I have been taking my sweet time in finishing my apprenticeship. I still don’t feel ready to be called a journey person, but I feel close. I have learnt how to make a good mechanical tie between two conductors, and grown to understand the meaning behind the neat and tidy electrical work, assuming it will be there forever without weak bent or nicked insulation. I have gotten a chance to see how electricity is generated (well, via hydro, solar and wind anyways), how AC is converted to DC to be run under water long distances (such as from the mainland of BC to Vancouver Island), how it is transformed in a substation to be distributed into our communities, and how it is run into our home panels, then into our kitchens.
I have learnt I love bending pipe, driving zoom booms, being up in scissor lifts and elevated platforms. I love working outside and excel at repetitive menial tasks. I have learnt that skipping the steps of following instructions and planning and measuring out your project can cost you more time and money than just skipping ahead into action. I have a deeper understanding of what it means to work safely, because I have seen some nasty accidents, and learned how they can be avoided. I have gotten my foot wet in many fields of the electrical world, from commercial office buildings and warehouses, to substations, the wiring of houses, solar panels, and off grid systems. I have worked union and none-union, and now I truly understand what a heaven sent union work is, or at least I did not find a none-union company able to supply me with benefits, fair wages, and safety first mentality. Now I find myself pondering, where to now? I have so many possibilities.
Let me explain. Today I was laid off. I have 400 more hours until I have my red seal ticket, but I’ll have to find it with another company. The discussion I had with my boss today, resulting in my layoff, felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. We were having trouble working together, and being a small company, that sort of thing does not fly. I’m considering it a blessing, however, because I have learnt in the small time I was a residential electrician that I hate wood. I never would have guessed that I would dislike wood frame houses so much, but I was disgusted with how sloppy and willy nilly brand new houses are put together. I love to drill through steel, please let me drill through metals and please don’t ask me to pop swiss cheese all over weak shoddy wood frame beams, I’ll do it if have to, but I will not be pleased to find wood shaving all up in my business later.
Oh yes, and people, please hire professional electricians to do your electrical jobs around the house, because it’s really easy to make mistakes that will burn your whole house down. Sometimes I was sent out in the service van to fix peoples what nots, and it was not always the old shitty houses with the cloth covered ungrounded wiring, or knob and tube, but sometimes also the newly renovated houses done DIY that had some ‘interesting’ ways of making things work. The reason there in an electrical code is because bad things happened to good people, and now the code is to prevent any more tragedy’s. I now know the headaches of what I would not like to do for money. But at least now I know how, and that’s what I wanted.
There’s of course the anxiety of now what will I do, but then I realize I have a very long list of what I would like to do and now it’s just a matter of doing it. I have not done very much with electric motors, controls (ddc and plc work), transformers, lighting. these are all areas to specialize in that I would find very interesting. Or perhaps I would like to go work in the film industry as a lamp operator or set wireman. I have never spliced fibre optics. I would love to be a lineman and drive around a bucket truck disconnecting and reconnecting people’s power in their homes. Maybe I will get some climbing gear and get the job where I get to climb to the top of the building or tower to change the light bulb. maybe I will work in a ski resort doing maintenance or put the xmas lights up in a botanical gardens. Maybe I will get a job changing street lights to LED’s for the city, or maintaining schools for the board. I would also love to learn to make neon signs, and sign making. Now I can finally find the time to make an electric go-cart! So many options, and these are just the electrical themed ones.
The reality is, I’m likely to get bored with a regular job. If i’m not constantly learning, creating, and being challenged, my mind drifts away to somewhere else. I know this about myself, and I know I will probably never cross everything off my list, but I will sure die trying. I hope this articles find everyone feeling stoked with their lives as well, and inspired to lead extraordinary lives, because, why not?