I'm a long-time reader, first-time poster. I recently rekindled my love affair with bikes when I started working as a mechanic at a local community bike charity.
Anyway, I have a question:
I recently started working a new job as a mechanic at two different stores part-time: one is a LBS with two locations, the other a big sports store. While I was pleasantly surprised about the number of vacancies (I got multiple job offers in the first two weeks of searching), I need to have year-round work, not "we'll throw you away like a used kleenex in august" work, which would put me in a worse situation than I'm in right now a few months down the road. It makes sense to me that employers would hire people temporarily when winter's coming, but it also makes sense to me that they'd lie to new people and promise them year-round employment to help acquire somebody.
As such, I'm wondering about my new employers' honesty and thought I'd solicit some advice from people with experience.
The big-box sports store has told me straight-out the job is permanent (part-time), and indicated their commitment by telling me they want to get me trained on skate-sharpening and other winter stuff asap.
The smaller store, however, is much harder to read.
The owner told me the job is year-round and explained this is because of people taking vacations at different times, etc....but I've no reason to trust him, and I've been burned by other employers in the past in exactly this way, albeit I wasn't a bike mechanic on that job.
Meanwhile, another LBS down the street of comparable size offered me a full-time job but clearly told me they'd have to lay me of off in August; numerous other places were clear they were only looking for summer positions. The winters here are brutal enough that bike riding drops off dramatically in the cold. But, this shop does service a lot of racers who ride through the winter. The workload has everybody there overworked and desperate for (my?) relief, but how much will that drop in the off-season?...etc etc....
As you can see I've been tossing this around in my head a lot and realize I don't have enough data to make a good guess, so I thought I'd try to crowd source this wisdom.
How normal is it for shops to hire new people of moderate experience and keep them on over the winter in colder climes? Am I being lied to or am I just worrying too much? Is there a 'pattern' more experienced people than myself can point out to me?
Basically, any useful info or feedback would be appreciated.