The Water Cooler - Jeep Cherokee Forum

The Water Cooler

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Old 01-30-2018, 09:37 PM
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I wanted to create this thread for members to post stories, accomplishments, successes, failures, and interesting tidbits regarding our careers. I have caught glimpses of what some of our forum members do for a living. Some are hard working IT professionals, others are mechanics, electricians or welders.

I know I see a lot of work related things end up of the grind your gears thread. I though the creation of this thread could exist as somewhat of an antithesis to the grind your gears stories.

I also love to learn what everyone does to keep bread on the table and I am fascinated by ďworking AmericaĒ.

So please feel free to share what you do for living and educate us a little about it. Please share pictures and stories of anything you deem interesting. Iím tired now. Iíll post something here tomorrow hopefully.

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Old 01-30-2018, 09:43 PM
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Alright some of you probably already figured out by now that I'm a welder.

And that's true.

I first started out in the construction industry when I was 9 years old, being a helper. We did renovations on gutted out houses. Specialized in condemned or abandoned houses that people deemed un-repairable.

For example. There's a house in atlantic city that pretty much sank in the ground. The foundation was pretty much nonexistent. (Built in 1901).

We cut holes in the floors near the corners of the house, dropped a plumb bob from the upper corners all way to the ground to mark where the foundation should be, dug trenches around the perimeter so the footing can be poured and then the foundation walls.

The house got jacked up and placed back on the foundation and had to be temporarily shored up so we can measure and put the steel beams under the flooring to stabilize it.

When all that's done, we proceed to shore up all the rotting studs that sank down in the ground with new studs.

And then the house can be renovated normally.

Another example would be excavating a basement under a house. We start on the corners, putting new blocks under it and then slowly meeting up to other corners until the entire basement walls are completed. The remaining dirt can now be excavated fully and new floor poured in.

Let's say we did the "unconventional construction" stuff.

Oh yea one other example was one house that had a crawl space under the entire structure. It kept flooding all the time and the owner was getting older. He said he was tired of it. Our solution... jacked the house up, filled in the space with dirt, poured a new concrete floor. and then sawzalled the entire bottom of the house and placed it directly on the concrete floor.

Another job we had, a guy bought an empty lot and wanted to build a house... he found a house somewhere else, the people wanted it gone (were building a highway through) so they sold the house for $500 to him. He had the house moved over to the lot for $24,000. We proceeded to jack the house like 30 feet high, plumb bobbed the location for the foundation we poured the foundation, built the basement walls with blocks, then built the first story then lowered the old house on the top. To finalize things, we brought in truck loads of dirt to pile up against the basement walls. (We essentially built the "basement floor" on flat ground and brought in dirt to fill around it & sloped it down so it looked like it was built on a small hill).

We enjoyed doing work on houses where people always thought "**** it. It's probably cheaper just to tear the whole damn thing and start over" and prove them wrong.

That's when I developed a love for working with electricity. Years later after getting out of high school. I worked at a shipyard restoring large commercial fishing vessels and did some welding here and there (I learned welding in high school). I was recruited into an electrical company wiring new houses in developments.

For two years, we installed electric meters, service entrances, etc in addition to wiring the houses. Really loved that job but the company went under and folded.

I had no choice but change careers and be a welder full time. I got a job at Falls Manufacturing Company (owned by UHAUL) this location is where everything get manufactured and welded. Trailers, hand trucks, carts, car Dolly's, ramps, axles, Anything's metal, you name it, that place produced them all. I got laid off (the entire temporary work force was laid off).

For couple of years doing "unconventional construction" work I finally got recruited to work at a machine shop doing welding work & fabrication.

So that's where I'm been at; longest job I ever held. Haha 7 years and counting.

I'm currently looking for another job. I'm getting bored.

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Old 01-30-2018, 10:12 PM
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Fantastic! I'm in as soon as I get a chance!
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Old 01-30-2018, 10:54 PM
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Ugh. So depressing. Moved to AZ 15 years ago and almost every company I have worked for either went out of business or moved out of state. I have the worst luck, and I don't even believe in luck! The company I work for now is cool, low stress job, but I took a $20,000 a year cut in pay to work there. It would be nice if the luck gods did me a favor for once and hooked me up with a long-term job that pays decent.
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:19 AM
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apprenticed as a cabinet maker and did that on the side while working as a millwright in a paper mill. Retired in 2009. Yes i miss the work. No I do not miss the people, seems all the good ones had passed away.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:11 AM
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Environmental Engineer on the 3rd largest coal mine in the US here in Wyoming. I handle all of our permitting, environmental and legal compliance, reclamation planning and such. Started as an Intern in college with the company, and then was brought on full time. Been with the company for 6 years and 2 mines.
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Old 01-31-2018, 02:08 PM
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Toolmaker for precision plastic injection molding for 44 years, retired in 2008, not by choice. Had a dispute with employer, leave it at that. Unable to find a job in my chosen trade, I filed for SSI, got it in 3 months! Am now living on SS and a part time job delivering newspapers, beating the crap out of my jeep.

It really sucks being a skilled tradesman and not being able to work in my chosen field. I'm considered a dinosaur in today's technology. I wanted to teach, but don't have the credentials necessary. I have bad knees and can't stand on my feet for 8 hours which is a necessary qualification for my trade.

I have trouble working on my jeep without a garage because getting up and down to lay under it and chase tools is incredibly painful. Sorry to say most of my work is done by a mechanic friend. I can just about handle a brake job if I sit on a low stool while working on each wheel.

One of the jobs I worked on was the molds for the Remington 870 plastic stock and forearm. Then their research department toyed with the idea of making plastic receivers by molding over stamped steel parts and covering the barrels with plastic to eliminate bluing! They eventually pulled the plug on that worthless venture. The Remmy 870 has the reputation of being the leader in pump action shotguns and has been proven to last. Who is going to buy one made of plastic? Remember the original M16 was called the "Matty Mattel" by soldiers.

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Old 01-31-2018, 03:51 PM
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Some interesting professions here. I'll give the long story for anyone who's interested:

I enlisted in the Army when I was 17 and started Basic Training on my 18th birthday. I signed on as a 25B - Information Technology Specialist, narrowly missing the opportunity to become a rotary aircraft (helicopter) mechanic. My dad and my recruiter convinced me that IT had a better future on the outside.

I ended up working special duty assignments that I prefer not to talk about in public forums, but it was certainly an interesting career. Unfortunately, I worked for absolutely horrible people for my entire 7-year enlistment, so I decided to walk away from a retirement at 39 years old and instead take my chances at living a happy life.

So at 25, I was unemployed for about 9 months before I started working my current job. I was hired on to run the IT helpdesk for a company that does background investigations for various government agencies.

I learned all I could in that position, so I updated my resume last summer and began looking at jobs in other states. But the guy above me quit unexpectedly just before a security audit, leaving me as the only IT guy with approval to work on all of our contracts. I was on my way to interview for a different job when I got a phone call offering me a big promotion with a significant raise.

I decided to stay where I was so I can learn all these new systems on a network that I'm already familiar with. Now I'm the Information Systems Security Engineer (ISSE) for this company, and I have a whole new box of toys to play with.

My big projects at the moment involve Splunk, VMware, Citrix, and Nessus, and we're also trying to convince the owner of our need to replace our aging/failing infrastructure with new hardware.
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:12 PM
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Great stuff so far guys.

My job sometimes is a bit difficult to describe sometimes.

Iím what is known as an Process Instrumentation and Control technician.

Wherever there is a process where a raw product enters, a series of events occurs, and a finish product leaves is where I will be working. A raw product could be raw ingredients for food, metal stock, or raw waste water etc. A finished product could be canned goods, heat treat parts, or clean water.

In order to change a raw ingredient into a finished product there are sensors and instrumentation that measure process variables and feed the automation/control system with data, that automation/control system will make decisions based on user programming to achieve a finished product.

My job is to calibrate, document, troubleshoot, and repair/replace instrumentation for systems that measure and control level, temperature, pressure, flow, and other process variables. My focus is on meteorology, whatís known as the study of measurement.

So one day I may be trouble shooting a large furnace and the next day I may be calibrating flow meters for a municipality and the day after that I could be calibrating or fixing temperature sensors for a food plant.

My company specializes in all things present in a control system from the sensors and instrumentation, to motors, variable frequency drives, PLC/automation and all the the conduit and wiring it takes to connect everything. We have employees who specialized in different parts of the control system. We have guys who can bend conduit and pull wire like no ones business, guys who program industrial decision making computers (PLCs) and guys like me, who specialize in instrumentation, meteorology and sensors.

When it boils down and what I tell my wifeís friends: Iím basically an industrial electronics technician with an electrical background and education. They seem to understand that better.

Iíll keep this thread updated with some of my interesting travels.

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Old 01-31-2018, 05:05 PM
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I'm a retired Heavy Wrecker/Recovery Driver, also Heavy Truck Mechanic.

I have a lot of stories, after doing it for over 30 years, but not many pictures......that wasn't a big thing back then, seems like just the last five years every driver has gone photo happy, and forgets he's there for the recovery....LOL

Now all I have is the Volunteer Fire Department to keep me busy.

This was one of our most recent, Bowling Alley in NY
The Water Cooler-minisink-lanes-huguenot-ny004.jpg

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Old 01-31-2018, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Willys55 View Post
I'm a retired Heavy Wrecker/Recovery Driver, also Heavy Truck Mechanic.

Now all I have is the Volunteer Fire Department to keep me busy. I have a lot of stories, after doing it for over 30 years, but not many pictures......that wasn't a big thing back then, seems like just the last five years every driver has gone photo happy, and forgets he's there for the recovery....LOL


This was one of our most recent, Bowling Alley in NY
Attachment 400974
Yikes, we just a had chimney fire down the street the other day. I was listening on the scanner. Everything is okay, minor fire. Easily handled by the boys in the red trucks.
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Old 01-31-2018, 05:51 PM
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Guess I will chime in here too.

My job title is sales but thats about the least of what I do. The company I work for primarily builds LS engines and makes engines parts. So I manage all the online sales, do phone orders and sometimes help walk in customers. I also to do tech support on all of our products we make and engines we sell. On top of that, I design new engine combinations mostly for all the 4 cylinder builds. I also do dyno tuning, welding and wiring part of the time.

Most of the vehicles that come through the shop are off road race trucks and sand rails. We also do a lot of older hot rods that are LS powered. Then we get the cool stuff like professional drift cars, Rolex series race cars, cars that are in movies and other odd home made creations.

The best part of my job is getting to meet some really cool people. We have a lot of celebrities, professional athletes and popular race car drivers as customers. I have got to be part of the last 5 or 6 Fast and Furious movies, 2 Batman movies, hung out with celebrities, get special treatment at races and free tickets to all sorts of sports games.
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:46 PM
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eh i’ll play. currently a truck driver. i have a class a license and all endorsements. roundabout way of getting here.

took a summer job at 18 as help on a water well drill rig. ended up working 2 years drilling water wells and doing service work. then took a job at a geotechnical engineering firm starting as a drill helper. worked there 9 years doing every job possible on the drilling side. i was a helper, driller, asst drilling coordinator, drilling coordinator etc. i worked in boring location and took several classes regarding underground utility location and surveying. i ran the total station survey equipment on all job sites. i was capable of doing everything from marketing to job setup to physical job completion, end to end. the only thing i couldn’t do was write a report as i lack a college degree. got my class a cdl in 08 to help with equipment transport. ended up in the field running a drill rig. quit in 11 to do food delivery. quit that in 15 to do linehaul - where i am at now.

ive always enjoyed my jobs. i really enjoyed drilling. it is diffficult and dangerous but very rewarding work. i literally can drive anywhere in a 5 state radius and point to a structure and recall being involved with at least one step of its creation. i can complete any task requiring excessive strength. cold, harsh or otherwise bad weather doesn’t bother me. broken bones and stitches galore, but i have all of my digits and their use. pretty good for 11 years in the drilling industry. i was thrown to the wolves at a young age, the confidence inspired from the drilling gig is priceless. sadly i left the career as it required frequent travel - i missed almost all of my little girl’s firsts for 4 solid years. i heavily regret it. working and putting my now ex wife through undergrad and law school was the greater good i saw. she divorced me 2 yrs before graduating with a law degree from iu.

fast forward to now - absolutely love my job. ive always liked big trucks. however, the evolution of transportation industry rules and regulations scares the hell out of me.
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:39 PM
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Here is one of my projects I completed about 2 weeks ago. In the second picture you can see all of the paper circular chart recorders on the wall. Think of them sort of like a seismograph. Instead of earthquakes, they graph process values. This is a water plant. So here they are graphing turbidity (a measurement of how clean the water is), chlorine levels and flow. The charts spin and make a full rotation once every 7 days. Then the operator will come through and put new charts on and place the old chart in file so the Department of Environmental Protection can review if they deem necessary.

Just like every of industry, paper is slowly becoming a thing of the past. I made a sales pitch awhile ago and convinced my customer to buy a Eurotherm Versadac digital recorder. So instead of documenting on paper this recorder logs the info to the operators computer. There is a special software that installs on Windows that will communicate with the recorder and pull data from it to a localized database on the PC. From there that data will populate graphs and data cells within the program. It is very versatile and impressive for an operator who has only ever used a paper recorder.

Paper recorders in one form or another have been an industry standard probably since the 1940s. They have some disavantages though:

-Many moving parts. There are little servo motors that spin the chart and move the pen. All kinds of little gears and linkages within as well.

-Charts are getting expensive, as some of these recorders are discontinued, third party businesses have started up to continue print old vintage charts. As the pen writes on the chart it will eventually need replaced as well. It probably costs 200-500 dollars a year for charts and pens depending on the vintage.

-It can be difficult to analyze pen on paper markings, if the chart pen servo is out of calibration slightly it will document on the wrong part of the paper. Which then will have indicated the wrong value when someone reads it.

The superintendent at this plant is older and loves his paper recorders. I’m really good friends with the assistant superintendent and we convinced boss man to give it a go. In a normal situation, I would have taken the chart recorders off the wall completely and taken them to our bone yard for parts. But since the big wig loves them we left them in place, he wanted to run them side by side for awhile. And then think about ditching them.

I built the panel in our panel shop. I ran a conduit from each paper recorder up through the ceiling and over to my panel. This is so I could tap into the milliamp loops coming from each process instrument. We are currently recording four filter turbidities, the outgoing chlorine residual, and the settling basin turbidity (the corse filter before the fine filtration).

When all the hardware was in, I called there IT guy and got a static IP address for my recorder, the only way to program it is to connect to it with a PC through the ethernet port. Once it was programmed, I forced inputs into it to check its accuracy. Customer is very happy with it.



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Old 02-02-2018, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by CurrySoSpicy View Post
Here is one of my projects I completed about 2 weeks ago. In the second picture you can see all of the paper circular chart recorders on the wall. Think of them sort of like a seismograph. Instead of earthquakes, they graph process values. This is a water plant. So here they are graphing turbidity (a measurement of how clean the water is), chlorine levels and flow. The charts spin and make a full rotation once every 7 days. Then the operator will come through and put new charts on and place the old chart in file so the Department of Environmental Protection can review if they deem necessary.
OK I'm just amazed that even today they were still using a system like that. WAY behind currently available technology.

This is a great thread man... I have done so many different things in so many different fields in my life that I'm going to have to condense it all before I post it or it will be an hour long read. The statement "Jack of all trades and master of none" in my profile is no joke. lol
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