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Fastest path to the office

676 Views 21 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Veteran Sparky
Ive been in construction related field for more than 15 years but only about 8 years as commercial/industrial wireman as I used to flip small houses. And I am so close to getting my license. However, I want to get into an office position. I took some time off to flip properties, so I dont technically work for a company now. I want to work in an electrical role at a commercial or industrial firm. Problem is that I hear most of us Union guys have to maybe take a paycut or nepotism steers its head. Anyone out there go to the office? Is it easier to start as an estimator, project manager etc???I do have a degree in project management, but just never actually started as an official proejct manager.

I know this doesn't have to be a Union topic but with the high pay and the who you know aspect it can be hard to ignore in the IBEW.

Cheers
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Have you ever worked an office position? The grass is not always greener on the other side. Some people do it well, some do not, some do well but hated it (me).
 

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Moving to the office is a cut in pay, when I was estimating or PM'ing 60 hours a week was pretty standard. When you go on vacation no one will touch your work, or help. So 80% of the time when you get back it is 3-4 16 hour days fixing everything.
Estimating can be pretty crazy. Some places are all manual, using measuring wheels and rulers. Others use computerized systems. I happen to like the McCormick system if you can get the labor rates correct in the data base. Then there is the constant issue of keeping the pricing updated. Usually the estimators responsibility.

I have been in the field and in the office all my career. I like the field.
Put together a ONE page resume hitting the high points as you see an office job.
I never read more than one page when I was dealing with resumes.
A large firm will probably have a computer that will scan your paper looking for key words, I HATE those.
Send them out and see what happens.

Hope you find what your looking for.
 

· Hackenschmidt
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Ive been in construction related field for more than 15 years but only about 8 years as commercial/industrial wireman as I used to flip small houses. And I am so close to getting my license. However, I want to get into an office position. I took some time off to flip properties, so I dont technically work for a company now. I want to work in an electrical role at a commercial or industrial firm. Problem is that I hear most of us Union guys have to maybe take a paycut or nepotism steers its head. Anyone out there go to the office? Is it easier to start as an estimator, project manager etc???I do have a degree in project management, but just never actually started as an official proejct manager.
Here the title "project manager" is all over the place, you have gopher level qualification kids with that title making about what they're worth (not much), and a lot of people working long hours with lots of stress and conflict for less pay than some trades. The title "senior estimator / project manager" can make a very good buck, mostly salaried, but you have to be capable of taking jobs from RFP to final payment and make money in the process. The good ones are valuable, and hard to replace, and they know it, and their employers know it, so the pay follows.

The union scale isn't that high around here, not too many shops paying over scale, and union shops spending some time laid off, so it's very possible for a senior estimator / project manager to make more than they would on the tools. In other areas, I think it's harder to beat the union package if there's year round work, especially once you figure for the value of the benefits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here the title "project manager" is all over the place, you have gopher level qualification kids with that title making about what they're worth (not much), and a lot of people working long hours with lots of stress and conflict for less pay than some trades. The title "senior estimator / project manager" can make a very good buck, mostly salaried, but you have to be capable of taking jobs from RFP to final payment and make money in the process. The good ones are valuable, and hard to replace, and they know it, and their employers know it, so the pay follows.

The union scale isn't that high around here, not too many shops paying over scale, and union shops spending some time laid off, so it's very possible for a senior estimator / project manager to make more than they would on the tools. In other areas, I think it's harder to beat the union package if there's year round work, especially once you figure for the value of the benefits.
Yeah I'm just thinking since I'm getting in My later 30s that maybe it's either now or never kind of situation for me... I'd be willing to take a pay cut it's just can't be substantial until I get my feet wet I'm not sure how an assistant project manager would work out? Because it might be little pay but I feel like there might be an opportunity out there it's just not going to be as easy as someone just getting out of college willing to be paid very low to start off
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Get that first!
I was wondering about that I didn't really see anything on some of these job titles about getting that license but... I never see people looking for someone that holds a license. But if you say that's a key indicator then yeah I'm looking forward to that in the next 5 months
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Have you ever worked an office position? The grass is not always greener on the other side. Some people do it well, some do not, some do well but hated it (me).
I've done fundraising where I have to shake hands and wear collared shirts if you get my drift... Yeah you could be right it could be not for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Moving to the office is a cut in pay, when I was estimating or PM'ing 60 hours a week was pretty standard. When you go on vacation no one will touch your work, or help. So 80% of the time when you get back it is 3-4 16 hour days fixing everything.
Estimating can be pretty crazy. Some places are all manual, using measuring wheels and rulers. Others use computerized systems. I happen to like the McCormick system if you can get the labor rates correct in the data base. Then there is the constant issue of keeping the pricing updated. Usually the estimators responsibility.

I have been in the field and in the office all my career. I like the field.
Put together a ONE page resume hitting the high points as you see an office job.
I never read more than one page when I was dealing with resumes.
A large firm will probably have a computer that will scan your paper looking for key words, I HATE those.
Send them out and see what happens.

Hope you find what your looking for.
Yeah thanks for the heads up... The interesting side is that my father-in-law was a very big senior estimator and preconstruction manager... So obviously he can nudge me on the way but that doesn't necessarily "go" on a resume unless it's a reference. And he's also general contractor side. Alberici, Clayco etc
 

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GW, I would think an EC would NOT want an office person with a license because that person couild so easily go off on their own with the current EC's best customers.

It may be that you really want to be self employed but don't know it yet. :)

If you could land the office job, the experience you gain will help if you ever go on your own.

Tough choices, good luck.
 
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· Hackenschmidt
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GW, I would think an EC would NOT want an office person with a license because that person couild so easily go off on their own with the current EC's best customers.
You don't have to put it on your resume. The EC's that are going to pay you a six figure salary as a project manager / estimator aren't worried about every shlub with a license competing with them. To go out and compete with them, you need a license AND a heap of capital. The heap of capital is the real barrier to entry.

On the other hand, it will NEVER be easier to finish your license requirements than it is right now, finish it.
 

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Have you ever worked an office position? The grass is not always greener on the other side. Some people do it well, some do not, some do well but hated it (me).
You and me both!!!!

Probably the worst 6 months of my life. Just wanted to get back on the tools. However….i learned a ton about estimating and all that business stuff that guys in the field never get to see. All the behind the scenes stuff.
 

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That just tells me you are smarter than I. I went 5 years!!
But you were in management right? Did you have an idea of what you were in for?

I was hired as a salesman/estimator, and then quickly found out that PM just comes along with the territory. Along with that, it seemed like lots of people in had to cover down for other office jobs if someone got fired or was out sick.

lol. They had me doing new hire interviews my 2nd week at the company. With no idea what the pay scale was.
 

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I worked as the electrical qualifier and did the work for a pump and tank company. After 9 years in the field wiring, I was offered a transfer and the job of installation manager (they now call it construction manager). That included estimating (remember I had never installed a tank or poured a canopy footing), project management, invoicing and invoice approval for payment.

Anyway, I was thrown to the wolves so to say. A lot of things happened in those years.

I was pretty good at it, but the job was killing me. My boss told me a couple of times to take some time off, but if I did I felt things would fall apart, so ... I fell apart and quit.
 
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It appears from your avatar that marrying the bosses daughter is not the path......... It woulda worked................
 

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I worked as the electrical qualifier and did the work for a pump and tank company. After 9 years in the field wiring, I was offered a transfer and the job of installation manager (they now call it construction manager). That included estimating (remember I had never installed a tank or poured a canopy footing), project management, invoicing and invoice approval for payment.

Anyway, I was thrown to the wolves so to say. A lot of things happened in those years.

I was pretty good at it, but the job was killing me. My boss told me a couple of times to take some time off, but if I did I felt things would fall apart, so ... I fell apart and quit.
That sucks.

Office work really does seem to be more about handling lots of mental stress each day rather than doing physical labor. I guess each person has to choose for themselves what they prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
GW, I would think an EC would NOT want an office person with a license because that person couild so easily go off on their own with the current EC's best customers.

It may be that you really want to be self employed but don't know it yet. :)

If you could land the office job, the experience you gain will help if you ever go on your own.

Tough choices, good luck.
Your right about both options... I've talked to some people and did some research today.. they said it might be easier to start off as a project engineer for a huge company and then quickly get into project management. Some said it it's hard to just go straight into project management. But I can't tell the difference between an assistant project manager and a project engineer.
 

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Your right about both options... I've talked to some people and did some research today.. they said it might be easier to start off as a project engineer for a huge company and then quickly get into project management. Some said it it's hard to just go straight into project management. But I can't tell the difference between an assistant project manager and a project engineer.
People put names and titles on jobs like it actually means something, but I wouldnt spend too much time caring about that. Its the same - managing people, managing projects, estimating projects, selling jobs and similar things.

To answer your original question - a service manager is typically an entry level job in the office.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
People put names and titles on jobs like it actually means something, but I wouldnt spend too much time caring about that. Its the same - managing people, managing projects, estimating projects, selling jobs and similar things.

To answer your original question - a service manager is typically an entry level job in the office.
Im starting to notice that...
 
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