What am I Worth?

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Forum topic by MomTheBuilder posted 07-08-2016 12:37 PM 2360 views 0 times favorited 92 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 833 days

07-08-2016 12:37 PM

Hi! This is my first post here. I thought you guys would be a good place to seek advice and opinions. Forgive me if this is not the correct forum or in some way prohibited, if so please delete/move as needed!

I am relatively new to woodworking, strictly speaking. I’ve always been a DIY’er, made many a crude structure with limited teaching, tools or resources. The past couple of years I’ve greatly improved my skill and even have my very own ever growing personal shop! I’ve not entered into selling yet but, I recently took a job in a small but growing high end custom cabinetry and mill work shop. The starting pay was $10 hr with a 90 day probation period to end with an evaluation and compensation determined based on performance.

In the six months I’ve been there I have successfully completed every task put before me with results nearly equal my co-workers with several years at the company. I excelled in drawers. My trainer confident enough to allow me to run an OMEC 750 by myself while he went to chop out more material, MY FIRST DAY! By the end of my first week I was basically the new drawer person using the dovetailer, rip saw, ras, 22in planer, whirlwind with tiger stop, table saw, changing blades for dados and such, Martin slider, routers, shapers, 1×8 belt sander and 42in wide belt drum sander with little to no supervision. Shortly thereafter, I was “promoted” to face frames where I still reside. I have trained others for drawers and face frames. I can build dovetailed drawers and mortis and tenon frames from 4/4 all the way to finishings door. I can do some case assembly. I can size, sand and edge profile doors. I can make solid stock, set up a router table or rough mill an entire kitchen of lumber in a day! I get along with everyone, I rarely miss work, I get my work done with a good attitude, I take care of the tools and machines (even trusted to square, calibrate and repair things!) I clean up my messes and others! I organize and deep clean. I know where things go and where things are. I’m honest and readily admit when I’ve made a mistake. I notice costly errors and correct them before they progress. Basically, I do a good job!

I finally, last week, had my 90 day review (going on six months here). We’ve been busy shorthanded etc etc. Fine, it happens, it’s cool. The only negative thing they had to say, which I new was coming, was that I need to get there earlier. I’ve been late by their standards about once a week. Now, I’ve been legitimately late on a couple occasions. But if I walk in the door and the buzzer goes off before I make it to the time clock, I’m late. I’m talking like 80% of my tardiness is literally one minute late! We do not work on a “line,” my work is always caught up and then some. I’m always there a few minutes after the last bell, shutting off lights, fans, machines etc. I stay late and work overtime when needed/asked. All in all, I think I make up for this one area of weakness that in no way affects my otherwise above average performance.

Today was payday. Still a whopping $10 an hour! I inquired when I would be getting a raise. I was told when I start coming in on time. I made my points, competition starts at $12.40 with $1.90 per year possible based on several factors each contributing a partial percentage of the total. I told them that I do not agree with this all or nothing approach to raises and put in my two weeks. He’ll see what he can do, gotta talk it over with the big boss. Am I expecting too much, or are they? Did I mention the carpal tunnel surgery two weeks after I started, and I still came to work and did my job!

If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read it! Sorry it got so long. I really just don’t know what to say! I think I’m worth more than that! What do you think?

92 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile


1240 posts in 2140 days

#1 posted 07-08-2016 12:48 PM

Hard to give a raise to someone who’s late, even by just a few minutes. From your boss’s perspective there could be another person there who does a good job as well and may not qualify for a raise. How does he explain that you got one even though you have been late? Or what about another person who a had been denied a raise for tardiness, but now you get one?

It’s a tough situation on both sides. You probably could get a little more depending on your local economy, but he has fair practice to consider as well. Good luck at your next place. Sounds like you are a fast study. You can make a splash there.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View bondogaposis's profile


4988 posts in 2496 days

#2 posted 07-08-2016 12:52 PM

Your fate is in your hands, get there early.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View mahdee's profile


3992 posts in 1912 days

#3 posted 07-08-2016 01:38 PM

If my best worker shows up late on a regular basis, he/she will go through 1-2-3 out the door disciplinary action. Think about it this way:
The boxing champion of the world keeps showing up 15 minutes late and says, “what’s the big deal? I knock’em down anyways”.


View DJFB's profile


2 posts in 832 days

#4 posted 07-08-2016 01:46 PM

Hi all! My first time here. Started out looking to sell my powermatc 66, and stumbled across this post. It sounds like you are a hard worker and developing some great skills. And it may seem trivial that you show up a minute or two late at least once a week. Now ask yourself what would happen if all the others showed up late frequently. I worked for a company that makes and repairs computers and other electronics, worked up to being the boss of the repair shop. Had several people over time that would show up late like you described. It wreaked havoc on the schedules and morale. Maybe you should take each of your coworkers aside and ask them if they mind that you show up late when they don’t. Trust me, they are harbor in resentment to some degree. If you are just a minute or two late, why can’t you just set your clock for 5 minutes earlier and show up on time.

View waho6o9's profile


8421 posts in 2721 days

#5 posted 07-08-2016 01:55 PM

Show up early and have a great day

View bigblockyeti's profile


5226 posts in 1865 days

#6 posted 07-08-2016 02:08 PM

You didn’t mention where you’re at, that can make a huge difference as to what the market will bear. If you’re in Los Angeles you’re making 1/3 of what you’re worth, if you’re somewhere in the midwest that still sounds kind of low given what you’re capable of. If your boss conducts your 90 day review over 100% later than promised and gives you a hard time about being a minute late despite getting all your work done then you’re working for the wrong person. Someone who puts too much emphasis on something trivial like a time clock while ignoring your skill and ability to complete work in a timely fashion is not a good leader and not someone I would ever consider working for. While I can’t speak to exactly what you’re worth without knowing where you’re at, you are most definitely being under paid and probably were from the beginning.

Another thing I noticed after re-reading your initial post is that whom ever you had your review with had to go “talk it over with the big boss”, you’re not working for some giant corporation. If the “big boss” can’t make time for you on your 90 day review (on time) that’s further evidence you’re working for someone with poor business management skills.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View DrDirt's profile


4464 posts in 3887 days

#7 posted 07-08-2016 02:09 PM

I saw two issues – -
you say you do your job “ALMOST” as well as your coworkers.
And you show up late routinely.

as others mentioned – someone who is routinely late, is poison in the workplace.

on the other side – - your 90 day review should have happened at 3 months not 6.

You mention prevailing wages – but is the other company hiring, or is everyone struggling in the business?

Always know what your skills are worth, and be willing to move, but evaluate if you are happier at 10 bucks with friends, or 12 bucks and work under the thumb of some micromanaging A-hole.
You said it is a small but growing shop. The start-up often is paying less than the big business

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Aidan1211's profile


198 posts in 971 days

#8 posted 07-08-2016 02:11 PM

So the tardiness is actually kinda a big deal even if you catch up. Woodshops design schedules around best hours of productivity and work flow so they can stay profitable. As far as your hourly rate woodworking is a field where the guys that run the shops now were most likely the apprenticeship generation so they effectively worked for virtually free for a couple of years just to be able to say they were qualified enough to do the work on their own regardless of talent shown. So they look at it like they are doing you a favor by taking a risk on teaching you each task. Keep in mind it also takes time away from shop operations to teach you anything or even stop to answer a question here and there so they are actually in fact paying you more than your weekly check. This field is very knowledge intense and very competitive so I’d be super careful with threatening to quit they’ll likely just let you go pick someone up that needs zero direction and shows up when ever they want. Remember based on the current economy there are more looking for work than there is work so they can
a) pay less
b) be pickier
c) replace you faster

Pay your dues work hard show up on time and the money WILL come they won’t have a choice at that point but to protect you as a valuable asset. Until then just work hard and never try to paint them into a corner they will ALWAYS win.

Best of luck.

-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 920 days

#9 posted 07-08-2016 02:45 PM

As other said, the answer to your main question depends on what the market will bear. Are workers similar to you scarce? Do you have other options (leverage)?

If you are easily replaced, they will replace you. If you leave and can get more somewhere esle that’s fine. If you can’t, you’re up a creek.

Sounds like you were able to do most of what you do in a short period of time, pretty replaceable unless workers are scarce where you are.

If I understand correctly, you gave your 2 week notice? Bad move. Limits your options and theirs. Also makes it look like you’re not likely to be around long, which you can’t undo ever.

Better move would be to say you believe you’re worth XX, and are willing to make changes to be sure to come in on time. Let me prove it by coming in on time every day for a month, at which point you will agree to automically increase my pay to XX.

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3722 days

#10 posted 07-08-2016 02:48 PM

Welcome to Ljs
As an employer of some 45 years, I always look to an employee’s attitude along with their skills and willingness to learn. Being late may be an indicator that you don’t really want to be there to some employers. All the employees I’ve had that stand out in my memory were always early. The fact that you accomplish you duties well is what your employer expects of you,so even though you feel you’ve done a good job you are standing out to your employer for the wrong reason,being late. Turn over a new leaf and consider yourself late if you’re not at work 15 minutes early. If your working for a company with lots of employees they are use to turnover( people coming and going) show them with your words and actions you want to be there long term and you love your job. As others have said some parts of the county production cabinet shops have low wages where being on the job for 10 years you may only make $15 hr.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MomTheBuilder's profile


13 posts in 833 days

#11 posted 07-08-2016 03:02 PM

But, it’s not a few minutes. It’s less than one. I’m in the building when the buzzer goes off. Everyone else is still sitting at the break table. Doing nothing till the bell. I start actually working at the same time everyone else does. It affects no one. Come quitting time, everyone else is headed to the time clock the very millisecond the buzzer goes off. I’m always putting things away turning things off helping the boss finish something up that we need ready the next morning. I clock out when he does usually. In the case of the boxer, people are waiting for him and 15 min is a lot. If I was that late every week, I could totally see a problem!

I don’t understand how people do it! Does nothing ever take longer than you expected? Is being early really the most important be all end all attribute. I feel the quality and quantity of work produced is heads and tails above in importance. If I arrived on time but was not able to preform the tasks without error, would that make me a better employee? If I cost the company hundreds, even thousands in remakes but I was never late would I then be more desirable? I really don’t get it! I know it’s not ideal and I really do try, oh how I try! I hate messing anything up, I feel like a failure when I am late. Sometimes the pieces just don’t come together like I planned! Does it make my other skills and accomplishments less valuable?

And what about them being three months late on my evaluation? What message does that send about the importance of timeliness at the company? When we can’t compete our work because the materials/tools haven’t been ordered or we’re expected to get by with half broken machines. Why am I expected to preform at 100% 100% of the time when no other person or machine in the place is held to such a standard. Where is my wiggle room?

I mean I know I’m awesome (LOL) but give me a break! I’m not super woman!

Also, this is training wages vs. full time employee wages. If they are willing to keep me, they need to pay me employee wages. I was done “training” a few weeks in!

Thank you all for your replies and thoughts. I do see where you/they are coming from. I just don’t fully agree with the importance. If we had a seven minute Grace period like most places, this would be a non issue. Not to mention, the other days, I’m early! Sometimes before the boss!

Anyway thank you again!

View Redoak49's profile


3524 posts in 2133 days

#12 posted 07-08-2016 03:02 PM

You know what they expect which is to show up on time and you do not do that.

If I were your boss I would use step discipline….warning, one day off, three days off and then termination .

You have a job and can learn skills at it and all you have to do is be there on time. What would happen if you showed up early?

The only problem you face is the person in the mirror.

Personally, I really disliked people who show up late. When you run a business and are the boss you can make rules. Not follow the rules and arguing about them is going to result in you going out the door.

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1065 days

#13 posted 07-08-2016 03:10 PM


I do not wish to sound harsh and this is not my intent at all. However, you asked for the views of others. My honest viewpoint probably sounds harsh and uncaring, especially since it seems to disagree with your firmly held personal belief. Rest assured I simple want to be honest without being mean.

It seems to me that when you took the job you entered into an agreement with the company; your time for their money. I’ll guess they have been reliable and on time with your pay checks and thus are holding up their end of the bargain. However, arriving late, even one minute, suggests you are not holding up your part of the agreement. Arriving late and staying late is equivalent to arriving early and leaving early; neither would be acceptable to me as an employer and infringes on the company’s ability to organize work and takes away the value of your time which you agreed to provide. Then the fact that you have been late enough times to quantify it with “80% of my tardiness” suggests showing up on time is a big problem for you and evidently for the company. While the answer may be simple (arrive on time all the time), there may be reasons why arriving on time is a problem. Nonetheless it is your problem to solve, not the company’s problem to accommodate.

For what it is worth, the big boss may reject your boss’s efforts to secure your raise for two reasons; your frequent tardiness and the fact you quit, but will stick around for more money. The big boss must consider whether your performance is so outstanding that you simply cannot be replaced versus whether this is just the beginning of issues brought by an employee who cannot simply get to work on time and therefore should be let go.

In any event, why stick around with the existing company. Taking a job with the competitor you mentioned would boost your pay. Perhaps the competitor is ok with tardy employees, especially if it is negotiated at the outset of your employment .

View bigblockyeti's profile


5226 posts in 1865 days

#14 posted 07-08-2016 03:12 PM

You have clearly identified you are working for someone incapable of running a business competently, find an employer who can.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View ChrisK's profile


2002 posts in 3226 days

#15 posted 07-08-2016 03:22 PM

Put on your bosses shoes a minute. If he allows you to be late, he has to allow every to be late. I have seen where this causes problems for everybody. Much better if you show 2 minutes early, not too much ask in my opinion, than 1 minute late. Running a shop means that everyone has to play on the same field at the same time, or one late task means more late tasks and then a late ship date.

Or find a position in a company with a culture that fits your thoughts about to run a shop better.

-- Chris K

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