Considered pursuing a career in manufacturing? This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more. This is a true career story as told toÂ DiversityJobs and is one of many interviews with individuals in the manufacturing profession which, among others, include an Assembly Line Worker, a High Tech Customer Service Agent at Manufacturing Plant and everything in between.
Dave is a 45-year-old white male who has worked in the manufacturing industry for over 25 years. In this interview, he describes how the current economy and socio-economic political climate has affected both him and the manufacturing industry as a whole.
Currently, I work for a leading manufacturer of plywood in a small Southern town. I work in the maintenance department with 11 other men. Our job responsibilities entail keeping the older machinery running in the plywood plant as well as repairing any emergency breakdowns. I have only been in this position for one year. Prior to this job, I worked as a CNC Machinist for a small machine shop up North. I left that job because the owner went out of business after 40 years.
Hot and Dirty, But Pays Well
My job is hot and dirty but it does pay well, around $40-50 thousand per year and provides benefits my family needs. I get to work around 6 a.m. and often find myself working until after 8 p.m. The machinery at the plant is old but it is expensive. My job is to make sure the machinery runs well. If I can keep an older machine running, then the company does not have to purchase a new one.
A new machine can cost over a million dollars and my company does not have that kind of money to spend. I come home covered in sawdust. At times, during the summer, the machines that I work on can reach temperatures of over 140 degrees.
Working Knowledge of Computers
Many people think that those of us who work in manufacturing are uneducated, or came to work right out of high school. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most machinery is now run with the help of computers, so anyone working in the plant has to have a working knowledge of computers and software. Each person in the plant has at least two years of computer classes.
Not an Exclusive Male Domain
Another popular misconception is that this type of work is mainly done by men. There are just as many women working on the line and working in the maintenance department as there are men. The corporate office has more women than men working in it and HR is equally split as well.
The biggest challenge anyone in the manufacturing industry faces is the fact that here in the United States, it is becoming a dying industry. Jobs are being sent overseas because companies can spend less money in salary, benefits, and taxes. Those of us who have both mechanical and computer experience are the ones who find it easier to find work. If I didn’t at least have an associate degree, I would have a hard and difficult time finding a job after my last company went out of business.
Using Both – Mind and Hands
Although some may find it hard to believe, I love my job. I love math and use it daily as I adjust machines. There are many complicated formulas to some of the repairs and I enjoy the fact that I get to use both my mind and my hands when I work.
Because I work with so many other people from all types of background and all ethnicities, I find that I have to be able to communicate well in addition to knowing the mechanics of my job. Right now, I am taking a continuing education class in Spanish because about one-third of my co-workers are Hispanic.
Donâ€™t Take Your Job Home
If I had to rate my job, I would give it a 9 out of 10. While it may be stressful when I am at work, it is not a job I have to “take home.” Once my shift is over, it is over and I am free to go home and spend time with my wife and daughter.
While I make the same salary here in the South as I did in the North, the cost of living is less expensive. I hope that in five years, I am still employed with my company and still working in the maintenance department. After five years, I will also be eligible for a month of vacation time. Currently, I receive one week and trust me, it is needed.
Vanessa Price works for LatPro.com and JustJobs.com and and is one of their content specialists. The article above would help someone considering a career in manufacturing and also with the pros and cons related to that job.