(Topic ID: 291616)

Contemplating apprenticeship DFW

By BubbaPin

7 months ago

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  • 19 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 months ago by BubbaPin
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    #1 7 months ago

    Hey pinsiders.

    This may seem like a rant or a life's story but it's not, and kinda is. Trust me, this is pinball related.

    For the past 9 years I have worked for the same company. It's in the care industry and is completely not pinball related. I started working there when I was 21, and before that I worked there for a year when I was 18, left to try out college, flunked and got into a really hard lifestyle. After recovering from that I went back to work for them when I was 21 in 2012, and I have been there ever since. I started from the ground up caring for customers and cleaning up after them for 7.25 after 90 days got moved up to a shift lead. After 2 years moved up to management and I've been managing ever since. Before I was manager the business was having staff issues with keeping people employees and keeping employees happy and keeping business coming. Since I've been manager we have gotten awards and accolades every year since. I have worked round the clock, off the clock, day and night, and have done things most employees would never be willing to do.

    My pay now is well above what it was and is how we can afford a house and kids and bills. We don't do amazingly but we are able to live. which was hard earned especially since I have no college degree and my highschool gpa was a 1.79. on paper I'm not the smartest tool in the shed, but everyone who knows me for some reason will always say I'm one of the smartest people they know because I am always looking for something to learn.

    About 16 months ago I took up pinball machines as a hobby because my wife for years said she wanted a pinball at home. So bought one fixed it up, sold it, bought another, fixed it up, you can guess where this is going.

    Well in the 16 months time I have bought, fixed, sold a full house, space odyssey (which I regret selling) comet, and a street fighter 2. I bought and fixed up and overhauled a LAH, and bought and modded a spiderman stern. I passionately love doing the tweaks and repairs and bringing these games back to life.

    Have done cleaning, waxing, teardowns, rubbers, led conversions, board installations, speaker installations, paint touch up, coil replacement, flipper and mech rebuilds, transistor/capacitor/resistor replacements. Etc

    I honestly love working on these. I piss the hell out of my wife because for some reason when ever I see anything that is off or imperfect with how a machine plays, I obsess over it until I have it fixed, it's not unlike me to be playing a game at home after work and the second I notice something is off or not working, well guess what, i am compelled to rip that glass off and fix it right then.

    My wife constantly tells me that I should look into trying to make this a gig of some sort because she says I got the right mindset for it. And I love it more than my actual job. It's actually almost impossible for me to go to a local barcade because I just obsess over what is wrong with every game and just want to open the game up and fix it right there.

    Well for the past year I've had the feeling the owners of the company that me and my wife are management for were planning to sell. My wife kept on saying no I was just over thinking, well two months ago I had the gall to go ask the owners myself. They were shocked and did everything they could to segway away from the question. Well three weeks ago, they told us they are going to sell either now or soon, and have been planning it for sometime. Wife was shocked, I wasn't. And I get it, it's their right to sell. They assured us that our jobs our safe, my wife would have room to move up and good things were coming.

    Everyone tells me that it's going to be fine, and I shouldn't be worried. Well I am and on top of that I feel betrayed. I have done things for this company I would never dare ask someone else to do. Years ago I wanted to go back to school while working, but the owners have made it clear in so many words that it wasn't a good idea because it would cut down my availability to be called in. When me and my wife wanted to get married, we had to put it off for years due to work and when we finally did it and we just took the afternoon off to get married at a JP, we never heard the end of it. I have put my heart, soul, and the entirety of my 20's into this company just to be used as a selling point.

    Im willing to work for who ever takes over because if there's something I'm good at, is being a company man (i.e. having no self respect, no job description, and do everything necessary). And even if I need to leave I'll find something else as my day job with the skills I have used so far. But I want to contemplate the possibility of doing something pinball/arcade related on the side so I have some more skills I could get some odd work in.

    How does one go into being a tech. Is it required to be a electrical engineer. Can you apprentice a local tech to learn more. Any licenses tax paperwork required, how's the coin op business. Etc.

    I live in the great state of Texas, and one of the people I watch all the time is cary hardy, and I've always wondered what it would be like to just sit there and learn something with a person like him, so I could get more knowledge and skill. I just want to learn and be more apart of the local pin repair and tech environment. Don't want to learn from someone to steal business from someone or anything like that. I just want to learn so I can do this too, because I am truly passionate.

    Thank you all for reading. Sorry for the rant. I just need someone to discuss this with. And my wife is tired of hearing it.

    #3 7 months ago


    I'm not looking into doing this as my only career option. That would be a one in a million opportunity which would require more knowledge and experience than i have. I believe doing the same thing as you, have a day job and have a passion/side hustle I enjoy. The way I see it if I need to change careers I'll pick up something in management because I'm good at dealing with employees needs and doing things for the betterment of the company no matter the cost.

    I really guess I mistitled my post. I guess it should say, something along the lines of wanting to expand my knowledge and experience in a public setting with more experienced techs. I understand apprenticing would be unpaid, I wouldn't expect it to pay at all. Just want more hands-on without having to keep buying machines I don't have room for. (Already turned the dining room into a arcade, who eats in the dining room anyway)

    Thank you for your response and future responses.

    Update: changed title from contemplating career change to contemplating apprenticeship DFW.

    #5 7 months ago


    Again, I dont want to tech as my main source of income. I understand the deal there. I just want to do it more in spare time but for more than just machines I own. Just learn more on the side and more hands on.

    I grew up in a household that was funded by trade skills. My dad was a plumber, electrician, hvac technician and ran his own business until home depot came to him and wanted him to be the license holder in those trades for multiple states. When I was younger I got my apprenticeship license in electrical but at that time it was alittle different in dfw and with my legal background and lack of onsite experience i had no luck getting on a company.

    I completely agree with you and understand. I have thought about wanting to restart that trade. Haven't had any legal issues in ten years, and no traffic tickets in 3 years. What has been holding me back with trying to excell has been my legal past (drug related, clean 10 years) and my driving record ( driving with no glasses... Like alot)

    Thank you for the advice and that is definitely on my radar. Thank you for your response and future responses.

    #7 7 months ago


    They are in talks with a corporation. Opportunity for wife to be district manager, while me continuing at my location. Having both of us work at the same business has always been a pro/con issue. Pro is we work really well as a team because she's the face (good with customers) and I'm the body ( good with logistics and getting things done). Con is exactly that, if something happens we're both SOL.

    I've thought about coin op, but don't know where to start, I assume you have to get tax permits for, and there needs to be someway to start other than walking up to a store and being like "can I put a pinball machine in here and give you 33cents on the dollar"

    Thank you for your response.

    #9 7 months ago


    Yeah thought about it, he's no super close, but close enough, but don't wanna bug him. I'll see if I can find some more locals, and if anything I'll send him a message and see if it's anything he'd be interested in. Thank you

    #11 7 months ago


    Thank you for your input. At the moment I'm okay with schematics, not great, I can get done what I need it just takes me a bit to track it down. Got a good dmm and soldering station, done some board work, just want opportunity to learn more board work. ICs are what's scary to me right now, but practice will fix that.

    #17 7 months ago


    In regards to thought 1. That's kinda what I've been doing. Bought a trashed full house that was a barn find. Fixed that up, did a custom western theme cause we were gonna use it as a art piece, bought for 250, put about 300 in it plus time, sold for 750. Bought a space odyssey for 450, put about 100 in it sold it for 750, added 500, bought a comet, fixed it up, traded it for a BBH pro and a multi case. Took the 750 from full house added 50 went and bought a rough street fighter 2 for 800, put prolly about 500 into it, sold it for 2k, added 2250 bought a spiderman in great condition.

    Bit of a rant there, but that's what I like to do when I have the funds to do so, and the space that is. Currently contemplating selling off the multicade and possibly the big buck so I got room for another pin. LAH is my wife's but I might end up buying it from her just so I can continue to trade up, sadly it seems she's lost interest.

    As for thought 2. I'm kinda on the same wave length there.

    #19 7 months ago

    @ Tophervette

    Thank you. I've always said the same thing, "it's easier to get a job when you have a job". I've been doing hiring for the company for years and I know the first two things I look for are: 1. Are they currently employed. And 2. How long was each employment.

    As for me, the only employment history I have that is of note is 9 years with the same company, in a field that I'm already one of the highest paid in. I make 21.50 as management of a animal care facility. Which is high, I've never asked for a raise, I've actually have told ownership to split my raises with the other employees for the past 3 years because I didn't think I was anymore entitled to it than the people I count on. So the likelihood of me making what I make now doing what I do now in the same field but somewhere else is crazy to me. Maybe my dad was right and I should of done electrical and hvac from the get go... I dunno. But either way I'm gonna keep thinking on it and thank you for your time and responses.

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