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Old 11-06-2019, 11:50 PM   #1
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Default Menial tasks and working alone a lot

Hello everyone!

I'm a third year inside wireman apprentice with a pretty good attitude and work ethic.

I find myself working alone a lot of the time. I mainly do what I consider menial tasks the majority of the time (dropping lights and putting out fires for the foreman)while other less experienced apprentices are working with a JW doing what I would consider less menial tasks that I would like to get my hands on.

When I have worked with a JW we end up dong tasks that I have already learned how to do efficiently and most of them end of telling me that there's nothing they feel like they can teach me in regards to that specific task. On a few occasions I've been tooled up with a JW with whom I really get along with and who wants to take me under their wing but then the foreman splits us up for no apparent reason... I've been to a few shops and this has been a consistent issue for me.

The question that I'm trying to ask is this: how should I view working alone as an apprentice and not getting the opportunity to work on tasks that I would like to learn? I enjoy working by myself and figuring things out but there's only so much that I can figure out alone.

When I ask for feedback I'm told that I am doing great but I feel like I'm being punished for being to good on my own if that makes any sense.

Any and all feedback is welcome.

Thanks!
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:49 AM   #2
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one thing there is no real Menial task . It sounds like your a good worker and thats the deal when you work hard sometimes you get the things that otheres are either slow at or not so enthusiastic about. Be patent learn when ever and how ever you can from the JW that are willing to teach and worth listening to. Remeber this trade will become your life for many years to come and put food on the table and clothes on yout back. As a third year your just starting to lean keep up the good attitude and you will go far.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:17 AM   #3
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If you think about it, most of what we do is a one man show. There isn't really much that requires two, or more bodies to accomplish. When you're pulling wire by yourself, that's when you speak up. You're not supposed to go solo until your 5th year, so you're being complimented. Don't knock it. If you have questions, there's always someone to ask, right?
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:48 AM   #4
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As stated, your by yourself because you are competent. you may even end up with your own apprentice soon. You will never stop learning and maybe you just haven't been given the opportunity to learn the stuff you want to but that will come along. Ask for more responsibility and tackle the stuff you don't know. Sounds like you are doing fine, it will all come together.


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Old 11-07-2019, 12:16 PM   #5
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I might disagree with the other guys. It’s a big trade. Your apprenticeship is when you should be learning many different things. Maybe you need a big change up (commercial to industrial for example).
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:33 PM   #6
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Thanks for all of the feedback!

I'm thankful to be in the position that I am in. I am a half glass full kind of thinker and so I'm confident that I will become the electrician that I want to be.

I'm worried that no one else has my best interest in mind. I don't expect them too but it's frustrating to see 1st term guys running conduit or working on big gear while I'm doing simple tasks that they should be on.

I have witnessed people being pigeon-holed into the same set of tasks for their entire apprenticeship and when they journey out they are afraid to face new challenges. This is my biggest fear. I'm doing everything possible to be prepared but I need the hands on experience.

I'm being patient but it's getting old really quick.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel2Electric View Post
Thanks for all of the feedback!

I'm thankful to be in the position that I am in. I am a half glass full kind of thinker and so I'm confident that I will become the electrician that I want to be.

I'm worried that no one else has my best interest in mind. I don't expect them too but it's frustrating to see 1st term guys running conduit or working on big gear while I'm doing simple tasks that they should be on.

I have witnessed people being pigeon-holed into the same set of tasks for their entire apprenticeship and when they journey out they are afraid to face new challenges. This is my biggest fear. I'm doing everything possible to be prepared but I need the hands on experience.

I'm being patient but it's getting old really quick.
Your employer is screwing you out of a well rounded apprenticeship. If you search this forum hard enough, you will find posts from journeymen with very limited experience stuck in a rut with no way out.
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Last edited by 99cents; 11-07-2019 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:01 PM   #8
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@Diesel2Electric fill out your profile.
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Old 11-07-2019, 10:01 PM   #9
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Title sums me up perfect. 43 yrs worth.
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Old Yesterday, 10:42 AM   #10
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Talk to your foreman Do not say you feel that your present assignment is below you. Tell him you are weak in a few areas and tell him what they are. Be sure that.some of your weak points are types of work being done somewhere on the job site. Ask if you can be assigned to some of those types of tasks to help you with your education.

You should also try sitting next th a JW during break or lunch who you know is working on something interesting and ask him to explain the task and how he is going about it.

This year, you will probably be taking a leadership course. There are many scenarios involving apprentices and I think there may be one that covers a similar situation. But, I may be wrong about this as my memory isn't what it used to be.

Good luck
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Old Yesterday, 01:10 PM   #11
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@Tom45acp

I've spoken with my foreman and relayed to him that I'm in 4th term and we are learning about transformers. Currently on my job we have 8 transformers to wire up. He said there's too big of a time crunch to let me get my hands on one or even standby to assist.

He then said that as an apprentice I'm here to make the company money and not here to learn what I should be learning in school. Today he hasn't even said a word to me and so I feel like I pissed him off.

To top it all off my program director told me that he doesn't care if I'm told to sit and watch the paint fall off of the walls. I'm supposed to shut up and just do what I'm asked.

I get that I'm an indentured apprentice but the cultural norms are counter productive in regards to solving our shortage of skilled labor in the electrical industry.
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Old Yesterday, 02:36 PM   #12
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It’s time to go job shopping. The only one who will take care of you is you. Your foreman is an ass licker.
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Old Yesterday, 05:05 PM   #13
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. I've been to a few shops and this has been a consistent issue for me.

Did it ever occur to you that you might like to talk more than work?
I would make sure someone like that was isolated and working on something that couldn't get then in trouble.
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Old Yesterday, 07:27 PM   #14
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Other than the pleasantries I dont talk a lot. Lol maybe I should start talking about all the things everyone else likes:hunting and drinking.
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Old Yesterday, 08:07 PM   #15
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It is true that you need to look after you and your success. Doesn’t mean you need to be phony or not be yourself, but connections in this and any business are important, from sales counter guys, sales reps to your your boss and coworkers.
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Old Yesterday, 08:35 PM   #16
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Don't forget donut eating and coffee drinking as a topic of conversation.


Your foreman and program director have a piss poor attitude. Your foreman I can understand, but your program director is certainly not doing his job.


As an indentured apprentice, you agreed to go through the program, starting at low wages, among other things . In return, you were to be given an education consisting of classroom instruction and OJT (on the job training). So far, it seems you are living up to your end of the bargain, but the other side isn't.


Many things have changed since I was an apprentice, back with Nick Tesla & Tom Edison, well not quite back that far (1973). Back then,it was not permissible for an apprentice to work alone. Therefore, I got a lot more individual instruction from JWs.


Fast forward- now there is a lot of pressure on contractors involving both time and money. You are now expected to work alone and make do with less time spent with direct JW supervision. That said, your foreman was wrong as your main reason for being on the job is to learn your trade and still make money for the contractor. This can be done, but it is up to the JW and foreman to make sure that you do more than pull wire and sweep the floor.


The attitude that I really find troubling is that of your program director. He is the one with the day to day responsibility to take care of the training of apprentices. You went to him with a valid complaint and he basically blew you off.


Possible next step. Who is the program directors boss? That is the person who you should be talking to. First, though, stop in and see the program director again and tell him again that you don't feel like you are receiving adequate training on the job and convince him you are sincere in this belief. If he persists in not addressing your concerns, tell him you would like to speak to someone higher up. Don't go over his head before you speak to him again.


Another thing your foreman was wrong about was getting hands on experience in class. This can be done to a small degree. If it is done to a large degree, your apprenticeship would have to be 10 or 12 years (presuming you attend class two nights a week). Plus a large investment in training materials would have to be made along with hiring more instructors. Also, there is a difference between doing a task in a classroom or workshop setting and doing it on the job. Transformers are a good example. Before I retired, the last three jobs I was on had transformers that were incorrectly wired. They worked, but did not comply with the NEC. I also heard one JW ask another JW how to hook one up as he had not been able to do so when he was an apprentice.


Ah, well, enough reminiscing. Keep this thread alive as others may have some good ideas. I still have one more idea, but it can be considered the going nuclear option. I'll keep it to myself for now.


Best of luck
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Old Yesterday, 08:54 PM   #17
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Some people get bored easily. I figure that inside wire-man is probably going to be a short lived career in your case.

Your nose is out of joint as you wanted to wire a transformer to get the experience but if they then gave you 50 to wire you would be complaining that its a menial task.

Try to hang in there for the paper work then the sky is your limit.
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Old Yesterday, 09:30 PM   #18
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I see where you are coming from. Yes, I get bored when I'm not challenged but I do have self discipline and can push through the boredom in order to meet the overall goals of the job.

With any task at some point you are ready to do something else but at this point in my career wiring a transformer or doing something that takes skill and know-how isnt something I would get bored with any time soon.

The end goal is to get the license but what's the point of having the license if you dont know how to do the work efficiently?
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Old Yesterday, 09:43 PM   #19
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I'm starting to feel like there is a bigger issue than just me not getting the experience I believe I need in order to become a competent skilled electrician.

I've spoken with other apprentices who feel the same way but they are too afraid to buck the system by asking questions. Maybe I should say something at the next union meeting?
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Old Yesterday, 09:51 PM   #20
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Whereabouts are you? What local? IBEW? Somethin' ain't right...
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