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My apprenticeship


#1

Advice? Suggestions? Tips?

Unfortunately, I don’t think my apprenticeship is going to last much
longer. It appears that voc rehab doesn’t see the progress they
think I should have, and may pull the plug. I know it hasn’t been a
lot, this week is really the first time I was able to make something
at my bench, but it’s a business, and being an apprentice includes
doing other things for them that doesn’t necessarily focus on the
apprenticeship program. Just with Xmas coming up they have other
things for me to do now. So I need to find a way to convince them
that I am finally getting to learn at the bench, and that hopefully
after Xmas, there should be more bench related training. ( I hope
that happens too! )

Dan


#2

If you are being paid to be an apprentice and voc rehab is paying,
then it is imperative that you are doing hands on bench work 90% of
the time, you need to learn skills so you can make a living, anyone
can run errands. You have to help in all areas that are required of
the other jewelers but you need .to learn the skill. This is your
choice for a new career.

I have been training bench jewelers for 30 years and often we work
with voc ational rehabilitation and I know the funds run out after
awhile and maybe that is what the problem with your voc rehab if
they are paying on the job training expenses to your employer. Then
there is no more money left.

Get that straigtened out and you will know better where you are at.
you can call me you wish. 800-731-1122.

Regards and good luck,
Dee


#3

Daniel,

It appears that voc rehab doesn't see the progress they think I
should have, and may pull the plug. 

I don’t know how it works in your state, but I think that Client
Support programs are federally mandated. You can probably find this
info on line. If I were you, I would get a Client Support advocate
ASAP. They are really good at running interference and convincing
Rehab to keep their commitments.

Good luck!
Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US


#4

Daniel,

You don’t say what state you’re in, but there has to be an appeals
process. They can’t just pull the plug without a due process
procedure. Look into it if you find yourself in trouble. E-mail me
offline if you want to discuss this further.

Brian Corll

(sitting in 48 degrees and 50 MPH winds in Pennsylvania, thinking
about that day just three weeks ago when I was walking the beach in
South Carolina in 94 degree heat and complaining about it.
Ahhh…the beauties of autumn in the Appalachians…Beam me to
April, Scotty.)


#5

Just yesterday (Monday) I think I found out where I stand now. I was
told that I have to remember, whatever they need done for the store
is first, me working at the bench is when there is time. Now, I dont
know if Voc Rehab knows this, but this is what I was told yesterday
by the jeweler who is teaching me…

Dan


#6

Ok, The info I was told about the store first, and then if time the
bench, was told to me incorrectly. Everything was discussed today,
the misunderstandings, were corrected, and it looks like things are
going ok now. Whew, I still would take school over apprenticeship
any day of the week. The stress of just trying to survive while going
under the stress of trying to learn is murder. I would suggest
anyone who can go to school, do it. If you cant, then try
apprenticeship. But be warned, the day to day stress of never
knowing what will get you in trouble, what will get you booted out
the door, is something you would be best off avoiding if you can.
Unless you prefer ulcers, sleepless nights and all that good stuff
that goes along with stress.

Dan


#7

Hi Dan

But be warned, the day to day stress of never knowing what will get
you in trouble, what will get you booted out the door, is something
you would be best off avoiding if you can. Unless you prefer
ulcers, sleepless nights and all that good stuff that goes along
with stress. 

My first job out of college was for a CPA firm (mid-sized). At tax
season, the stress was unbelievable. Long, long hours, coupled with
the fact that one of the male senior accountants was constantly
hounding me “I have some EXTRA work you can do for me”…if you know
what I mean. It was awful…I eventually got fired.

The point here is not to amass sympathy for my own (long ago)
situation, but to pass on this. All the worry did nothing for me. I
shook like a leaf every day, but it got me nowhere. Do your best
work, that’s all you can do. Sometimes bad things happen to good and
talented people but, I firmly believe the old adage “what goes around
comes around”. Your hard work will pay off. You will get through this
and things will get much better for you.

I wish you the best in all you are trying to accomplish.
Kim

p.s. for the record, that CPA firm got swallowed by another. When I
left (got thrown out) they didn’t even have enough money to have a
petty cash box. How sad…pathetic.


#8

Dan,

Try not to add to your stress. It seems you have found the way to
get through to clarifying your status. Now may I suggest you focus on
what you have succeeded in getting done, and realizing you have the
capability of getting through it all.

There are many school trained persons sharing your fear of blowing
it. School does not completely train one to handle everything that
comes down the pike. Many of the persons on this list have shared
these emotions with us. We all learn from mistakes, we all make
mistakes or errors in judgement. You are not alone.

Taking a new direction usually leads to apprehensions and in some
cases an ulcer. Come to think of it, I no longer hear much about
ulcers, so see, nothing to worry about.

Go forward with confidence, and confidence will follow you.

There are a lot of us here pulling for you. Apprenticing is required
in much of this world and is the usual way to learn.

Keep up the good work.
Terrie


#9
Sometimes bad things happen to good and talented people> 

There’s nothing like a disaster to drive home the point. I’ll bet
there could be a lot of hair raising stories from the folks here. I’d
go first but I’m just TOO embarrassed. Besides, if no one followed up
I’d really feel like a fool!

But, you get over it. You learn and move on. And get better.


#10

I am no longer an apprentice. I was told today that he needs someone
who can do the work in a way that he doesn’t have to worry about
having to check each piece to make sure its done to his satisfaction.
He is trying to launch his new product nationwide right now, and he
had not considered how much time my apprenticeship would take from
his store and his only jeweler to teach me. He said he has to think
of his business first, and I am not at a level he wants. He said it
was nothing about me, with xmas getting closer, and that he has so
much invested into his new product, he is worried because he doesnt
think I could meet his need at this critical time. I pushed him later
and that is when he said that part of his decision was made on the
fact that I question them about some things, and then for some reason
added, “is that what you wanted to hear?” ??? Truthfully, I didn’t
want to hear any of this.

I have been sitting here trying to figure it out. I know he has gone
through 5 jewelers in 2 years and was told that he is very flip
floppy and that makes him hard to work for. Some had quit, some had
been let go, none were spoken well of though. Am I just another on
his list? I must have done something really wrong for him to let go
of his free labor, because it seems obvious from what he said today,
that is what I mostly was to him. I also know he has been kind of
panicky about finding financing to keep the company going, and it may
be that he has found it, so hiring someone with more experience is
now an option to him, and he doesnt need me anymore to fill that
spot?? Maybe I was used?? Or, maybe it is because of everything that
has happened to me over the last 10 years I have gotten to a point of
distrusting everyone and anyone that I questioned everyone and
everything if something just doesn’t feel right. I don’t keep it to
myself all the time. If its me, Id like to know so I can try to fix
it. If its not me, then I don’t know what to do, because I cant fix
that. One thing I have figured out is that I will probably never
really know the truth. Just last week I was told by both the owner,
and the women who oversees counter sales that I was doing a great
job, and I was lucky because his new product was sure to take off,
and I was getting in at the bottom of a good thing. Then, just a
couple days later, this? I don’t get it??

Dan


#11

I just talked to my Voc Rehab consoler. She said he called her late
in the afternoon on Friday last week and told her that he didn’t
think I was going to be able to be much help over the Xmas rush
considering the amount of work he feels his new product will bring.
He also said that he needs someone who doesn’t question things, but
someone who just does what he is told. [ hence going through 5
jewelers in 2 years he has been in business ] and that he doesn’t
have time to train me to shut up and do it his way only. Now that I
think about it, I bet much of this may come from a recent incident.

I was having troubles with some silver I was annealing and rolling
into sheet. It was pitted and when I would bend it a few times, the
sheets I rolled broke. Under the loupe I could see what looked like
many irregular and large chunky brittle like layers. Both the owner
and the bench jeweler told me I was annealing the metal all wrong.
The way I learned to do it some 20 years ago was to heat the silver,
or gold, to a dull red, then let it cool to the point where the
redness is gone, then quench it. They both were very instant that I
was wrong. They said that by quenching the silver, I was making it
harder. I needed to let it completely air cool. I was shocked to say
the least, and wondered where I had picked up this apparently wrong
way of annealing silver and gold.

The next day I started looking in books of mine, and those belonging
to the store. Over and over again, from my Brown authored educational
books of Goldsmithing and Silversmithing, to my McCreight, Revere and
even in the back of the Stuller metals catalog, every thing about
annealing talked about the way I was doing it for silver and gold [
white gold is an exception from what I have read] I ask the jeweler
about this. At first she ask who I was going to believe, a book, or
someone who has been working as a bench jeweler for over 3 years?
Then I pointed out it was in every book, and started to show her. She
then said she didn’t want to see it, and that I can do it the book
way if you want, and she will do it her way. I told her I wasn’t
doing this for any other reason than trying to learn the best way to
do it. She didn’t say anything, but I got the impression I bruised
her ego, so I just let it drop completely.

Talking with my consoler she said he sounded stressed to her, and is
it possible he is under a lot of stress to get financing? His in laws
and his wife are all multi millionaires [inherited from the company
grandpa started - 7up] he refuses to ask them for help for the same
reason he is afraid of failing, they would tell him all about it.
Maybe being so close to making or breaking it, he needs someone fully
trained now? He could have just said that if that was the case. But
he sends such mixed impressions, I don’t know what to think. I mean,
Why would he have gone through all the trouble to train me on matrix,
the mill, and art programs to make his new kind of jewelry? And just
late Thursday afternoon he has his jeweler order sheet silver just
for some learning projects he wants me to do, and talks about
bringing in his collection of lapidary jeweler magazines so we can go
through the projects in them and see what other ones might help me to
learn. I know he is flip floppy a lot on things, but I was blown away
this morning after last week???

I’m thinking she mentioned our annealing to the discussion to the
owner, who like her, was very insistent at the time that I was doing
things wrong. He is a self taught jeweler where she has a BS in fine
arts, but both are very proud of their skills, and they should be
because they do produce some nice work. But I hate to say it, but my
consoler and I think I caused this to happen by bruising their egos
and they might be afraid of what else I might point out. Maybe this
is why he told my consoler he needs someone who just does what he
said, not someone who questions him???

So this brings to question just what is an apprenticeship? Or maybe
it would be better put, what was their definition of an
apprenticeship? Either way, I feel my chances are all but ruined now.
How will it look if I try to get an apprenticeship with someone else,
and I have to tell them I had an apprenticeship, but was let go after
3 months, but I still don’t know why? I guess I could always say what
my consoler and I think, and that’s he wanted free labor, and
couldn’t be bothered to train someone. My voc rehab consoler says to
her, in a strange kind of way, this was a good thing. She was looking
back on notes from her previous meetings with him, and one thing he
said bothered him about all his previous 5 jewelers since the stores
inception 2 years ago, was that they wouldn’t just automatically do
things the way he wants them to. She said you cant teach someone with
thinking like that, and I was there as an apprenticeship. She told me
she thought this would be a problem, but had hoped it wouldn’t become
one because she knows how hard jewelry apprenticeships are to get in
St. Louis. And now, I think it will be a lot harder


#12

Daniel,

Ask your counselor to write a letter for you to put in your file,
outlining her opinion about this apprenticeship and its ending. I
don’t think everything is ruined at all. Everyone knows that some
people are very hard to get along with.

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA


#13
She didn't say anything, but I got the impression I bruised her
ego, so I just let it drop completely. 

Ah, the blind leading the blind… As far as the annealing part,
I’ve been a jeweler for almost 35 years. I couldn’t tell you what
books say, but I have annealed just as you say - dull red, quench
when the redness is gone, TENS of thousands of times. Soldering, too.
It works just fine. What you have there is your basic pressure
cooker, and I hope you can make it through. You seem (I haven’t read
this entire thread) to have an owner who’s marginally skilled, a
"Master" jeweler with three WHOLE years experience, and none of them
can just say, “let’s get the job done, ok?” If you are in a shop, or
this whole Orchid forum is a great example, you will rarely find egos
like that. Why? Because things are basically facts - precisely how
something is annealed means nothing, what matters is, is it soft?
Yes? then it’s done. By your description, though, it sounds like you
either waited too long to anneal, or overheated it, or both, with the
broken silver piece. I wrote in another thread today about how a shop
is a team, working together - it has to be. You don’t have a team,
you
have a group of prima donnas. There’s not much you can do about that
except endure it. I would wonder why the owner tells you one thing,
and the counselor another, though. Maybe you should just ask him what
him vision of the future is, exactly, and what your part in that is…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#14

Daniel; I’ve been following this thread from the start. Is it
possible that your boss has been following the thread as well, and
is not impressed with what you’ve been sharing with us?


#15
I was having troubles with some silver I was annealing and rolling
into sheet. It was pitted and when I would bend it a few times,
the sheets I rolled broke. Under the loupe I could see what looked
like many irregular and large chunky brittle like layers. Both the
owner and the bench jeweler told me I was annealing the metal all
wrong. The way I learned to do it some 20 years ago was to heat the
silver, or gold..... 

I dunno. I was taught at UofO that annealing is best when air cooled
and enen delayed quenching will shock the metal. Quenching is fine
for demo material or quickie projects but masterworks, and expensive
material that another person owns, should be air cooled.

Apprenticeships are nice, but the best way to learn would be to go
to a school and learn from many folks. One teacher may teach you well
but you are essentially at their personal and academic whim. And if
the person is… less delicate in the social realm, you have no
recourse as an apprentice to ask for better treatment. Mayhap get a
money job you ‘hate’ to make buck for a real school situation.

Good luck! A-


#16
One thing I have figured out is that I will probably never really
know the truth. Just last week I was told by both the owner, and
the women who oversees counter sales that I was doing a great job,
and I was lucky because his new product was sure to take off, and I
was getting in at the bottom of a good thing. Then, just a couple
days later, this? I don't get it?? 

Oboy…this is a touchy combination: an anxious apprentice and an
insecure owner… My hunch is that something having
absolutely nothing to do with you has put the owner into worry mode;
and you, being low man on the totem pole, have been the recipient of
his insecurity about the success of marketing his new pr oduct. If
your assessment of the situation is accurate, I’d like to offer a
couple of suggestions:

  1. Request a conference to clarify your position and potential
    future with them

  2. Back off a bit. Offer to take off for a couple of weeks during
    the rush season if they feel you’re taking too much of their
    production time at this stage of your apprenticeship.

  3. See if you can get them to list what they like and dislike about
    your relationship with them, and tactfully let them know the
    positives and negatives of your experience, and see how you can work
    together to meet in the middle somewhere.

You may have to compromise and do some things their way, against
your better judgment, but hey…they’re in the driver’s seat.

Above all, be very careful to choose the appropriate time and place
to approach them. Timing is very important. and check everything with
your counselor before you do it. Good luck

Dee


#17

I really appreciate the amount of supportive emails Ive received
from fellow Orchidians. I am in. It really is amazing the amount of
people in this world who do actually care about other human beings.
The encouragement to keep on going and not let this bother me is
overwhelming. I want to thank each and everyone of you for your kind
words and advice. Its encouraging comments like in these emails that
help me from getting totally depressed about this, as I felt it was
my last chance, last hope, to learn. But I am seeing from the emails
that I am wrong on that, this was just a bump in the road to success.
I did learn some very important lessons in this short apprenticeship.
So it was a good thing. And I am grateful for the time there. But I
still just have to wonder if I am destine for theses things to happen
to me. Have I been Jinx ever since I became disabled?? First
disabled, then divorced, then broke and now this ? It sure hasnt be a
wonderful time this past couple years, but it sure cant get much
worse, can it??

I want to let all of you who are concerned that I have put all my
tools back in their places at my bench in my basement, and have
already started to lay out a plan of action, so to speak. Im
compiling a list of projects to start working on. I have been at this
too long, and in no way am I giving up. Im on the final leg to get my
Gemology Degree from GIA. I certainly dont want to let the thousands
of dollars I had invested into that just go to waste.

But thanks to all of you here on Orchidians for showing me that
there is a whole community of people in this world with the same
interest, and who not only are willing to help with vital advice and
guidance to other, but you genuinely care. That give me hope.

Thank you Orchid, for everything!
Dan


#18

Great, I finished up putting my bench in the basement back together,
and realized that when the store owner was rushing me out of there so
I wouldnt upset his staff or say anything about why I was leaving the
store to them, I forgot to take my GRS system off of the bench I was
using there. I cant get a response from him, but I think I will have
to kiss that goodbye being the way he is. I bought it years ago, I
sure dont have the money to replace it now. So that figures, I get
used and once again, I lose costly equipment. I dont know if I can
trust jewelers and more, but I still want to be one… Well, not the
kind I have been around, I dont want to be that kind.

I cant believe the caring and supportive people on Orchid. Thank you
all for your support and offers of help. really think I need to just
do it myself, as I havent had much luck with accepting help. Its cost
me to much emotionally and financially in the end. I think I will go
solo from her out. But thank you all so much. I dont mean anyone from
here on Orchid. Ive been here since almost 1999, and I havent had a
bad experience from anyone here. But I do think I just need to be
solo for a while.

Thank you all again for your support and generosity.

Dan


#19
I dunno. I was taught at UofO that annealing is best when air
cooled and enen delayed quenching will shock the metal. Quenching
is fine for demo material or quickie projects but masterworks, and
expensive material that another person owns, should be air cooled. 

There is no universal way to anneal metal. Each alloy reacts somewhat
differently. Some need rapid quenching to achieve maximum softness
(sterling) some need to be very slowly cooled over a period of hours
or days (air hardening tool steels) some don’t really care ( most
brass alloys or copper). Some will crack if you cool too slowly (red
gold) or if you cool too fast (some white golds). Some alloys are hot
short and will crack if you quench too hot but will harden somewhat
if you air cool like sterling or some yellow golds. You just can not
say that there is one way to correctly anneal. Some metals are
forgiving enough that improper annealing will not cause a total
failure as long as you don’t push them too hard but some are picky.
The many bench jewelers and craft metalworkers over anneal their
metal which is also a big problem if you are asking the metal to
preform in demanding processes like raising, die striking or forging.
If your metal develops an orange peel like surface when you bend or
stress it you have over annealed metal. If you have not put a
significant amount of cold work into the metal (like a 50% reduction
in section) before annealing then you run a real risk of over
annealing the metal which causes overly large grains which causes
failures like orange peel, inter-granular cracking etc.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#20
I forgot to take my GRS system off of the bench I was using there.
I cant get a response from him, but I think I will have to kiss that
goodbye being the way he is. 

Well, for goodness sake, don’t make an appointment, just go and get
it! If he doesn’t want to let you in, tell him you won’t say
anything to anyone, you’re just there to get your property, you’re
sorry for the inconvenience, but you must have it.

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA