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Thread: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

  1. #1
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    Default USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    After reading many threads about USIC, I tried to remain optimistic. I really wanted to go my locating career with no damages, but I'm starting to feel a bit discouraged. I made it through the training, but still feel like there is a lot that I don't know. Since the beginning i've felt like they set you up for failure. It's almost as if you have to have experience in order to be successful. In training, us trainees were literally training eachother. The trainer would have us follow him to a subdivision and tell us he would be back. When the trainer did make it back, he would tell us that he's going to answer questions back at the office in the training room, but by the time we arrive it was time to clock out and go home, and he would "answer all questions first thing tomorrow." Whenever we would ask questions in training, we would either have our intelligence insulted or we would be told that it would all make sense in the field.

    Yesterday was my first day out in the field by myself, and it was stressful. Hopefully I'm just overthinking things, and no damages turn up. Whenever we would ask questions in training, we would either have our intelligence insulted or we would be told that it would all make sense in the field.


    • What am I suppose to do in heavy construction areas where there is too much debris to properly paint and flag? Do i just paint, flag, take pictures and don't worry about whether or not the flags and paint is altered once I've completed the job?

      In these heavy construction areas, there are pipes coming from the side of the house (i'm guessing it is going to be for gas) that I'm locating. I would hook up to the tracer wire at another property (literally 6' from property i had to locate) and the receiver (rd8000) would get signal 2' past the access point, but not all the way to the pipe that's coming out of the house that i had to locate (the houses are right next to each other). If I followed the pipe at the lot that I'm locating, it would lead to the side walk.
      So my question is, when houses are being built, will there be any service lines on the property, or will there only be mains?


    • How do i know they are just grading and clearing at these heavy construction areas? Will it be when there is a lot of debris (bricks, sand, wood, etc) in the yard? I think the tickets say "the entire yard will be dug up."


    • When connected to my access point (pedestal, phone/cablebox on side of house) i can never find the direction of the cable going back into the access point i am connected to because of the receiver picking up the transmitter. Am i suppose to guess the direction that the wires go back into the access point or just connect elsewhere and go back to find the direction of the wires (this would take forever though) THIS IS DRIVING ME MAD!!!


    • Does any1 have a list of the alpha codes (i think they're for gas only)?


    • Buried copper wire is high profile when it's 600+ pair and fiber is high profile when it is 24+ pair? Is this correct? Is this the only time a ticket is considered high profile?

    These are my only questions at the moment. The maps (prints) are really confusing also but i need to work with them a little longer before i know what questions to ask.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Oh yeah, I'm in the Atlanta area.

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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    1. I really wanted to go my locating career with no damages

    It's going to happen but how it happened is what defines of what type of locator you are.

    2. I made it through the training, but still feel like there is a lot that I don't know.

    It took me a good year before I was comfortable enough to know what I was doing.

    3. In training, us trainees were literally training eachother.

    Question? They did not have you go out on ridealongs with a Vet for a week or so?

    4. What am I suppose to do in heavy construction areas where there is too much debris to properly paint and flag? Do i just paint, flag, take pictures and don't worry about whether or not the flags and paint is altered once I've completed the job?

    I work in Maryland and it is "Supposed" to be the contractor's responsibility to upkeep the marks and flags in between tickets. Even so, documentation on your part is most important.

    5. So my question is, when houses are being built, will there be any service lines on the property, or will there only be mains?

    Could be both or none but never assume. There could be bypass cables/lines on the the property you are marking on. Prints can help but may not accurate. Actual verification is the only way to know for sure.

    6. How do i know they are just grading and clearing at these heavy construction areas?

    You wont, but in time with a good rep and relationship with contractors this becomes easier. Not all contractors are Bad

    7. When connected to my access point (pedestal, phone/cablebox on side of house)...

    Always try to make a triangle with your transmitter and leads at the access point. Make sure to unbond all utilities. Start about 12' to 15' from the access point and do a 360 sweep slowly, dotting out everything you pick up, making note of depth and signal strength. Usually the strongest signal is the one you need to be marking. This judgement gets better and quicker with time and practice.

    8. Buried copper wire is high profile when it's 600+ pair and fiber is high profile when it is 24+ pair? Is this correct?

    From what I remember when marking phone, yes.


    Your just starting out. For now stick to the basics, the stuff you learn in the field will come. You should only be doing residential drops for awhile till the supervisor knows you are getting the hang of it.

    One Ticket at a Time Hope this helps.

    elvee

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    Default USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    Quote Originally Posted by elvee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JonB29 View Post
    In training, we trainees were training each other. The trainer would have us follow him to a subdivision and tell us he would be back. When the trainer did make it back, he would tell us that he's going to answer questions back at the office in the training room, but by the time we arrive it was time to clock out and go home, and he would "answer all questions first thing tomorrow." Whenever we would ask questions in training, we would either have our intelligence insulted or we would be told that it would all make sense in the field.
    In training, we trainees were training each other.

    Question? Did they have you on a ride along with a Vet for a week or so?
    Greetings JonB29! ‘‘Answer all questions first thing tomorrow.’’ ‘‘All make sense in the field.’’ Sheesh!

    It's a helluva pay cut between an experienced, tenured locator and a trainer ($15,000 a year or more). Consequently, the best qualified to be a trainer can't afford the promotion. It is my opinion that most of our trainers are ones who couldn't cut it as a locator and became a trainer as an alternative to being unemployed.

    Heck, my trainer was a minority with a shit-load of at-fault, high-profile damages. It was cheaper for the company to make this person a trainer than keep in the field. My trainer taught me well on Radio Detection equipment, Bell telephone prints and CATV prints; was clueless on gas, electricity and water. Gas, electricity and water later ‘‘made sense to me once I got in the field’’.............. just sayin.' My guess, your ‘‘trainer’’ is one of those who is posing as an experienced, tenured locator and is everything but that.

    I agree with elvee's suggestion. Get your supervisor to hook you up a mentor to teach you the basics and essential shortcuts. Have your boss pick one that has 3 to 5 years field experience and one he believes will be a good fit for you. A veteran locator, as a mentor, will teach you how to breakdown a locate ticket (how to define the real scope of the work to be done). A good mentor will teach you how to read all your prints, proper unbonding techniques, how to accurately mark cables from all cabinet types, properly use your transmitter and receiver. Getting hooked up with a good mentor will make this line of work easy and enjoyable for you.

    Whatever equipment you are using, get on YouTube and learn how to effectively use your transmitter and receiver. You will never get that info from your ‘‘trainer.’’ YouTubing is how I learned to effectively operate my locating equipment. Always remember, The Cable Vine is a great source to get answers for any challenges you as a locator will be facing in the coming months.

    Good Luck JonB29! Luv Ya Man!


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    Call your supervisor that's his job,to make sure you are understanding how to do the job. I work out of the Marietta office as well. If he can't help you I will. Don't give up. Just the fact that you posted questions here tells me you want to learn and be good at this. We need more people like that
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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    Sounds like you got a lazy trainer,that sucks! I am not sure I get your question about the access points but try to more your transmitter as far from the way the utility you are hooked to. Ie if you are locating a gas service that goes to the street put the transmitter and groung towards the back of the house. Keep grinding it's a great job once you get the knack of it.
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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    Hey Jon, This sounds horrible but I'm gunna say it anyway... Most if not all training from contract locating and even some from some private or SUE firms leave the person being trained filled with dread and doubt as soon as they are out on their own. It does sound like you had a trainer who cared more about putting in his 8 and going home then actually turning out Newbs that weren't too far behind the 8 ball when it comes down understanding typical locating situations.

    As far as your concern with Damages go... I liken it to Riding a motorcycle... There is two types of Riders. Ones who have laid the bike down, and the ones who have yet to lay the bike down. Locating is similar. It's not the perfect record you are going for, it is doing everything in your abilities to mitigate any damages. When you have located long enough, you have seen things that don't make anysense (Variable Speed Pumps) and will prevent you from the typical results you normally get. I'm not reasoning away damages, but I'm a realist when it comes to the way utilities have been installed. You just need to learn your process and start a repetitive pattern that helps you process any locating request with the clarity and thoroughness needed to get all the locateable utilities and indicate where the unlocateable ones are.

    I know that sounds vague, but locating is all based on routine and repetition. The longer you are in the trenches, the more situations you see and the more you understand the "how's" and "What's" that constantly pop up in locating.


    Understanding the construction requests and what you are visibly looking at in the field depends on Utility and the Construction company. No one rule is going to apply to every situation. As for the specific pipes you are looking at, snap a picture and upload it here. I'm pretty sure that one of us can tell you what is.

    I have a different view of letting your sup know. I think it is better to just go to the lead and see if he knows of anyone in the office that has the patience to answer questions via a phone call or if ticket load is light enough to let you ride with them.

    Good Luckm, post often.

    mke
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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    good luck .
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    You can always jump ship. I hear Stake Center is hiring in Atlanta.
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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    What am I suppose to do in heavy construction areas where there is too much debris to properly paint and flag? Do i just paint, flag, take pictures and don't worry about whether or not the flags and paint is altered once I've completed the job?

    Once you paint it and take pictures, your job is done. They will call in re-marks if need be.


    In these heavy construction areas, there are pipes coming from the side of the house (i'm guessing it is going to be for gas) that I'm locating. I would hook up to the tracer wire at another property (literally 6' from property i had to locate) and the receiver (rd8000) would get signal 2' past the access point, but not all the way to the pipe that's coming out of the house that i had to locate (the houses are right next to each other). If I followed the pipe at the lot that I'm locating, it would lead to the side walk.
    So my question is, when houses are being built, will there be any service lines on the property, or will there only be mains?



    When houses are being built, there will be no service lines until the utility calls in locates to install them. Just keep your eye open for structures on the property that may have services run to them


    How do i know they are just grading and clearing at these heavy construction areas? Will it be when there is a lot of debris (bricks, sand, wood, etc) in the yard? I think the tickets say "the entire yard will be dug up."



    You won't know, and even if they tell you so, lines on the property still have to be marked


    When connected to my access point (pedestal, phone/cablebox on side of house) i can never find the direction of the cable going back into the access point i am connected to because of the receiver picking up the transmitter. Am i suppose to guess the direction that the wires go back into the access point or just connect elsewhere and go back to find the direction of the wires (this would take forever though) THIS IS DRIVING ME MAD!!!



    Within two feet of an access point, you don't have to mark because the access point itself is a marker. I usually "Y" it off from a few feet out just to make that clear and to cover my butt.


    Does any1 have a list of the alpha codes (i think they're for gas only)?



    Sorry, sure don't


    Buried copper wire is high profile when it's 600+ pair and fiber is high profile when it is 24+ pair? Is this correct? Is this the only time a ticket is considered high profile?



    No, I think the number of fiber pairs is decided regionally and by utilities but gas and electric and many TV cable mains can be HP. Check your local offices policy on that. Your Sup should be able to answer that

    These are my only questions at the moment. The maps (prints) are really confusing also but i need to work with them a little longer before i know what questions to ask.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Oh yeah, I'm in the Atlanta area.

    Hope that helps It's nice to hear a new guy asking the right questions.
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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    USIC changed over the training in NC recently. Newbies get about 3-4 days in the class (showing basics...computer, plats, etc) then then move the trainees out into the field to ride with a "coach" for 2-3 weeks.The coaches are senior locators that can help the trainees learn what they need to know for the area they will be working in. It has be much more productive in getting the new hires out and locating on their own and knowing how to use the plats, and equipment. Hopefully this new method will go nationwide if it hasn't yet.
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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    Quote Originally Posted by RevLee View Post
    USIC changed over the training in NC recently. Newbies get about 3-4 days in the class (showing basics...computer, plats, etc) then then move the trainees out into the field to ride with a "coach" for 2-3 weeks.The coaches are senior locators that can help the trainees learn what they need to know for the area they will be working in. It has be much more productive in getting the new hires out and locating on their own and knowing how to use the plats, and equipment. Hopefully this new method will go nationwide if it hasn't yet.
    I got a chuckle yesterday talking to a 20 year locator about one of our noobs. My buddy asked me, "Tell me all you know about our new guy, Teddy." (Teddy is not his real name)

    I asked, "What's going on?"

    My buddy said, "I told Teddy to start locating in this backyard. When I show up to check on him, nothing is started and Teddy's just standing in the center of the yard with a blank look on his face. It's just weird.............."

    I started to laugh. I told my buddy Teddy started less than 3 weeks ago and my buddy saw, first hand, Teddy's first epiphany; a hard dose of reality. Teddy does not know shit about what we do, and now it's up to my buddy to teach him EVERYTHING!

    Then I witnessed my buddy's epiphany. 63 tickets in his stack, in his 4-way-area, and now he is strapped with a noob that knows less than nothing to be his helper.

    Then I got my epiphany 2 hours later; I have different noob assigned to me Monday with 5 days with USIC under his belt.





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

    p.s. Just kidding about getting the hell out.
    Last edited by Wingfoot; April 16th, 2016 at 01:39 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: USIC new employee!!! Losing morale PLZ HELP

    hang in there Wing .....no ..past time to get the hell out ...
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    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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