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 The Plumbing Apprentice : How They Think

This Article Will Focus On  The Plumbing Apprentice and how he thinks. It is my intention to offer some useful insights to all Journeymen in all of the construction trades and all owners of small construction companies. “If you know the answers, the questions will not bother you” Randalism

The Plumbing Apprentice

Apprenticeship Teaches Skills for life

Plumbing Apprentices are one of my favorite groups of construction workers because they provide a never-ending supply of good clean humor. For the record, I have a deep respect and sincerely appreciate all apprentices everywhere for they are the men and women who continually replenish the supply of skilled Journeymen and are vital members of the greatest industry on earth.

Having served a plumbing apprenticeship in plumbing and passed the Washington State Journeyman Plumber Exam PLO1 in 1981 this article comes from the heart of someone who understands the good times while serving an apprenticeship.

After becoming a Journeyman Plumber, I spent several wonderful years in the trades as a construction worker and later as a contractor. Therefore, these observations are from first-hand experience. Overall, I have fond memories of the good times spent on a variety of residential and commercial job sites.

Over the next ten years, I paid my dues to the trade by mentoring several apprentices and most of them went on to become phenomenal Journeymen and enjoyed long and profitable careers.

The information presented here are from journals and notebooks of my own experiences as an apprentice and my observations of the behavioral traits of construction workers, contractors, engineers, architects and other people who are involved in construction.

All construction apprentice programs have one thing in common; The Four Levels Of Learning

#1 Freshman Plumbing Apprentice

I don’t know that I don’t know anything about plumbing so I will listen and learn for a little while until I decide the Journeyman Plumber teaching

The Plumbing Apprentice

Apprentices start from the beginning

me is stupid.

#2 Sophomore Plumbing Apprentice

Now I know that I don’t know anything about plumbing, but I know a lot more than the dumb Journeyman Plumber who is supposed to be training me. He is obviously slow and stupid because he will stare at the plans and isometric drawings for a long time before making a decision. Why can’t we just get to work and get the job done?

#3 Junior Plumbing Apprentice

I know plumbing well enough now that I can do it if I concentrate and stare at the plans and isometric drawings long enough I can begin to see the entire layout in my mind. I was wrong to think the Journeyman Plumber who is teaching me is an idiot when in fact I am the idiot.

#4 Senior Plumbing Apprentice

I know plumbing well enough to do it in my sleep and I really wish I had not been so impatient with the Journeyman Plumber who cared enough about the trade and me to take me on as his apprentice

Being an Plumbing Apprentice is an interesting journey. I refer to it as a phenomenon where otherwise intelligent men and women regress into a

The Plumbing Apprentice

Field Ready?

mental state just above plant life because they are attempting to shove massive amounts of mental information by their amygdala and allow it to go directly into their cerebral cortex where it is stored in long-term memory.

While immersed in deep training mode the apprentice’s muscle memory is being severely altered at the cellular level to do things that do not make sense at the time. If they stick with the process, they will most likely come out the other side very intelligent and highly skilled Journeymen Plumbers or they will quit and go into something less stressful like bomb disposal or brain surgery.

Every Plumbing apprentice, me included, has experienced every symptom listed below. This is a sample taken from several hundred observations and personal experiences.

Twelve Signs You Might Be A Plumbing Apprentice:

  1. You are very enthusiastic about learning a skilled trade
  2. You wander about aimlessly on job sites in awe and wonder
  3. You dress in blue jeans, plaid shirt, work boots and baseball hat
  4. You are asked what color the sky is on your home planet in the summer
  5. You are told earth is full and you need to seriously consider returning home
  6. You have a dazed look on your face when the Journeyman explains something, twice
  7. You are told to wait in the truck while the Journeyman and the contractor talk and instead get out and start wandering around
  8. You are told not to do something and do it anyway just to see what will happen
  9. You have a listening problem so the Journeyman does not talk, he shouts at you
  10. You are asked if you are ambivalent and you reply without thinking “Well yes and no”
  11. You are like a cross-eyed discus thrower, never setting any new records but keeping everyone’s attention
  12. You are told the lights are on in your head; however, nobody is home now

Understanding breeds patience and leads to success. Just knowing the road your Plumbing Apprentices must travel and sharing this article with them can help make the transition smoother for everyone involved.

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About The Author:

Randal DeHart, PMP, QPA is the co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood Washington, www.FastEasyAccounting.Com He is the leading expert in outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services for small construction companies across the USA. He is experienced as a Plumbing Contractor, General Contractor, Project Management Professional, Construction Accountant, Intuit ProAdvisor, QuickBooks For Contractors Expert and Xero Contractor Accounting Specialist, Bill.Com Guru and Tsheets ProAdvisor. Check out our Contractor Success Map Podcast on iTunes and Follow Randal on Google+

I leave you with this heartfelt blessing – “The journey you are on is never-ending so relax and enjoy the ride”

Warm Regards,

Randal L. DeHart, PMP, QPA


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