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Thread: It's about to get heavy...

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    Exclamation It's about to get heavy...

    Warning: Extreme honesty ahead. No other disclaimers here, I won't name the company. I probably don't need to. Regardless, don't read this if you're sensitive to bickering. We all need to vent, and this happens to be ruptured steam pipe level venting. But I like to think it's a bit more poignant than the traditional "$!#! this #$% job/company!"

    I remember 14-15 hour days working in the dead heat of summer, grinding through the day, coordinating with teammates, supporting each other, working til the last light of day fizzled out and I went home exhausted but somehow fulfilled, knowing that I had done a stellar job, helped my team, my district, my company. Knowing that my teammates were out there with me putting their heart and soul into it.

    I remember pouring rain, being soaked from head to toe, risking electrical shock to access that line, to protect it. It had to be done. I was there to do it. Rain or shine, snow and ice, dark of night, no matter... I remember drying out cameras and phones on the dash, bringing my equipment inside and setting it up by the fan keeping my fingers crossed that it would turn on the next day after being shorted out.

    I remember calling my supervisor at 9pm to say "I'm finished for the day" knowing that I was the last one out. I remember nights of on call like dizzying dreams of flashing beacons and gushing water mains, wondering the next day how on earth nothing got hit. I remember falling into a snowed over water main break, going home and changing to prevent hypothermia and coming immediately back out to finish the job. I remember coming in the next morning on an hour or less of sleep, and busting through tickets like I had slept soundly.

    I remember the emotional support of my teammates who respected my abilities and dedication and were there for me when I needed a hand. I remember marking out projects at 3AM just to avoid traffic. Late nights in sketchy neighborhood. I remember the dead silence of the world at night, the lone car on a busy road.

    I remember the paychecks that felt worth the effort, the occasional bonus, the raises, the promotions to Level 2, Level 3. The recognition!

    But those memories are fading...

    I see now exhausted employees too jaded and disgruntled to care about one another. I see entire teams dissolving, supervisors going AWOL, that much needed support dwindling when the motto is suddenly "Every man for himself." My phone is off the hook with venting, ranting, every few words an explicative. I hear the words "I'm screwed..." or "There's no way..." or "I'm tired of this, I'm going home."

    I hear the pledges by my teammates to get out of here, to find other work, to put their foot down and demand their personal lives back. I hear them say "I'm leaving after 8 hours today" and hear the defeated tone in their voice when they call me 12 hours later, "I'm still out..."

    I've seen bloody knuckles from nights at the punching bag to relieve stress. I know a handful of teammates who have been to a therapist, one who is on meds now and still struggling. I've heard a triumphant "I quit!" run through my imagination, a recurring fantasy, one so many of my teammates share. I'll always call them teammates though now we're a team of burnt out, half-crazy guys. We're all old and grizzled, even the 20-somethings.

    I see late tickets mounting by the dozen daily... I'm getting intimately familiar with the words "mandatory weekend" - in the past, it didn't have to be mandatory. I CHOSE to work the weekends. For my team. Most of us did. I hear contractors growing tired of our tardiness, bad mouthing our company, and us.

    I have had contractors ignore me when I greet them. I am scum. I am a useless locator. I'm a joke. My company is a joke. I feel humiliated when I show up to late tickets. Whether it's my fault or not, I show up alone. It can't be anyone else's fault at that point.

    "Locator" is a bad word. But I value my job... I value my abilities. I struggle to respect myself in an industry where no one, not even the company I work for, can find it in themselves to show me decency of a "Good job." No matter how good you are, you're not good enough. No matter how overworked you are, someone has it worse and you should quit complaining. No matter how valid your opinion is, it's not welcome.

    "You're lucky to have a job." It's true, and you'd feel like a real ass to say you aren't lucky in this economy. But it doesn't change anything. That's their best argument. The attitude is "Quit. See if we care. We'll put some unsuspecting rookie in your place who still thinks this is the best job ever... someone just like you all those years back."

    I am not trying to scare anyone away from locating. But in my (limited) experience I think I can rightfully say that dark times are upon us. I hope things change for the future of the industry. It really was a good job at one point. It's sad to see what has happened.

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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    I should note that I've never been outside of my district and it's quite possible that it's all peachy elsewhere. I should also note that I've sent this up to be deleted as I meant to post it as a blog, not a thread, and suck at using this site. If anyone who might be compelled to reply could hold their thoughts I'd appreciate it... if it turns into a big thread it probably won't be deleted.

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    Another well written letter...........We as in all of us locators, probably feel this way. I sure do. This is a very unappreciated job. Sure your supervisor will pat you on the back, but no one higher up. I will work my 8 hrs and go home. If my ticket volume happens to low I will go home to de-stress.

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    Senior Member locator_smbk's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    Bravo sir... *standing ovation*
    "No, installing your fence is NOT an emergency"...

    - or -

    "It's call BEFORE you dig, not AFTER you've hit something."


    Yes, my avatar does describe my attitude towards many others...

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    Senior Member locatethis's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    Damnn, that reminds me of my CLS days!!!!!!!!!

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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    This post sums up why it's extremely frustrating when someone comes up and says "That looks like an easy job!" or "How do you get that job? Doesn't look like work to me!"

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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    One word says it all " Amen"

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    hope for better days for ya dude!!!!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    I haven't been on the site for 2 or 3 days, maybe longer. Working long hours lately.

    I read the post and feel the author could be one of MANY people on here. I don't see any reason to delete it. I recently wrote a similar post myself. Although, I have to admit, not as eloquently.

    Great post.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    Thanks, in retrospect my desire to have it removed was about as temporary as my desire to post it... so it's all evened out lol. Based on the response it seems I'm not the only one, so I'm glad I posted it.

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    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    Quote Originally Posted by threephase View Post
    Thanks, in retrospect my desire to have it removed was about as temporary as my desire to post it... so it's all evened out lol. Based on the response it seems I'm not the only one, so I'm glad I posted it.
    You are not the only one friend. It's good to get it off your chest every once in a while, and it's good for everyone else here. And it's good for you to feel like you are not the only one who's been down that road.

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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    It sounds like you are sick of the "more for less" attitude. After giving my all to a company(once three letters, now four) for 10 + years, I feel the same way. Anyone remember getting paid time and a half for working on a holiday, $50 we used to get for being on call, performance bonuses, damage free bonuses, not paying $500 a month for insurance, RAISES?

    Does anyone even know what the base is for the numbers that we have to hit to get our "pay for performance" bonus? I know in the last news letter MS said that we are doing good and all of us will be happy if we keep it up. Why, are going to ditch the stupid "pay for performance" bonus and give us a 5% raise on our hourly rate. That would cover a tenth of what my insurance costs now....

    My favorite line from MS is "we are in this together". Come on, are we that stupid. He says that the company needs "more for less" because our customers want "more for less". No kidding, they are greedy too. I know that in this tough economy cuts have to be made, I am good with that, but how are we still buying up all these other companies if we are in such an economic bind?

    How much more are we all going to have to take before someone snaps, it sounds like you are close. I have heard talk of unions in other districts, but I do not think that is the answer. Unions are not what they once were, plus what would stop the company from bring 5 people from each of the other 40 districts to fill in when the locators go on strike? The union is just as greedy as the guys that run this company, it's just another hand in the pot. If something is going to change all 4600 of us need to stand together.

    Sorry for the long post, it is my 1st one so I wanted to make it count. Three phase, just hang in there, keep working with integrity and doing your best to make the contractors happy, they are the ones that you have to work with everyday. I appreciate what you are doing, I know that isn't going to pay anything on your $3000 deductible, but maybe it will keep you going a little longer until a change happens. Hopefully U don't get SIC, I know that I am.

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    sometimes it is just best to get it out dude...hang in there.
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    I heard a term last week that describes a lot of Locators: 'exhaustipated' -- too tired to give a shit.
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


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    Default Re: It's about to get heavy...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pork Steak View Post
    How much more are we all going to have to take before someone snaps, it sounds like you are close. I have heard talk of unions in other districts, but I do not think that is the answer. Unions are not what they once were, plus what would stop the company from bring 5 people from each of the other 40 districts to fill in when the locators go on strike? The union is just as greedy as the guys that run this company, it's just another hand in the pot. If something is going to change all 4600 of us need to stand together.
    I think getting all 4600 at one swoop I think would be to big of a task. they have use to separated to do that. It is like weight lost or any other challenge you start out small and build to it. you can not lose 30 pounds until you lose the first pound. Unions might not be the answer in the long run. poor management brings on unions. i head about some changes in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In Wisconsin they are making the supervisors take one guy out of the field every day. I just do not see the numbers in tickets to make sense. In Minnesota I heard of a union vote. i am not sure if it was just in one group around Minneapolis or the whole sate. There is a union is Minnesota now from what I have heard. In the post here I think there is at least 6 of the 26 states that would probably follow suit. As word spreads I think if there is more than 6 states might be interested.

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