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Looking for some advice


marsh942

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Firstly I'll apologise for the life story coming up!!

 

I'm looking for a little bit of advice! So I moved from Scotland to Melbourne, Australia as a permanent resident 2 years and 1 month ago. I have Scottish Advanced Craft Carpentry and Joinery, Australian Cerificate III Carpentry and I done what we call an 'HNC' in construction management which is basically a part-time 2 year college course which covers the 1st full-time  year of university for Construction Management. I am 26 years old and have been qualified fully for 6 years. 

 

I started working for a recruitment agency here. I began with the company I am with now as a 'Trades Assistant'. Within a few weeks I was on the books as a full-time carpenter. The company is a modular home builder, building here in Melbourne and sending them all over Australia. So I've done some living away from home, which when you have a homesick girlfriend is far from ideal but I done it nonetheless. 

I worked on site, commercial and domestic and took (and still take) massive pride in my work. The company had struggled with quality over the years and a massive defects list had been left behind, so I was moved into that section of the company to start working through it with a manager, while balancing that work with new work coming in when I was needed. A couple of months went past and I was given a pay rise (this was 13 months after I started) which was very rare from what I heard, not many staff had ever been given a rise. After a few months my manager  was signed off work for a while and I was asked to step into his role. I was given no clear job description or pay rise to compensate the extra work load accompanied with some of the role being off the tools (emails, phone calls, scheduling, procurement) but I got on with it and tried my best. This was 10 months ago from

this month. Since before the new year the director and project manager had suggested that a leading hand/supervisor role in the factory would suit me best and

would also help overcome some issues with quality and problems associated with complex modular building. I said I would try it but would need guidance and almost 'babysitting' as I had only been trained to be on the tools and if this role was going to have a little more off the tools I would need help. They agreed. I have now been doing this role for 2 full months. I have helped deliver 2 projects (with minor hiccups) on time and to standard with minimal labour. My issues are that;

The job is not what they 'advertised'. It is not a leading hand role, to me a LH role would constitute 50%-70% on the tools and reporting to 1 manager. But I am in charge or 10-12 full-time employees, all of the associated scheduling, some material take offs,some procurement and I am forced to sign-off on all of their work and will be forced to sign-off on all of any future work undertaken by agency staff. One gripe is that I cannot hire and fire without approval from above me, and they are stubborn as hell about it. I also still deal with all of the post-completion stuff and rarely a task will arise that they will make me jump on the tools for. To me this is a management role? I have also had very little support or guidance. Very much 'sink or swim'. 

I have not had a pay review since Feb 16 and have been told to 'sit-tight'. With the extra work load and responsibilities it is taking its toll on me, I am struggling. I feel anxious all of the time, my sleeping pattern is screwed! 

 

If you've stuck around this long, I'd like to know what your advice would be? To me they are taking the piss out of me? I have tried to be as detailed as possible, but im

sure there'll be things i have left out. 

 

 

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Sorry to be here about your job woes bro. Totally different situation but at my job, I work for the State, we are unionized and have "and other duties as seen fit by the Division". This covers exactly the type of work you are being forced into doing. However, signing off on "completed" work for employees that I do not directly supervise does not happen. In New Hampshire, the employer can fire an employee for any reason and then it would be up to agrieved former employee to sue the employer for some type of work related issue. Not a great set up. It doesn't sound like you are a union employee, especially in a pseudo management role. Therefore protection from an irritated boss is not afforded. 

 

My role at my job is a director of a program for the entire State. My title is Trooper First Class. Every other State that has State Police running their program, has a Lieutenant or higher in this place.  I am directly responsible for overseeing about 125 companies and enforcing laws and regulations on about 6500 people and 5k pieces of equipment. If something bad happens, I am the program manager. If I were to grieve my position, I would simply be moved to a patrol capacity and another Trooper would fill my role once application and interviews were completed. And it all boils down to that caveat written into every role within the Division and even the Department which oversees the Division. I knew about this going in and still took the job. You're problem is you did not. The job title had changed, the position changed, the responsibilities changed and by tossing you a raise where others didn't get it, they have kind of sweeted you into the job. 

 

Have you spoken with your supervisors about your concerns. To me, this is a concern, you sign off on employees who do work on things that house some pretty precious cargo....humans. You have no authority to hire of fire so presumably take no role as an enforcer of policy or code. That is not a great position to be in. I tell people all of the time, I can be sued thirty years from now because of my role as a trainer when I was a patrol supervisor. I sign off on a guy and he does something stupid way, way down the road...I still own it. Back then I had the authority to do something about a bad employee but you don't. That's an issue. I know this doesn't help but at the end of this tirade....you have a girl friend, you're young, you're skilled, you have a long life ahead of you. Don't forget that. I would make sure I have something else lined up, and talk to your boss. I tell new guys on the job this. It sounds like a dick thing to say, but it's true....

 

"ALWAYS put your family first. This job will forget you the day you walk out that door".  A former Patrol Lieutenant told me this when I was a rookie cop.

 

I know we have different t jobs but life is life. Family first. If you feel, and you certainly do, and rightly so, that you are being treated unfairly at your job, speak up. But....try to have something else lined up.  Maybe closer to home. I'd rather wake up to my wife than an empty pillow miles from home at a job I don't like that has caused me frustration and stress.

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well said chris, you young guys have to make decisions I do not have to make anymore. I'm retired but during my career I was put in places that someone else thought I would be good at, sure it made me more money it made me a stronger and smarter person but I paid dearly I struggled at times and almost felt they want me to fail. But because I am who I am I muscled through it. my point is some times in work place what others think is not as good as what you think. I worked for the same company my entire career and I am grateful for all the opportunities they gave me however there were times I almost quit. working 70 hours a week never home it seemed or just get home from a 18 hour shift and get called back to check something ....I look back and I can honestly say a man shouldn't have to work more than 40 hours a week if he is either he is doing something wrong or someone higher or lower is....either way there is a problem.

My advise to you is if this company put you in this position they did it for a reason, if you can't handle it more money doesn't always make it worth it so getting a raise isn't always the answer. call for a meeting explain what is happening some times they don't realize, your young and obviously talented don't get caught in a work place you are forced to be in the last thing you want is to dread getting up to go to work it is unsafe for you and others. ask for a leave of absence for a couple of weeks they may realize what all you are doing if you are not there.....

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If you've got a supportive girlfriend, no children to worry about, there are endless opportunities, and if you've moved all that way already, what's stopping you from moving anywhere else?

I'm not saying do so, but my point is, you're no way limited to just that factory. The World, and Australia is a big place, definitely look into an "out" if you feel it's going downhill.

The worst thing they can do is let you go, if they value your expertise, ambition, and energy, they should be able to listen to your concerns, the whole communications thing is what humans do best, sometimes for gossip but wow some poeple like to hear themselves talk lol so hopefully you can use that finely evolved skill with your employer!

What's the worse thing they can do? Terminate your job? Not the end of the world.

 

Interesting experience, hope you can work this through, good advice about the family, too, Chris!

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From what I take out of your explanation, the situation you find yourself in is a fairly common practice for a poorly organized or badly managed company. They show signs of not having a strong financial footprint, along with possible cash flow problems, which can extend from the quality control issues of the past. Customers definitely object to making, or signing off on those final payments when they feel they are not getting what was contracted for, and those issues become a hurdle that some companies can never overcome.

 

In any assigned position that you accept in job life, you eventually either make it your own or move on to something else. Whether you start your own company, or work for someone else, you eventually make your own job description when working in the trade skills. One of the issues I see here is one that experience will teach you over the years, and that is that you did not take enough time in negotiating your current position, and did not get someone to sign off on a fixed time period for review with a specific form of pay bump written into it.

 

What you do from this point on is on you. If you are not happy, first look to see if there are other similar companies that you could contact for employment. Take a vacation day, or sick day if the prior is not an option and go investigate other opportunities. Do not ever mention to anyone at your current work site that you have any dissatisfaction or may be looking elsewhere. If you find some other opportunity that looks promising, offer to take someone that matters in that organization out to lunch and talk to them about their company. Do not at any point bad mouth the company you work for, as it will only reflect badly on you for being part of a bad company or look like you might be one of the problems. Find out what they think is great about where they work... and so on.

 

Once you have another option to look at, re-negotiate your current position, and get it in writing. If that fails, then turn in a written resignation with time frame and move on. If you do not feel comfortable in your work, the stress levels will eventually wear you down and/or affect your health. This comes from my personal perspective and experiences and is all I can offer for advice. Take it for whatever it might be worth. I personally dislike companies who fail to offer a job description or violate one that they assign to you. It puts you in a no win situation without a solid foundation to stand on when it hits the fan.

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Can't thank you guys enough for the feedback! Being away from home and having no friends or any social circle here, I don't really have many places to turn to! So I appreciate it massively and I'll be taking it all on board! 

 

One of the worst parts about it is that I know I am just as at fault as they are! I didn't stand up for myself early enough and let them walk over me! Now going over and above for no reward is just expected! 

 

I think Ill just have to Invest in a decent van and top up my tools and start looking elsewhere! Knowing the management they won't take it well if I raise my issues, which really isn't a great approach to running a business. I have already mentioned some of the problems and next to none of them have been dealt with. As I said I have also raised the issue with pay but it has fallen on deaf ears. 

 

My hourly rate isn't great compared to other places here in Australia. I did say when I was talking about my pay that if it was about the money I would have left 6 months ago but I am passionate about what this company does and I'd love to be part of their success but for the stress and responsibility it's not worth it at the moment. I could make 10-20% more per hour to go and work back on the tools for other companies here. 

 

From what I hear we had a +$30M turnover last year and we are borrowing money to pay subcontractors this year. Of course this is just hear say around the place but I could see it being true. 

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