What I Lack In Experience...I can't claim to be very skilled or very knowledgeable, but ever since I was a kid I knew that I was born to be a machinist. More recently, I have had the good fortune to use a 9” swing South Bend lathe at work and also a beautiful autofeeding drill press with a back gear and a monstrous Jacobs chuck. The joy I get from using these machines is so cathartic and soothing. I have done and am happy to do work on these machines all day long. Probably the only thing I enjoy more is stick welding. I really hope to get a job in the future where I can learn to use a mill really well and also more lathe experience. The smell of hot cutting oil makes me smile every time. It is the smell of my contentment.
EDIT (12/25/12): I wrote that almost two years ago. Since then I've started a new job and gained a LOT of hands on experience with machine tools. I am now pretty well versed in manual lathe (chinese Grizzly), Bridgeport mill, and also Haas CNC lathe and mill. I taught myself G-code from the Haas manuals in between changing out part blanks on the lathe and now I can write full programs for the lathe and the mill. I love it. The precision of those CNC machines is really impressive. Also the surface finish we get using indexable carbide tools is just awesome. Machine heaven.