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Old 12-25-2016, 08:05 PM   #1
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Default Gaining Experience Through Your Career

I am a 3rd year apprentice. Prior to beginning my apprenticeship I went to college for electrical engineering. During the first two years of my apprenticeship I worked on fairly big jobs. The Vikings new stadium, new hospital, new apartment high rise etc. Really, I ended up doing mostly basic tasks: Putting in devices, running PVC, pulling wire with the tugger, wiring lights, roughing in with romex etc. It seems to me (I could be wrong) that sometimes I'm expected to perform tasks that I just haven't had much experience with and I don't really understand how I am expected to know how to do certain tasks lol But does it just come with time? For instance, if I was asked to bend 4 inch pipe and put various kicks and offsets, it probably wouldn't be that great. Or if I needed to ground and bond a separately derived system. I just don't understand how we are supposed to just know how to do this stuff the day we turn out as journeyman lol Am I nuts or do you sense this too?
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Old 12-25-2016, 08:18 PM   #2
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Ask questions and run your thoughts by the person who assigned you the task at hand.
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Old 12-25-2016, 08:22 PM   #3
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Ask questions and run your thoughts by the person who assigned you the task at hand.
Alright, I'll keep doing that.
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Old 12-25-2016, 08:30 PM   #4
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Ask questions and run your thoughts by the person who assigned you the task at hand.
If you are on big jobs running conduit, pulling wire and terminating, your skills are going to be stuck right there unless you can bust out of it and run service work for a while.
Other situations sometimes occur such as being appointed a foreman if you have been with a shop for a while and show some interest. Usually the other journeymen will help out a junior journeyman foreman quite a bit. They can also screw you pretty hard too.
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Old 12-25-2016, 08:48 PM   #5
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If you are on big jobs running conduit, pulling wire and terminating, your skills are going to be stuck right there unless you can bust out of it and run service work for a while.
Other situations sometimes occur such as being appointed a foreman if you have been with a shop for a while and show some interest. Usually the other journeymen will help out a junior journeyman foreman quite a bit. They can also screw you pretty hard too.
I have seen plenty of guys when asked by a boss can you xyz and instead of being truthful they say yes and then fall on their face and end up laid off. When had they asked questions they might have been put on a smaller job and picked up some skills rather than be on the bench.
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Old 12-25-2016, 10:13 PM   #6
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if you dont learn something everyday, youve wasted the day.
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i like neat! just doesnt always happen
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Old 12-25-2016, 10:15 PM   #7
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to elaborate on that, its not meant to mean you learn it ALL. no one does. not even mike holt!
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Old 12-25-2016, 11:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JoeCool612 View Post
I am a 3rd year apprentice. Prior to beginning my apprenticeship I went to college for electrical engineering. During the first two years of my apprenticeship I worked on fairly big jobs. The Vikings new stadium, new hospital, new apartment high rise etc. Really, I ended up doing mostly basic tasks: Putting in devices, running PVC, pulling wire with the tugger, wiring lights, roughing in with romex etc. It seems to me (I could be wrong) that sometimes I'm expected to perform tasks that I just haven't had much experience with and I don't really understand how I am expected to know how to do certain tasks lol But does it just come with time? For instance, if I was asked to bend 4 inch pipe and put various kicks and offsets, it probably wouldn't be that great. Or if I needed to ground and bond a separately derived system. I just don't understand how we are supposed to just know how to do this stuff the day we turn out as journeyman lol Am I nuts or do you sense this too?
You sound like you are in a large union company. You have a huge decision ahead of you. IMO
If it is all about money I would stick with what you have. **** I would have payed to work on Vikings stadium.
If you ever want to own your own business you need to go to a smaller company that does it all. The work sucks and there is no fanfare or bragging rights but in my case it was well worth it.Over all I probably would have made more in the union but I would not have the freedom I do now. Although I have yet to meet a union member or any large commercial type only electrician that has not been laid off in the last 10 years. That 6 months to a year adds up fast.

As a small company I have never ever laid one of my guys off even if they had to do littlle **** around my house. or at the shop.
I guess what I am saying is That i feel like I can send any one of my guys to go put in some recessed fixtures, go repair a bad pump in a golf course or go fix some little old lady;s heater.
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Old 12-26-2016, 05:17 AM   #9
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Agreed. we are a small boutique type shop and get called to do an interesting variety of work. I picked up an apprentice that had only been on big jobs. He said that he has learned more working for us in 4 months than he has in 5 years on large projects.
Here in our neck of the woods it's certianly an advantage to work for a union shop. The pay is usually 50% more than a non-Union shop plus, very good health insurance and pension worth about another $12 or more per hour.
The fear of a layoff is a reality for both non-Union and union electricians here but for me, the advantage of making $30 per hour with $12 in benefits working union vs making $20 per hour with little to no benefits is very well worth the risk of being out of work a little longer if necessary.
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Old 12-26-2016, 07:21 AM   #10
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That's an option i'd have no problem with , but it's almost non existent here Sundude. , one look @ our PW should be revealing enough

Having served a non-U apprenticeship was no cake walk either. Lot's of prodigal sons out there who don't know jack , or sorts that just won't invest any OJT in an apprentice

And apprentices are the first to get laid off, especially where seasonal tourism rules the trades

Gaining 'experience' for many of us was throwing ourselves out there , and being rather forward about it. Starting our own libraries , buying 100' of 1/2" and cracking Jack Benfield's manual , wiring stop/starts on our porch any given Sunday afternoon

Noobs ask me what it takes here, and (sadly) i tell 'em it's all about what THEY are willing to invest of themselves....

~CS~
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:32 AM   #11
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That's an option i'd have no problem with , but it's almost non existent here Sundude. , one look @ our PW should be revealing enough

Having served a non-U apprenticeship was no cake walk either. Lot's of prodigal sons out there who don't know jack , or sorts that just won't invest any OJT in an apprentice

And apprentices are the first to get laid off, especially where seasonal tourism rules the trades

Gaining 'experience' for many of us was throwing ourselves out there , and being rather forward about it. Starting our own libraries , buying 100' of 1/2" and cracking Jack Benfield's manual , wiring stop/starts on our porch any given Sunday afternoon

Noobs ask me what it takes here, and (sadly) i tell 'em it's all about what THEY are willing to invest of themselves....

~CS~
Same thing happens when you are tossed a service truck as a junior journeyman and expected no to have callbacks.
Immersion learning or trial by fire.
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