I am thankful and grateful and proud to announce that as of June 1st 2011 (that’s today), I am no longer an Apprentice Wireman with Local 26 — my dues receipt now says Journeyman Wireman! What an accomplishment. Looking back, I still remember starting out in this program… the apprehension, the proving of wit and skill, the meeting new people, the not-knowing, the anxiety before a test, the grades, the nights at school that seemed endless sometimes, learning of new terms and words that only make sense to other electricians… and more recent memories… the meeting new people and the long conversations with old friends, the “shop talk”, the comparing of notes about this job and that, the extension of skills and knowledge to others just starting out, recognizing that blank look when you say “I need 10 lamps” and finally giving in to say “yes, 10 bulbs”. 😀
Five years is indeed a long time, but MAN! The satisfaction of finishing is like nothing else. When I bump into fellow apprentices who will be walking across that stage with me on Saturday, there’s a little glimmer in our eyes that communicates it all. No need to go on and on, because we all know it deep down inside. We’re proud of what we’ve learned, all that we’ve been through, and we can all say “It’s been a heck of a ride!”
These days at work, I’m still learning: that I must embrace my codebook to size things right the first time; how to balance the energy levels of my crew… motivate when necessary, antagonize for fun, have teaching moments when we can; how not to blow my top when it’s really not necessary; how to keep an eye on falling levels of various material that my guys need; how best to prioritize multiple projects that all have very close deadlines. Now that’s a far cry from learning to identify: 1/4-20×3/4″ bolts, 1/4″ fenders, 3/8″ flats and the fact that “strut” is also another name for “kindorf” or “C-channel”. Yes, we’ve come a long way!
Congratulations to every one of my peers, and here’s a toast to the next chapter!