Between my being a carpenter in today’s Michigan economy (lots of idle time) and my desire to learn more about finishing, I stopped by a local furniture refinishing/restoration shop a couple of weeks ago to see if I could pick up a non-paying apprenticeship just to pick up some knowledge and get some hands on experience. Of course I didn’t just walk in and say “are you guys looking for an apprentice?”. I asked if they were hiring and an employee told me “no”. Then I asked if the shop was willing to take on an apprentice. Again, I was rejected.
Well, on Monday, my girlfriend saw an ad on craigslist posted by the same shop, saying that they were looking for a helper. She called me and told me that I should call them and see if I could get the job. I called and the guy told me to come in and fill out an application, so I did. Well, on paper, I’d reject me. I’ve been working for myself under the table for the past six+ years, I don’t have a drivers license, I didn’t finish high school and when it comes to refinishing/restoration, I’m a dud. So, on paper, I had nothing to offer the guy.
I mentioned that I was a woodworker/carpenter and that I worked for myself and that I had a shop just up the road. That turned out to be a turn off. He didn’t like hiring people that worked for themselves because their work usually got in the way of his shop’s work. Then a friend of mine called during the interview and the ring tone on my cell phone is the song Scotland the Brave or as some know it, Cadence to Arms on bagpipes. And it turns out that the owner/operator/now only employee is a piper. He also has a few rental houses that need work and that work is also part of the job description. Which sounded great to me, because that is what I’m used to.A couple of other things clicked and the interview went well and lasted about an hour. I felt pretty good but I didn’t want to get my hopes up since I had so many things working against me.
The shop owner called me Wednesday night and asked if I could come in Thursday morning for a second interview. UGH!!!! The morning after St. Patrick’s Day!!!!! But…. Of coarse I’ll be there, thanks for the call. When I showed up, I noticed that he had a stack of applications. He asked me a few more questions about myself…. Interest and so on. Woodworking, music and hockey (is there anything else?). Well, he’s not only a woodworker in his own way and a player of the bagpipes, but he’s also a Red Wings season ticket holder. And I have the red Wings’ logo as a screen saver on my cell phone. One of the other things that he really liked was the fact that I came in and tried before he posted the ad. Near the end of the second interview (which lasted another hour), there was a weird silence, and then he said… “You know, in life, if you pay attention, there are signs and….” It was kind of left at that. Again, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
Well, He called me Friday morning and said that he wanted to give me a shot. He asked if I could start the same day and my arse was there! He showed me around the shop, we stripped a table top, sanded a chair, sanded the table top, took lunch and we worked on a rental for the rest of the day. He asked me to come back on Monday and I don’t think that I could be much happier. Well, I’m taking a 40 to 50 percent pay cut to what I am used to making, but if what I am used to isn’t there at all, I guess I got a raise. Not to mention, he’s paying me to do what I offered to do for free and I’ll be learning a lot. He’s a smart, genuine cat that has a LOT in common with me, I hope everything works out.
Sorry this was so long, but I still left a little out for the readers sake.
-- Cheers and God Bless