22 Things a Professional Electrician Wished an Apprentice Would Know pt. 1
Buffalo, New York is filled with amazing infrastructure for electrical professionals. In many ways the city of Buffalo is interconnected in a way that most cities would envy, that being said there is quite a lot of routine improvements to residential, commercial, and industrial zones to ensure all the trains are running on time. Enjoy this short list put together for the aspiring professional to know about their career in order to make the best impression possible in their workplace. 1. Be Humble Humility deserves a spotlight most people fail to give it. In fact, I'd dare to go as far to say that when being a professional electrician it is one of the most crucial characteristics to have and deploy. Regardless of how hard we try, how much we know, and how much experience we have, the greatest variables come from the people or businesses you're servicing. Some are immediately receptive and do whatever it takes to get the job done, keeping you happy, being a good customer, looking at you as a force to be reckoned with, while others may try to nickel and dime you over the price of getting the job done right. It's been my observation that it's funny how most people don't try finessing a Walmart or Lowes for discounts but once they see the human at the other end of the sale their true colors come out. For you to work efficiently and intelligently at your business understand that emotional strength is just what you have to have as a standard- your time and prices determine what kind of value you can actually bring to your marketplace. 2. Be Teachable What is being teachable? When you're learning a new skill being teachable can really get boiled down to being diligent. Be diligent, if their is work to be done you are to stay focused. If a professional is teaching you the proper way to do something learn from them, but understand being teachable is so much more than just listening to directions. Winston Churchill had a great quote- "If you were to stop and throw stones at every dog that barks you'd never get to where you're supposed to be." In many ways that is a parallel to being teachable, there are times to pick and choose your battles. When learning from someone, sometimes they simply are acting as the lights in front of your car-- meaning they will only show you so much further ahead in order to get your to your destination. It's best practice to fully hear out the professional even if you don't agree with their process because that is how being teachable works. Innovation comes in your own time not theirs. 3. Work Hard The truth of the matter is you can takeaway these three points and leave it at that and become successful in you career as an electrician, but let's continue to frame up what it takes to be a good worker a bit more as to not do a disservice to any aspiring electrician. Few people actually have grit, when it comes to working it's just not about doing what you love, it's about doing whatever it takes. Just because someone isn't looking over your shoulder does not mean that you shouldn't be giving it your 110%. You'll soon learn that while there are routine service calls, you have to also be prepared for the level of effort and complexity that comes with your profession. The amateur mistake is to underestimate how much effort and energy it will take to get a job done. Let's look at the dictionary definition of amateur: adjective amateur: engaging or engaged in without payment; nonprofessional.inept or unskillful. If you have an ounce of results orientation in your body and are anything like me, that is the last thing you'd probably want to be called. 4. Concentrate on Your Craft Have you ever talked to a fellow electrician and he brought up terminology you're unfamiliar with or some kind of detail in his scope of work you're clueless on and you get the gut wrenching sinking in the pit of your stomach feeling? You do NOT want to be that person. In order for you to scale your business it isn't just enough to look the part, or work for a business that brands you as such, you have to know more about your industry than anyone else. You have to be committed to finishing the job. You have to be relentless for your drive to be among the best. While there is a massive good enough factor, the mark of a true blue professional is to do what works, to stay highly informed on procedures, and to understand the marketplaces landscape. Master those three areas of your craft and you'll go from a good electrician to a GREAT Electrician. 5. Don't Over complicate, Under complicate, or Challenge Standard Procedure This point can elegantly be summed up in one simply phrase- "Do your best and forget the rest." It's very easy to be nervous and suffer from impostor syndrome when you're a brand new electrician, you can be certified, you can look the part, you can know all the textbook information you want, but until you accompany that knowledge with field experience you wont feel secure in yourself. Do not stress or worry about the information you've been trained to learn, it is no different than a surgeon doing their first medical procedure... you're now highly skilled, highly trained, and massively ahead of 95% of the marketplace, the very fact that you care immensely about your customers/clients satisfaction is already something a lot of electricians just don't do. Take your time, stick to your guns, don't get all crazy and do your work... After your first few rodeos you'll realize how thankful you were to get the training you did. 6. Do NOT Let a Professional Catch You on Your Phone... This is NOT a personal pet peeve... this just isn't right. How you do one thing is mostly how you do everything, do you understand? If you break concentration to check your fantasy football picks, text back your girlfriend, or just to plain socialize this lets us know you're a breakable fragile electrician as well. Concentrate on your task, don't be rude to your mentors by checking your social media, it is absolutely stunning to see this type of behavior on the job. "Your business should be your mistress", or whatever is applicable, treat her with laser like attention and violent amounts of action. 7. Be a Blue Ocean This is a marketing term, and what it means is be a service provider in ways your competition just can't be. Whether that's optimizing relationships with promotionals, thank you cards, optimizing pricing, referral commission coupons (cutting 15-20% off their service call for three referrals), whatever you can do to get out obscurity and create space in your marketplace this is what you want to do. There is no nobility in following conventional wisdom for marketing if you have to make ends meet, run a business, provide for a family, it's about being proactive with your growth and being memorable... this can start with trained sales professionals answering their phone, down to the clothes you wear when you show up, thank you for your business phone calls, and even always leaving your business cards after a job has been well done. If you've liked this post you may want to check out some more information on our website. Stay tuned for part 2 on 22 things Professional Electricians wished Apprentices Knew.