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Thread: So am I screwed?

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    Default So am I screwed?

    Ok I'm only in my 2nd day in the field after class, my "Mentor" (and I use that term loosely) is a great guy and great worker. But he has to be the worst teacher I have ever seen. He works really fast and isn't slowing down for anyone, I'm seriously jogging to keep up to throw flags for him. Even with a half day of tickets he trucks.

    I didn't get very much field work while in training, as a class we did a few locates. Anytime I ask a question he says "I woulda thought they'd have taught you that in class" Ok they did jackass I just forgot....(not that I'd say that to him) I open a ped for him and take about 10 secs to look at it because it looks very different than the 3 I took apart at class and he takes it from me and does it himself and says: "Did they not have you unbond a ped? My class was half a long as yours and I knew how to do that"

    If I ask something he make me feel like a fool. So I don't ask any questions. I'm not going to be "That guy" and say anything to my sup other than he's great. So is this going to screw me or will I learn most everything by myself anyways? Sadly he is the only dude that works an Hr from me so I can't get anyone else.
    Last edited by TheCableVine; February 4th, 2011 at 05:59 PM.

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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    Sounds like you are letting him intimidate you. You just need to swallow your pride and ask the stupid questions. If he gives you any lip like he has been just put up with it and ask the next question. When it comes down to it, you need to know this stuff.

    It wouldn't hurt to ask him to slow down. Tell him he is moving too fast and you need to understand FULLY before you can go on to the next locate.

    I think he would respect you more if you asserted yourself.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    You will learn some by yourself but you'll learn more in one day with a good mentor than you would in a week by yourself. If you are in a real rural area and there is noone else to ride with all I can say is to pay attention to everything he does(hopefully he isn't cheating his ass off in front of you). Hopefully he'll lighten up and realize what he is doing. Your supervisor should be picking your mentor and it doesn't sound like he knows his guys too well if he picked that mentor for you.

    P.S. Hopefully you're not the newbie that's been riding with me.

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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenboy View Post
    You will learn some by yourself but you'll learn more in one day with a good mentor than you would in a week by yourself. If you are in a real rural area and there is noone else to ride with all I can say is to pay attention to everything he does(hopefully he isn't cheating his ass off in front of you). Hopefully he'll lighten up and realize what he is doing. Your supervisor should be picking your mentor and it doesn't sound like he knows his guys too well if he picked that mentor for you.

    P.S. Hopefully you're not the newbie that's been riding with me.
    Ya he is cheating a bit. Only good adice he gives is: "Don't do it the way I do, you should really do it however the book says to." "Don't ever do it the way I just did." "Go over there while I do this one, don't want you to be ableto say you saw it done this way."

    If I ask a question I get some sorta one word response anyways.

    Is there no way to EDIT? I ment to say "Unbond" Not "Open" a ped in my 1st post.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    Bwahahahhah.... I love the sign off Golden.

    To your mentor's defense, you are probably his 100th rookie and he's became callus on answering questions that he should gladly give the answer to. I was one of those pricks that answered all questions with a question, and I treated the noobs like slaves. I had them do all the driving, routing, hooking up, and spraying paint. And the whole time, I asked questions.

    I know I was probably annoying, but I am one of those guys who learn by doing, and not by watching.

    Mke.

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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    There's no such thing as a stupid question if you're seeking the answer. Ask him lots of questions, and maybe even remind him that he'll actually be leaning on you when dig season rolls around to run your share of tickets. I'd immediately notify the trainer and the area supervisor to either switch "mentors" or have a talk with the guy that's been "mentoring" you so far.
    My boots may be red but I'm no clown.

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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    Bwahahahhah.... I love the sign off Golden.

    To your mentor's defense, you are probably his 100th rookie and he's became callus on answering questions that he should gladly give the answer to. I was one of those pricks that answered all questions with a question, and I treated the noobs like slaves. I had them do all the driving, routing, hooking up, and spraying paint. And the whole time, I asked questions.

    I know I was probably annoying, but I am one of those guys who learn by doing, and not by watching.

    Mke.
    Man I wish thats what he was having me do. I don't do crap. but in 2 days we only pulled prints once lol. But I'm his 1st noob he has had.

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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    Sounds like to me is that either blowing you off because he didnt want to train to begin with, or he is so locked in to 'production mode' that he has actually forgotten he has a noob with him. I know guys like that.
    When I train, production gets put on the back burner and I teach the right way every ticket. Once they start on thier own, then I start teaching stuff they dont learn in class.

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    Senior Member locator_smbk's Avatar
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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    Quote Originally Posted by elvee View Post
    Sounds like to me is that either blowing you off because he didnt want to train to begin with, or he is so locked in to 'production mode' that he has actually forgotten he has a noob with him. I know guys like that.
    When I train, production gets put on the back burner and I teach the right way every ticket. Once they start on thier own, then I start teaching stuff they dont learn in class.
    Most locators with USIC have to be locked into "production mode" to keep their bosses off their backs. The company seems to be more interested in meeting production goals they seem to forget what actually makes their money for them.

    To the OP, don't let a seasoned or veteran locator intimidate you, I'm sure he's not doing it on purpose. The sup is most likely having you ride with this guy to get you ready for busting your butt and not slowing down. It comes with the job, and the ride-a-longs I have had in the past were no worse or no batter than you. The "classes" they have for new guys in my area hardly teaches them anything to get them ready for the real world of locating. Just soak as much info in as you can, even if some of it doesn't make sense, it will kick in later and become second nature before too long, and then you'll wind up being a seasoned locator.
    "No, installing your fence is NOT an emergency"...

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    Senior Member Turk182's Avatar
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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isotopes View Post
    Man I wish thats what he was having me do. I don't do crap. but in 2 days we only pulled prints once lol. But I'm his 1st noob he has had.
    I always pull the prints for every ticket, even the ones I know the prints are dead wrong for, so that I can note that this print number is wrong and why. Not sure why I bother since no one cares, but it might save my ass on a damage someday.

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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    it's his responsability as a tradesman to give you the finest OJT that he can, this should be a source of pride to turn you out as an asset not as a liability
    You Can't Fix It Till You Find It - Jim 3:23

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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    You are not screwed friend, you have a lousy mentor. My guess is he/she is close to burnout or angry that they are doing so much for so little. They may be PO'd about being saddled with a trainee, because that cuts into the productive side, but that is not you fault in any way. I have "mentored" more USIC techs in the past few years than you can shake a stick at, because the company is mostly geared toward billing customers as the prime directive and anything else just gets in the way of that. The sups and vets abandon some, and they are left to sink or swim. Learn what you can in the field, and you will learn a lot from other locators. Get close to municipal and other contract locators whenever possible. Ask them questions. I'm not saying these things to scare you . But I sure as hell refuse to blow smoke up your whazoo about what is really going on this business either. Any and all questions are welcome, PM me if you like. Good Luck!!

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    If the training time is a long enough period it is common for the mentor to start you off with just flagging and looking up prints. this allows you to absorb what is going on and concentrating on the prints, the flagging allows the mentor to keep the work up and allows you to go over the site and marks.


    If the mentor is going to be a smart ass and ask things like "didn't they show you this in class" answer truthfully. "Not really, it was discussed but not gone over much by actually doing it, that is whey they sent me to you". Ignore what you perceive as taunts and ask all the questions you need.

    As for the "don't do this what I am doing" that actually is good training. There are practices that are not advisable, commonly called 'short cuts'. The trainee will hear about them from other active locators and figure that they really are okay to use. They will start using them and get damages because they do not have the experience to recognize when these techniques produce a bad mark. I show these techniques to my trainees and with it I show how the result is miss-marks. This way the trainee learns the techniques but more importantly why not to use them.

    Here's one. Suppose your prints say you utility is buried joint joint trench with the electric and was put in 20 years ago (providing an installation date is one the drawing). A "short cut" often used is to set the receiver on a passive 60 cycle scan and mark their utility where the electric is. The problem here is that if your utility is phone or tv it is very possible that the original cable failed and a new one was put in and this would not be in the same trench as the electric. You new utility may not have had the date of the new installation on the drawing so by marking where the electric is you are now off by several feet.

    Equally the electric could have failed and been replaced by boring in a new section. This would not have been updated on your prints as your utility was not involved so your information is outdated. Mark where the electric is and your marks will be off.

    As an extra note many of the companies that bore in electric here in the Washington DC area have bore crews that do not speak English. The crew leader may speak English but often not very well. They do not give these crews drawing becasue they cannot read them well enough and they have no concept of staying in the easements plus they have no drawings showing were the easements are. I worked with such a crew yesterday and they shot the new electric primary at an angle across a year yard rather than follow the easement along the property lines.

    The company I just used as an example has operations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C so it is not some local fly by night outfit.

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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    Just to add to the echo, no, you aren't screwed. I won't bother repeating the good advice already given, but will just add that you won't find a better community of professionals ready to listen and offer feedback than here on the 'vine. I've been in the biz almost 20 years and find new tidbits digging around in the forum archives almost every time I log in.

    Ask lots of questions, and do what you can to learn as much about how radio frequencies and electricity in general works - current flow, wavelength/frequency, etc. - basic electrical theory will come in handy when you're standing there beside the road on a hot afternoon trying to figure why that mother*#%ing! cable won't tone.

    There's a lot to learn in the doing of this job, and keeping up with all the documentation/liability stuff while learning makes it even more challenging (it was and still is for me sometimes) but hang in there. If you've got the head for it, it'll come.
    "You have enemies? Good! That means you've stood up for something sometime in your life." ~ Winston Churchill

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: So am I screwed?

    Here is some info on how training used to be done, the reasons for it and the advantages lost.

    You started out flagging the site but this was after you had looked up the utility drawings needed for the job and then read the drawings. Being able to quickly find the correct drawing is a critical part of the job. Correctly reading and understanding the drawings is another critical part of the job. These are basic skills that are a foundation for the other things you need to learn. The problem with this part came with laptop computers. Prior to the computers you rode in the passenger seat next to the mentor. As you traveled to the next site you began looking up the drawings. When you got to the site you began interpreting the drawings as the mentor began marking. By the time the mentor had finished marking a routine small job you will be asked what the drawings said and be able to compare your interpretation to the marks the mentor made. While looking at the mentors marks you would be flagging the site and during this time the mentor would be doing the paperwork for that job.

    Now with laptop computers there is no room for the trainee and they travel in a second vehicle. Since they are driving they cannot be looking up and viewing drawings and this valuable training time has been lost. I think many mangers sill consider two weeks with a mentor is equal to what that used to be worth. They cannot see that many hours of training time is lost by traveling in two vehicles. In addition to looking up drawing there was general talk about the job and techniques. The solution are crew cab trucks for mentors which are available in the smaller trucks used in this industry. See the Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado, etc.

    There is a reason to break training into segments, too much of too many different things at the same time do not stick in the brain. So your hands on experience while training is in stages.

    Next you may start doing hookups as the hookup location can vary depending in what you need to do. This along with some locating.



    I like finding a spot like a housing development under construction where there are a couple of tickets close together. After I mark one I have the trainee hook up and follow my marks while I mark the next one. Sometimes I leave a trainee on a site I have marked to attempt to duplicate my marks while I go to the next job, then come back for them.

    Being taught everything at one time seems like a great idea but most people get brain overload and it does not stick. Unfortunately many field training programs do not allow enough time with a mentor to train the person in this way.

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