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#166000 - 07/09/07 08:43 PM What does it take to be a Sparky?  
BigB  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 721
Tucson, AZ USA
Most of us are probably the kind that can fix most anything, know how stuff works, fix our own cars (at least when we were younger), and just grew up doing hands on stuff and figuring stuff out.

There are other types of people out there who grew up a different way, maybe they are good at retail or banking, or the restaraunt business etc. They never cared to know how stuff works, and would just as soon pay to have things done for them. They had no interest in taking stuff apart and figuring stuff out.

My question is, do you think the people who fall into the latter category could become good electricians in mid life? I have been approached by a good many of these types, and asked if I would be willing to train them. I feel that the reason they want this, is that they are sick of what they are doing and they think what I do looks easy and makes a lot of money, not because they have developed a sudden interest in the building trades.

I am doubtful that someone who has grown up with no mechanical inclination can sucessfully learn to be a GOOD electrician, not just a Romex jocky. I find it hard to imagine they would be able to understand the theory, and not be a hazard to themselves and others. What would suddenly drive them to learn stuff they never had an interest in?

I truly believe the vast majority of these people simply do not realize they are not capable of a career such as this. I do not mean to insult anyone, and I would like to hear the opinions of others, especially anyone who has taken on the task of training a person who has had no previous interest in the things we grew up doing.

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#166004 - 07/09/07 09:34 PM Re: What does it take to be a Sparky? [Re: BigB]  
JCooper  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 228
Kendall Park, NJ USA
I think anybody involved in technical fields was once curious child, taking things apart to see how they work. I have worked with guys who have done something technically related all their lives and are fantastic technicians, I have also tried to train guys without a technical background and they just don't seem to grasp simple concepts. I have worked with a few guys who didn't understand relay logic, and they just didn't work out.

Can it be said that great technicians are born and not made? Only made better once the groundwork has been laid?

I know that it a pretty bold statement, but did anybody here stay inside as a child (or lad for our overseas folks), not eat dirt, not break open an old remote control car, or just wonder 'what makes that work'?

#166011 - 07/10/07 01:07 AM Re: What does it take to be a Sparky? [Re: BigB]  
sparkyinak  Offline
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,328
Hello, This is my first posting on this site. I would answer yes, even in mid-life. The trade is so much more the just yanking wire. Mechnical applitude in my eyes is essential. Electricity is about logic. Electrical construction is hands and tools. Electrical repair and troubleshooting is both. The trade is not for someone who is in it just for the money. If you do choose to pursue a career, do not half step. Do your homework to find out what the requirements for your jurisdiction. If possible and if required by your jurisdiction and get enrolled in an apprenticeship program. Get your appretice credentials. If you do not have it, your hours will not count towards your journeyman. Ask questions. Be tactful about it but do not settle for, "because I said to do it that way". Learn to do it right. It sounds like you have been around the block so you know what I mean when I say if you learn to do it the wrong way, you will keep doing the wrong way.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa

#166029 - 07/10/07 07:07 PM Re: What does it take to be a Sparky? [Re: sparkyinak]  
BigB  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 721
Tucson, AZ USA
I appreciate the responses so far, hope we can liven it up with some more!

#166030 - 07/10/07 07:48 PM Re: What does it take to be a Sparky? [Re: BigB]  
HotLine1  Offline

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,883
Brick, NJ USA
Sparkyinak...WELCOME, I'm a 'Jersey Guy'!

As an Instructor at a County Vo-Tech School (Evening Classes) I get to see a lot of entry level guys.

Class #1 is an explanation of the Trade, working conditions, expectations, physical responsibilities, etc. After that, time permitting I show a video on Arc Flashes, and what can happen to someone in the wrong place.

Occasionally, at class #2, a few may be missing.

I've had guys that drive trucks, office guys, tech guys, an Architect, an elevator tech, two lawyers, and a bunch of guys that work for contractors.

Within Class #1, I mention that a 'good living' can be made in this Trade...BUT..for those who are going to seek a takes more than being a 'good 'lectrician' to be a good Electrical Contractor. A few Business related courses are in order!

My 2 cents...


#166032 - 07/10/07 08:35 PM Re: What does it take to be a Sparky? [Re: BigB]  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Some would say "thick skin", others, a tendacy to be a preidonna. wink

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#166036 - 07/10/07 09:22 PM Re: What does it take to be a Sparky? [Re: e57]  
ShockMe77  Offline
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
Rahway, New Jersey
I couldn't even imagine crossing over to the white-collar world. It would be darn near impossible because like everyone there is a financial concern that goes along with a career change. The really good electrician just makes it look easy after years of hands-on training and classroom study. Our work is not something you learn over the course of a few months or a few years, it takes alot of time and a lot of time of putting in your time (crawl spaces, dirty rooms, cold/ warm temps, working all hours of the night, etc).

#166039 - 07/10/07 10:06 PM Re: What does it take to be a Sparky? [Re: ShockMe77]  
sparkyinak  Offline
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,328
Hey ShockMe77, you for got a couple. How 'bout shorting something out by accident to where it needs replaced and knocking the power out to an occupied building blush

As crossing over to the white-collar world. It is as bad as it seems. It has it pluses but I prefer to be in the trenches.

Last edited by sparkyinak; 07/10/07 10:09 PM. Reason: I did it again

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa

#166045 - 07/11/07 05:21 AM Re: What does it take to be a Sparky? [Re: sparkyinak]  
Surfinsparky  Offline
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 73
merritt island fl usa
If someone wanted it bad enough.But at mid-life would they be willing to pay their dues?Who knows?I would give most anybody a chance.

#166518 - 07/23/07 12:45 AM Re: What does it take to be a Sparky? [Re: Surfinsparky]  
ArkySparky2B  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 6
Jonesboro Arkansas
Sparkyinak, it's even better when you let all the majic smoke out into a room full of people, and kill the power in an occupied building. Nothing like a bunch of computer nerds going nuts when their servers lose power...LOL

It's all about herding those electrons.

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