Today was just really one of those days. It started off with me getting call from my foreman which I thought was at 3am. Turns out it was 5:55am and the job started at 6. I’m rarely late but when I am it always feels like a big screw up. So than upon finally arriving to the naval base my foreman and I had an issue with the directions which led him to get frustrated and his frustration was really starting to irritate me but I felt I had to restrain my annoyance because I was already late. And I’m definitely someone who doesn’t like to bite his tongue. When I finally arrived to the job I could tell it was going to be one of those days, the work we were doing was one of those task that could be real easy if everything went right but unfornuately it was opposite. So after pulling some pipes apart accidentally that were in wet cement, drilling into a direct burial cable, getting lost and coming in late I felt like my apprentice rating was definitely declining. Lately I’ve been bouncing around job to job so I don’t feel I’ve had a chance to really get comfortable on a job and prove myself. I’m hoping this doesn’t land me on a crew doing mindless task that require no thought or skill.
So this past Friday a mechanic whom I had been working for a few months was laid off. It’s been about a year since I’ve actually seen somebody get laid off so I had almost forgot the gut wrenching feeling. It’s a crazy feeling when you work with someone everyday get to know them and a little about their lives, goals, family and than all of a sudden their world get changed. I made me realize I’m very fortunately to be in the apprenticeship at this time because until we graduate we have kind of a bubble of protection. My prayers go out to all of those who are having a hard time finding working. Sometimes I really concerned for my own future. I have no doubts that I’ll make a good mechanic and be a productive worker but I wonder will that be enough in the future to keep me employed. I’m not a guy with a many connections so all I really have is my work to speak for me. But I’m sure just about everyone knows a good worker or two that are unemployed. Well I hope everyone enjoys their holidays, and may the new year bring better fortune.
It’s been a little bit since I posted but I’m extremely happy to say I am done with my motor control project. We handed them in yesterday and every time I got next to the computer that thing was just staring me in the face. Just felt like I was being harassed by relays and floats and solenoids. As far work goes somethings have changed I think my mechanics are starting to see and respect my abilities more. I just been taking the initiative whenever I’m given a task. When I’m told to pull the mc for fixtures I’ll do that plus wire all the 3 ways and junction boxes and just starting completely the whole task rather than focusing on the piece. I try to make sure by the time the foreman comes back to tell me what’s next he gets lost in what’s been done so he either has to talk to me and give me the whole picture or give up and leave the rest to me. It’s a risky strategy because if things don’t work you take all the blame but it’s been paying off and time goes by a lot faster plus I either learn from my mistakes or become more confident. I try to take more risk while I’m an apprentice in the learning process because I have a little more job security right now and if I mess up they’ll just say well your only an apprentice. When I’m a mechanic I think I’ll probably stop just jumping in random equipment that I don’t know how to operate yet and jumping into work I’m not completely comfortable with, but the way I see it if I do all that now when I’m a journeyman I won’t have to.
So I’ve been with my new contractor for almost 2 months now and it definitely is a different experience. This week has kind of been the lows of my experience thus far. Today after driving to about 50 miles to Quanico marine base we worked about 2 hours only to find out rain was going to prevent us from being able to work the rest of the day. So we spent more time traveling to and from work than we actually spent working which was definitely an unexpected pay cut. This is my second experience with rain causing a pay cut which is beginning to make me not to fond of working outside. Not that I mind the actual work but the rain doesn’t stop the bills from coming. Another thing I’ve really had to adjust to is getting used to different peoples work methods. It seems like a lot of older mechanics have the mentality that all “helpers” were created equal and won’t really let you exercise some of your abilities. Now I know there is a lot in this trade I still have to learn but at the same time I feel given the opportunity I am very productive. When a mechanic tries to turn me into just a tool passer my mind begins to go numb and I lose motivation. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind taking a backseat when working with something new I might not be unfamiliar with, or working with someone on the same task together. But when there’s ways I know I can be productive and I’m prevented from doing so because of someone’s preconceived doubt in my abilities I can’t help but to feel a bit salty. I’m hoping things change a little more for the better, but I know you have to take the good with the bad.
I’ve been with my new contractor for about a month now and it’s another completely different experience not only working for a smaller shop but type work I’ve been doing. In my first year with Perl I did a little bit of outside work on rooftops and a little lightning protection but for the past months just about everything I’ve done has been in the ground. Most of the work consist of running pvc, getting boxes in with the masons, setting up pole bases, and finding pipes that have already been buried in the ground which happens to be one of my least favorites. You can say this is new to me but I’ve noticed that it’s all still pretty much the same thing. I’ve dug dirt before I’ve ran plenty of pipe and I’ve set wire and pulled pipe before so the different circumstances of which they are done doesn’t really take much time to adapt to. I kind of expected to feel green again and take a while to get adjusted so I feel much better than I’ve gotten a chance to get my feet wet in this part of the trade. I find myself talking to a lot of guys about their different experiences and not being able to find envious thinking that I might be missing out on some of the good experiences I need to make myself more valuable. I guess in due time it will all come so I try to breath easy but sometimes my nature just won’t let me. All and all I’m enjoying my experiences with the new company and once my raise finally comes which it seems I missed somehow by 40 hours :-\, I’ll definitely be a much more happy camper.
So today was my last day as a Mona employee. I’m kind of excited and about transferring and getting a change of scenery but at the same time I still have my reservations. I’m going from a very large contractor to a much smaller contractor and I’ve been told a lot of different things some good and some bad but come Monday I’ll find out for myself. It’s funny how things work out though, it seems like every time I feel i start to get good and comfortable at a task my new contractor throws me for a spin by doing something completely different. This definitely isn’t a bad thing though my goal as an electricity is to have a pretty solid foundation in every part of our industry. At my first contractor Perlectric it was mostly tenant work with a little with a little bit of base building. At Mona I worked on existing fire alarm systems in completely occupied buildings with a good bit of preventive maintenance and occasional general electric work. Now as of Monday I will be running bus duct and from my understanding basically be setting up from the utility to the building outside in the dirt. Honestly I’ve been kind of anxious to do some deck work just because I’ve heard so many mechanics speak of it in their experiences as if it was some right of passage, so I’m excited to get my hands dirty and acquire one more stepping stone on my path to becoming a knowledgeable worthy mechanic
So for the past few months I been strictly on a wire mold crew installing raceway for the outside hallways of a condos. Now the first few days actually were cool dealing with multilink which we don’t typically install too much of to my knowledge. But after about 30 floors of doing the same thing over and over again with no deviation and the same crew it was a bit tiresome. I am happy to say today we finished the last floor and I will be more than happy to get back to running some pipe and trading in my tinsnips and razors for channel locks and a hacksaw. Don’t get me wrong I am appreciative to have acquired a new talent and been working steadily but what can I say I’m a young eager apprentice who wants to learn it all.