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Thread: Noobs in the field. God help us.

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Noobs in the field. God help us.

    The local ELM office has hired a bunch of new people and run them through the class and then deposited them out into the field. I don't know what they teach them in class but from what I understand their classroom instruction was 1 week long. Not sure about that so don't "quote" me on it. This office locates Gas, Power, and Telephone.

    I show up on a locate a couple days ago and I see an ELM truck is already there. I hop out and start to hook up to my cable ped. Just then the locator, a new guy, comes from around the side of the house and walks over to me. We exchange the usual hello's, etc. I then ask him what he is doing cause he looks a little confused. He says he is looking for the phone ped. I look around and see a ped across the street (the south side) and nothing on the north side. I then look down and see a turtle/hand hole right in front of us. I pointed to it, "there it is". He looks at it and says he is not allowed to get into those things. (He was probably thinking of a J-box instead) I told him he can get into them and proceeded to pop it open for him and showed him the phone lines in it. I then told him these lines come from the ped across the street, go into this turtle and then go to the side of garage where the phone interface is. He walked off and went around the side of the house. That is when I noticed that the phone line had already been located. Now, more curious I walk over and tell him it is located already. He says he knows that because he was sent out to "fix" the locate. "Fix" the locate? He said someone else did the locate but he was sent out to make sure it was done right or something like that. I then helped him locate the phone line using a spare pair since the sheath for some reason wasn't working.

    Fast forward about 10 minutes. I finished my locate and began to leave but I wanted to make sure he understood what I did to locate the line. (I also had to use my Ridgid Seektech because his Rycom for some reason wasn't working on that locate)

    That is when I asked him how long he had been locating. He said 3 weeks but he had located gas before.

    WHAT? He had only been locating phone for 3 weeks and he is being sent out to fix other locators work. Holy Cow.

    Since then I have run across locates that are incomplete... missing phone, power, and gas lines. Power lines mislocated etc. And those are just the locates I took the time to double check for them. I've called the ELM supervisor on one of them, but I can't be spending my day double checking another companies work. I don't have the time.

    My coworker has also helped out ELM by reporting bad locates to the ELM supervisor but she says she doesn't have the time to keep doing that either.

    This is why we need National/Federal locating licensing requirements. These people are out locating gas and power lines. Peoples lives are in their hands.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Called the elm sup the other day to tell him they missed a 300 pr toll and a fiber ,was told to mind my own business

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    Senior Member UTILQ1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Just what I like to hear...

    My strategy is on target...

    Use the vine to bitch complain and drive all the experience out of the industry....

    This in turn causes turnover and havoc enmasse...

    Then an old vet can walk back in the door to secure 25$ prhr.

    and cha-ching ones way all the way to the bank...

    Thanks for the update !

    Things are progressing just grandly !


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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Quote Originally Posted by orangeboots View Post
    Called the elm sup the other day to tell him they missed a 300 pr toll and a fiber ,was told to mind my own business
    They should be thanking you and offering to buy you a beer. That Sup needs to take his job a bit more seriously.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Senior Member FiosKing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    what do you expect from people who get paid $12 an hour to start... not going to get the best people at those prices. I see it all the time when i walk in my offices and a group of 10 new hires there go out to the field and have no clue what the hell they are doing
    "What Are You Doin!?!? GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!"
    you have entered a restricted area

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    About two years ago I met a new hire out in the field. You can see the lost puppy look on his face. He tried to come accross like he knew what he was doing, but you can see through his facade. In the past two years I've seen him mis-mark 4 mains, and two ducts with fiber. He did not respond or mark 8 tickets that had his utilities running through the area. On three occasions he said they had no utilities up until the point I walked him to his man hole lid/ Ped.

    The great thing now is... He's classed as a seasoned locator now and he has been put into a "higher" profile area (Downtown). He also goes to help the new hires with their locates.

    Its a hard industry to have faith in when their "Seasoned" locators can't locate.

    Before you bash me on that statement alone, it was solely meant as satire........ I think.

    Mke

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    Senior Member FiosKing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Mke, i cant agree with you more... i have the same thing in my area...
    "What Are You Doin!?!? GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!"
    you have entered a restricted area

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    Senior Member locator00566's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    I say just hand them a paint stick and some paint, pay them min. wage and tell them to put paint everywhere. At least this is the direction the contract locate industry is headed

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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    I am noob recent hire and we have 8 weeks of training alternating in the field and in the class room. I am learning a lot but reading all these maps and different layers gets a little over whelming. I start my first week of field training this week and I am eager to learn everything I can before I am finished with training. One thing that amazes me is the amount of tickets to do and the time frame you have to finish them along with setting up an efficient route to get to all them and have your last ticket of the day to be in your local area. Also that drivecam in the vehicle has me nervous lol

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    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    Its a hard industry to have faith in when their "Seasoned" locators can't locate.

    Before you bash me on that statement alone, it was solely meant as satire........ I think.

    Mke
    Who said anyone had faith in the industry? Seriously Mke, great post. We have all seen this routine, and it gets worse/funnier every season. The world's most ginormous locating company is busy training it's new recruits, saw a group of them in the 'burbs of Chi-town Friday walking around like they're auditioning for The Walking Dead! I'm sure they'll be ready to go help the understaffed techs by mid-April, just in time for the tail end of spring rush. Who said anyone had faith in the industry?

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    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Quote Originally Posted by locator00566 View Post
    I say just hand them a paint stick and some paint, pay them min. wage and tell them to put paint everywhere. At least this is the direction the contract locate industry is headed
    It's been headed that way for a long time friend. Sad thing is, eventually our luck will run out. There will be a rash of death/destruction leading to those responsible for these policies, and then we may see some change along the lines of federal regulation. Then the politicians will place their friends and their kids in the newly regulated, higher paying "Federally Certified Locator" positions.

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    Member Jcbro86's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    It's been headed that way for a long time friend. Sad thing is, eventually our luck will run out. There will be a rash of death/destruction leading to those responsible for these policies, and then we may see some change along the lines of federal regulation. Then the politicians will place their friends and their kids in the newly regulated, higher paying "Federally Certified Locator" positions.
    good point about the politicians. i've heard that on average for every call or letter a politician gets on an issue, they consider that there are about 8 constituents represented by that call or letter. if everyone on the vine contacted their politicians regularly and if we convinced the contractors and locators we know that feel the same as we do, maybe we could actually get something done about getting a federal license procedure.
    "You can never trust AT&T to do the intelligent thing..." - SM&P Lead Tech

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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcbro86 View Post
    good point about the politicians. i've heard that on average for every call or letter a politician gets on an issue, they consider that there are about 8 constituents represented by that call or letter. if everyone on the vine contacted their politicians regularly and if we convinced the contractors and locators we know that feel the same as we do, maybe we could actually get something done about getting a federal license procedure.
    Be careful what you wish for when the feds get involved with your industry. I used to work for the "very large" locating company and now work for the railroad which is federally regulated. I am a conductor on a class 1 railroad and we have to be certified/licensed to operate on the rails. With certification there comes the opportunity for de-certification on a number of different infractions the feds have put in place. So when federal standards are put in place, and people don't do their job as the feds have laid out, you can be pulled out of service, pay monetary fines, or both. There are 11 different infractions the FRA has put in place that a train conductor can be decertified for. So my main point is, when mistakes are made with federal regulations in place, there is also the chance of either being decertified or loosing you job altogether, or paying fines before being reinstated.

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    Senior Member Turk182's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman View Post
    Be careful what you wish for when the feds get involved with your industry. I used to work for the "very large" locating company and now work for the railroad which is federally regulated. I am a conductor on a class 1 railroad and we have to be certified/licensed to operate on the rails. With certification there comes the opportunity for de-certification on a number of different infractions the feds have put in place. So when federal standards are put in place, and people don't do their job as the feds have laid out, you can be pulled out of service, pay monetary fines, or both. There are 11 different infractions the FRA has put in place that a train conductor can be decertified for. So my main point is, when mistakes are made with federal regulations in place, there is also the chance of either being decertified or loosing you job altogether, or paying fines before being reinstated.
    Then do your job correctly, problem solved.

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    Default Re: Noobs in the field. God help us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turk182 View Post
    Then do your job correctly, problem solved.
    I did my job correctly when working for the "big locating company" Went 4 plus years with no at fault damages.

    My point was about federal licensing and certification. Do you think if and when the utility locating business gets to the point of being licensed or certified that the feds will care that your signal bled over from the gas line to the water line and a house blows up? It won't matter to them how good of a worker you are, how long you've been damage free, how big your work load is that caused you to mis-mark the gas line that blows up a house? That person or people that it happens to, will be removed from work until an investigation is completed, fines are paid, or the person is removed from service forever. The FAA or FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) do not take kindly to their rules being violated.

    It's always easiest to say "do your job correctly". That is the blanket answer people love to throw out there, but sometimes circumstances out of a person's control happen. We have enough federal involvement in our lives, do you really want more? The statement "the grass is always greener" applies to this situation in my opinion.

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