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Old 12-13-2009, 10:51 AM   #1
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Default Returning to the trade

Hello everyone!

After a 5 yr break I have come back to being an electrician, and am quite excited, but a little nervous. This site has already addressed some concerns and is sure to answer more. I do have some pretty specific questions though and am wondering if I should post them individually in established catagories or just let them fly in general discussion. I have never been on a forum before and don't know the etticate.
A little bacground on me:
I came into the trade on the advice of a family friend in my early 20s. He said there was no future in dope smoking and beer drinking but I could always fall back on being an electrician... good advice in retrospect
Most of my experience (9yrs) has been commercial- ground-up, service, and remodel. I was presented with an opportunity to open my own company in the transportation industry and took it. I shut the business down in October and find myself in Texas, "falling back" to electrical.
Not knowing any one, I joined the union (never done this before), thinking that I would be put to work immediately...NOT HAPPENING! 2months of dues, sign up fees,registrations, and applications,almost $600 in total, nothing.
Knowing full well the ramifications of my actions, I have been doing my own electrical work to put food on the table. Ethically this really bothers me but I really don't know what else to do. I am starting to think joining the union was a mistake. I would have just registered as an apprentice while working for a non-union contractor while studying for my Master license but now I am stuck waiting for the union.
Any constructive advise on this situation would be very much welcomed!
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:22 AM   #2
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I came into the trade on the advice of a family friend in my early 20s. He said there was no future in dope smoking and beer drinking but I could always fall back on being an electrician... good advice in retrospect.
all in all... yes it was good advice

Quote:
Not knowing any one, I joined the union (never done this before), thinking that I would be put to work immediately...NOT HAPPENING! 2months of dues, sign up fees,registrations, and applications,almost $600 in total, nothing.
In case you hadn't noticed you picked about the worst time in 20 years to start up in the trade. Most of the problems you are having with the lack of Union work you would have with lack of merit shop work as well.

The difference is hitting the bricks to look for your own spot with one of those open shops.

Quote:
Knowing full well the ramifications of my actions, I have been doing my own electrical work to put food on the table. Ethically...
F! ethics and ramifications.
You do what you legally can to feed your family.
But!... are you doing this work legally? Doesn't sound like it.

Get some legal hours doing whatever you can with a legitimate company.
Doing electric new construction with an EC would be ideal...
but don't limit yourself to that.
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:50 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.
Joining the Union is not the problem. Its joining the Union NOW. Good luck.
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:02 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. Jobs are hard to come by union or non-union good luck.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by spdone View Post
Hello everyone!

After a 5 yr break I have come back to being an electrician, and am quite excited, but a little nervous. This site has already addressed some concerns and is sure to answer more. I do have some pretty specific questions though and am wondering if I should post them individually in established catagories or just let them fly in general discussion. I have never been on a forum before and don't know the etticate.
A little bacground on me:
I came into the trade on the advice of a family friend in my early 20s. He said there was no future in dope smoking and beer drinking but I could always fall back on being an electrician... good advice in retrospect
Most of my experience (9yrs) has been commercial- ground-up, service, and remodel. I was presented with an opportunity to open my own company in the transportation industry and took it. I shut the business down in October and find myself in Texas, "falling back" to electrical.
Not knowing any one, I joined the union (never done this before), thinking that I would be put to work immediately...NOT HAPPENING! 2months of dues, sign up fees,registrations, and applications,almost $600 in total, nothing.
Knowing full well the ramifications of my actions, I have been doing my own electrical work to put food on the table. Ethically this really bothers me but I really don't know what else to do. I am starting to think joining the union was a mistake. I would have just registered as an apprentice while working for a non-union contractor while studying for my Master license but now I am stuck waiting for the union.
Any constructive advise on this situation would be very much welcomed!
Are you a good electrician? Would you hire YOURSELF? You can't wait for ANYONE to bail you out. You can't blame anyone else. If you are a knowlegeable electrician you have to do it yourself. Other than that, you are unskilled labor.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:36 AM   #6
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In Texas you'll need to hold a journeyman license for two years before you can acquire your master. Double check me on that but I'm sure they make you get the journeyman first; it's what I had to do.
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:05 PM   #7
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Exactly my point Riveter. I refuse to sit and wait for work when I AM SKILLED in a trade at Journeyman level (Master, after they let me test). So, to answer your question,Yes I would hire myself. In essence I have done just that, which I am in conflict about, as I stated. Did I somehow give you the impression I was blaming someone?
And Grimlock, I saw that on the website and sent my Journeyman tickets from 2 other states in along with the required paper work. The lady in Austin that I spoke to was very nice and helpful, but could not tell me for sure that I did not have to be a Journeyman in Texas for 2 years to qualify. I guess we will find out for sure soon enough! Do you happen to have any knowledge on that, by chance?

By the way, I find it insulting to alot of tradesmen, and non-trade proffesionals alike, that you should not be considered skilled until you are working for yourself.
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:42 PM   #8
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Check http://www.license.state.tx.us/ a little more and you should be able to find the answer regarding the hours.

Dealing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is a major pain in the a**. I am originally from CA. When I relocated to Texas I held an active CA journeyman license. I passed their exam, submitted their forms including experience verification forms from past employers. It took over seven months to get approved and they lost my paperwork twice in the process. I called once every two weeks to check on the status and always seemed end up with the least qualified individual on the other end of the phone. All the while I was getting raped on my wages by the EC I was working for, had me running a service van for peanuts. Two years later I passed my Master exam and again had to deal with the states licensing system, luckily it only took 2 months that time.

Good luck getting licensed, they don't care what you where awarded from other states, they don't reciprocate.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:18 PM   #9
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The almost identical thing happened to me in Oregon. I finally said F**# it and started the transportation company. I hope that isn't the case here. One thing I do have in my favor is a shop and truck and tools. Interestingly enough, about 5 minutes ago, a gentleman I met in the Home Depot parking lot just called me. He brought to my attention a possibility that I had not thought of. He asked if I had tried sub-contracting myself to another Electrical Service company while I was in limbo. Have you heard of that here? Find my own jobs and help them out when needed is the basic idea I believe.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:49 PM   #10
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You can't sub without a current Master and Electrical Contractor license not to mention all the other requirements the state lays on you. You are best finding a job (any type) and acquiring your journeyman first, do your two years and then get your master. Then start your business (That's what you want in the end right?). I'm still 99% sure they won’t let you get a master without a journeyman for two years.

You'll have to prove you worked for a Master for those two years also.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:03 PM   #11
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Ok, just thought I would ask and thank you for your input. I really appreciate it!
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:56 PM   #12
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Exactly my point Riveter. I refuse to sit and wait for work when I AM SKILLED in a trade at Journeyman level (Master, after they let me test). So, to answer your question,Yes I would hire myself. In essence I have done just that, which I am in conflict about, as I stated. Did I somehow give you the impression I was blaming someone?
And Grimlock, I saw that on the website and sent my Journeyman tickets from 2 other states in along with the required paper work. The lady in Austin that I spoke to was very nice and helpful, but could not tell me for sure that I did not have to be a Journeyman in Texas for 2 years to qualify. I guess we will find out for sure soon enough! Do you happen to have any knowledge on that, by chance?

By the way, I find it insulting to alot of tradesmen, and non-trade proffesionals alike, that you should not be considered skilled until you are working for yourself.
Life is rough...and I am glad that you are fighting FOR yourself. You have a lot to be proud of. Keep trying and things will happen.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:14 AM   #13
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Life is rough...and I am glad that you are fighting FOR yourself. You have a lot to be proud of. Keep trying and things will happen.

I will keep fightng and wear a smile while I am doing it
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:40 PM   #14
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I will keep fightng and wear a smile while I am doing it
That is a great attitude to have.
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