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Thread: Just got out of training.

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    Default Just got out of training.

    I just completed college and I found a job with USIC. Not even knowing what a Utility locating job was prior to this. I really liked my supervisor and met some of the team before I accepted the job offer. My question is this. I got started out at $16. I believe this is a pretty good start for a fresh 'noob' straight out of college with no experience? I was only getting $12-14 job offers because I have no working experience. Is this a good start or do USIC locators get paid much more?

    I would like to move up in this company and everyone on my team is really good and cool. Every time I have a problem they will complete their ticket they're on and come to my locate within 15 minutes of my problem. My supervisor just has me on fence/tree tickets for the first few months to settle down. After training I did a week long ride a long with a locator with 10+ years and I thought I knew it all while I was with him but once I got on my own I freaked out and didn't even remember how to hook up to a drop in a ped. My supervisor put me back in a ride a long for a few days because he sensed I was stressed out and told me when I'm ready to be on my own, he will put me back out their.

    I've been reading some really horrible stuff on this forum about USIC. Especially about pay/work hours. I asked the guys on the team if they've heard of this website and all have no clue. I then asked if they work long hours or weekends and they said if they want to just put in a 8 hour day and go home, they will but they like over time. Also, they all said we're staffed properly and no one ever has to work a weekend. Last time they had to work a weekend was when a HP gas pipe got hit on a Friday night 5 months ago...

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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    Quote Originally Posted by ctown View Post
    I just completed college and I found a job with USIC. Not even knowing what a Utility locating job was prior to this. I really liked my supervisor and met some of the team before I accepted the job offer. My question is this. I got started out at $16. I believe this is a pretty good start for a fresh 'noob' straight out of college with no experience? I was only getting $12-14 job offers because I have no working experience. Is this a good start or do USIC locators get paid much more?

    I would like to move up in this company and everyone on my team is really good and cool. Every time I have a problem they will complete their ticket they're on and come to my locate within 15 minutes of my problem. My supervisor just has me on fence/tree tickets for the first few months to settle down. After training I did a week long ride a long with a locator with 10+ years and I thought I knew it all while I was with him but once I got on my own I freaked out and didn't even remember how to hook up to a drop in a ped. My supervisor put me back in a ride a long for a few days because he sensed I was stressed out and told me when I'm ready to be on my own, he will put me back out their.

    I've been reading some really horrible stuff on this forum about USIC. Especially about pay/work hours. I asked the guys on the team if they've heard of this website and all have no clue. I then asked if they work long hours or weekends and they said if they want to just put in a 8 hour day and go home, they will but they like over time. Also, they all said we're staffed properly and no one ever has to work a weekend. Last time they had to work a weekend was when a HP gas pipe got hit on a Friday night 5 months ago...
    First of all, $16 is a good starting wage, and I would highly recommend that you do not discuss it with your crew as it's possible you are making more than guys who have been there for years. USIC's starting rate has fluctuated with the recession and other internal company decisions. I was hired in at $12 but others after me came in at $11. Now guys are coming in at $15+ an hour with no experience, such as yourself. It doesn't bother me, but it may bother your crewmates. Don't bring it up with them. I'm sure this goes without saying, but just in case! I have several teammates who had their wages frozen in the big pay freeze a couple years back who should be making several dollars more per hour than they are, per the company's original agreement with them. Pay is a very sore subject among many USIC locators to say the least.

    Second, it's completely normal to freak out once in your own. Take it slow and remember that they want quality, not quantity (at first.) Eventually they'll want both, but don't think about that for now. Take baby steps, do everything by the book, and if you can't remember how, ask. Badgering your manager or crew mates with questions is a lot better than explaining an avoidable damage to them.

    This forum is always going to show the bad side of locating and locate companies. It's inevitable because we all need to vent sometimes. Some of us are righteously angry, some of us just had a bad day. I myself enjoy the job for the most part, but believe me, some days I really don't. It happens. It's not a predictable job. Many unexpected situations will arise that challenge your patience. It's up to you to decide whether or not it's worth it. It sounds like your district/crew might be a bit better balanced than others. Mandatory weekends are normal for us in the summer, for instance. If that's not normal in your area, be thankful about it. Try to look at the bright side for sure. There are many perks to being a locator or I wouldn't be one.

    So long as you feel the pros outweigh the cons, enjoy the job and welcome to USIC. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it treats you well. I have been treated well by the company but understand the issues others have. It's a mixed bag, but that's life.

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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    Thank you for the insight threephase. I have a question. Do you have any good reading material online that I could possibly read that would help me understand locating better? as in what to look for in access points? I've also tried to look up information on my rycom because it will randomly auto adjust to 100 gain and that is very annoying.

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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    Quote Originally Posted by ctown View Post
    Thank you for the insight threephase. I have a question. Do you have any good reading material online that I could possibly read that would help me understand locating better? as in what to look for in access points? I've also tried to look up information on my rycom because it will randomly auto adjust to 100 gain and that is very annoying.
    I used a Rycom for a year, but never had that issue so unfortunately I can't be of help. If your district's office has spares, try to switch out and have that one repaired or at least looked into. That sounds like a very annoying problem indeed. As for locating material, I haven't personally come across any. I would be happy to help with any knowledge I have from my 5 years of experience, as I'm sure others would be. I'm not sure how extensive your training was but from my experience, PULSE is an inferior training program that doesn't prepare locators for real action. I'm assuming you were trained with that system. I have mentored 4 trainees for several weeks a piece so I may have some useful insight. If you want, I can even talk to you on the phone during the day, I'm in CST. I'd be curious to learn about your district's nuances and quirks in terms of utilities and approach to locating.

    Otherwise, just dump some questions here. I'll answer as many as I can.

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    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    ctown,

    Go to this web site and sign up and you can download Locating 101. It is free. You can save it to your computer or print it out. It give you the basics.

    Schonstedt Instrument Company: Locating Handbook

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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    Great resource UULC, downloaded it myself to show my trainee.

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    Senior Member sauroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    DEFINITELY keep quiet about how much you make. You are probably making more than quite a few veterans. Don't expect to run into a ton of issues, most of which you will find out when you start working around high profiles. 10 days riding with a locator is good! Keep rechecking your tickets when you finish the locate, by that I mean read the ticket again to be sure you located EXACTLY what was on the ticket. Good Luck!

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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    Thanks for the input and guide. If I have any questions after tomorrow, I will post about it! Thanks.

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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    Hey..RDs and Rycoms do the same thing when you try to bump up your gain a notch or two...if you are NOT on a solid signal when you bump it, then your machine automatically increases the gain to acheive a percent level about 45...and if it takes a gain of 100 to do that...then it'll fly right on up there.
    RD thinks that 45% is the optimal level.....I think 45% is too wide. I prefer it to be down about 30%.

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    Senior Member UTILQ1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    But !?!?! But !?!?! Could nt you raise your frequency and drop your percentage and get them same result !?!?

    What a pondering thought !?!?



  11. #11
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    Default Re: Just got out of training.

    That's what the managment at the VLLC seems to think they can do. Wink Wink nudge nudge. lol

    What a pondering thought !?!?


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