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!

Book 3 and New School Format

Hello everyone,

Recently completed Book 2 and the new school format it in effect. Book 3 Syllabus looks to be very exciting. In the first lesson we learned how to plan out the electrical work for a residential home; and next session we will be learning how estimates are done. Two topics that I am looking forward to are the power quality and structured cabling sessions and labs.

I believe with the new format in which we do more hands on labs. Our skill and knowledge level should increase at a faster rate. Just after the first session of Book three I was able to have a more intelligent conversation with my foreman about, transformers, planning, and how the use of the code book. Hopefully the upcoming sessions will yield similar results.

My Transfer (So Far So Good)

I have been assigned to a new company for almost 4 weeks now, and I have to say that I really enjoy working with this company. I was nervous about the transfer because the first company that I was with, I really enjoyed the people that I worked with; and I did not know how the people were going to be at my new company. But the jobs that I worked was either hurry up and get the job done last week, or hurry up and wait for someone else to finish their work before we can get started.

With the hurry up and finish last week scenario it is harder to hone in skills that you learn and perfect them, because you have to hit the ground running and keep moving without fully understanding what you are doing and why. I don’t have any issues with that due to my military experience, but it is hard to get questions answered when the journeymen that you are helping are constantly under pressure to get something done a week ago.

Besides being under these conditions the journeymen were very knowledgeable and helpful and pretty decent people. So my overall experience with the company was good.

So far my experience with the new company has been slightly better due to the fact that the journeymen don’t seem to be as stressed out as they did with my previous company. All of the journeymen I met so far are also knowledgeable, helpful and decent people. But they seem to be in accord and on the same page as management.

And as far as the work go. We have been working at a steady pace and I am busy all day which gives me the opportunity to hone in on my skills and have the attention of the journeymen when I need guidance.

The only complaint I have so far is the distance I have to travel, 1 hour and a half. But my overall experience has been good so far.

Rough times!!!!

Well its been some time now since my last blog. I had a lot of trouble come my way. A week or so after my last post I got into another accident. This time it was with my motorcycle. A bunch of friends and myself went out for a nice Sunday cruise so I thought I would be okay with my helmet, shorts and a t-shirt. Really bad decision! The peg that you rest your foot on snapped ( no i was doing anything dumb). Went to up-shift and my foot went right to the asphalt. My body slid back in the seat and fingers slipped off of the clutch. next thing I know I’m rolling on the asphalt at about 65mph. Again I’m fine but my body got alot of road rash that’s gonna take a while to fully heal. I swear my luck has been the worst here lately. Missed almost Two weeks of work and a day of school. Lost out on a lot of overtime and just money in general. Its hard to catch up when you miss that much time. I’m still trying now. Since I’ve been back to work the job has slowed down. Were back to the 6-2 shift and now its a lot of different tasks everyday. From pulling cat5 wire to fishing MC down a wall for a added receptacle. Also the transfer happens again in two weeks. This part is always the part that kinda makes you worry. At least i do! You have no idea where your going to work or for what company. It could be a 15 mile drive a day or a 100 mile drive. The best part i look forward to is its gonna be a new experience, new teachers and new tasks. Ill find out where in going the next day I’m in school but i cant write about it until my next post ( which wont take as long as this one did, sorry ). Until then ladies and gents!

Overtime

Sorry its been so long that ive made a blog but life and work has been crazy. I just recently got into a car accident and totaled my car. Im fine and just some bruises. Its hard to hurt superman lol! Work has been a little crazy. Pulling alot of hours, 6 ten hour days and might have to work all weekend this weekend. The overtime couldnt have came at a better time with my accident. Just a little burnt out, but the good thing is if im working I cant spend money. Im starting to see that my responsibilities are becoming alot greater. Alot of work on my own and when I am paired with someone I become a teacher. Which is no problem but it gives me alot more respect for the teachers at our school. To be able to teach a person that they really dont understand is a complicated. On a ending note I would like to welcome our new blogger Kareem Stromann. Welcome brother and i wish you the best through the apprenticeship. Until next time!

Don’t Chase Ghosts; Know Your System

Hi all,

In school I hear repeatedly that in order to be a good electrician you have to know how to troubleshoot; and that consists of:

Knowing the theory on how your system operates and Knowing how to use your test instruments so that you can tell if your system is operating properly.

A couple of weeks ago my foreman and I were working on a fire alarm system. We had to have the system turned off so that we could relocate a box and re-splice the wire.

Before the system was turned off, the system was all green. But after we performed our work and turned the system back on the panel was showing an error message; and since we performed work on the system everyone was pointing the finger at us.

I can remember the words of my foreman “We aint about to be chasing no ghosts”. Because all we did was move a box and re-spliced the wires.

So we got out the multimeter and by knowing that in a fire alarm system the wires loop back to the panel. We tested our splices and then we went to the panel were our wires looped at and tested for continuity and all six loops were ok.

After testing and proving that our wiring was ok; one of the people in charge of the panel called someone and they told him to reseat a card that was in the panel. After he reseated the card the system was green again.

Now if we did not know the theory behind how the fire alarm system operate and did not know how to test for shorts and continuity we may have been there a long time trying to figure out something that did not have anything to do with the wiring.

So don’t chase ghost, know the theory behind the system you’re working on and know how to use your test instruments.

Jumping Around

      I’ve certainly had a change of pace in the last few months. I had been at a site in Gaithersburg, MD when I was moved to Reston, VA for just two weeks. While in Reston I spent my time troubleshooting lighting circuits and laying out and installing light fixtures. From that brief stay, I was then for a short time moved back to a different site in Gaithersburg. Here a group of four of us spent a week doing preventative maintenance work by preparing all the panels, disconnects, crack units, motor control centers and more in the building to be thermal imaged. This allows potential problems areas to be identified before any issues would arise that would cause an unscheduled disruption in power that would threaten the type of work taking place. During that time we were able to identify four or five hotspots that were in need of maintenance. I was able to gain a better appreciation for the work we were doing because at the same time in school we were reviewing power quality issues with this type of work being one of the topics. This gave me a chance to really relate and understand all aspects of what we were doing and why is was necessary.
       From Gaithersburg I was transferred to my current site in Washington, DC. For the past month and a half I’ve been working in an apartment building trouble shooting, installing lights, and finishing out floors. Despite the traffic and the few hours added to my day, it’s been an okay job site. This is the most jobs I’ve ever been to with a single contractor and with it wrapping up in a few weeks it looks like my jumping around isn’t finished yet.