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  • Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

    I work 4 my Father (Stepfather - but has been there for my family 25+ yrs.)
    He's a master plumber - 67 yrs. old w/ over 50 yrs. in business - still working - if u call it that (he lays jobs out, gets material, deals w/ contractors, etc.)
    pretty much - i do all the work - he makes all the money
    I'm 32 yrs. old & started doing plumbing over 20 yrs. ago helping him weekends, after high school - college, holidays etc.
    I've worked for him probably 90% of the time since I started plumbing
    the other 10% of time i've worked for other plumber's after a big blowout b/c of differences & needing some time away from him
    He's an amazing wealth of plumbing knowledge & well respected & liked w/ his many customers & other contractors(commercial, residential, service, etc.)
    There's no question about it - he has taught me most everything I know - & I'm very grateful
    Not just plumbing, but just about every other trade as he knows a lot about a lot
    Not only have i just about always had a job w/ him if i so chose, he's always been a good father to the family
    That being said, I'm torn between still helping him & going elsewhere again (helping him - helps my family)
    He's an absolute pain in the a_s (to me - during work only) & i know i'm underpaid for the amount produced/quality of my work
    For example - we're (I'm) roughing this 10 bath house & at the end of the day (after drilling, up & down a 8' ladder all day, aggravated, etc.) he'll come & say something or tell me to do some unnecessary change that's always a pain in the a_s (like changing a 3" drainage pipe from 1/4" per foot to 1/8" just b/c he can - new code this year) &/or makes it look like i dont know what i'm doing
    I'm pretty angry most of the time & 1/2 the time i feel like throwning my hammer through a window, quitting, or smashing the drill through the sheathing & f_cking walking home
    Due to poor decisions & choices (partying) in my teens & 20's, I'm currently living under his roof paying rent & do not have a valid DL
    Working w/ him works out well because of my personal situation & I feel I still owe him
    I make a lot of money on my side work, which I wouldn't even have if it weren't for him teaching me everything he has over the past 25 yrs.
    any plumbing problem/question i ever have - he always has an answer
    I'm up on all new plumbing/tool/installation technology & he's old school
    I know what a master plumber gets an hour average & how much a mechanic should make
    a lot of this problem has to do w/ creative differences, my ego & money - stuff i don't easily let go
    any experience in a similar situation or suggestions will be appreciated
    Last edited by ericwagner4; 10-27-2007, 04:43 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

    Your in a tight spot Eric.

    Your spending time with other companies is irreplaceable for both your father and yourself,the more the better.You sound like a guy that's ready to go to work somewhere else.The sooner you get fully back on your feet and get out on your own the better.He sounds like a pretty good guy.

    There is a LOT more to say about discrepancies between an owner and employee pertaining to wage and knowledge.I have never seen you work so it's hard to give fair advice.A lot of guys talk like they are pro's when in actuality they hardly understand plumbing at all.Sure they have mastered their niche but there is still so much them to learn.

    Good luck,it's not going to be easy out in the world.Some never grow up



    • #3
      Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

      eric, without a drivers license, you're lucky to have a job that pays well. could you imagine what it would be like to take a bus, subway to the job everyday both clean and dirty

      also living at home is another issue.

      i too started out working for family at 12 years old on weekends and summer vacation. i too learned from my uncle. at 18 i started full time new construction plumbing for my other uncle. this being a big union shop. i was treated good by the real company guys and not so good by the hired guys. for so reason they felt i was family so i had an in with the boss

      i never asked for a raise, or a bonus. i was give a year end bonus based on the profit of the jobs i ran.

      i was the last to leave when the company closed down in the early 90's due to stupid union politics. this was a very well established co. from the 40's. since i was the last to leave, others already found jobs with other co's. some are still there to this day

      i went to work for non family and the experience was a lot different. almost every night i would get called to go to cover another site. you never knew where you were going till 10pm. nothing was close by. once the northridge earthquake hit in 93, the freeways were bad. as 2 local sections were closed.

      so i decided it was time to go. i partnered up with a third uncle. although he was very good at new construction, he was terrible at service work and copper soldering. sort of teaching an old dog new tricks. although the money was good, the fact was we need each other. he had the contractors license and i had the contacts and tools to do the jobs we were doing. after 4 years i decided to get my own contractors license and the rest is history

      so what i'm trying to say is, at this point in your life, you need them. when you get your act together, go out and prove yourself.

      by the way, my original uncle i started with from when i was 12, still calls me to help him out of a jam as needed. the 2 others are retired.

      phoebe it is


      • #4
        Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

        Sorry, You're the problem ,Man up. Get Your drivers ,plumbers license . Also sounds like

        You have some personal problems holding You, and Your family back. I'm 23 years sober.

        If this hits home there's some good folks out there to help. I just stopped on My own, never

        went to a meeting. God Bless You and family
        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .


        • #5
          Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

          Working for the family can be very hard, and I do understand some of your frustrations, I took over the farm in 1980, and for the next 15 years my dad came out nearly ever day to tell me how to do it, (some of it I needed, some of it I could have done with out), the days he finally stopped coming out or only staying for a hr or so I thought was heaven, and then he got to where he could not come out, and it was not to much longer, and he was no longer around, and I miss him greatly.

          I see some things in your post, that sounds like you have some limited choices,

          IF I am reading it correctly your living under his roof, may be if you can get some space and find your own place that would help so you don't have to be together 24/7, who knows maybe he would give you a raise to help you pay more rent or what ever, I do not know what he sees the other side of the coin is from his point of view,

          (he may have frustrations as well),

          (it is possible you basically have a symbiotic relationship, in that neither one of you can do with out the other, I do not know),

          whether or not he is treating you correctly, I can't say that either, as I am not there,

          I am sure whether it is conscious or not, he wants you to know who is in charge and so on.
          sounds like he could lighten up a little on you at work,

          As far as pay and that that is something you and him will need to work out,
          I don't know the rent or if it is market equivalent, or not, I do not know about transportation, groceries, utilities, and how he feels about that,

          Simply he has a done a great deal for you and your family, and has taken you into his family, and it sounds like you have been a great help to him and his business.

          I have no idea when you will get a DL back or be eligible for one,
          but it sounds like to me, that since you living under his roof, depending on him for transportation, your kinda at a disadvantage to make much for demands, (many places would not hire some one with a driving licence, jsut to much hassles for the company),

          it sounds like your kinda between a rock and a hard spot, and don't really have much leverage, and to me it sounds like your father is really at heart a pretty good guy, not saying he is easy to work for, or to be around.

          If I would make a suggestion is to see if you could find your own living space, That would give you some breathing room. some space and distance.

          At work do your best, and sometimes your jsut going to have to let it go in one ear and out the other, I know it is hard and frustrating, but if you have done your best and you know it in your heart, that is all you can do, he is the boss and he is paying you, and if he wants it changed I guess your have to change it. Just try not to let it get to you,
          your be happier and so will your family,

          Your not jsut an employee but an employed family member, (and you all ready know family treats each other different than outsiders, Right or wrong that is the way it is, most of the time it is not for the better),

          Just my 2 cents.

          edit I miss read step father and had read it father in law, If i left any references to father in law in sorry,
          Last edited by BHD; 10-27-2007, 10:45 AM.
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.


          • #6
            Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

            I've never been a fan of nepotism in the workplace. It never seems to work out well for anyone. Sure, things run smoother when workers are familiar with each other but it can turn ugly in a hurry.

            I see why you are fustrated with your father-in-law. You doing "all the work" while he just goes to the bank and cashes checks all day. It's his business and can run it anyway he seems fit. If he wants you to change the pitch on the pipe so it looks better that's what you should do. He is still paying you to do it. You don't have to like it. Laying out jobs, gathering materials and dealing with contractors isn't labor intensive but it is a huge part of the business. Without that you won't have a thing to do. Hell, I can teach a monkey to drill a hole and shove a pipe in it. But if the monkey doesn't know where to drill or doesn't have the pipe to shove then he's no good to me.

            Yea, I'm old school too. "Punish the Monkey and Let the Organ Grinder Go"

            Want out?... then get out. Get your a$$ a valid drivers licencse and find a company that fits you. Without a DL you are a handicap to any company out there. Maybe find a company that's doing a large new construction project near public transportation. That way you can lock your tools up on site and take the bus to work. But don't look for advancement without a DL.

            EDIT: Weird, I read it father in law also. No change in content.
            Last edited by plumberscrack; 10-27-2007, 11:15 AM.


            • #7
              Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

              I think you are very lucky to have a stepfather willing to do all he has. He isn't even your real father. He has taught you a great trade and from what you say, has helped you not only with a job, but other things also.

              Good luck and be greatful for what you have and work towards what you feel you are "missing"

              Remember, grass isn't always greener on the other side.



              • #8
                Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

                You know ,for a Young DUDE Westy, You have some great wisdom! Mom and Dad did a good job
                I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .


                • #9
                  Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

                  This reminds me of a song sung by Tracy Bird called "You Never Know Just How Good You've Got It". It's a reminder to be thankful for what we have or soon we may not have it anymore.

                  Do get busy and get yourself a driver's license.


                  • #10
                    Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

                    Thanks for all the comments/suggestions guys
                    it's always good for me to get a more "realistic" outside view on some things
                    especially from an experienced plumbing community like this
                    a whole lot of my problems/situation is of my own doing
                    I am truly grateful for what I have & am very lucky (sometimes just to be alive - but that's another story)
                    unfortunately due to my past record, my DL is not available for a while
                    in my area there is a real lack of plumbers for employment, & the one's that are available, are normally inexperienced, a liability, unreliable and/or drug addicts or alcoholics.
                    even without a DL, I never had a problem getting a plumbing job or helping a plumber do a job.
                    any plumber I ever help is more than happy to just have an extra experienced mechanic to get a job done
                    My uncles, cousin & many friends are master plumbers & always looking for help
                    all my side work is done w/out a DL - getting rides or having a helper drive
                    I have ALL my own tools, a trailer, & thanks mainly to working for my father, can do any job, from customer/contractor relations, pricing, suggestions, layout, rough, gas, finish, service, boilers etc.
                    I'm 32, 6'3", 220 lbs. & in my plumbing prime - I dont drink, get high or cause trouble any more, so plumbing is my life
                    I blow out every job i do faster, neater & cleaner than many (once in a while w/ a good/necessary suggestion by my father)
                    i just want to be monetarily compensated correctly & not treated like an a_shole
                    for now, i'm just going to keep moving forward, helping my dad, making up for my salary w/ my side work & inventions, & try to be more understanding of his a_ssholeness
                    i'll let you guys know if his new RIDGID right angle drill gets thrown off the 2nd story into the street


                    • #11
                      Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

                      God bless Eric , That wass well said ,Your day will come .
                      I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .


                      • #12
                        Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

                        Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
                        You know ,for a Young DUDE Westy, You have some great wisdom! Mom and Dad did a good job

                        Thanks Tool for the compliment

                        It is hard learned wisdom, trust me



                        • #13
                          Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

                          That Ridgid right angle drill.How does it compare to the two speed DeWalt DW124 (which is the same as the B/D timberwolf that I have been using for over twenty years) and/or the Milwaukee Super Hawg?

                          IMO the Hawg is too fast and therefore too hard to control making it sloppy and dangerous.

                          p.s.I'm refferring to it's drilling abilities not it's flight characteristics.
                          Last edited by drtyhands; 10-28-2007, 10:35 PM.


                          • #14
                            Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

                            Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                            That Ridgid right angle drill.How does it compare to the two speed DeWalt DW124 (which is the same as the B/D timberwolf that I have been using for over twenty years) and/or the Milwaukee Super Hawg?

                            IMO the Hawg is too fast and therefore too hard to control making it sloppy and dangerous.

                            p.s.I'm refferring to it's drilling abilities not it's flight characteristics.
                            i too like the timberwolf with the safety clutch in low gear. i use it for water boring under driveways and also for a portable 1.25'' sectional cable machine.

                            the hole hawg caught me once and i'm not sure if the clutch would have saved me, but the 3/4'' pipe handle is what got me.

                            phoebe it is


                            • #15
                              Re: Working 4 Family - Ahhhhhhhh!

                              Ridgid R7130 right angle drill:

                              Dewalt DW124:

                              Milwaukee 1675 Hole Hawg series:

                              Makita DA6300 which is their version of a Milwaukee 1675 Hole Hawg:

                              Makita DA4031 which is their version ao the Dewalt DW134

                              I agree that the Milwaukee SuperHawg runs too fast. The Ridgid is a 3 speed model, but I'll take a Milwaukee 1675 over it anytime. The Chinese copy just doesn't have the quality of the real Hawg.

                              Somewhere on this forum is a review of several right angle drills. It's a bit old, but is some good reading and has some good things to think about. I like that the DW124 has a clutch for low speed and really think all heavy drills should have a clutch or a bust pin in case of jamming to help prevent disasters.
                              Last edited by Woussko; 10-28-2007, 10:49 PM.