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#7612 - 02/11/02 08:13 PM Questions from an apprentice
CTwireman Offline

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 839
Loc: Connecticut, USA
What should I do when "the boss" or a journeyman insists that I install something in a non-code compliant manner?

I have gotten into many arguments over this and the usual response is "Thats the way I learned" or "We've always done it that way."

Should I just go ahead and do it or refuse?
After all, they are the ones putting their license in jeopardy.

Some examples would be putting 3 12/2 RX cables in an 18 cu. box, grounding a metal box with a sheetrock screw, and installing the bond screw in a sub panel.

Anyway, I study the Code alot so its frustrating when you're told to do something you know is wrong.

[This message has been edited by CTwireman (edited 02-11-2002).]

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#7613 - 02/12/02 02:35 AM Re: Questions from an apprentice
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
A few years of my apprenticeship was under just such a 'boss', the 'proverbial son' & J-man of a grandfathered electrician.
What did I do? I was frustrated quite a bit, but also driven to the Code book more than usual.
insert seat belt ad
You can learn a lot from a dummy

#7614 - 02/12/02 05:16 AM Re: Questions from an apprentice
Electricmanscott Offline

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
I would look for a new job. These are the kind of people who give us all a bad name. Find someone who cares about doing the work properly and you will learn far more than you ever will with these guys. I worked with a guy who had a very low opinion of his helpers ("better seen than heard") I was connecting some motors for chillers in a highrise apartment building. The connections he told me to make were wrong. I showed him the diagram right on the motor and he would not listen. "just do it the way I said" Ok, well guess who was back there replacing the motors.

#7615 - 02/12/02 01:23 PM Re: Questions from an apprentice
Tom Offline

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
Looking for a new job may not be possible, unless things are really booming in your area.

Sparky is right, you can learn a lot from these guys as long as you keep hitting the code book.

As we all know, you can always tell an electrician, you just can't tell him much.

As an apprentice, you have very little, if any, responsibility & for sure, no power. You could start keeping a written diary of all the code violations that you are forced to install . Info should include what the violation is, where it is located, who told you to put it in and the date. When someone asks what you're doing, just tell them you're covering your a** in case this ever ends up in court.

Good luck. If you ever find a good solution to this problem, let uis know.


[This message has been edited by Tom (edited 02-12-2002).]
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

#7616 - 02/12/02 01:25 PM Re: Questions from an apprentice
Elzappr Offline

Registered: 12/20/01
Posts: 273
Loc: Oregon
As an apprentice, you can't be held responsible for any code violation if you were told to do it that way. Keep a journal, so when the day comes when you have to support your contention that you were told to do it that way, then you can back it up. Make the journal believable, with non-looseleaf pages, and be sure to mention whenever you balked at the mis-direction. There might come a time when you can nail this guy without sounding like a whistle blower, perhaps in an after work chat with the owner and in the context of learning progress. Having your little "Code Study" journal in your hip pocket might serve you well. Maybe, if your journeyman just knows that you are taking notes, he might be a little more careful about what he tells you to do. Just find a way to let him see you jotting down some "practical application of code issues" in your notebook..he'll ask what you are up to, and you will tell him that you need to write things down so that when you have to do it all on your own, you can refer to your notes in case you forgot how you used to do it. He'll get the message, and he won't think you are just documenting a "rat sheet" on him.

#7617 - 02/12/02 05:38 PM Re: Questions from an apprentice
electure Offline


Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
It'll help a lot if you can suggest a Code compliant way to handle the situation.
If you can do this without costing the Boss money, then chances are you're going to look better & better to Boss as time goes on.
(I wouldn't quit my day-job just yet)
Their bad example might be more educational than a good example, as long as nobody gets hurt!!

#7618 - 02/13/02 09:31 AM Re: Questions from an apprentice
CTwireman Offline

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 839
Loc: Connecticut, USA
Thanks for all the advice. I especially like the idea about the journal. Youre absolutely right, everything in this trade is a learning experience, even when youre learning what not to do!

As far as work goes, there seems to be plenty of it in New England, since there is a labor shortage around here. (due to people moving away, giving up the trade, etc). There are usually about 5-15 ads for electricians in the paper every week (in southern New England anyway, I dont know about Mass).

[This message has been edited by CTwireman (edited 02-13-2002).]


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