I am writing this message in hopes that someone will be able to
give me ideas or any other pertinent on how to go about
finding apprentice work as an apprentice metalsmith.
Asking that question on orchid is probably a great way to start.
Good for you for taking the initiative. Some jewelers are cynical
about training an “apprentice” who they see as a potential competitor
down the road. But most active orchid members are not like that and
are friendly, supportive and enjoy sharing what they know. I have
trained several apprentices and would be very glad if one eventually
opened a studio across the street. One is opening a shop in the next
town very soon.
Several things that were turn-offs for me when people in your
position have asked me for a job are:
The guy who says he already knows it all. “Just show me where the
coffee pot is, I am ready to step right in.” No matter where you go
they will be doing things their own way. Even if your ways really are
better, start out humbly with an “I am a quick learner” attitude.
Remember that the potential boss is in business. The values are
different that the hobbiest and those in art school. The job is about
service to the customer and service to the master craftsman. Finding
yourself or expressing yourself or any of that navel gazing is not
what you want to lead with. The boss might be very helpful with that
after a while, or he might label you as a dreamer and not give you a
chance at all.
I hope that my apprentices are motivated to learn everything so they
can do their own designs and start their own businesses. This is not
always going to be the case. Guys like me are probably a minority. Be
cautious and humble about your ambitions in that regard.
Discipline is key to success. The good boss is probably very
self-disciplined and self-motivated. You need to convince him or her
that you will show up on time, sober, rested and appropriately
dressed without bringing a lot of drama from your personal life into
the work place. Employees typically need a lot of nagging to do
things right and efficiently. If you seem like you can be
self-disciplined on the job, you have a much greater chance of
getting a position.
There are some things a potential employer cannot legally ask you,
such as your age, any disabilities, relationship status, religion,
politics and those kinds of things. But you can volunteer this
and probably should. The boss wants to know how old you
are, even if he cannot legally ask. An apprenticeship arrangement is
much more intimate than just getting a worker bee job toiling for
some big company. If your background is clean and whole, let them
know. If you have some problems, these laws are designed to protect
you. You will have to decide for yourself when you let the cat out
of the bag. For instance, four of my past apprentices were smokers.
Two of them managed to keep that a secret for the first month they
worked for me. Good for them, not really any of my business. But some
people really loathe smoking. If you are a non-smoker, don’t make the
Good luck. Times are tough for job seekers.