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How i started in the trade.... #1738 05/23/01 03:34 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
sparky Offline OP
we've hammered on our credentials enough.
In working with other electricians the subject of how he/she got into the trade always pops up.
I've met many service electricians, many who started as helpers/gophers, as well as one who actually read the matchbook cover.

All had some influence that applied....


How did you get into this trade??
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Re: How i started in the trade.... #1739 05/23/01 06:13 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 123
doc Offline
well am more in a maintenance field and got to doing electric stuff after glancing at an old code book but my first maint job I really intended to take just long enough for money tom get a place to live,more booze and till something better came along,dang got a place to live gave up the booze and i dont guess anything better has came along

Re: How i started in the trade.... #1740 05/23/01 08:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 93
Matt M Offline
Thinking back, electricity always intrigued me when I was growing up. Always tinkering and doing experiements with dad's stuff [Linked Image] After high school I went through a 2 year technical school course for construction electrician. From there I moved to the big city and enrolled in a local 4 year apprenticeship program.

In the early 80s after I had gotten my journeyman's license, the economy was in terrible shape, work was almost nil. Not one that likes to work on the road, I decided that if I was going to be broke, I might as well be broke back in my hometown in northern Minnesota.

I worked as a journeyman wireman for various contractors for a number of years doing every kind of wiring under the sun from residential, to commercial/industrial, institutional wiring. I was acting foreman on a few various commercial jobs until a maintenance electrician position came up at a local manufacturing plant, I hesitantly applied. I loved construction, but the money, benefits, and the promise of steady income forced me into this maintenance position. I've been in maintenance now for going on 14 years.

Shortly after I started the maintenance position I decided to go for my masters license. I had a contractors license here in Minnesota for about 5 years before I realized that it was just too much to handle both a rotating shift schedule at the plant and being an electrical contractor. With over 40 other electrical contractors in my area to compete with, I decided to drop my contractor's license. Here I am today!


Re: How i started in the trade.... #1741 05/23/01 08:39 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,961
Bill Addiss Offline
Noticed that Electricians came home cleaner at the end of the day compared with Plumbers. And that Electricians could smoke cigars because they wanted to not for self-preservation like plumbers had to (phew!)

[Linked Image]

Re: How i started in the trade.... #1742 05/24/01 12:30 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
sparky66wv Offline
Worked for Mr. Hixson during the summers after high school and during college. Never really took it seriously then, did my work but didn't take any extra effort to learn. Worked for an outfit in Richmond one summer too. After college and several rock bands later, I had a bad business experience with a convenience store and lo and behold, Mr. Hixson was hiring. This time I took it seriously, but several years later, he retired and I was forced to get my Master's and contractors, or find a job. Jobs are very scarce. So a year in Wisconsin for industrial experience, several tests later, and a little over a year after that, and here I am.

[Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 05-24-2001).]

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Re: How i started in the trade.... #1743 05/24/01 06:12 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
sparky Offline OP
My bro was contracting, and using me for the bullwork, at one time. I was a mech tech in high tech at the time, so when i expressed an interest, he told me " 90% of electrical is mechanical". he never did explain the other 10%...
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Re: How i started in the trade.... #1744 05/24/01 08:08 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,283
electure Offline
A neighbor of mine fancied himself as an electrician, and I'd work for him on weekends while I was in high school. When I got a full time helper job doing electric, it took me a long time to unlearn the terrible things I'd learned from him.
My first chore as a helper for a real contractor was to spend almost a month untangling coils of TW wire and putting them back in the cardboard boxes so that the others could tangle them up again.
Here I am 30 yrs. later, still untangling rolls of wire THHN now, so that I can tangle them up again. Went from helper to journeyman to foreman to management and just 2 wks ago, back to service work. The sore muscles from service go away much faster than the headaches of management. I've made life much simpler, work by the hour, and don't work any more 12-14 hr days for salary (8 hrs pay). Never made that big money as a R&R guitarist, haven't hit the lottery, but maybe, just maybe.....someday


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