Appreciation for NECA / IBEW Apprenticeship program

Dear all my viewers.

I would like to start this blog by thanking the NECA / IBEW Apprenticeship. Speaking on the behalf of my fellow apprentices for giving us a career. Where we have to have or develop self-motivation from within to apply ourselves. Classrooms of people from different background and lifestyles working together as union brothers.

Paying My Dues

Hello! My name is Mary and I am a first year apprentice with Local 26. The last 7 months of my life (which could also be classified as the first 7 months of the rest of my life), have been an awesome ride.

I haven’t been to school in a student capacity in a really long time. This was a little scary, but something that I was really looking forward to. I love learning, and the opportunity to learn new things was very exciting. I have really been impressed with how hard the instructors work to help us succeed. If you have the “want to”, they really try hard to help you get the “can do”. They even do tutoring after hours. The interest that they take in your success when you take responsibility for it is amazing. When I was in college, I felt abandoned and set adrift. Here, I feel like we are in this together. It has been a great experience and even when I don’t understand something, I am confident that I can go to someone who will help me understand. I feel like I am part of something bigger than me.

When I decided to change my career, it was not something that I undertook lightly. I came from a completely different industry in an office environment and had risen to supervisory levels. To start over as an apprentice was a huge change, but one that I understood had to be approached both mentally and emotionally as well as physically. My father had worked in this trade and my husband has been a proud member of Local 26 for many years now. I had a good idea of what a day in the life of an electrical worker entailed, but seeing is a whole lot different from being.

I have often heard people refer to the apprenticeship period as “paying your dues”. When I embarked on this journey that is my apprenticeship, I did so with the idea that no task was to be taken for granted because I am “paying my dues”. But I never appreciated the true reward of “paying your dues” until a few days ago.

I went to the union hall to pay my actual union dues. It was New Year’s Eve, so a lot of folks were there doing the same. As I was leaving, holding my dues receipt in my hand, I met a group of gentlemen who were entering to pay their dues. All greeted me a “sister”, and one in particular held the door for me and indicated that even though he wasn’t working, he was still paying his dues. He was joyful and wished me a happy New Year and a happy Kwanzaa. All were talking and laughing with a comradery and spirit of friendship that I had never experienced before in my entire working life. But the part that truly inspired me, was that they included me in this. In that moment, I understood that “paying your dues” isn’t just something we do, it is something we become.

When we pay our dues, we become part of something bigger than ourselves. We become part of a brotherhood (even if you are a sister) that cares about us. I thought back to all the journeymen and other apprentices who have taken me under their wings and showed me how to do things, explained tasks or procedures to me, and made me feel welcome since I have been here. I have had a job since I was 15 years old (my feminine vanity will not allow me to go into how long ago that was), but in all that time, I have never experienced anything quite like this…..and all because I am willing…and have been given the opportunity….to pay my dues.

Book 4

Hello again,

I am now in book four the Motor book. So far I am enjoying this book because all that we have covered in the other books are starting to come together. All that we have learned so far is being applied now. So now I am starting to see the big picture instead of individual parts.

For example when we design a motor branch circuit we have to:
1 Find the FLC
2. Select the tuning overcurrent protection
3. Size the branch Circuit conductors
4. Size the branch circuit protection

All of which we have learned in books 1-4 except for finding the Full Load Current (FLC).

The New Format

Hello,

This is a follow up to my ‘Book 3 New Format’ blog and my opinion on the new school format. Personally I like the new format, because we focus more on learning skills that we can use out in the field; instead of listening to lectures all day. We also have a chance to go over anything that we did not understand from our reading and homework.

This helps tremendously in clarifying questions that we may have. Because with the old format, we would have homework check but we didn’t have time to ask questions or to clarify anything that we lacked understanding in from the reading and homework.

The hands on labs that we have done so far makes me feel more confident that I when I go out into the field, that I will not be totally lost; and that I will at least know where to go to find information so that I can be prepared.

Winter

Hello to all! I know its been a while since my last post. Things have been crazy busy with work and the holidays but its just now starting to settle down. This post I’m sorry but I’m going to go on a little rant. For the past month or so I have been doing nothing but going behind other people and finishing their projects or completing what they started. Since when was it OK to never finish what you started or pick and choose what work your gonna do? I don’t get it! I would never want someone to come complete my project or someone else fix something i messed up. I’m only a 3rd year apprentice and the guys just have no pride or concern in their work anymore. Its great troubleshooting experience for me and I’m grateful for that. Just all day as they say I’m just going around and putting out “fires”. Enough on that part so school is what is next. Don’t ever let someone say it gets easier once you get to the end. Book 5 is just as tough as 2,3 and 4 its just different material. I know I’m the last class with 3 years of day school and only have a couple months left before i go to nights but I will miss the ability to take on the job questions to my teachers. Every day I’m learning something new and if i don’t then I’m not applying myself. I do love my job and like the endless opportunities it can give me. That’s why I cant take any of it for granted. Well I hope I gave a little insight on my world. Until next time!

Bitter But Sweet Separation

It is sweet that I work for a company that have excellent foreman. I have no complaint with any of the ones I have worked with so far. But one I have been working with for around 4 months. I have learned a lot of cool things from him, in which I feel, will make me a better electrician. One of the greatest qualities that he had, in my opinion, is patience. He would show me new things and let me alone to struggle and practice without breathing down my neck every second, until I became proficient at it. He did not expect me or any to be a master at a skill that they just learned. But he did expect for you to show steady improvement until you became proficient at it.

One of his mottos was to do your assignment to the best of your ability and to perfect your craftsmanship; never leave it if you’re not satisfied with it. No matter how long it takes you. My job now is to perfect my craft and in due time the speed will come; and on top of that it will be done right.

It is easy to slap things in and get it done fast but the main thing is; is it done right and done with skill, and do someone have to come behind you and correct your mistakes.

Well the bitter is that he is no longer going to be my foreman but, it is sweet for him because he will now be working as a project manager. It is sweet to see that he doing new things and expanding upon his career as an electrician.

The good in change

Well its been a little bit since I’ve had the chance to tell you all whats new in my world of my apprenticeship. When i transferred from the Haislip corp. I was nervous about where I would work at next. I was sent to work for Jay Worch electric (JWE) at Calvert County high. The commute is great! I don’t have to deal with rush hour or sitting on that parking lot we call the beltway. My workload is a lot more now that I’m in my 3rd year of the apprenticeship but i also chose to give myself more. I’m working with 2 or more mechanics at a time, keeping track of material, making material list for the jobs that i have to complete or get started on. Also been working with the prints a lot more. The funny thing is that since i took the initiative to learn more about my job site and prints i have multiple people asking me questions for multiple jobs the mechanics are doing. Of course because of my size I’m still doing a lot of the heavy work but that’s fine with me. My Foreman and Sub Foreman are great guys and are very knowledgeable of our trade. They took me under their wings and are teaching me a lot. From control work to fire alarm and everything in between. The best part i think is i love going to work. There is never a dull moment working and were always staying extremely busy. I sleep like a 2 year old when i get home, I even have to take a nap! School is defiantly getting harder as the years go by. There is so much knowledge to retain for class that you find yourself thinking about electricity when your off or out of school. Off subject, I have come to realize that working as Union electrician it also teaches you good lessons in life. Mainly the value of a dollar. With gas prices and the cost of buying lunch daily you will realize that the cheeseburger is not that great when the tank is on E. Then you go somewhere else that you can ride with someone and you see the bank account start growing. The best thing about this trade is the options are limitless only if you apply yourself. That’s why i don’t turn anything down even if i have already encountered it. The more you do it the better you become so the way i see it give me task so i can become one of the best their is! The only thing that will ever hold you back is yourself so if you fail you can only blame yourself. Until next time stay on the safe side!

P.S Will someone comment! I feel like I’m writing myself!