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Residential Plumber
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody my name is Mike Jessome I am 19 and i'm from Canada, and i'm a first year apprentice work for a company that got 13 guys we do alot of residential and a bit of commercial, we have a service guy, but he is alone so what i'd like to know from all you journeymen is what are some key things you look for in a apprentice. I work hard everyday. I run to the truck for tools or material. I ask questions because I want to learn but try not to bug the journeyman i'm with on whatever day, I'd like to know some things that could help me get more work done or have who ever i'm working with want me to go with them that day because of my work ethic or i'm good at something that an other apprentice may not be.


Thanks.
 

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Mike Learn the truck, learn the truck. know that truck better then the guy your working for. stay on top of the tools. lay them out on his right or left depending which hand he uses. when you know you will be using a power tool get it set up with cord and power. Clean up all garbage. If he stops to chat with customer keep busy, don't interrupt. be ready with rags, tape putty. think of yourself as an emergency room nurse and be that good. steve
 

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Bring you brain to work every day. Most of what we do in plumbing, we've done many times before. Learning involves memory. Memory involves the brain. It's your most important tool. If you're asked to do something and you don't know how, don't fake it. Do overs are unpleasant for everyone. Also, pay attention to the work installed by your journeyman. Much of what you need to know is right in front of you. If you have the opportunity to work on remodels of buildings with bell and spigot cast iron (the kind with lead joints) or galv steel w/Durham fittings, study the work. The stuff was such a pita to install, they took pains to put it in efficiently and simply. Plus, back then, most plumbers were properly trained and it showed in their work.
Make an effort to get along with people. If you're unpleasant, no one will want to work with you.
Ask yourself if you truly enjoy the work. 40 years is a long time to do something every day that you don't take pleasure in.
 

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residential service
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If the company is a good one then they don't want you to remain an apprentice. I'm a service company and I have worked alone for the last 5 years. Although it might be nice, I don't need an apprentice. If I need help on a particular thing i.e. getting a water heater down through an access hole from an attic, I can get help for that and then send them on their way. If I hire you as an apprentice it is for this reason only, because I want a completely green person whom I can train the way I think they should be trained, ultimately to put them in a truck so I can send them out to make the company money. Demonstrate that you want to be there and that you want to learn. Pay attention. If I have to show you more than 3 times how to do something I will consider you to be unteachable and start looking for a way to help you choose another employer. Especially in service, keep your mouth shut in front of the customer. If the ho asks you a non technical question you should respond in a pleasant, courteous, fashion without prolonging the conversation. I want you listening (like a fly on the wall) to everything I say to the customer and whatever the customer says to me but I want you to be completely silent unless spoken to. If they ask you a technical question and I am not present then you must gracefully refer them to me. Other than that, keep my truck and tools clean, in their place and in order, learn the inventory, truck stock as well as daily use, I better not ever have to leave a job because I've run out of a 30 cent widgit! Keep yourself clean and neat. Communicate well with proper grammar for the rare occasion you might interact significantly with the client. Be happy to be there and if you're not don't waste another moment, move on. Life is too short to do something you don't like for a living.
 

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Residential Plumber
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165 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Now out of the 5 journeymen only one guys truck is clean the owner doesn't care what there trucks look like, as long as they get the job done now I may work with a different guy 4 out of the 5 days a week, and believe me some trucks are bad. I mean like a milk crates of copper fittings dumped inside the truck over the floor, so should I make my own little way to find things on the truck, because there is no way I can clean every truck without helping the journeymen because we do new homes everyday I have to be there to cut pipe dig trenches etc. I also appreciate any comments given anything is helpfull as I want to be the best I can be. I love going to work every morning this is what I want to do.
 

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mike everybody's truck gets messy, but if the guys you work for continue to work this way I would question the quality of thier work. learn what you can but more important learn what not to do.
 

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A truck is messy when it's occupant can't find what he's looking for. Messy work areas, on the other hand, are unproductive and down right dangerous. That's where an apprentice can make a difference, keeping a semblance of order.
 

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Water Whisperer
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Gain the trust of the journeyman. Do not gossip.
Don't be a wise-ass.
Don't have a messy truck (I know you can't do anything about that). I've never worked for a company that allows a messy truck. Inventory is way too expensive and disorganization is a job killer. Way worse than AHS.
 

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learn to anticipate the next move. wear a fishing vest if you have to. have teflon tape, measureing tape, pencils, sharpie, channelocks, anything you can think of and keep on you and have ready for the plumber. there is always something to do so stay busy. the biggest thing for me is do not answer your cell phone during the day. girlfriends are notorius for calling 20 times a day, there is nothing more irritating than calling out a measurement for a cut and the apprentice is on the phone.
 

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Generally I take an apprentice and have him stand paralell to a wall and shine a light in his ear, if the light shines through to the wall I let him be someone elses apprentice.
 

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Chase Plumber
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Just keep your head in the game man. Sounds to me like you're on the right track. As long as you have the desire to do plumbing, you'll be fine. :)
 
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