After being an apprentice for 4 years, you start to wonder what it will be like to be a Journeyman Electrician. In this episode I talk about the risks, rewards, and headaches of getting your J-card.
Some people choose to remain apprentices and never take the test to get their licenses, but others can't wait to earn the title "electrician." So what's it like after taking that test, and getting to run jobs? Well you've most likely seen the guys you work around have to deal with customers, deal with the boss, deal with materials, and deal with, deal with, deal with. Being a Journeyman Electrician means you deal with a lot of shit. Everything comes down to you for the jobs you're on, from the materials, the quality of work, the customers' happiness, efficiency, making or losing money, passing or failing inspections, all of it.
Some people can't wait to have that much responsibility, but others realize the mountain of challenges and being on top of your game is nothing to take lightly. The level of responsibility increases dramatically when you start running your own jobs. The pay should be increased proportionately as well. But it's ok that you're being paid more now, because now you're an income earner. Whatever loss the company incurs in paying you, they make back three-fold in you bringing in an income.
As an apprentice electrician, you're a helper. You may help the efficiency of a job after you gain a lot of experience, but for the most part you cost a company money to have around. For the first few years you're more of a liability than an asset. Once you get your license and start running jobs the scales tip a bit and you become more of an asset than a liability.
The other side of being a Journeyman Electrician is now you get to have an apprentice. This is another huge responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. Another person's success in this trade depends on the example you show everyday. Their skills are directly proportional to your own. If you're an asshole to them, they'll probably want to quit and never see what this trade has to offer. If you're a teacher and really take them under your wing you could produce an outstanding electrician someday. There are upsides and downsides to having an apprentice for sure. They tend to mess things up, lose tools, lose materials, show up late, say things they're not supposed to. Really you become a parent for 4 years once you take on an apprentice. But just as parenting is one of the most rewarding things you can do, so is teaching.
Some people hate teaching though, and that's ok. There are men and women in this trade that don't want to be bothered, they just want to strap up and work. You will most likely work under somebody like this, and they can make coming to work everyday a living hell depending on their attitude toward you. Just keep tabs on how this makes you feel so when you have your own apprentice you know what it's like for them. Really take the time to think about how you interact with your helper. It will make you grow tremendously having them around.