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Thread: I need a lot of help!

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    Default I need a lot of help!

    I just got my first job after completing college and landed a gig with USIC. The trainer was really rude and would snap at the trainees all the time and cuss at us, then immediately apologize. My supervisor is nice and respectful and a really good guy. I like my entire team and anytime I have a question or stuck on something they're at my location within 15 minutes to help me out (I still cant figure out Sudden Link prints).

    Anyways, after training I thought I had a grasp of everything and my supervisor wanted me to do a week long ride a long with a really good locator. I was thinking it was going to be easy because I knew where all his access points where before he hooked up to them to enforce a positive idea that I knew where to hook up on peds,drops, etc.

    On my first day alone I couldn't sleep! I woke up at 5 and got out the door early and started my first locate. I'm just doing fence/tree tickets my first few months to get used to everything but I completely froze in my tracks. I didn't even know where to start. It was like I never did training or any ride a longs.

    After training I did a 1 week long ride a long with a good locator, once I went on my own I freaked and couldn't remember how to hook up to a ped to get a drop!

    So I am asking... does anyone have any good websites on how to read Texas Sudden Link prints, or anything that would help us be a better locator. Sometimes I don't know when I hook up to a ped, if I'm getting a bleed off from the main cable or if I'm getting the actual drop to the house. Is there any good demonstrations on what to do for all sort of main access points?

    Much appreciated guys!

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    I could go on and on about their new "training" and why their trainers behave this way. It's a terribly flawed system that they came up with when they consolidated the training department (in other words, fired most if not all of the district trainers and replaced them with out of state guys who I suspect may not actually know how to locate.)

    As for your specific issues, hopefully someone here is with USIC in Texas and can help with Sudden Link prints. But I can give some pointers on locating...

    First of all, when you hook up to anything, you really don't know what you're toning. Your job as a locator is to try to figure that out by troubleshooting. Troubleshooting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (seriously, it's worth reading, it's what you now do for a living.)

    On of the most important things I can say is to locate the shallowest utility with the strongest signal first. That means locate drops before cables, and if you have two utilities and one is historically shallower than the other, locate that one first. Then you know where it is and realize when you're bleeding off onto it from other utilities.

    Let's say you access a ped that has 4 drops and two cables (in/out or perhaps it's a terminal strip that connects to an underground splice on a cable running in two directions.) You unbond all of the drops if they are bonded, remove the bond strap from the cable, and connect to a drop. You do a 360 degree sweep and pick up two tones. Perhaps they're both decent, have similar depth and current and you're unsure which is the drop you just hooked to and which is bleedoff. The answer can usually be found by tracing the best of the two tones out. Where does it go? Does it fade away 15 feet from the ped, or scream in low gain all the way to a keptel or wallbox? Dot it out, then check that other tone out. Where does that one go? Down the road towards the next ped? Follow it out as far as you need to to double check. Chances are, when you hook up to the cable you're going to get a killer tone there.

    Never ignore a tone, but don't panic when you have several. Check them all out. Which is strongest? Where do they go? As you hook up to each subsequent line you may realize that tones you were getting earlier were tones you're now getting much stronger. It's totally normal, in fact it's the nature of the beast. Unbonding is crucial but can never fully eliminate bleedoff. Keeping your frequency low will minimize the chance for bleedoff but still may not get rid of it. Just dot any tones you get and investigate them as you continue the locate. Most of the time, you'll sort it all out by troubleshooting. You are, to reiterate, a professional troubleshooter now!

    Of course, in those instances when something just cannot or will not be isolated, you'll want to get a senior tech out there to assist. Watch what he does closely. Ask questions. Follow him/her with your receiver and duplicate their troubleshooting steps. They may show you techniques that aren't sanctioned or are flat out dangerous. They'll usually tell you when they do that, but if not, ask them. They don't want to get in trouble for showing a new guy the "wrong way" to locate. Asking questions is the best thing you can possibly do while knew. It's important to get your hands dirty and figure it out the hard way, but not at the cost of damages. Don't leave a ticket you're not confident in. A supervisor or senior tech SHOULD be auditing your tickets for a while anyway, because no fresh out of class trainee is going to get it perfect. I went a year damage free after class but trust me, it took a village to raise a child in my case!

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    Senior Member Enjoythefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    Out of college, you decide to do this? 16 an hour? f*ck USIC, and f*ck new hires getting paid more than I do.

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    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Enjoythefall View Post
    Out of college, you decide to do this? 16 an hour? f*ck USIC, and f*ck new hires getting paid more than I do.
    I understand your frustration buddy. But it's not the noobs fault that they pay him more than they pay you. I have a feeling this is all going to level out soon, because these policies are in place company wide, and the new locators this season are the most poorly equipped I have seen yet. I don't think they will be able to run this thing they have on fumes much further.

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    16 an hour!!! who the hell starts off with that?

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    Thanks again threephase. I'm a total noob at this but once I'm taught once, I can duplicate it. I think the problem with me is I don't have the basics of locating down due to poor training(we hooked up to a gas main once, and just one ped for the entire 3 weeks of training) and we just went over a bunch of theory basically. Oh, and listened to his "old war stories". So once I take all this in, I believe it will all start clicking and I can start becoming a better locator. I have a ped and stuff in my alley and I've been trying to practice finding the signals this weekend. Trying to get better at it because I would like to go damage free.

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    Agree. 7 years andMakin more than me.

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    Quote Originally Posted by ctown View Post
    Thanks again threephase. I'm a total noob at this but once I'm taught once, I can duplicate it. I think the problem with me is I don't have the basics of locating down due to poor training(we hooked up to a gas main once, and just one ped for the entire 3 weeks of training) and we just went over a bunch of theory basically. Oh, and listened to his "old war stories". So once I take all this in, I believe it will all start clicking and I can start becoming a better locator. I have a ped and stuff in my alley and I've been trying to practice finding the signals this weekend. Trying to get better at it because I would like to go damage free.
    never heard of anyone being damage free, it happens to the best

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Enjoythefall View Post
    Out of college, you decide to do this? 16 an hour? f*ck USIC, and f*ck new hires getting paid more than I do.
    New hires are making more than you because of your attitude.You'll never move up.You'll never make more money because you hate your job. Your a cancer to the group.Go drive a truck. Do ANYTHING else.You'll live longer.People around you will be happier.You'll be happier.I certainly will be happier.

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    Last edited by daman1; April 9th, 2012 at 03:06 PM.

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    Quote Originally Posted by utiliquesternomo View Post
    New hires are making more than you because of your attitude.You'll never move up.You'll never make more money because you hate your job. Your a cancer to the group.Go drive a truck. Do ANYTHING else.You'll live longer.People around you will be happier.You'll be happier.I certainly will be happier.
    I was "promoted" to lead tech within a year of being hired, and received a LARGE wage increase directly due to my work habits. This new hire, who can't hook up to a pedestal after a full training class, is still being paid more than I am (and with 50+hrs I make more than my sup). I'd just like you to know that I love this job. Despite what everyone says about USIC, I like my management. I take on extra responsibilities because I know how to work. Before you start spouting entirely false dribble, maybe you are due a bit of research. Check my post history, buddy.

    If USIC's "Cancer" is the tech who keeps up on production AND quality, while maintaining the supply chain for an entire crew, then I'd hate to see what you think the cream of the crop would be. Maybe a tech who didn't pay enough attention in training to learn how to hook to a ped?


    The "Cancer" here is ignorance and making decisions without the proper information. We can lose seasoned locators because they cost too much, and hire new guys on at 16/hr? It is ridiculous, and if you don't see that than I'm afraid you may be clinically retarded.

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    And I would like to point out that I Understand it is not Ctown's fault. I am not blaming him or any other new hire. It is, however, ludicrous for USIC to be paying non productive locators more than seasoned, productive ones. I also understand that Cost of living, operating expenses, etc, all have to due with these differences in starting wage, but it is a little bit like salt in the 'ol wound to be told "MORE FOR LESS MORE FOR LESS" by the tippy top, only to turn around and figure out that they are throwing 16/hr jobs at new hires.

    I have one guy in my crew that has been here a little shy of a year. He does EVERYTHING by the book. He will not take "Shortcuts", he documents all the proper things and he has not gotten a single damage. He is the kind of guy you enjoy working with, and does his job well. He is very thorough, and because of this he only completes 16-20 2 way tickets per day in a mostly buried area.
    Our Sup is constantly on his ass about production. To the point where disciplinary actions have been enacted. He is being hounded to hell for those extra dollars worth of production.

    SO: On one hand we have a hard working, quality locator going through hell to make ~13 an hour, and on the other we have someone without the first clue of what it is to be a locator bringing home 16.

    It just seems that USIC has a lot of money to throw at new hires; even as they squeeze the lifeblood out of the veterans
    cent by cent.
    Last edited by Enjoythefall; April 9th, 2012 at 07:45 PM.

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Enjoythefall View Post
    And I would like to point out that I Understand it is not Ctown's fault. I am not blaming him or any other new hire. It is, however, ludicrous for USIC to be paying non productive locators more than seasoned, productive ones. I also understand that Cost of living, operating expenses, etc, all have to due with these differences in starting wage, but it is a little bit like salt in the 'ol wound to be told "MORE FOR LESS MORE FOR LESS" by the tippy top, only to turn around and figure out that they are throwing 16/hr jobs at new hires.

    I have one guy in my crew that has been here a little shy of a year. He does EVERYTHING by the book. He will not take "Shortcuts", he documents all the proper things and he has not gotten a single damage. He is the kind of guy you enjoy working with, and does his job well. He is very thorough, and because of this he only completes 16-20 2 way tickets per day in a mostly buried area.
    Our Sup is constantly on his ass about production. To the point where disciplinary actions have been enacted. He is being hounded to hell for those extra dollars worth of production.

    SO: On one hand we have a hard working, quality locator going through hell to make ~13 an hour, and on the other we have someone without the first clue of what it is to be a locator bringing home 16.

    It just seems that USIC has a lot of money to throw at new hires; even as they squeeze the lifeblood out of the veterans
    cent by cent.
    I see this in my area as well..

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    [

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    Default Re: I need a lot of help!

    Quote Originally Posted by utiliquesternomo View Post
    [
    Thoughtful post.

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