What is Better, Education or OJT? - with Sam Overturf

Do you know how to grow your career in the trades? eyes 
Every skilled worker is looking for the opportunity, training, and consistency that will help them be successful and financially stable as they pursue their trades career. 
At Skillwork, we want to help you find that opportunity and get you the training you need. flexed biceps: medium-light skin tone 
hammer and wrench The Proud Skilled Worker brings you another great episode with Sam Overturf, an Electro Mechanic who shares from his experience growing his trades career. 
If you want to learn the ins and outs of a trades career and how you can find success with or without a college degree, then THIS is the episode for you. 
Main Takeaways:
hammer and wrench Work with the mentality to learn new skills and expand your expertise
hammer and wrench Skilled workers will increase their worth when they ask questions to grow in their trade
hammer and wrench You don’t need formal education to be successful or financially stable in the trades
hammer and wrench On-the-job training will help you grow faster as a skilled worker
alarm clock 00:00-04:10 | Learn how to grow a career in the trades
alarm clock 04:10-11:49 | Companies are willing to train the people with the right attitude to learn
alarm clock 11:49-19:31 | You will grow as a skilled worker when you ask the right questions
alarm clock 19:31-31:28 | A college degree isn’t required to be successful in the trades
speech balloon “When you teach a skill to someone, something you might do every day that they didn’t know how to do before, that’s one less thing you have to worry about.” - Sam Overturf, Electro Mechanic 
speech balloon “I don’t feel like the trades eat their young because there’s not enough young to be eaten—the workforce is so depleted.” - Sam Overturf, Electro Mechanic 
speech balloon “Its better to have a maintenance team be reliant on each other instead of all of them servicing individual crisis situations.” - Michael Peatrowsky, Director of Operations
speech balloon I picked up a tool and said, I may not know what I’m doing but I am going to give it a shot. That mentality was something that they respected.” - Sam Overturf, Electro Mechanic
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Full Transcription: 

Michael Peatrowsky  00:13

Hi everybody, good morning and welcome to another episode of The Proud Skilled Worker. Today we have an opportunity to interview Sam Overturf, an electro mechanic who's been all over the United States with Skillwork, actually. We're gonna jump into some questions from you guys that you guys reached out to us about. But before we do that, Sam, tell us a little bit about yourself, how did you end up in skilled trades?


Sam Overturf  00:33

So I was at Tool Center, a shop back home. And basically they took her, they just they got to where they were lower staff, you know, people started to retire, we're starting to see the higher turnover rate. They let me get into the trade, learned a little bit there. I did about a year and a half there, that was in Kansas City, at a plant that made lawnmower blades. And then after that I moved back home. So I worked at a ConAgra. And I did it three years there. And then their contract was coming up to an end and things weren't looking very good. So luckily enough, I found Skillwork and here I am.


Michael Peatrowsky  01:10

So Tool Center in the beginning, that job kind of transitioned out, you ended up jumping into what role at ConAgra?


Sam Overturf  01:18

I was actually I started out as a I was a lead processor. So essentially, in the grand scheme of things, I was a line lead. And they're pretty full time on mechanics. And then once the opportunity came, and took about a year, once the opportunity came, I moved over into that. Did some time there and then I got a hold of Cam and came to Skillwork.


Michael Peatrowsky  01:39

So as you transitioned from that line lead into the mechanic role, you said it was about a year gap? I'm curious to know, and maybe you'll answer here is what was your biggest challenge in that season? In the season where you knew, like "I'm getting into maintenance, but I'm kind of stuck right here". What was the biggest challenge there?


Sam Overturf  01:55

Honestly, you know, I didn't notice a lot of challenge. Actually, I've taken this with me too, and I think it would be it's kind of interesting, actually, because having worked on the lines as an operator and done the day to day on it and gotten used to actually using the equipment, transitioning, you know, a full year of that transitioning into maintenance, it kind of became second nature really. I you know, I did what I did as the operator translated into what I was going to do as a mechanic or you know, as an operator, you're not really digging into it, but you use the equipment every day. So whether it be like, they use piston fillers for their for their sauce, the sauce top into their, into their bowls. So going from a line lead that adjusted that or move the process, you know what I mean? I understood how it adjusted. So once I transitioned into the mechanic side of it, it really just became it was deeper, it was just honestly, I look at it as a deeper operator, essentially. And the more places I go with Skillwork, it kind of proves me right, really.


Michael Peatrowsky  02:50

Interesting. So your time as a line lead was was really more was was building your maintenance career? Because you started to understand like, "this is how it runs, so when it's not running right, as a maintenance guy, I'll know." When you were in the line lead position did you feel that way? Or did you feel more stuck?


Sam Overturf  03:08

Honestly, I knew it was coming. You know, the supervisor, there's actually we're still we're still buddies now, but it was basically in waiting. In a way. You know, it was that what was that about? That would been about a year? Probably about yeah, right around a year before the pandemic came around. And we were just kind of stuck, you know, but it didn't feel stuck. You know, it was just kind of a it was, as I was a line lead, they let me I slowly more and more got my hands on it. And then once once the maintenance role came open, and once I became once I actually became one of their mechanics, it was just basically I hit the ground running.


Michael Peatrowsky  03:43

Yeah, that's huge. I think one of the things you said in there is that open communication with your supervisor, and then even to the maintenance team, being able to have that and respect each other and just know, "hey, next time, there's an opportunity I want to take it". That's that's huge for for you and for others who are in the position you were in as line lead, like "I'm getting onto the maintenance team, how do I get there?" Like knowing your goal and going, "I'm getting there, I know somebody's gonna somebody's gonna let me go". 


Sam Overturf  04:09

Somethings gonna happen. 


Michael Peatrowsky  04:10

Right! So next part of the of kind of what we're going to discuss, Sam is, is we had a bunch of people reach out to us who are actually in the skilled trades, and they had questions for us. So we'll jump right into these questions. We have four or five that we'll go through and from there, we'll probably spiderweb out and have some pretty deep conversations. But first question comes from Brandon A, and he says, How does he take his maintenance skills to the next level? And I think that ties really perfectly into what we were just talking about.


Sam Overturf  04:37

Yeah. No, it's, um, when I was really kind of got to a point, you know, after the first year and a half or two years into being a tech but what was you know, kind of been I didn't feel stuck. I just felt like the learning curve was slowing from for what I was doing. So for me, it's just having the open mind to "I'm willing to learn anything", you know? And that's especially with something like Skillwork that's huge you know? You can, you have the opportunity to to learn whatever you want to learn. So for me, it's just, even if I'm, you know, I work around a piece of equipment, and maybe I'm handling more of the mechanical side of it, I might pull one of the electricians to the side and say, "Hey, man, how does this work? Like, what is the, you know, what, what is the PLC logic for this? How does it translate? You know, how does it? How does it go from step 1, 2, 3, 4?" And I just, that's how I do it, you know? My short answer would be just to be willing to further your career, maybe maybe in ways that you weren't expecting to originally, you know what I mean? Like, sometimes, sometimes I'll be working on a project, and you know, I'm, oh, I'm going to install the gearbox and put the motor in, and all of a sudden, they having me, you know, I'm doing everything else. That's like, for me, it's just kind of, I'm open to learn everything really.


Michael Peatrowsky  05:42

Do you feel like when you reach out to people like that, when you're like, "hey, will you show me how this," your example is a PLC and ladder logic, when when you reach out to guys are they usually like, "Yeah, I'd love to" or are people a little more standoffish with you in those moments?


Sam Overturf  05:55

You know, it's it's funny you asked that, because when I first got into the trade, I was, in ways told to be intimidated it felt like. Like, "Hey, man, sometimes when you ask us for help, you know, ask some of the guys, they're not really going to be so willing to lend that hand." And one thing that a lot of the older guys threw at me was, "oh, it's their job security", which I heard a lot. And yeah, honestly, man, for my example, I'd say I've probably, I've probably asked 25 different techs or electricians for, you know, to help help me understand something. And I haven't been shunned away once. Every time I've ever asked, I've always, they've always said, "Yeah, I'll show you, give me a minute", or, "yeah, help me finish this and I'll come show you that". That's always kind of goes hand in hand. I've never really had I never had any trouble.


Michael Peatrowsky  06:38

Interesting. So 25 for 25 no one's ever turned you down. But all you heard coming up was, "hey, people are gonna push back, people are gonna push back".


Sam Overturf  06:45

Yeah, that's exactly how it worked, how it worked. You know, it's, it's even funny now. Because I'll see some of the guys that were, you know, that are coming in, or they're just graduating from school, or whatever it might be they're doing, and they're coming in. And I see some of the older guys that I work with every day, and they're like, "Hey man, Like, just so you know", and then then they're, you know, they're intimidated. They're kind of scared of it. I'm like ah, that's not what they say it is, I promise.

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Michael Peatrowsky  07:08

Yeah, it's almost like, like, there's this perception people want to hold in the trades, where they're like, "don't ask me questions". And immediately when you do, they're like, "alright, I'll tell you everything."


Sam Overturf  07:18

Honestly, from my standpoint, and now I'm in the position that you know, when people ask me stuff like that, I'm like, "yeah, man, sure, I'll help you". Because you know what? And it may sound bad, but especially when you're on a busy day, or you're having a really, you know, you have a packed schedule. When you teach that guy how to do something else, you know, something that you might do every day that he didn't know how to do before, that's one less thing you have to worry about every day


Michael Peatrowsky  07:38

Many hands make light work. The more people you have who can do it the less everybody has to do on their own. 


Sam Overturf  07:42



Michael Peatrowsky  07:43

So you brought that up kind of that perception of the older trades not looking down on but feeling like threatened threatening down and parent Harris K has a question about "why does skilled trades eat its young?" Or why does it feel like it eat it eats its young? So I think that's a really good tie in for us to go. Is that the truth? Or is there a perception out there that people are, are perpetuating?


Sam Overturf  08:06

You know, I've actually got a couple of really good friends of mine that are master welders. And when I would kind of go around the shop, you know, I'd get a work order, let's say I get a work order to weld frame together, or whatever it might be. I was okay. You know, it wasn't perfect. I did some time in high school as welders. But, you know, I would go from doing what I was doing to seeing what they were doing. And I was like, "Man, that is like, wow, yeah, that guy's worth his money. Holy smokes." And it went from "wow, like, that's kind of intimidating man. Like, I don't even he just proved that I don't know anything. I don't know what I'm doing". And it literally just tied into "Hey, man, like I seen that you, that you know, you know what you're doing. It didn't even I wasn't even able to get the full question out, and they're like, "Oh, yeah, man, come here. Like, you know, I'll give you the basics. And from there, you'll just branch out, you'll learn how to do it". But I mean, I could see where some people would say that if it might feel like it eats its young. But for my experience, it's just the matter of getting you know, even if I'm, you know, with Skillwork, I'm going from one place to the next. It's almost just like that new phase. You know, that maybe, maybe, I mean, a lot of people don't consider, but it's to me, that's what it is. I don't feel like it necessarily eats its young, especially now, man. There's not enough young out there to be eaten. I mean, you know what I mean? Like, there's not enough people ahead of us like we're basically, we're the next boars. And that's crazy, too, because, especially when I got here, man, that, their floor, the workforce here is so depleted. And I'm in the middle of Chicago, I'll drive down, you know, I'll drive I'll drive down to harbor road and there's just signs everywhere, "help wanted" help wanted, and help wanted. When I go to work, you know, they're they're supposed to have on staff 24 mechanics and right now we're at eight. You know what I mean? Like, I don't, I could, I could understand that question more if it was five or six years ago, but I feel like as of late, you know, the last couple of years, man, it's where the workforce is really falling.


Michael Peatrowsky  09:53

Yeah. And I think maybe that maybe that's a good point to stand on is, hey, five or six years ago, everybody was leaning into this, "you need four years of experience, you need to have these degrees, you need to have all this OJT". And now everybody's like, "Hey, you get here and we'll train you, we're gonna make you better". You know, we've talked even to in the past on this podcast about that paradigm shift that has happened just in the last five years of requiring two to four years of experience versus now everybody is like, "Do you know what a screwdriver is? Or do you have mechanical aptitude? Great, let's go to work." And it feels like the the industry has flipped from the standard of the perception as "they eat their young" to now they're almost like, "we'll bring anybody in because we need to grow this thing". More and more people see it.


Sam Overturf  10:37

Yeah, no, just to tie-in what you're saying, yeah, they, it definitely does feel that way. And honestly, and I feel like a lot of places, I feel like, that's part of it. And I also feel like part of it is, as it grows back, that a lot of different corporations are realizing "you know, what? Maybe this is the right way to go. Maybe if we do just give people a chance and let them get in the door, and we train them who we want them to be, it pays off for us." you know, then they know, they know the ins and outs of it. And I see that a lot now too, excuse me, several the mechanics here, right now, the several of guys at the place I'm at here in Bridgeview. They they're like that, you know, they were brought in as they were operators there for, you know, four or five years. And, you know, now they got a little bit of time as a mechanic. Or even as an electrician. People, you know, higher up, especially, you know, in the office, they're like, "Man, this is actually, this is working, you know? So you can see it on there. You know, I've seen on applications now too, where it's like, you know, hey, you know, you know, a year ago, two years ago, I would even say, hey, you know, two to four years experience, you know, plus a trade school would be nice. And now it's, it's changed, like, even just looking at an application, you can see that, you know, I mean, I've seen several, that say "we're willing to train the right person", you know? I feel like that's the right direction to go.


Michael Peatrowsky  11:49

Yeah, for sure. And I think, you know, if we look back at the beginning, and the previous industrial revolutions that we saw, that was exactly what happened is we started to go, "we will train people and grow the workforce", as opposed to try to find the perfect fit for every role, because that doesn't exist. You know, we've talked more and more about this, like fourth industrial revolution as we move to automation, and we move to maintenance, and we move to all of this predictive maintenance information. And I just think it's super interesting, the cyclical nature of it all, like, "Okay, everybody needs five years of experience and a degree" to "Okay, now we're going to train everybody". But those evolutions take a long time to happen, they don't happen overnight. You can't can't convince people, bring them back to the trades, bring it back to the industry overnight. So definitely, it's a long term fix. But I think as you said, more and more people are going, "Okay, I'm gonna get into this at the entry level, learn everything I can, and then lat move over and kind of grow my career."


Sam Overturf  12:45

In the, in the trade, you know, in, in the industrial industrial side of stuff, I don't think there's, you know, you can get into management and move up and continue. But as far as just a set, you know, a stable position. I don't know if there's a position out there that allows more growth than being a mechanic honestly, in the industrial environment. There's so many like even at work here, you know, go look at a job boards and you there's just so many different styles of what they do, like, you know, learn, "hey, here's a here's a bump in pay, you can learn how to run the mill on the lathe", here's another bump, you can you know, it's there's so many steps for different things. Or how to wire in PLCs. Or in logic, there's, there's so many different pieces that allow you to move it's like a it's like a crazy spider web is what I call it, because you can you can literally in this industry, you can learn whatever you want.


Michael Peatrowsky  13:33

Super interesting, because like the title mechanic is what you used. But from the word mechanic, you can go anywhere and make any amount of money you want as you're like, "Yeah, I'm going that way. Okay, well, this mechanic does this". And that, I think that's super, that's a beautiful thing for the trades is have somebody who's like, "I'm interested in this", and then six years, they go, "yeah, nevermind, I'm actually more interested in that" and, and you're all connected, and you will have all of those skills, but your career keeps growing. It's,


Sam Overturf  14:00

It's crazy to see, it actually to actually watch it play out and see how those can go, you know, and sometimes it's not the right you know, sometimes certain aspects of the of the trade aren't right for everybody, you know what I mean? Like, I've worked with several guys that are, you know, they don't necessarily see themselves as the greatest mechanic but when you put them in front of a meter with a cabinet, you're like, "Wow, man, like, this is kind of this kind of like the shoes on the right foot". You can this is something that's just more natural to you. So it's cool to see the way as I work with more people and you know, work with different teams, it's cool to see to see how the different different people interact with each other and how they almost find a natural fit on a team. You know, it's kind of like, I compare it to like, you know, playing a video game where, you know, everybody on the team has their own aspect, you know what I mean? Like so I can go work with my guys and like, you know, we have somebody that's a super good with electro, you know, a really good electrician, and you know, maybe he's going through troubleshoot and stuff and he's like, "Hey, man, I need you to put a contact here. I need you to replace this drive, you know, this VFD" whatever it might be. And then we'll have somebody that's super good with gearboxed and can make anything work. So it's, it's cool to see how those things play out when when you tied it together.


Michael Peatrowsky  15:06

Yeah and I think that leads us right into our next question, which is Shane A says, "is it more beneficial to learn multiple skills, or to be a master of one?" And I think you're gonna, based on the spider web you just described, I think we're gonna have a decent conversation.


Sam Overturf  15:22

I think man you can can, personally, me personally, my goal over, you know, let's say the next 20 years is to learn as much as I can, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's all in one spot. So within, you know, that's a natural fits for me, as a mechanic, you know, that's just naturally what I do, I just, it's easy comes, I find it coming by me pretty easy. Not saying that I just walk in and know everything. But I find being able to learn learn mechanics a lot easier than it is to learn electricity. For me, I want to learn as much as I can about a lot. And then by the end of it have one thing where it's like, you know what, this is what I excelled that greatly. This is something that I that I've picked up on and essentially mastered. That's what I want for myself. So I would say to learn a lot about everything really, or a little about everything, versus all a lot about one.


Michael Peatrowsky  16:08

Yeah, I think that fits really well into the team dynamic you described is more and more people are going to these these maintenance team structures of, okay, we got a guy who's really good at troubleshooting, and then we got a really good maintainer. And then we have a really good electrician. So instead of one guy trying to do project front to back, everybody does their part of the project. And it gets done more efficiently. It definitely gets done to a higher caliber, because everybody's really dedicated to the part they're doing. Learning a little bit of everything helps. And then finding as you said, your niche, like your niche is, you've called it a mechanic, but there's probably people whose their niche is, "hey, sometimes I just want to be in a gearbox, I just want to be troubleshooting. I just want to have a multimeter and go to work, and figure out what the problem is, and then have somebody who who wants to deep dive it go after it". That's not for everybody. But it definitely is, it's super interesting, this team construct that you talked about of a maintenance team actually being reliant on each other instead of all of you just being there to service individual crisis situations.


Sam Overturf  17:08

Yeah, absolutely. That's, that's kind of yeah, that's, to me, it's really important too, because I would rather work on a team, you know, and I've seen this happen in the past, I would rather work with a team where we're all really good. And then maybe, you know, a lead Tech Spot comes open, or they open up another supervisor role. I would rather us all be equally qualified for that position, then I would have a team where it's not as coherent, you know, isn't doesn't mesh as well together? And then you have maybe just one or one person that fits that that bill really well, you know what I mean? I would rather it just to me, having some a team that's just vibes well together. No, maybe, of course, we all have our niche, but it helps when you have that niche, and you can, you're willing to move away from you know, you branch off and we learn each other's stuff, you know, maybe, which is I've had I found that really common where I was before is we all had what we did well, but we've meshed well learning other things. You know, what I mean? We all we all grew together, that's something that that helps.


Michael Peatrowsky  18:04

My next question ties kind of right into that. Do you feel like people in the trades are are trying to train people to take their own jobs? So when I say that, if you if you look at the rest of the world, if you don't have anybody who can take over your position or your job, you're probably not moving out of it, because no one else is there to do it. So you have to train someone to step into that position so you can then step up. Is that a mindset you feel is is prevalent on trade floors or prevalent in the industries you've been in? Are people usually pretty, "this is what I do, I want to do this. I don't need anybody else taking my my spot."

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Sam Overturf  18:39

A lot of times so far, throughout my career, what I've noticed is there's not enough people. So a lot of times guys are taking, you know, maybe they'll be a lateral move, or they're going up in pay or whatever, you know, they might be going to management. A lot of times I just don't have enough people to do that. I've seen several times where there's "yeah, that's our supervisor. And he's working right there with us", just because I know that that does happen generally. But he's, you know, doing it for months on end, because there's not, there wasn't somebody else to take this position. So he could move up and go on, but it's getting better. It's getting back to where I feel like where it was in that aspect of, oh, hey, you know, I took this position I got, you know, this guy's got a 90 day probationary period, I'm going to train throughout this time, then I'm going to move up, you know, and take my role. It's getting, it's getting better. It's getting more to where it should be in that aspect. But honestly, I've seen a lot of times where there's just not enough people.


Michael Peatrowsky  19:31

And I think convincing people that this is the right move for them starts at at such a different conversation point of have for two or three decades. We told everybody "you need a degree to succeed". And now through other avenues, other individuals were watching people compete financially and also professionally, like, you make just as much and you're just as happy doing jobs that quite frankly, you don't have to deal with as much bureaucracy, you don't need a degree, you're not carrying college debt, you're just going to work and loving what you do. And being significantly, like financially stable as well. So I think those two things, there's a huge misconception around. "If I don't get a degree, I'm going to struggle". No, you're not. Without a degree, you can still be incredibly financially stable and financially successful. So just want to talk through like, what your background is like education wise versus OJT. Do you have any? Oh, hi, doggie. What's your what's your thoughts there on education versus just getting right into the workforce?


Sam Overturf  20:36

Honestly, I haven't put I haven't touched a pencil in a college classroom once. Just to be completely honest with you, it was I got into it. I got into the industry at a time where it was getting weak, not that the necessarily the people were bad was just people were retiring man. You know, you had a guy you have, you know, you had old heads that have been at it for 35 years, "we're like, yeah, it's time for me to hang it up. And I'm done". So I got into when they needed help. And from there, it was, it's just on the job training. I've learned, I've been able to well my first maintenance role I was I shadowed a tech for, you know, 60 days to pick something up, you know, learn learn some of it. A lot of that, from there on it was "hey, you know, I've got a drive, it's, you know, it's throwing this bolt at me, what do I do?" And then I'd have an electrician come over, "hey, this is so these are your faults, this is what it means, this, if you get this fault, you know, you get a overcurrent fault, check this, this, this". And as it was just as time went on, things just stuck. Now that's not to say that I don't want to further my education, because that's something I definitely want to do. I just feel like the idea of needing to go to school before you get into it is kind of overshadowed. There's different ways you can look into that I just okay, for me, personally, I wouldn't want to go out and I'm gonna throw out a number, I'm not gonna want to go out and spend $15,000 on a college course, and then go get into the field, and not like what I'm doing, you know what I mean? Like, because then you just pay it, you know, that's, that's really common. I've several people I've known through through the years of coming out of high school have spent a lot of money on college debt that they're not even using. And that was something that I had seen before I even got it, you know, before I even got into the field. That was it was very common to see people paid paying college debt back for careers that I've been doing. So for me, it was like, You know what, I'm going to give it a shot. I'm just gonna go like, what can I find? And I just started picking it up, you know, I got in, I started out as I started out as a as an operator at a metal factory. And then I got into, did that for a couple years. And then I moved into actually the Missouri Department of Transportation, I ran a concrete truck. You know, maybe this did that for a little while, ah, I'm good here. And then I that's when I got in man I went in, took a line lead position, got into maintenance, and I just picked up a tool and I was like "hey, man, I might not know what the hell I'm doing. But I'm gonna give it a shot". You know, they probably enough that mentality was something they respected as these guys are like, "man, if you're even just willing to try that's better than the last 10 guys, we had to step in here." And that was just where it came from, you know? I mean, would it be beneficial at this point to have, you know, to maybe have a degree next to my name? Yeah, it'll come. I'll do it eventually. I just don't feel like it's if you're asking me: Is it a necessity to get into it? No, I don't think that's, I think it would be foolish to think. That I know, we got into that took, you know, for a couple of decades there we got into the time where you know, you need these years of experience, you need to have a degree to get into this position, which don't get me, don't get me wrong, there are times when that is definitely, you know, relevant. But as a tech or as assuming you're whatever you're getting into, you're getting into it at the entry level. I don't, I don't feel like it's necessary.


Michael Peatrowsky  23:42

Yeah, I think I think you hit the nail right on the head there is find what you love, and then pursue your education in that field. Don't get educated in something you're not sure you love yet. Sam I appreciate you, I think this part of the show is kind of fun for me, because I opened the door for you, I'm going to give you anywhere between five and 400 minutes, depending on how long it takes you. This is your this is your soapbox, this is your opportunity to preach to everybody in the field, all skilled workers out there and just go, "Hey, here's the one thing I wish everybody would see. Or that I've learned that everybody needs to know". This is your moment to go, "here's my calling for everybody". So take it over and just kind of what's the thing for you?


Sam Overturf  24:21

Honestly, what we just talked about is that ties back into. We didn't really get this time at that. But it ties into that very well, you know, I don't think it's don't just don't necessarily worry about education, especially in this field. You don't you don't need that to that degree, is it going to teach you in a classroom? Yeah. And I've seen it enough that's happened to me personally, it's gonna teach you in a classroom, but you're not gonna, when you go out on the floor and somebody calls you to a machine or if you're in the auto industry and you're you're working on different things there. You're not just going to be able to quickly recall everything you just went through, you know, two years ago at that exact moment. So for me on the job training is something that is crucial. It's definitely something that is getting taken less light hearted now because, frankly, I feel like in this industry, that's because I don't really have a choice. Have I taken advantage of it in the aspect of I do it all the time? Yeah. Because I mean, I know, some guys I work with, because I'll walk up to them, "Hey, man, how does this work?" They're like, "Really? dude, you've asked us like, three times this week about different stuff". Like, yeah, but guess what? By the end of it, you're gonna have somebody that has a better understanding of it, and it's less work for you. So for me, it's just just be willing to learn. That's, that's a big one too. Um, when I got out, you know, got out and got myself get out of my own head, you know, being intimidated by some things, I just started picking up different things, you know, maybe a little here and there different aspects of the job, and just let my knowledge branch out. And it's helped me greatly even in the last year and a half, it's been something I've learned things that I use every day, you know, I may not be, you're never gonna know all things, but I've learned more things to make my job easier. Especially when I first got into maintenance, I noticed, you know, from day one to day 90, the times I had to call for help got fewer. And then from day, 90 to six months, it was like man, kind of, you know, picking up on it, I'm getting better at it, you know, I'm not having to call for a hand, you know, stuff for stuff I'm doing as often as I was. And then now I've had the opportunity to go into different places, like here at West Rock, I've been able to, as days have gone on over the last couple of months, I've been able to ask for help less, which tells me personally, that I've been learning and learning the things I should be learning. And I just feel like if I would have, I'm not gonna say wasted time, but if I would have gone to school, or you know, some kind of mechanical trade, industrial mechanics class, before this, I would have gotten equal training in a classroom setting, or, you know, showing some, you know, maybe they're, you know, and I've talked to some guys that are in school right now, and they don't go through courses where they're, you know, the rebuilding gearboxed, and there changing filters and whatnot, you know, for a vacuum pump. And they're getting into the gritty of that, but I just feel like, for me, personally, the on the job training that I've received, and things that I've been able to work through mechanically, in the field itself, has paid off faster for me than, than, say, a two year degree. Excuse me, while I'm, while I'm already working, you know what I mean? Like, that's just something personally for me that, you know, I'm just, you know, there's 1000s of people out there, I'm sure that feel the other way. I just feel like in our industry of what we're doing that it's just on the job I learned with my hands. That's the biggest thing for me, that's like, I didn't necessarily learn that at first, like, Man, I could, I would sit in the meeting, I would be sitting in a meeting, we've talked about downtime. And I remember I had a supervisor that was like " are you picking this up". And I'm like, "No, I'm gonna be honest, I'm not". He was like, "what do you mean?" I was like, "I'm not I just can't sit here and like, listen to you lecture at me." They asked me to recite all of it. If you go show me it, yeah, that's, that's different. And it was cool to see, he didn't take that bad. He was okay, let's go look at it. You know what, forget everything I just said, Well, I already have, but now I'm going to go show you and we'll go see it goes through it. And he's like, wow, that was kind of that was cool to see, like, you learn differently than I do. So it's just something that for me, I would say be willing to learn different things, and maybe even what you're expecting to learn, you know, I've had that happen, where I get into a position. And I'm expecting it to be, you know, maybe more of ConAgra was a great example, I was expecting it to be more of a tear down role, you know, I worked third shift, we're responsible for tearing the line down and getting it all cleaned up putting it back together. But it was wasn't really anticipating the role of you know, they had what they called Code Red work orders, which is where you, you fix on the fly, and you go. I wasn't anticipating learning that much more that quick. Learning, hands on learning is one, being able to be open minded about learning different things, more than maybe what you're expecting your job title to be. Those are one and two for me, I honestly use them every day.


Michael Peatrowsky  28:54

Yeah, I think that's, that's huge. And I think, throughout this, one of the things you've talked about is don't be intimidated and show initiative. And those two things kind of lead to what you just described are your catalysts like your one and two is, is don't be intimidated, show initiative. And basically, you'll see improvement in your day to day life. So definitely, you know, huge bullets that you can take and give to people is, hey, here's the deal. It's easy, like you said, is do these two things, and you'll be successful.


Sam Overturf  29:26

It's and it's weird, because I I tend and my wife, my wife, will we not say argue but we get in debates about these things. Because I'll get in my own head still to this day, you know, I'll sit down by man like I'll have a problem at work and I wasn't you know, I didn't figure it out that that burns me I don't like that. I don't like to leave work. I'm like, "Man, I wonder if they got that fixed yet". And I'll go in and go home, I'll been thinking about it. You're like well, you really let that eat you up and it's like "Yeah", cuz it went from learning a trade or picking up the beginning of it to, and I didn't even notice it but it turned into this like legitimately a career. Like I think about it. It's not you know, I don't just leave work and it's gone. I continue, I enjoy it. And then I'll go into work talk with no, we'll go to our meetings and we'll talk about "hey, you know, yesterday, it took us a while, but this is what we found". And guess what? You don't forget about it. You know what I mean? We go out on the floor, we look at it, we just go through it. But yeah, man, just don't be intimidated. Have an open mind and willing to learn, you know, like I said, more than maybe what you're expecting, because you never know what might come down the road. You know, you might get in a position for five or six years, company shuts down, whatever might happen. They open up a new role, whatever, you know, you might find something better down the road, and whatever you might have picked up while you were doing what you were already doing is gonna benefit you there. Which is that's huge. And I think, I think especially in our industry, a lot of times it gets overshadowed.

210505_Skillwork _TPSW_What is Better, Education or OJT?  - with Sam Overturf_QG1

Michael Peatrowsky  30:46

Alright, Sam, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us today. And definitely with all the skilled workers around the country, and a huge thank you to all of our guests, all of our subscribers and all listeners. Please leave a comment, reach out telling us what you want to talk about. If you're interested in being on the show feel free to comment on any of the videos or any of the podcasts whether it's on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, any of those. We'll launch these every every two weeks. So subscribe and be a part of our the Skillwork team be a part of the skilled worker team, and let's impact the country as we move forward. Thanks, everybody.


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