From 2012 to 2015 I worked at Montana Metal Fabrications. It’s basically a job where you need a strong sense of mechanical intuition, experience with welding, a basic knowledge of general tools and when they’re used, no fear of heights, and an ability to be away from home for a week or two at a time.
I qualified for almost none of that…I lived with my parents…no problem leaving town for awhile.
It was Dean and Wendy, the boss/owners of the company. Wendy ran the clerical stuff as well. It was Phil, the Heir apparent. Rich, the husband of Dean’s sister. Then Dustin, Jordan, and myself, with a few others sprinkled in from time to time. 5 to 8 employees most of the time.
It is a very small business. And, without knowing the exact numbers, I would say it is also a very profitable and stable entity. With two great people as the backbone behind it.
The job helped me grow as a person. At any given time I could be the smartest or the stupidest guy on the crew. More often the latter. I had to make a lot of adjustments in my way of thinking to make sure I was always being the best I could be for both the company and myself while I was there.
Most of the guys knew their way around the shop, and excelled at anything to do with mechanics, welding, etc. Dean and Phil especially.
A lot of questions about what things are and how they work…that seemed to be one of my permanent roles. I’m sure it was annoying for some of the guys, but after awhile they had to respect that I cared. Certainly better than the alternative of not giving a shit at all and just in it to collect a paycheck. They shuffled through a couple of those types of people too while I was there.
I had to learn to not take things personally. I had to learn to know my role, accept it, and not force myself to be someone I wasn’t. If I didn’t have the ability to suck it up and do my part as gopher/laborer, and be humble enough to accept and work extremely hard at it, I wouldn’t have lasted as long. I did a lot of ‘touch up paint’, which no one ever wanted to do.
I was with the same 6 people for 40-55 hours a week at the job site. When out of town we’d also eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. At night I’d have a hotel roommate. That’s a lot of time spent with the same people. Even in the most ideal of circumstances, that situation would be difficult for anyone.
It wasn’t a job I was born to do, but I worked hard and the bosses were very patient with me. And, although it didn’t start out looking like it, I was able to make some lifelong friends along the way.
I’d like to personally thank Dean and Wendy for the opportunity. They treated their employees like gold. They expected a lot, but they gave a lot more.
If anyone in Montana is reliable and considering employment with the company I’d recommend it. No matter what your specialty in life is, it’s worth a shot.
Show up on time, be honest about everything, and always be working.
Do all that and you’ll have a job there as long as you want.