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[/fusion_code][/fullwidth][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]An open letter to Journeymen.[/title][fusion_text]
The other day I posted the question in my facebook group “If you could tell your journeyman (past, present or future) one thing they could do better, what would that be?” I had a few comments to the posting.
What blew me away were the amount of personal messages I got. You see, there seems to be a fear that their journeymen would read the post, see their comments and then tear them a new one. They felt safer sharing with me in private than risk the wrath of their journeyman.
To me this shows that there is a problem in the culture of trades. It is almost like the abused child who wont talk about what is happening at home but given a safe place they let it all spill out. I actually had more than one ask me to write a post of advice to journeymen.
While I think a post titled “Advice for all the journeymen out there” would be a good idea. I also know one thing. Journeymen do not like being told they are wrong or what they are doing is wrong. For every post I put up I get a lot of great feedback. I also get a lot of really nasty things said. I’ve been called a bag licker, pussy, pansy, loser and other nasty things I wont write in this letter.
I have been told that I am catering too much to the apprentice.
I know that there are a lot of great journeymen out there. I was very fortunate, I was trained by 3 incredible journeymen. Not only did I become a better electrician because of them, I became a better man. This letter is not for them.
I worked under and with journeymen who treated their apprentices with what could only be classified as abuse. This letter is for you.
Times have changed for both apprentices and journeymen.
Whether you care to admit it or not we live in a different time. Maybe when you went through your apprenticeship you were treated harshly. Perhaps you were screamed at constantly, felt like you could never do anything right, and went home every night with a knot in your stomach. I am sure more than once you were brought close to tears through the actions of your journeymen. You were ridiculed and for lack of a better word abused.
Let me tell you one thing you may be lying to yourself about.
This did not make you the electrician you are today!
You are the tradesman you are today because of you, not because of them!
Perhaps you became the way you are in spite of them. But let me make one thing clear. You could have become a great tradesman in a nurturing environment as well.
Don’t give them the credit that you deserve. Do not subscribe to the “thats the way I was trained and look how I turned out” philosophy.
I am not saying that there won’t be times that you need to be hard on your apprentice. I am saying that you can be tough on them in a matter that is respectful of their humanity.
Do you honestly think that you are going to get more productivity out of someone who fears you or someone that has respect for you?
Training is part of a journeymans job description.
This is another fallacy that needs to be addressed. I have heard from many apprentices that they have been told by their journeymen that “it is not my job to teach you”
That is not true!!!!!
It is part of the job description. How did you learn? Through working with journeymen throughout your apprenticeship.
I understand that it can be trying on the patience. How is that any different than any other problem you have to troubleshoot in the trade?
You are making an impact in someones life. It is a great responsibility and a great honour.
Give it the respect it deserves.
Remember what it was like to be an apprentice.
Try to remember back to what it was like when you first started. You didn’t know anything. Someone had to show you and even then you made a lot of mistakes. The last thing you needed when you made a mistake was someone berating you telling you what a waste of skin you were (I know this is an extreme but it does happen).
Your apprentices are going to make mistakes. Have the grace to help them learn from them not be afraid of them.
Getting frustrated and doing it yourself helps no one.
If you want something done right you better do it yourself, right?
It becomes twice the amount of work for you and your apprentice will learn nothing.
I know that time is of the essence and that it may feel like a waste of time to explain and show how to do things but you are bringing a world of hurt on yourself. Now instead of doing your job, you’re doing their job as well. This is going to slow you down and frustrate you.
If you take the time to properly explain how to do something it might take a bit more time at the beginning but as they learn, they are going to get better and faster. The next job that you have that requires that specific skill you won’t have to worry about it. They got it covered because you took the time to teach.
At the end of the day it boils down to one word.
If you are respectful of your apprentice and treat them as such you would be surprised at what kind of productivity you get out of them. When I was coming up through the trade I would have moved mountains for some of the journeymen I worked for. Conversely I would have done as little as possible for journeymen who treated me less than human.
The times have changed my friends. It is time that the culture of the Journeyman/Apprentice relationship changed as well.
This isn’t the end.
I would love to hear what you all think. If you have any questions or comments, make sure you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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