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Thread: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

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    Default Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    This is a bit premature, but what the heck...

    I was lucky enough to land one of two openings in what seems like a good company based on your reviews - And to be honest I got some pretty good vibes from the regional - I was a cable subcontractor and contractor for the past 5 years, market is dead here and dying in others for that area, so I consider myself lucky to land a job in a "related" field.

    Thing is I try to be a jack of all trades thing and it's a craft based skill, how do I improve this? I'm reasonably certain I should be pretty happy with my current employer for a good while but that interests me the most is infrastructure related things - I.E. with the cable company I wanted to learn more about maintenence and head end, but I couldn't do that because I wasn't in-house. if dominion hired me (gas company around here) as a meter reader they tend to turn those meter readers into pipe fitters, likewise the electric company turns them into linesman and substation maintainers.

    So I suppose my question is where down the road can I branch off learn some new things and potentially break into a new area?

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmarko View Post
    This is a bit premature, but what the heck...

    I was lucky enough to land one of two openings in what seems like a good company based on your reviews - And to be honest I got some pretty good vibes from the regional - I was a cable subcontractor and contractor for the past 5 years, market is dead here and dying in others for that area, so I consider myself lucky to land a job in a "related" field.

    Thing is I try to be a jack of all trades thing and it's a craft based skill, how do I improve this? I'm reasonably certain I should be pretty happy with my current employer for a good while but that interests me the most is infrastructure related things - I.E. with the cable company I wanted to learn more about maintenence and head end, but I couldn't do that because I wasn't in-house. if dominion hired me (gas company around here) as a meter reader they tend to turn those meter readers into pipe fitters, likewise the electric company turns them into linesman and substation maintainers.

    So I suppose my question is where down the road can I branch off learn some new things and potentially break into a new area?
    It is hard to say what opportunities will present themselves to you, depends on your area or your willingness and ability to relocate.

    A variety of work experience added to locating experience can lead to a jack of all trades position with a municipality like doing the locating, repair for a city's streetlights, traffic signals, water, etc.

    A background with a variety of experience can also be useful in the SUE field of locating.

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    Hey jmarko - Congratulations on your new employment! Also, welcome to the fraternity of utility locators and membership to the'Vine!

    It's tough right now landing a decent job anywhere in America. Or even a job, PERIOD! I'm glad that it's not me out there looking for a new job today............. Check this out:


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If a person likes working outdoors, working in the utility industry field is about as recession proof as it gets; either as an employee of a utility company or the locating of the utility lines. People will be digging even during a DEEP depression era (pun intended).

    Promotions within the locating companies do occur on rare occasions, but one has to be a good performer in the field and be backed with a decent résumé. Being a momentous suck-ass to the boss works wonders too!

    jmark, to get a good start at your new job of locating, have your area supervisor hook you up with a mentor with 2 to 4 years of experience locating and learn as much as you can from that person. It will dramatically speed up your learning curve.

    Good luck and please post often!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Wingfoot; September 19th, 2010 at 03:41 AM.

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    [QUOTE=Wingfoot;29710][FONT="Arial Black"][SIZE="4"]Hey jmarko - Congratulations on your new employment! Also, welcome to the fraternity of utility locators and membership to the'Vine!

    <SNIP>
    Promotions within the locating companies do occur on rare occasions, but one has to be a good performer in the field and be backed with a decent résumé. Being a momentous suck-ass to the boss works wonders too!

    <SNIP>


    /QUOTE]

    This is the ideal, the reality can be very different. If you are a really good employee then some firms will not promote you. They need you as a worker, they can get a mediocre employee to be a supervisor. The top line employee is hard to replace.

    This works in management as well and it has been noticed that the best manager seldom makes district manager. They need the great manager to fix trouble spot "profit centers", a mediocre manager does just fine as district manager and the position they were taken from is easily filled with a manager of comparable skills.

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    /QUOTE]

    This is the ideal, the reality can be very different. If you are a really good employee then some firms will not promote you. They need you as a worker, they can get a mediocre employee to be a supervisor. The top line employee is hard to replace.

    This works in management as well and it has been noticed that the best manager seldom makes district manager. They need the great manager to fix trouble spot "profit centers", a mediocre manager does just fine as district manager and the position they were taken from is easily filled with a manager of comparable skills.[/QUOTE]

    What you say is very true...

    My new super seems pretty much on the ball and I click with him, in the past as a cable subcontractor I learned one of the reasons I wasn't cross trained with another company was I was one of the dudes holding the numbers up.

    It never happened until my super got promoted to the "other side" and the new boss quickly discovered he couldn't deal with me. Old boss was experienced, new boss was a micro manager... you all know how that goes

    So yeah, I really think one of the reasons I was hired was because I got some wits about me and I'm aggressive, that seems promising.

    At the same time I'm still technically a subcontractor, water and electricity/gas is a bit new, I should work on an electrician degree of some sort down the road... Company that hired me is sister to a infrastructure underground/overhead company that I'd love to potentially break into in the long run.

    Been told I will be cross-trained in leakage detection for off seasons which is a plus, what exactly is SUE?

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmarko View Post
    /QUOTE]

    This is the ideal, the reality can be very different. If you are a really good employee then some firms will not promote you. They need you as a worker, they can get a mediocre employee to be a supervisor. The top line employee is hard to replace.

    This works in management as well and it has been noticed that the best manager seldom makes district manager. They need the great manager to fix trouble spot "profit centers", a mediocre manager does just fine as district manager and the position they were taken from is easily filled with a manager of comparable skills.
    What you say is very true...

    My new super seems pretty much on the ball and I click with him, in the past as a cable subcontractor I learned one of the reasons I wasn't cross trained with another company was I was one of the dudes holding the numbers up.

    It never happened until my super got promoted to the "other side" and the new boss quickly discovered he couldn't deal with me. Old boss was experienced, new boss was a micro manager... you all know how that goes

    So yeah, I really think one of the reasons I was hired was because I got some wits about me and I'm aggressive, that seems promising.

    At the same time I'm still technically a subcontractor, water and electricity/gas is a bit new, I should work on an electrician degree of some sort down the road... Company that hired me is sister to a infrastructure underground/overhead company that I'd love to potentially break into in the long run.

    Been told I will be cross-trained in leakage detection for off seasons which is a plus, what exactly is SUE?[/QUOTE]

    SUE is Subsurface Utility Engineering and these firms map underground utilities. They are an advanced form of locating and much of their work is with different intent. If a builder wants to build on some land they want to know the feasibility of doing this. Does the land have utilities that they would have to pay to relocate? Is there old underground facilites abandoned on the site like storage tanks or buried waste? Using everything from electronic locators, vac dig trucks to ground probing radar is used to survey and a detailed report is generated. These SUE firms can also perform private locates on private plant where avoiding the private utility is an issue for a dig.

    If you do get an electricians license that is very valuable. Usually you will have to be an apprentice, then a journeyman and then take the master's test for that state. The masters license opens many doors as the apprentice or journeyman can only work under the license of a master. To do electrical work, above the handyman level, you must be a licensed master electrician. As the holder of the master's license you can operate your own firm and it can be of any size. The small operator has lower overhead and can underbid many of the larger firms. This opens up a lot of work with small businesses and homeowners. There is also the opportunity to work off the books with a cash payment and no 1099. Even checks can be cashed by the issuing bank or a check cashing business hiding the income. Many electricians do some side jobs that put extra cash in their pockets.

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmarko View Post
    /QUOTE]



    <SNIP>

    At the same time I'm still technically a subcontractor, water and electricity/gas is a bit new, I should work on an electrician degree of some sort down the road... Company that hired me is sister to a infrastructure underground/overhead company that I'd love to potentially break into in the long run.
    Your a subcontractor and not an employee?
    If you are an employee then you get a paycheck with your withholding taken out, if a subcontractor you get the gross amount and a 1099 is issued.

    There are some firms that have popped up that do not "hire" their locators but take them on as subcontractors. This way if the locator makes a mistake the "employer" sues them for the expenses incurred. If this is the case everything you own is on the line as suing the locator is part of the plan for hiring on locators as subcontractors.

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmarko View Post
    This is a bit premature, but what the heck...

    I was lucky enough to land one of two openings in what seems like a good company based on your reviews - And to be honest I got some pretty good vibes from the regional - I was a cable subcontractor and contractor for the past 5 years, market is dead here and dying in others for that area, so I consider myself lucky to land a job in a "related" field.

    Thing is I try to be a jack of all trades thing and it's a craft based skill, how do I improve this? I'm reasonably certain I should be pretty happy with my current employer for a good while but that interests me the most is infrastructure related things - I.E. with the cable company I wanted to learn more about maintenence and head end, but I couldn't do that because I wasn't in-house. if dominion hired me (gas company around here) as a meter reader they tend to turn those meter readers into pipe fitters, likewise the electric company turns them into linesman and substation maintainers.

    So I suppose my question is where down the road can I branch off learn some new things and potentially break into a new area?

    Learn everything you can about all the prints and utilities in your area and region. If you see a tech with the utility company at a job site, stop and talk with them. If you see them repairing lines or doing maintaince, then ask why and how they do it. Also doing your research online, reading about the history of what, why, where, ect., seeing how these things are done, and again more homework will work wonders.

    Also I don't know if this is a path you would take, but I am sure there is a technical college that offers classes on telecommunications, utility industry, ect. I know theres a few in my area you can take classes for; for Telecommunications. They deal in telephone CATV utility area.

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    fiber splicing, pipefitting, these are all things I'm interested in... the electric does a tradesmans route but they've dropped Ohio and started working on PA more lately, so it seems they're filling up here...

    Currently doing Gas in Ohio... I was disappointed to find that out but turns out CLS does most of the locating out here and to be honest, when a guy said it sucked working for them because you had so many responsibilities you forgot a specific utility because you were so loaded up I get that...

    As for the subcontractor thing, that's an old thing from being in the cable industry, and a bit of an abuse on the whole contractor thing, if you don't control the work and you're a sub around here it means you're paying to work and hold liability while they skim off the top. In my mind the gas company is basically hiring us because it's cheaper than the total net costs to hire someone in house, which I get, but ultimately I'm hoping to use my experience to break into in house work and things of that nature, so I suppose my last note was a bit of a misnomer...

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmarko View Post
    fiber splicing, pipefitting, these are all things I'm interested in... the electric does a tradesmans route but they've dropped Ohio and started working on PA more lately, so it seems they're filling up here...

    Currently doing Gas in Ohio... I was disappointed to find that out but turns out CLS does most of the locating out here and to be honest, when a guy said it sucked working for them because you had so many responsibilities you forgot a specific utility because you were so loaded up I get that...

    As for the subcontractor thing, that's an old thing from being in the cable industry, and a bit of an abuse on the whole contractor thing, if you don't control the work and you're a sub around here it means you're paying to work and hold liability while they skim off the top. In my mind the gas company is basically hiring us because it's cheaper than the total net costs to hire someone in house, which I get, but ultimately I'm hoping to use my experience to break into in house work and things of that nature, so I suppose my last note was a bit of a misnomer...
    If liability for marks is on you as an individual then quit asap. Around here the minimum cost of a damage due to miss-mark averages around $1,000. This is gas, not cable. You do not go back and remake the connection on an installation which only costs you time. Make a mistake here and thousands of dollars come out of your pocket. You are new to locating and I find newbies get four or five damages a year.

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    I think what jmarko is saying is that he is working for a Locating Company and the Locating Company is the Subcontractor doing locates for a Utility Company.....Am i right.

    I dont think he is the Sub working for the Locate Company.

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    I am not liable, my company is. I'm a w2 employee at an hourly rate.

    Company works for the gas utility, they hire us out to do locates and damages and all those tickets, probably cheaper for them with us being non-union.

    If I was liable for a bad locate you're exactly right, within the cable industry lately anymore it's turned 1099 around here and the prices aren't really worth it, you're essentially paying to work and taking all the risks while they skim off the top and you don't have a choice in what work you recieve, I wouldn't touch a 1099 version of a locating service where I'm liable at all. As mentioned communications is one thing, gas lines and potentially blowing someone up...

    Yeah I'm not going there...

    2 days on the job I've seen 3 broken gas lines already, pretty scary really...

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    Default Re: Newly hired, Where to go from here?

    Make sure that you document everything to it's fullest. If you have a problem with finding a line, LET SOMEONE KNOW! This helps the the blame off of you, and put's it in the lap of someone higher than you. If your company is giving you the prints only once or twice a year, you could be missing things that someone who was familiar with the area knows has been installed. Don't take shortcuts to sacrifice quality for quantity. This is probably the highest reason for people being terminated in the industry. As to the broken lines... people still aren't aware of the dangers lurking below them when they put a shovel in the ground.

    Patience is the biggest factor for me right now, I was pushed to produce more, and it nearly cost someone their life. Shame on the companies that are production based. They are losing valuable employees that actually care about what they do to turn a profit

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