ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals
ECN Shout Chat
Top Posters(30 Days)
Potseal 11
Recent Posts
Permit Snafus...AHJs and Contractors Jump in
by sparky. 04/28/17 08:11 PM
Electrode boilers question
by annemarie1. 04/27/17 01:40 PM
Why cables look like they do
by LongRunner. 04/26/17 09:36 AM
Dimmable LED 2x4 lay in fixtures
by HotLine1. 04/24/17 05:43 PM
Old decora style outlets
by Lostazhell. 04/22/17 07:59 PM
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question
Popular Topics(Views)
234,898 Are you busy
169,704 Re: Forum
162,928 Need opinion
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 60 guests, and 8 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate This Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
#55477 - 08/31/05 06:25 PM How did you start in the Electrical field?  
DSpanoudakis  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 89
Astoria, Queens, N.Y.C.
I just finished my 1-year training at my local University and wanted to know how all of you started in the field.

Every job I look at wants 2-years of experience. How did you guys get into the field, without any experience?


Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#55478 - 08/31/05 06:54 PM Re: How did you start in the Electrical field?  
LK  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
Four years in electrical shop at a Vo-Tech School, then employed by a local electrical contractor, as a 1st year app. then after that, four more years, completed the app. program then worked as journeyman, for another 5 years, then after the 13 years, i took the contractors exam, and then the real learning started.


#55479 - 08/31/05 09:44 PM Re: How did you start in the Electrical field?  
trollog  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 276
San Diego California USA
Open the yellow pages and go to the page lisiting electrical contractors, begin at "A" and start dialing. I would look for small/medium sized shops- you can usually talk directly to the owner who has the power to hire and fire, so you will get less runaround with human-resources jive. If you are enthusiastic with a good attitude/work ethic and reasonably intelligent you should have a job before you get to the letter G. You *will* start at the bottom- no way around that, so get ready to learn, & learn to accomodate the various workstyles of the journeymen who will be your formal- yet unspoken teachers and judges- and get ready to eat some crow, because in the trades, respect is earned, not given, and you are going to have to personally earn every drop of respect anybody ever shows you. I say call small shops because really jobs are a lot like a popularity contest, if the boss personally likes you as an individual, then you are going to have a job because it is perceived you are an asset, whereas in larger organizations with more beaurocratic "HR Dept" style hiring, you are just a number and your paper qualifications will matter more in the beginning.


#55480 - 08/31/05 10:02 PM Re: How did you start in the Electrical field?  
DougW  Offline
Member
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
North Chicago, IL
No offense at all intended toward the union folks, but staring out as the grunt for a knowledgable small shop owner / senior j-man is an awesome way to get an understanding.

There's less exposure to mutiple instructors, so if your foreman's got bad habits, odds are you'll pick 'em up, but is he knows his rear from a hole in the ground you'll get a great "one on one" learning experience.

And, much as I hate to bang the old guy drum, starting out at the bottom lugging supplies and tools out of the van helps you learn what...

Making holes, nailing boxes, and strappng pipes helps you learn where...

Measuring, cutting, threading & bending helps you learn how...

Listening helps you learn why.

Good luck in the field!


#55481 - 08/31/05 10:20 PM Re: How did you start in the Electrical field?  
trollog  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 276
San Diego California USA
I forgot to mention the experience part. Everyone I know in any trade got their job/experience-

1. through a family member/family friend in the trades who hired them as a helper when they were highschool age

2. persistently calling shops until one of them "bit the hook" and hired them, kinda like #1 above

3. as part of a formal apprenticeship program

it is a bit of a fallacy to think anyone gets a job "with no experience".. everyone I know in the trades grew up in a family where their dad worked in the trades, or an uncle or a cousins, and it was something they just had around them all their lives- like speaking french if you grow up in france- it isn't something you really question, it's just there and always has been. I started by sweeping floors and cleaning up for my dad when I was 10, during summer vacation or on weekends. Everyone starts at the bottom and gradually you learn more and more, bit by bit, until you go from doing the grunt work to doing bigger things. If you are having trouble getting a job, or are discouraged by what the experience requirements are for a particular job, maybe it is a sign that you are aiming too high too fast. There is a sort of iron law in the trades that everyone starts at the bottom and claws their way up (nothing gets handed to you- ever), but the beneficial side of this law is that what you know, you know absolutely.

By the way, what sort of 1-year training was this? Local univerisities here don't really cater much to the trades, unless it is the light blue collar trades like autocad or CNC machine operators..


#55482 - 08/31/05 10:59 PM Re: How did you start in the Electrical field?  
sberry27  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 21
Brethren, MI USA
So much work is underground anymore show up with a shovel and gloves,,, the old timers will love you,,,, hahaha


#55483 - 08/31/05 11:28 PM Re: How did you start in the Electrical field?  
DSpanoudakis  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 89
Astoria, Queens, N.Y.C.
I see. Thanks for all the input.


#55484 - 09/01/05 03:10 AM Re: How did you start in the Electrical field?  
e57  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
S.F.,CA USA
Marine SSGT says to me... "You have three choices, 0311(Grunt), Electrician, or Cook, the first one you will be reguardless, the second and third will be decided by some computer somewhere, for you, based on your score on these tests."

Thats how I started...

After I got out, I called all over, and found some guy who used to be in the Navy, who owned a service company, who taught me the ropes.

Truthfully, all employment is based on initial contact, and the relationship starts there. (Honesty really counts, people see right though BS)
Look for companies that need and use a lot of grunt labor. (You'll be doing that type work until you can prove otherwise. And that WILL take time.)

Stop by job-sites. (At lunch) Or, supply houses. It might seem desparate, but the guy on the job will often give up the name of the person (That does the hiring) you need to contact faster than making it through the office. (Where paper is often shuffled into corners.)


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

#55485 - 09/01/05 07:49 PM Re: How did you start in the Electrical field?  
LK  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
"If you are having trouble getting a job, or are discouraged by what the experience requirements are for a particular job, maybe it is a sign that you are aiming too high too fast. There is a sort of iron law in the trades that everyone starts at the bottom and claws their way up (nothing gets handed to you- ever), but the beneficial side of this law is that what you know, you know absolutely."
____________________________________________

Entering the trade any other way, you are only fooling yourself, the grunt work, is an important part of trade training, you can build on a good foundation.
The easy way guys, will always argue this issue, I say, let them fly with holes in the wings.

With all my years in the trade, when a young electrician that worked his way up, has something to say about a project, i listen, because he is usually well grounded as opposed to the fast freddy type, that missed the grunt work years.



[This message has been edited by LK (edited 09-01-2005).]


#55486 - 09/01/05 08:00 PM Re: How did you start in the Electrical field?  
Larry Fine  Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
Richmond, VA
Where did I start? My mom told me that, when I was a kid (phyically, that is), I used to sit in the utility room and look at our fuse box and wonder where the wires went.

By the first grade, I was making crystal radios and playing with electrical learning kits.

I remember assembling low-voltage bulb sockets with shouldered insulating washers and nuts'n'bolts, and stacking copper leaves and rectangular insulation for switches.

I was soon running telephone and remote-control wiring all over the house. My mom said she always checked the toilets twice before sitting down.

I wired our tool-shed for power before I learned about UF and burial depth. I think it was NM at about 6". We moved before I was old enough to change it.

I did my first service change at 16, for an uncle, as well as exterior floods and stuff like that. I also learned (the hard way) that EMT sleeves aren't always grounded.

In high school, I went to the Technical Center (votech) half a day, where I taught as much as I learned (as I explained theory better than the teacher).

Iwent into the USAF, learned some electronics, got out, took a "hiatus" and worked for my father for a few years. After that wore thin (very thin!), I up'n'quit one day.

Then it became time to get a 'real' job. I started at the Z's, and got a job at a small company in the O's. I stayed there, and went to night school, for three years.

(The night school eliminated the fourth year of apprenticeship)

I tested for Journeyman, passed easily, and did mostly side-work here and there. My dad needed me again, which is why I didn't work steadily as a Journeyman.

I did, however, do enough documentable work that I qualified to take the Master's test, and took the (class B) Contractor's test, both of which I passed with mid-90's.

Five years later, I'm still here, grinding away, running a company of 5 (including myself). I still love the work, but I sometimes wish I was an employee again.

"It's good to be the king!" - Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part 1


Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.
fineelectricco.com

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Member Spotlight
waymag
waymag
dallas, texas, USA
Posts: 67
Joined: January 2002
Show All Member Profiles 
Featured:

2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Shout Box
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.016s Queries: 15 (0.003s) Memory: 0.8221 MB (Peak: 0.9980 MB) Zlib enabled. Server Time: 2017-04-29 01:48:08 UTC