T Nation

Life Advice

This is going to be long winded, but I am having a hard time coming up with a plan of action for my scenario, so if you have $.02, spill it.

So here goes…

I work at the family business. A machine shop/injection molding plant. My father started the business 22 years ago. Most of the molding business has gone overseas these days and we have fallen upon some pretty tough times at the shop. We used to have 9 employees, now it’s just my brother, my father, and myself.

This spring my brother and I started a computer consulting business on the side to maybe help out but it’s hasn’t been quite profitable enough to make a difference. I’m lucky if I see a paycheck every other week, my pay to date is LESS than half what it was at this time a year ago. My credit card debit is getting out of control just to buy food and gas.

I’m 22 years old, I have no college education. I was planning on going to school this fall but I could not with pay cuts. Now, I’m sure most of you are wondering why my dad hasn’t pushed me out the door yet? Because I am busy as shit. I do EVERYTHING in the molding plant.

There is enough work to keep me busy 7 days a week. If I take a day off, orders will not go out on time. My dad and my brother are busy enough, they wouldn’t be able to pick up the slack if I left. Yet the last paycheck I saw was 2 weeks ago, and that was the first in over a month.

The last few weeks I have started to get really pissed. I have another job that I have been living off, but needless to say, when you work 60+ hours a week to just barely make ends meet, you get a little cranky.

So I have two options, neither of which I like. I can:

  1. Abandon my father and my brother to find a job that guarantees me a paycheck so I can save for school, for a future.

  2. I can stick it out at the family business, stay loyal to my family, and probably never make anything of myself.

So what do I do? I can deny myself of my own potential to go down with the sinking ship, or I can jump off and leave my family to fend for themselves. I know I have a lot of thinking to do, and the people I have talked to about this tell me to just quit, but it’s not that easy.

Thanks for your thoughts.

You are free, therefore choose. But remember, betraying one’s self is the highest form of betrayal.

There may be a third option. On one hand you say that most of the machine shop/injection molding business has gone overseas, but you are so busy you can’t take a day off, and you make half of what you did a year ago. Have you ruled out sticking around and trying to fix the business? Failure may not be a foregone conclusion.

If there is no turnaround for your business in sight, then you need to have a frank coversation with your dad. Just leaving suddenly would really be unfair. Maybe he should consider selling off the thing. Set up a timetable, concerning what you will do if X doesn’t happen by such and such a date. Make sure he knows you love him and appreciate his hard work, but the present situation can’t go on forever.

[quote]Loose Tool wrote:
There may be a third option. On one hand you say that most of the machine shop/injection molding business has gone overseas, but you are so busy you can’t take a day off, and you make half of what you did a year ago. Have you ruled out sticking around and trying to fix the business? Failure may not be a foregone conclusion.[/quote]

That’s were I’ve been at the last 4 months. That’s when it started to pick back up. I am the busiest I have been in years, yet I ask my dad where the money is and he laughs at me. I guess I don’t have a lot of faith in him at this point. We sold are sinker EDM machine this summer to help out. My dad pocketed to $20 grand we got for it, and I continued to not get paid. It’s his baby, he can do what he wants with it, but that is a little ridiculous in my opinion. When I confront him about not getting paid he says that he hasn’t been paid either(though his year to date pay is double mine) and on top of that, he owns the building which the business rents from him for an undisclosed amount. Let my put it this way, my dad has a 6000sq ft house on the lake, drives a Benz, and rides a Harley, get the picture?

Do you own a share of the business? Probably not, for if you did you would know the cash flow. If you don’t own it, you’re getting screwed. Period. It doesn’t matter that you’re family, you’re taking it up the ass without the benefit of lube.

Is there something you’re not mentioning here? Do you share his benz and house? If you are truly representing the situation accurately, then you’re dad is ripping you off. That means he doesn’t give a shit about you or your future.

I think you’re probably painting a bad picture of the situation, but if your not, then you’re a tool for staying. More than likely he bought the bling while he was doing well and is so far in debt now that a short term boom makes no dent.


[quote]analog_kid wrote:

I’m 22 years old, I have no college education

And college education or no, you spelled “ridiculous” correctly. Which, apparently, most people who post on public forums can’t do. So it looks like you’re smarter than the average bear.

|/ 3Toes

When I posted it sounded to me like you were leaving something out. The numbers didn’t add up. The piece of information about selling equipment and pocketing the money adds another dimension to the situation. Not knowing your Dad or the finances of the venture, it sounds like he is running the family business into the ground. Making the business work requires a good faith effort from all involved parties.

Look at it this way: You are 22 and possess the job skill of “injection molder” or something like that. You are running up debt to make the bills, which COULD ultimately result in financial suicide.

Now, fast forward 10 years. You are 32, and possess the job skill of “injection molder” or something like that. Now, if this skill does not offer much in the way of career advancement in the economic environment of 2005, do you think it will have improved in 2015? What will have become of this debt you have amassed “to make ends meet”?

I am a HUGE believer in capitalism and the free market as THE greatest economic system in the history of mankind. BUT, one has to understand the macro-environment in which one finds oneself in order to maximize one’s opportunities. As you yourself say, injection molders just aren’t in high demand (not inherently good or bad, just true). This should be a key consideration in your decision making process.

You also have to make short-term sacrifices in order to realize long-term gains. Get some roommates, find a way to live cheap (i.e. no more debt) and get your rear end in school. Also, you are at the age when working 60-80 hour weeks is feasible (I know, because at that time in my life I also worked multiple low-paying jobs in order to reach some financial goal – and, the 60-hour weeks didn’t stop just because I finally got a “real” job). You are your most important consideration here, and it sounds to me like you are fighting a losing battle, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Anyway, good luck!

You answered your own question analog. Your father pocketed 20g’s and laughed at you when you asked about your money. He has a huge house a benz and a harley. You are busier than ever yet making half of what you were. Sounds like dad isn’t being honest. I would go to him and give him 1 option since he seems so well off. He pays down your debt and pays you what you deserve on a regular basis or your history. You are not indebted to him. In the end if you don’t look out for your own best interests no one will.

Start taking classes at the local community college. Make time. Too bad if you have to miss unpaid work. Your dad can sell his Harley and hire someone to come in part time.

Get good grades and transfer into a 4 year school and get your bachelors degree. Keep going from there if you like it.

Do you have any clue what you might want to study?

I agree with others and it sounds like you’ve answered your own question. You gotta leave and do what’s best for your future. I was initially going to suggest sitting down, talking to your day, and explaining your reasons for leaving and work out a time line for you to do so…then I read your other posts about him driving a benz etc, pocketing the 20k…that really sucks and it sounds like he’s not going to care about your future…so now your future is for YOU to care about.