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.