What do you think a fresh substation technician should be like?
By - SpaghettiFan1995
If you ever think you know everything, you are fucked. This career is a perpetual state of learning. The best advice I can give you is know where to find the answers and dont expect to have every answer. I dont know is a lot better than winging something and creating a clusterfuck.
Can be so varied depending on what your company is set up like. I have always been better on the p&c and testing as opposed to construction. We seperate the two tasks.
Sounds like you haven't found your groove yet. Either your company will try and succeed to mold you into the box they are looking for or you will go somewhere else
Ive found my groove on other crews. They were more teach focused, but this one is do focused. Meaning if I know how to set up breakers and shape triple 1590 really well, they're just going to have me do it and everyone else who doesn't know how to do it won't even get a chance. The same goes for me and what I need to know. We wind up finishing jobs quickly, but at the expense of us being worse off as apprentices. I'm a wiz on the ground, if you need bus bent, no problem. You need me to mount a box and run conduit up to it and have everything look level, no problem. You need me to adjust the switch? I've only done two and one of them was 500 KV. so it operated completely different than the other one, and both of those were done about 2 years ago.
In my opinion totally normal to not be a supreme master of everything in this huge field. I can mount stuff run conduit etc but can't do it as neatly and quickly as guys that do it all the time as an example.
I have been working in this field for 8 years now. I wouldn't be too worried don't be ashamed to ask questions if you're not sure regardless of your designation.
I understand, and I respect your viewpoint. I hope I can encounter that in the future. As a contractor, I'm assuming you work with a power provider, I feel like the only job security I have is how well I can do my job and if I'm not What someone else wants, I'm just scared want that might mean.
What state do you work in by the way?
I'm up in Canada. We work with multiple generators, distributors and transmitters.
Keep your head up I'm sure you will be alright.
Thanks man, and happy cake day
I think you worry too much. You'll be fine.
I’m an A tech and I’m still learning everyday. Just got to a new crew and I can honestly say that I’ve learned more from and with them then I have in the past 10 years. I am finally comfortable with who I’m with now and can see this going really well.
Why are you learning more with them than anyone else in the past 10 years?
What does it take for a substation technician to get fired? I'm assuming there is such thing as not knowing enough as one
My old foreman wasn’t a real good teacher. We had to teach ourselves. Luckily my buddy and I were able to pick up quickly and help others. My last Foreman wanted you to know enough to make him look good but he quit caring about the company he worked for which meant it was a “do whatever you want” mentality every day till I left. The crew I’m on now is everyone trying to look out for each other and grow as one. Something I’ve heard of with other crews but never experienced. They look out for each other and everyone gets along. If you need help, it’s there. If you don’t know something, they won’t hold it against you. They teach you. I’ve seen many fired. It’s usually because of drugs, drinking, or one was fired due to lack of knowledge. He was there for a year and couldn’t retain the information being passed on to him. Every time we had to make a Cadweld shot, he’d ask us what to do. He literally couldn’t remember the steps. He was a good dude but he didn’t belong there.
That sounds like a great environment. Everyone has to be on the same page for that to work. I never hold anything against anyone and I try to be patient and offer opportunities to do something that I know the other person doesn't know. I'm just a apprentice right now but when I become a journeyman I hope to have enough respect with everyone to build an atmosphere of what you're talking about.
What was it like when you first topped out? did you feel a burdening amount of responsibility?
Not so much when I topped out but when I became a lead. It was under the same guy that gave up so the shit kind of ran down the ladder and I was close to leaving the industry all together. Now, I’m picking up where I was and enjoying it again. I most definitely had insecurities about what I thought I knew and my performance but that’s me overthinking and wanting to be good at my craft. If you keep busy, keep an open mind in regards to learning from whomever and whenever, take your time and not become complacent then everything will work out in your favor. Like I’ve been told by the older guys when I started, “if you meet someone out here who thinks they know everything, run”. You’re always going to be on your toes. There’s new things to pick up on every other day. Go with the flow, bust ass, and be safe.
If I could press you for one last question, when I top out if I still don't 100% know how to time switches or bend bus confidently, does that mean I shouldn't be a journeyman?
Whenever I have questions, I ask. I just don't know if journeyman are allowed the same opportunities to ask as much.
And I understand what you're getting at. I'm glad to know you're a lead man. You are in a terrible environment and still succeeded. That's a great thing
There’s stuff that flies over my head but someone with a year or so experience might catch. Hell, I’m not good at bending bus. But I’m trying. What you can’t pick up on immediately, someone on your crew will and you keep doing whatever it may be until you become good at it. Then you might be great at something, and another guy not so much. So you teach them until they get good. That’s how I feel a crew should be. Everyone learning from each other no matter your classification. Everyone’s there to learn and get the job done safely and efficiently. If this post was a little rough around the edges, I apologize. I drank a few PBR’s 😂
Also, I ask questions all the time. I’d rather ask questions then to pretend I have the answer. The only stupid question is the one not asked.
I like the way you think. I'm glad you're a part of this industry, I hope one day our mindsets won't seem so rare.
I hope you enjoy your PBRs my man