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Old 04-02-2019, 10:27 PM   #1
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Default How does one succeed in the trade?

So, I have made plenty of posts on this forum but am now at the point where I don't think I am capable of achieving succees. I have been in the trade realistically about 3 years but have only about 1 year to 1 year and a half worth of experience. I came from doing residential track houses solely doing trim work. I had the opportunity to do rough work but the Jman I was working with complained I was too slow so I got stuck doing trim outs for about a year. I have now switched on over to the commercial side of things and this is an entirely new concept for me. I have been in commercial for about a year now and didn't do much work for the first 10 months or so. I just don't feel like I'm cut out for this work and don't think I will ever succeed.

The last Jman I worked beside recently kept putting in my head that I have no mechanical ability and subtly hinted that I should do something else.

I really want to succeed in this field to make it my career but from all the negative feedback I have received over the span of 3 years makes me think I will never make it.

Anyone here ever feel the way I feel now about succeeding and making it in this field??? And have any advice in overcoming this?


Sorry for the rambling but this is killing me from the inside. I try and try but there always seems like theres someone telling me to do something else.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:11 PM   #2
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Show up ready for work before start time.

Keep your mouth shut even when your journeyman says stupid $hit. You haven't earned the right to correct him yet.

Pencil, notepad, knife and tape measure on you at a minimum at all times.

Strictly adhere to safety training even if your superiors ignore it.

Study NEC articles relevant to your daily tasks.

A good attitude can handicap your competence and keep you employed longer than a bad attitude and good competence. Not guaranteed, but I've seen it happen often.

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Old 04-02-2019, 11:15 PM   #3
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Are you in an apprenticeship with schooling?
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:23 PM   #4
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Im in the union currently a first year apprentice.

I do keep my mouth shut but people always seem to see weakness in me and they go right for my ability or lack of ability.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:25 PM   #5
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Are you working to make yourself better?

Or are you just showing up, taking $hit and working the same way you work every day?

When I first started I didn't know ANYTHING. Just like everyone else once. But I sure as hell paid attention so my j-men didn't have to repeat themselves when explaining something. I also noticed how they put something together, so when I helped I could anticipate my journeymens next step and have the tools/parts/whatever ready before he asked.

If you're slow, then figure out why. When I used to think I was slow, I'd focus on little things to shave time off. Not running out to the truck every five seconds to grab another widget when I forgot it, etc but instead after I did everything else I could do first and then going out to the truck later. It's usually a bunch of little things that add up to save the most time, not one big thing you're doing wrong that's burning a bunch of time.

Again, are you constantly working on self improvement? Or are you doing the same old $hit and wondering why everyone you work with still calls you slow and incapable?

I'm not trying to be too much of a hardass, it's just anyone that doesn't know anything knows they need to dig in and do what it takes to get to where they want to go. A guy such as yourself that's 3 years in and still trying to figure out what he's doing wrong leads me to think it may be you, and not them.

That's how I read your post anyways....
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:26 PM   #6
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it's a tough call. there really are people who are not suited to some jobs. However, if you have lasted this long it is hard to believe that you do not have any skills. As to how to succeed, you need to absolutely learn 3 things.
1) you have to learn how to learn.
2) you have to know how to listen and follow directions, and read and follow directions (plans)
3) you have to be able to learn skills, and improve on them, eventually to the point where you can teach yourself how to improve on things that you do not do well.

every trade is learned one step at a time. every trade.

If you feel you have talent for this trade, and you feel you have learned some tasks and become good at them (trimming out well is a skill), then you have what it takes to develop enough confidence to learn new skills and improve on them until you are a skilled electrician.

On the other hand, there is no shame in the decision that you would rather do something else. Make it your decision though, and not somebody else's.

When the jman says you aren't cut out for something, find out why, and what exactly he is expecting, then become better at it than he is. Do that on everything, and eventually you will be telling him what to do.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cow View Post
Are you working to make yourself better?

Or are you just showing up, taking $hit and working the same way you work every day?

When I first started I didn't know ANYTHING. Just like everyone else once. But I sure as hell paid attention so my j-men didn't have to repeat themselves when explaining something. I also noticed how they put something together, so when I helped I could anticipate my journeymens next step and have the tools/parts/whatever ready before he asked.

If you're slow, then figure out why. When I used to think I was slow, I'd focus on little things to shave time off. Not running out to the truck every five seconds to grab another widget when I forgot it, etc but instead after I did everything else I could do first and then going out to the truck later. It's usually a bunch of little things that add up to save the most time, not one big thing you're doing wrong that's burning a bunch of time.

Again, are you constantly working on self improvement? Or are you doing the same old $hit and wondering why everyone you work with still calls you slow and incapable?

I'm not trying to be too much of a hardass, it's just anyone that doesn't know anything knows they need to dig in and do what it takes to get to where they want to go. A guy such as yourself that's 3 years in and still trying to figure out what he's doing wrong leads me to think it may be you, and not them.

That's how I read your post anyways....
I show up to work, I am willing to learn and genuinely try to do my best to pick up what it is my Jman tells me. I want be better but it seems like whenever he tells me to do something i end up doing it entirely wrong. I try to pay attention but for some reason it just doesn't click for me and its very frustrating. I don't want to give up. I onstantly try to improve but I just keep ending up with the same redults.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wildleg View Post
it's a tough call. there really are people who are not suited to some jobs. However, if you have lasted this long it is hard to believe that you do not have any skills. As to how to succeed, you need to absolutely learn 3 things.
1) you have to learn how to learn.
2) you have to know how to listen and follow directions, and read and follow directions (plans)
3) you have to be able to learn skills, and improve on them, eventually to the point where you can teach yourself how to improve on things that you do not do well.

every trade is learned one step at a time. every trade.

If you feel you have talent for this trade, and you feel you have learned some tasks and become good at them (trimming out well is a skill), then you have what it takes to develop enough confidence to learn new skills and improve on them until you are a skilled electrician.

On the other hand, there is no shame in the decision that you would rather do something else. Make it your decision though, and not somebody else's.

When the jman says you aren't cut out for something, find out why, and what exactly he is expecting, then become better at it than he is. Do that on everything, and eventually you will be telling him what to do.
I have asked him what i need to do and his answer is that i have no mechanical aptitude and that this isnt for me again in a subtle manner.
I try to become better but I have pratically little experience in roughing so I dont do well putting things together well. Trimming is not all that difficult the hard parts already been done. I judt seem to lack the ability of the rest of the trade and its frustrating and makes me just want to give up all together. I really want this i just dont know if this is for me.

I have 3 years in the trade but most of the time i just watched.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:51 PM   #9
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Everyone here has given you a lot of great advice. If you decide that you want to stick it out and go for it then you should do everything they said.



I have worked with people that have wanted to succeed and were just terrible at it. And I have worked with people that were mediocre but couldn't take critique and didn't want to get better, wanted to show up and collect a check.



If you find yourself in the first category then try this: The 7 P's


Proper planning and practice prevents piss poor performance


Carry a pen or pencil and a note pad with you, after being told what to do write down the task in a short concise way (INCLUDE YOUR ELEVATIONS.) Think about the task at hand and jot down all the tools and materials you are going to need. Consciously thinking about what you have to do will speed you up later.


Example, you are given prints to rough in an office for a TI. Count the number of boxes you are going to need, connectors, screws, ground pigtails, mud rings, impact.



Prefab your boxes on your cart, then go mark all your box heights around the room, mount your boxes. If your prints show your circuit number label the inside of the box. When done, refer to your prints and make sure everything is installed, then go get your next task.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:56 PM   #10
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I knew a 2nd year that spent 4 hours on the same 3 point saddle. I let him struggle because he was a cocky loud mouth. He finally tucked his tail and asked for help.

He's a decent JIW now.

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Old 04-02-2019, 11:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TheLivingBubba View Post
Everyone here has given you a lot of great advice. If you decide that you want to stick it out and go for it then you should do everything they said.



I have worked with people that have wanted to succeed and were just terrible at it. And I have worked with people that were mediocre but couldn't take critique and didn't want to get better, wanted to show up and collect a check.



If you find yourself in the first category then try this: The 7 P's


Proper planning and practice prevents piss poor performance


Carry a pen or pencil and a note pad with you, after being told what to do write down the task in a short concise way (INCLUDE YOUR ELEVATIONS.) Think about the task at hand and jot down all the tools and materials you are going to need. Consciously thinking about what you have to do will speed you up later.


Example, you are given prints to rough in an office for a TI. Count the number of boxes you are going to need, connectors, screws, ground pigtails, mud rings, impact.



Prefab your boxes on your cart, then go mark all your box heights around the room, mount your boxes. If your prints show your circuit number label the inside of the box. When done, refer to your prints and make sure everything is installed, then go get your next task.
The pen, pencil and notepad approach is probably going to get me through this problem that I am having. I have been putting that off for awhile even though its been mentioned to me numerous times. No excuses for that. I do want to get better because i know that one day i will no longer be an apprentice and will be expected to know how to do all the work. I want to be the guy that knows what he is doing at all times.

I have a wife and kid soon to be two kids so I really need to be able to stick this out, and I do want to stick this out.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TGGT View Post
I knew a 2nd year that spent 4 hours on the same 3 point saddle. I let him struggle because he was a cocky loud mouth. He finally tucked his tail and asked for help.

He's a decent JIW now.

Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
Pipe bending has been a real difficult task for me. 90s are not hard but when it comes to figuring out where or what to measure I just lose all track and shut down and my thought process just goes down the drain. Or another is figuring out where to bend the pipe the correct way to sit on a wall or connect to a box.

I don't know if this is normal for others to have this much difficulty with but it sure is for me and its embarrassing.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:21 AM   #13
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You may not be very mechanically skilled but that doesn't mean you can't be a great electrician. It is a big field and there are new specialties opening everyday. My suggestion is read. Read the code book as earlier suggested, the pages relevant to your job duties should be dog eared and tattered. Read the instruction manuals for any equipment that you install and anything else you can find on the job. It may not seem relevant now but knowledge is cumulative.
Go to night school, my local JC has a great 2 year program. Maybe your local school doesn't have electrical, try electronics, drafting, or architecture. If your working commercial study the ADA or OSHA.
If your stuck in a job with a company that you feel has no interest in investing in you then invest in yourself first. Explore related fields such as security, A/V, or Networking. I started out as a subcontracting cable TV installer roping apartment. That's a field where they will hire you off the street if you have a pickup truck, ladder and a drill. I saw that electricians got paid a lot more and pulled skinnier wire so I went to night school and eventually got my contractors license. Many years later I ended up subcontracting for a high end home theater designer that had a who's who of Hollywood clientele. But the moral is that it was the broad base of experience I had that got me the job.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:22 AM   #14
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There’s a lot of good advice here.

If your being told that you are lacking mechanical aptitude by a few people, then there’s probably some truth to it. But it doesn’t have to be your fate. If this is what you see yourself doing for a living, stick to it. They say recognize you have a problem is a big first step in other things. Probably the same can be said here.

Only using your hands is going to make you better. It’s going to be an uphill battle to not get pigeon holed into basic tasks. Just keep at it. The main thing for now is going to be keeping a positive attitude. Like TGGT said having a good attitude can help you get you by until you improve your skills. Having a good attitude and working to improve yourself will also keep the negative apprentice reports from coming in.

I have seen guys that I thought would never make it turn out to be good electricians. One guy had a nickname of UPS when he was an apprentice. It stood for useless piece of sh!t. He’s worked steady his whole career as a foreman once he turned himself around.

The first guy you worked for I wouldn’t put to much stock in. You had no experience and it seems they didn’t want to waste any time getting you up to speed. Such is residential track work. Weren’t they paying piece work or 1099 subcontractor type stuff? Maybe that was someone else? The guy was probably mad he wasn’t heading home by 1:00.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:24 AM   #15
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You may not be very mechanically skilled but that doesn't mean you can't be a great electrician. It is a big field and there are new specialties opening everyday. My suggestion is read. Read the code book as earlier suggested, the pages relevant to your job duties should be dog eared and tattered. Read the instruction manuals for any equipment that you install and anything else you can find on the job. It may not seem relevant now but knowledge is cumulative.
Go to night school, my local JC has a great 2 year program. Maybe your local school doesn't have electrical, try electronics, drafting, or architecture. If your working commercial study the ADA or OSHA.
If your stuck in a job with a company that you feel has no interest in investing in you then invest in yourself first. Explore related fields such as security, A/V, or Networking. I started out as a subcontracting cable TV installer roping apartment. That's a field where they will hire you off the street if you have a pickup truck, ladder and a drill. I saw that electricians got paid a lot more and pulled skinnier wire so I went to night school and eventually got my contractors license. Many years later I ended up subcontracting for a high end home theater designer that had a who's who of Hollywood clientele. But the moral is that it was the broad base of experience I had that got me the job.
I am currently a first year and going to school since I am in the union. Local 340. But I will take the advice.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:24 AM   #16
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There are infinite videos online about bending. Watch them.

And there are some really good threads on this site for bending. Read them.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:26 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Sparky Iv View Post
I want to be the guy that knows what he is doing at all times.

Okay, that is something great to strive for, but it's not going to happen, so be open to that reality. There are guys on this site that with 30 plus years of experience that are still going to have questions or have to look up and figure out how they are going to make a quality product out of a pile of poop.


The note pad and pen trick will help you out, it may seem slow at first, but you will be consciously thinking about your task and will prevent you from having to stop and get something later.



For conduit bending you can do some searches on the forum, but most of the threads are going to recommend this book.



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/08...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Good luck and keep at it.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:30 AM   #18
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There’s a lot of good advice here.

If your being told that you are lacking mechanical aptitude by a few people, then there’s probably some truth to it. But it doesn’t have to be your fate. If this is what you see yourself doing for a living, stick to it. They say recognize you have a problem is a big first step in other things. Probably the same can be said here.

Only using your hands is going to make you better. It’s going to be an uphill battle to not get pigeon holed into basic tasks. Just keep at it. The main thing for now is going to be keeping a positive attitude. Like TGGT said having a good attitude can help you get you by until you improve your skills. Having a good attitude and working to improve yourself will also keep the negative apprentice reports from coming in.

I have seen guys that I thought would never make it turn out to be good electricians. One guy had a nickname of UPS when he was an apprentice. It stood for useless piece of sh!t. He’s worked steady his whole career as a foreman once he turned himself around.

The first guy you worked for I wouldn’t put to much stock in. You had no experience and it seems they didn’t want to waste any time getting you up to speed. Such is residential track work. Weren’t they paying piece work or 1099 subcontractor type stuff? Maybe that was someone else? The guy was probably mad he wasn’t heading home by 1:00.
I come to work with a great attitude and I don't ever complain because complaining gets you nowhere and eventually the guys you work for get fed up and don't want to hear it everyday. I am nothing but positive when I am at work. I just want to learn and be better. I work on cars so I don't understand why this is so hard for me.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:50 AM   #19
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I come to work with a great attitude and I don't ever complain because complaining gets you nowhere and eventually the guys you work for get fed up and don't want to hear it everyday. I am nothing but positive when I am at work. I just want to learn and be better. I work on cars so I don't understand why this is so hard for me.
You work on cars, well there you go. You should have mechanical ability. The one apprentice I had a few years ago really struggled. I don’t think he used his hands at anything. He had a new car. I was thinking to myself when I was his age I had wrecks. I was always under them keeping them running so I could get to work.

I thought he should be a sports writer. His head was filled with useless sport statistics.
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Old 04-03-2019, 01:38 AM   #20
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You posted this just a couple hours ago, look how many people have jumped in to offer advice.

You'd be surprised how strongly people want to help others if they can. Everyone has weak areas, especially when they're learning. The fact that these guys are willing to say anything to you instead of letting you fail without even knowing why says there is a crack in their seemingly critical disposition. The question is, why aren't they likely to be more constructive? Maybe you feeling defeated communicates that you're not worth helping since you seem like you've already given up... you said yourself that you can't hack it, why wouldn't they be inclined to agree in opinion, then?

It sounds like you have the work ethic, so perhaps you just need to communicate that you're determined to do this and will learn whatever you need to... "How would you do it?" Do you have any tips?" They're supposed to be training you, put the ball back in their court, get them to train you, and most importantly demonstrate that you're trying and worth being trained.
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