and I get the brush off from the dealer everytime.
     
  5. truckdoctor

    truckdoctor Well-Known Member

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    reno nevada
    The "Think Big" program has been scrapped for the most part. Cat is back to dealer sponsored apprenticeship. Unless you have a connection within the dealer they will not acknowledge you. I know it sound awful but that is how some of the dealers act. I went through this once. There is opprotunity out there if you want it. Another place to look is truck repair shops or trucking companies. They seem to be more open to people starting out. The down side is you will be working swing shift or graveyard to start.
     
  6. SchuLace

    SchuLace Well-Known Member

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    Where I am, the Think Big program is still going strong. We are looking for students for it all the time. If someone even shows the slightest interest in it, someone is there talking to them and letting them know everything they want to know about it.
     
  7. CJDiesel4

    CJDiesel4 New Member

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    What state are you in?

    I am in MA.
     
  8. CJDiesel4

    CJDiesel4 New Member

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    One other question for you guys.

    Will or should I get a CDL license is this needed at all.
     
  9. bobb

    bobb Well-Known Member

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    it helps. any kind of paper that you can show helps. some people doing the hiring dont know much about the job so they go by what paper you have in hand. refuse companies are always looking for fresh meat. you may need to start as some kind of labor or helper but if you hang around the shop and show what you can do people normaly will work you to your maximum ability. reading through all the posts on this site can be educational too. go to used book stores and get some old repair manuals for more reading and education. dont forget to up your computer skills cause its a big thing these days.
     
  10. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    If you have the time, go get your CDL. Once you have it, you have it. A CDL can only open doors, it won't shut any if you have it.;)
     
  11. alanmurfee

    alanmurfee Member

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    I believe it would be quite difficult for you to do career change. It's a good to buy an old diesel engine and rebuild it because from this you will get to know that far you can take your career in this field.
     
  12. bw77

    bw77 New Member

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  13. scheirerequip

    scheirerequip Member

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    Occupation:
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    i started out much like you except i was 21 wife kid house and no schooling except the military however i was raised in the trucking and heavy equipment industry i went to the local rail yard and got a job changing split rim 10/20 tires all day for 8 buck an hour .......but it got me one thing ....besides some pretty awesome muscles i got to know every owner operator who hauled rail containers and i just slowly picked them up working on there trucks on the side. waste management was hiring 15.55 to start just to grease trucks 3-11 .......5 years of that was enough but it got me hired with a local equipment dealer i worked for them until they sold out.... so i bought in.....(stole some of their customers) i have my own company now working for myself no boss to aggravate me no bull no one can tell me how much money i can make or how much overtime i can work
     
  14. Brodiesel

    Brodiesel Well-Known Member

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    The ThinkBIG program is alive and well, I think your just referring to Nevada? I know Cashman doesn't take part in it.
     
  15. crewchief888

    crewchief888 Senior Member

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    i walked into a dealer one afternoon, spoke to the service manager for about 30 minutes, and was hired on the spot.
    ZERO experience as a mechanic, i was a machinist previously.
    started doing PM services, and changing tires. within 6 months i was put out in a service truck.

    i spent most of the last 30 years as a field mechanic, i gave up the service managers position to go back out in the field.

    never hurts to apply....

    i'd think a small rental company might be a good place to start.
    our last new mechanic came from a medium sized rental house. once he gets the hang of the more technical stuff that we deal with he'll be fine

    :drinkup
     
  16. Brodiesel

    Brodiesel Well-Known Member

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    Your not too old to go back to school, "getting your life together" in your 30's is whats trending among most of my friends. What do you see yourself doing? What interests you mechanic wise? Wrenching is extremely high tech these days anyways so you may have something to contribute on that end...
     
  17. walkerv

    walkerv Senior Member

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    if you even look at a refuse company go for a entry level position in the shop do not have anything to do with driving or riding on a truck you will get stuck there .
     
  18. n8frogg

    n8frogg Member

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    What is your experience in the software industry?

    If you can code, you can probably get a job at a dealer with their cloud based fleet management services. For example, CAT has Product Link, Volvo has CareTrack, Komatsu has Komtrax, and John Deere has JDLink.

    Once you've got a job at a dealer, you can get a feel for what you would like to do long term. Best of luck in your career search.