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Need advice on job offer

Ken C.
Ken C. Member Posts: 267
At the company where I've worked for three months, I've been offered a promotion to field supervisor. Currently, the owner, a master plumber, spends most of his time in the field working with apprentices, while I (a journeyman) generally work on my own.

The owner wants to spend less time in the field and more time growing the business, such as bidding and selling jobs, finding better deals on materials and supplies, developing marketing, advertising and pricing strategies, etc.

The field supervisor would focus on the company's day-to-day operations. The position would bring me more pay, but more responsibilities, including training apprentices (three), tracking jobs to make sure they are progressing in a timely manner, monitoring employee performance and enforcing company policies.

Besides the fact that I am the oldest and most experienced, my boss wants me to be a supervisor because I'm highly organized and motivated, and can set a good example for the other guys. He also noted that I'm an independent person, and therefore, wouldn't feel pressure to "go easy" on the other guys for fear of losing popularity.

I'm leaning toward accepting the position, not just for the money, but because the company needs more structure and organization, and organization is one of my strong points. On the other hand, I have reservations, because I would be responsible for moving jobs along with guys who have one year of experience, and two of them are not naturally motivated. Another concern is that I do mostly service, and that is 85 percent of my background, so I don't know how effective I can be training these guys on construction jobs when my experience in construction plumbing is weak.

I'm sure there are others out there who have been promoted from a regular field technician, to a working supervisor, and I would appreciate any insight, advice, or thoughts you could offer me that would help me make a decision and ease any transition.


  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    Why Not?

    You have a chance to attend more classes in every aspect of you field.......as you will have more responsibility you can futher get Your act together..who knows maybe when the guy retires you may have put everything in order and the business will promote You rather than you promoting it. my buddy just retired...well WHO is going to get the 16 houses plumbed ....?well Ya~ ah. and who will still have the 4 duplexes 2 specs 3 radiant and the couple custom to do on top of that this comming year>? Why not .?seems i will have no shortage of work.getting there is half the battel:)maybe you do service work and new installs,well commercial accounts and contacts ,business to business rapport established accounts...and some inkling of what keeping the thing together entails, isnt going to float down out of the ethers to you. do it.repent in liesure :) every body kept digging at me why work for him ? you could make more money on your own...yah well ...i work With Him and do work on my own,been doing it and while its been beating me into the ground i have been making a definite improvement in my community.i had alot of difficulties selling radiant to him and pex tubing for potable,however it increased hisprofits and freed up my time to study more and "flash". dont think for a momment its all a bed of roses...please excuse me .."This is the day God has made rejoice and be glad in it....to him much is given much is required."Give Him the Glory .
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    Sounds like a big chunk....

    to chew on. My suggestion would be to see if you can set up a "time frame" for the transition, and ask the owner what the goals are and WHY. His answer would be the determining factor in MY personal decision.

    I don't know what state you're working in, but here in Ma., you get 1 apprentice for 1 licenced plumber. Sometimes you can push it, but if the apprentice is wielding a torch, he's no longer a "laborer" and is subject to the state codes and has to have an apprentice card.I also have sat back and watched what each can do the best, and who to send on particular jobs.( BTW, I'm the heating guy and NOT a plumber but I got accolades from the boss for noticing !)

    My advice is to brush up on the codes and be SURE you're ready to take on the new job. Making small mistakes will lead to the "less time appropriated than it took" syndrome, and without the proper backround you may be fighting a losing battle.

    I would also ask the Boss about continuing education. If he wants you to do your new job properly, he should also be willing to send you to anywhere you need to go for training.
    These are just a few comments on your situation. If anyone else sees anything wrong in my thinking, please let me know. I'm a FIRM believer in treating people in the way I would like to be treated. Chris
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    Tough choice

    leave some doors open :) I took a job as a service manager when I first moved here to Missouri. Learned a lot as it was my first exposure to HVAC and ac work.

    Not very good with paper shuffle, however. Employee managment can be a lot like babysitting :) A drug testing program was put in place and some employees never showed up that day or ever again ,another handful flunked the test, twice. One tried sucide from a drug od. I think the owner would have flunked the drug test had he taken it.

    I lasted a year. The husband and wife owners got divorced and sold the company all in the same day.

    I missed the feel of tools in my hand the whole time :)

    Sounds like you are up for the challange and have some of the right skills. Don't mean to rain on your parade!

    Maybe work out a 6 month trial with a sit down review with the owner after that.

    hot rod

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  • jerry scharf_2
    jerry scharf_2 Member Posts: 414
    My $.02


    You say you're organized, which is great. How is your time management outside of handling tools? This will probably be the toughest challenge you will face, IMO.

    Also, you need to realize you are walking into a bit of a limbo zone. Up till now, there are the help and the boss, and each role is very clear. Now there's the possibility of a "middle management" position. This means you're no longer one of the boys, and you're not one of the owners. It's amazing, you will find there are more and more things that either you or your coworkers will feel uncomfortable talking about when you get together.

    It's a new job for the company, so you get to be part of defining it, whic is great. Also, since it is new, you can expect to be tested on both sides. It's not malicious, it's just what people do when the system within people operate changes. One piece of advice is not to take anything that comes up personally.

    It sould like since you're leaning toward doing it, that's the right thing. If I were you, I would want to work the following things out with your boss before taking it:

    A path back if you decide you don't like it or either of you decide it's not working well. I've seen too many situations where people move up, then the only place to move is out if anything doesn't work out right.

    A commitment from him to not simply dump the job on you. It's in his interest as well as yours (maybe more) to bring you up to speed. You need to be able to pull him in when you need to understand how to do something new or you're not sure enough and there's too much at stake.

    A time that doesn't get cancelled at leasr twice a week to review the jobs and personnel. It's so easy for the boss to get caught up on the new stuff and cut the time for supporting you.

    Make sure it's still clear that the employee issues are his. You can direct the people, but hiring and firing are expensive actions. (I figure on a cost of 1/2-1 year's salary for each bad hire. I've made a few, as most people have.)

    Make sure there's still fun work for you to do! This job can be a grind, and there needs to be ways to get out from under it by doing other things that are exciting. Maybe you can get trips to wetstock out of the deal. :)

    best of luck in what you choose,

  • My experience

    I do basically the same job that you have been offered. Originally, my offer was almost exactly like the one you have been offered. Make sure you get ALL of the details in writing AND a written contract. I bid all the jobs, do cost analyses, order every part, hire and fire, all my own typing etc. Unfortunately, the other side of the coin is tough. I also work many more hours often for little or no money because my crews were too slow so I have to finish jobs in order to make the company money. I have to work with the guys most of the time because we are so busy and get little or no time for my office work. It is very tough to work with the guys that you manage. You can never have an off day as you are the example. You will be doing estimates at night when customers get home from work because that is convenient for them, even though you came in extra early that day to get your crews organized. At times I envy my guys, their tasks seem so less involved. Your mind will become a cash register. I love my job but before I sign my next contract I will spell it out MUCH clearer. Best of luck.
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Sounds like

    the owner wants to do the right thing. I would try the new job for the experience. Why dip your toe when a cannonball may be in order. There is always going back or someplace else. Any reticence may be a reflection on your organizational bend trying to control the situation. I chose tools years ago and now I am fighting an arthritic hip and tendonitis in my right elbow. Maybe I should take the position. Ha! I say go for it and best of luck. WW

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