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Crazy new job

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pickmonger2

Active Member

Posts: 410

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:33 pm

Location: Ontario

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 4:45 am

Crazy new job

Anyone see any major problems with a win win deal I set up?

Have a chance to actually work with a locksmith on a trial basis. A family friend wants a beginner and wants to train me to do things his way.

Got a chance to prove my self. Will be paid $8.00 an hour but I can learn and get unlimited training with real world experience.

I have a good pension so I get to do locksmith training with a bit of money for fun. Lots of the typical grunt work. He said its to test my attitude and work ethic.

Everyone is related and friendly and willing to mentor a total newbie.

They get jobs re keying large buildings . He will have me cutting 100's of keys and pinning locks following his strict instructions. I will get to do a lot of the really boring repetitive stuff

He has a ton of broken locks I will be given a chance to fix.

Major rule ...I have to work out totally out of customer's view, often after closing. He doesn't want customers to see any beginners as he thinks it will reflect on the shop's reputation. Is that weird? They all wear uniforms once working up front.

They take secrecy and security very seriously joking I can visit the blabber mouth ex employees at the bottom of Lake Ontario.

He knows I love lock sports and will help me become a better picker and even try safe work if and when he feels like it.

Hey, in exchange for slave labour I get to learn and practise entry level skills with people I already know like.
I get a chance to see if I really want to become a lockmith vs locksports fan.
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mastersmith

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Posts: 630

Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 10:16 pm

Location: Miami Township, Ohio

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 9:48 pm

Re: Crazy new job

I entered this profession when "secrecy" was the norm. That is a big part of what has held back this profession. Keeping everything "in house" ended up hurting the over all perception of the trade. Many large corporations and many government entities don't consider locksmithing a real trade. Mostly because structured training, and yes, licensing are decades behind the other building trades. That is not to say it hasn't worked for a few shops. Those that keep producing enough new blood, like family, that want to join into the profession can carry on. Some even grow a little bit. But the larger more successful shops have embraced training and shared knowledge. The odds of them "knowing" something that everyone doesn't know are pretty long! I would also bet they never go to trade shows or seminars? Unfortunately if I am right on this last point you will be limited in what you can learn. I was a victim of that early on. The first shop I worked for was a family shop that learned on the fly. Until I moved on to a more progressive shop, I was at a learning stand still. I wish you a great journey, knowing the folks going in should help a lot. But something sounds fishy to me about not wanting customers to know you are learning. Everyone has to start some place, and everyone knows it.
"All ye who come this art to see / to handle anything must cautious be...." Benjamin Franklin
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just1pick+open

Active Member

Posts: 272

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:13 am

Location: Pennsylvania

Post Tue Aug 31, 2021 3:08 am

Re: Crazy new job

I agree with mastersmith. :agree:
Last edited by just1pick+open on Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
xeo: i use an electric buzzer exclusively for my ass that gets sanitized afterwards
PhoneMan: would have freaked my friend out if hed come over
MBI: Most anything goes.
PhoneMan: way to give me nightmares
selim: ok then blow your load,, i'll take anything free now a day's
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pickmonger2

Active Member

Posts: 410

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:33 pm

Location: Ontario

Post Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:27 am

Re: Crazy new job

The owner has his brother as the main working locksmith who goes to a lot of trade shows and training classes. Back where I work are 100's of books, magazines and DVD's

Grandfather started the business and the kids leaned from him. They used to be known as an excellent family locksmith business with great skills but they looked like unshaven long haired bums. Work vehicle was was a rusty VW Bus.

He is very controlling about what reflects on his shops image to the point of seeming paranoid. It's clannish as hell and they are strong fundamentalist Christians. I knew the owner through family and church. I found that the owner is very insecure and now spends megabucks on getting tools and training materials.

They went from looking like yahoo's to super professional.

To compete they all got haircuts uniforms and a really professional van with all the bells and whistles. They now have every certification you can think of.

I am kept behind the "wall" for strictly image reasons and will be allowed upfront once I prove myself.

Its "political" has hell but if I work hard I can grow and learn.

As for the money I feel that I should be paying them for the training and experience.

I have to remember that friendship and family in a business environment can cause problems challenges.

Its a bit like joining the Mafia with their code of silence. Security and privacy seems ultra strict I am expected to exchange some of my rights to be a member of the team.

I told a tech there I considered picking and trying safe manipulation a fun puzzle and he thought I was nuts. Just wait until you are doing it in the field and see if you find it fun.
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MartinHewitt

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Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:19 pm

Location: Germany

Post Wed Sep 01, 2021 4:49 pm

Re: Crazy new job

Can you go away after a month without any issue if you have a bad experience?

No trainee is paying here to be a trainee. That was here in the medieval ages. Even so trainees are trainees they still do work which earns money for the company. I have never seen companies hiding trainees. Usually craftsmen come in pairs, the experienced guy and the trainee, because the trainee needs to learn and he can do the simple stuff. In the end it is probably the question if you can work with these people, with their peculiar style of work.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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pickmonger2

Active Member

Posts: 410

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:33 pm

Location: Ontario

Post Wed Sep 01, 2021 10:57 pm

Re: Crazy new job

I am totally free to quit when ever I want and can be terminated at his whim. No hard feelings or recrimination.

I asked if he would teach me about being a locksmith in exchange for doing hours of grunt work and unpaid labour. By our meeting our mutual
wants and needs we have the basis of a win win relationship.

It's not based on a traditional business relationship but more like two friends or relatives. Yes the labour board would not approve of
a employer employee relationship like this but I am not an employee but another contractual relationship arranged by good legal advisors.

I can absolutely work with these guys and their strange ways because I am getting what I could never get else where.
Local locksmiths are not wanting wannabes and this guy was willing to work with me.

I have all ready learned I was clueless how locksmiths work and make money. I am starting to understand what services and products are
worth offering and what the market place won't pay for.

One day a week is "school day" where I am shown what I want to learn. The other 4 days I work my tail off.
The ratio of work to learn will be fine tuned.

The keys I cut, the locks I pin and rebuild and grunt jobs are worth money to him which he pays me back by teaching and mentoring me.
Last edited by pickmonger2 on Wed Sep 01, 2021 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MartinHewitt

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Posts: 1679

Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:19 pm

Location: Germany

Post Wed Sep 01, 2021 11:35 pm

Re: Crazy new job

Sounds like you should try it.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt
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Visitor

Familiar Face

Posts: 169

Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:48 am

Post Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:57 am

Re: Crazy new job

Sounds like you need a contract drawn up and as the saying goes never work with friends or family. The whole set up sounds a bit anal to me but if you're happy there's no harm in trying it unless you're already in a well paid job then I suggest it's not worth it.
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pickmonger2

Active Member

Posts: 410

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:33 pm

Location: Ontario

Post Mon Sep 13, 2021 2:10 pm

Re: Crazy new job

So far I have learned so much that only evaluation in an actual shop could teach me.

I was successfully coached in improving my lock picking skills and shown the basics of safe manipulation.

Training day is when the owner, who is basically retired, spends a day showing me stuff. I help him with some of his work and while we work he talks.
I got a day devoted to improving my lockpicking skills. Last week I had first time safe manipulation for the extreme beginner. If I keep with this I will get an introduction to
Alarms and how they work.

However:

While I have a lot of the basic skills and I am able to learn new ones, I am way too slow to work as a locksmith due to a lack the required manual dexterity and muscle control
to work efficiently.

I badly need to work on my frustration tolerance skills when working on something boring and to persist in solving annoying problems . Picking yes, pinning a lock no

When being shown simple safe manipulation I could not feel the lock talking to me the way my teacher could. My fingers don't seem sensitive enough for safe manipulation
when it requires ability to feel very small movement.

I lack the interpersonal skills needed to deal with "difficult" people ie customers and coworkers
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Visitor

Familiar Face

Posts: 169

Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:48 am

Post Thu Sep 16, 2021 2:48 am

Re: Crazy new job

Feeling contact points on dials and gates on levers will be very difficult if you have medial issues with your fingers otherwise it is a practice thing, it will suddenly just come to you. Starting on easy and clunky locks is the best way then move up to the smoother more expensive ones.
I can't speak for working for another locksmith but I do know the boring medial stuff seems tolerable for me when I'm working on a customers paying job but if it's a non paying job or somthing for myself I have to really try hard to firstly get my motivation up then secondly not loose my patience with stuff, I don't think you're on your own there.

With the length of time you've been on the forums and the comments you make I didn't realise you weren't so accomplished, it really is a practice makes perfect thing and it sounds like you are getting a lot out of this. See if you can take some locks home and practice on them in front of the TV however don't let it bog you down, hobby picking and doing it for a living are two very different things nor is nde always the most cost effective solution it sounds like this guy is teaching you how to make that call properly which can only be made once you get good at opening without damage. Bypass is the biggest difference between hobby and career opening, there's no place for bypass in hobby picking but it's the most important aspect in working as a locksmith.

The same with most things in life this sort of stuff gets easier with practice and things start becoming muscle memory and you don't even think what you're doing inside a lock you just pick your favorite tools up and open it, you start to wish and wait for a lock you've not seen before or an awkward lock that doesn't play ball straight away just to vary your day to day chores.
I personally don't get to manipulate combo locks on safes every day so when I do get one it still excites me and I enjoy it, everything else is just a job and I get on with it without much thought.
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Visitor

Familiar Face

Posts: 169

Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:48 am

Post Thu Sep 16, 2021 3:17 am

Re: Crazy new job

Just to add and understand this might not be the correct way because I'm self taught but it might help you, when I manipulate I don't hold the dial like you would dial the combination, I barely touch the dial with just my finger tips (often just on the edge where the face of the dial meets the diameter of the dial) and apply the least amount of pressure I can whilst still being able to rotate it. I then slow and steady only rotate 20-30 divisions at most before resetting my hand and grip. When I hit my points my fingers either slip or I feel a definite contact. Grabbing the dial and roughly turning it 180' hoping you find a contact point isn't going to work on anything but cheap and nasty locks and even then you may struggle.
That's not to say you can't spin a dial all the way round and pick up on a difference in rotation part way round but when you're not doing them quite so often that sort of technique isnt quite so easy to get results from. Holding the dial is a very important skill to learn in my opinion.
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pickmonger2

Active Member

Posts: 410

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:33 pm

Location: Ontario

Post Thu Sep 16, 2021 4:07 pm

Re: Crazy new job

Thanks Visitor and other for the input.

Sometimes I feel like I am a prospect for a 1% biker gang. The boss puts you through a lot of stuff to learn what you are made of.

He is quite blunt about the fact he likes to have his own helpers and go-fors.

He is semi retired and his sons try to keep him out of the way of the hands on locksmithing side.

I think most of his time is spent networking for new business and suppliers. Therefor he has time to work with people like me.

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