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I feel like a failure sometimes

bob youngbob young Posts: 2,177Member
i have found a kind word and vote of confidence costs you nothing and could be worth a million. the trade needs good men and has been very good to me.

Comments

  • Ken C.Ken C. Posts: 267Member


    Things aren’t going well at my new job. About 85 percent of my plumbing experience is in service/repair work, but my new employer does a lot of construction plumbing. New construction is an area I’m weak in, especially running PVC. I’m not good at visualizing the easiest/fastest way to run drainage. I’m also tend to be a perfectionist, so that also hurts my speed. New construction is all about speed, and I’m always worried I’m not going fast enough.

    I feel that as a journeyman plumber, I should be able to rough-in a house no problem, but I always have a ton of questions for my boss. It’s hard for me to get started, because I’m always second-guessing myself.

    I’ve been plumbing for 4-1/2 years, and even on repair jobs, I’ve made some mistakes lately (for example, a customer had water leaking through his ceiling, which I cut open, but it turned out I didn’t have to open the ceiling to repair the leak). I found myself wondering today if I should even find another career.

    How do I get better at new construction? I feel like I have to force myself to not be so picky, but it’s not easy for me. What should I do to improve, or should I just find another company that does mostly service plumbing? The thing is, I hate to keep changing jobs (I’ve had about seven so employers), and my new boss is patient with me.
  • Ray LandryRay Landry Posts: 203Member


    Lone wrencher you're in the same shoes that I'm in. New construction is something that if you don't eat sleep and breath it, you're going to have at least an extra day on site when compared to experienced rough plumbers. A friend of mine roughs two and a half bath houses in three days on his own. I've been in the trade four years and i'm a journeyman like you. I've never even roughed a whole house before... just remodels and repairs is all that we mainly do. My advice to you is to stick where you're at, and at least get some good roughing in experie nce. I sometimes wish I could do more roughing myself, just because it would speed mypiping/planning skills.

    don't sweat the small stuff man... I've cut open ceilings before to find that all it was was a symmons diverter leaking.... now every leak search i go on I first take off the shower valve trim, THEN i break out the jab saw lol
  • EJWEJW Posts: 321Member
    Practice

    You'll only get better at it the more you do it. I have to admit that new construction isn't my favorite thing to do. Some days I'd like to sub out the drainage work. When I first started in this trade I worked with a great guy who always told me that you have to walk into a place and be able to picture it finished in your head before you start. It certainly helps to look at a job that way, but you'll always have bumps in the road. Plumb on brother! EJW
  • jeff_51jeff_51 Posts: 545Member
    out here you would still be an apprentice

    41/2 yrs is NOT alot of time in this field. I have been doing it for over 25 yrs and am still learning new things all the time and still screw up. Service and repair is a totaly differant field than new construction. It just takes time and experience to get good at anything. Do it right the first time and the speed will come. Don't get annal, but things should still be plumb and square. It is not in your interest to be a schlock. You have a reputation and an obligation to the trade. Hang in there and learn what you can. If it isn't a good fit, something will come alog.
  • jeff_51jeff_51 Posts: 545Member
    out here you would still be an apprentice

    41/2 yrs is NOT alot of time in this field. I have been doing it for over 25 yrs and am still learning new things all the time and still screw up. Service and repair is a totaly differant field than new construction. It just takes time and experience to get good at anything. Do it right the first time and the speed will come. Don't get annal, but things should still be plumb and square. It is not in your interest to be a schlock. You have a reputation and an obligation to the trade. Hang in there and learn what you can. If it isn't a good fit, something will come alog.
  • Jeff Lawrence_24Jeff Lawrence_24 Posts: 593Member
    Picture it.

    I'm only a heating pro, not a plumber, but EJW has it right on the target. It was hard for me to imagine at first, but being able to see the finished product in your head is the way to do it.

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  • Al CorelliAl Corelli Posts: 454Member


    Practice makes perfect.

    Stick with it. As long as your boss is patient, ask him for pointers and tricks that will make your jobs go fater and easier. He'll appreciate that you asked for help, and I'm sure he'd be glad to tell you his "secrets".

    The fact that you're worried about your speed, tells me you are a good employee.

    Good luck. You're going to go far in this trade.

    I hate new construction also. So much that we try not to take any on.
  • Dave Yates (PAH)Dave Yates (PAH) Posts: 2,162Member
    well

    After 35+ years, there's still days when I feel like that too.

    Chin up. A great repair mechanic is worth his or her weight in gold. Ever watch the Muppets? The Great Gonzo had a line in one of their movies that caused him to become my all-time favorite Muppet. He was travelling along in his plumbing van with Camilla, his girlfriend (and, a chicken I should add!). He turned to her and said "Great plumbers are born, not made."

    Tis true.

    The new construction roughing-in blues will eventually go away & the experience of having worked on the side of the aisle where perfection is tempered with the bottom line will help you to know when it's time to take that extra measure of time to work towards perfection and instinctively know who will appreciate the effort.

    Hang in there!

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  • JACK_28JACK_28 Posts: 2Member


    Speaking as a 40+ year journeyman electrician
    It takes 10 years to make a Good Mechanic don't worry you will do alright if you just look at the layout of the job you're doing and take your time to do it. speed will come with experience.
  • SPBSPB Posts: 14Member


    I'm with you Bud Stick with it, I've got 32 years in. Had a large company have let most go and do the service repair and a few house here and there and make the same money. You have a long way to go. I'm from Colorado and for 10 years mostly did hydronics and controls plus plumbing service in the of times. It wasn't until I lived in Minn. and they had heating locked up that I had to fall back on my new construstion plumbing where I started. All I could get was sub-cintract and commision style work. Eat my lunch for a few weeks but poverty is a good motivator. When I went beck to Colorado I live in a resort town and you have to do it all to make a living I was a hot comodity. Keep the head up high, you already know more than most plumbers, the speed will come. The knowledge you have gained in doing both will make you invaluable. (I've found most don't, really, get good until they have been doing thier job for ten years). Good luck
  • Jim WallsJim Walls Posts: 49Member
    hang in there,

    I would be wary of anyone in this business who claims they have never cut a hole when or where they did not need to, or had trouble with the speed of installation, especially after just 4 1/2 years,,,,, it is a humbling business we are in,,,,,I too struggled with speed, for a long time ( & still have days),,,,,,,(started in 1978),,,,,,,,,worked with some great mechanics who continually made me look like I was standing still ,,,,,,,,,,,only they were as clean at the end of the day as I was at the beginning, & I would be filthy with all my clothes sticking too me from sweating,,,I looked like I was killing snakes trying to stay up with them,,,,,,,,then I learned how to measure (properly) & pre-fab,,,,,it changed everything,,,,,,when I say measure properly, I mean using dimensional catalogs from fitting supplier's, learning how to calculate offsets using math such as 1.414 for a 2- 45 degree offset,,,,,,I unlike some of the others, love new construction, I wish I could explain this better, effort & attitude are everything, learn to do it right first, speed wiil come,,,,,as far as service & cutting a hole you found was not neccessary, several years ago I worked with a service tech who had many years of experience & was very good at what he did,,,he was sent to an elderly women's house to repair a leak in her basement, it was a very small drip hardly enough to create a spot on the basement floor,dripping from a 1/2" galvanized tee, so he fixed it,,,,,,,2 days later she called back, spot on the floor was now larger, he gets there discovers the leak is now comming from a fitting on the first floor behind her refrigerator, so he cuts the wall & repairs it,,,,,,a week later she calls back, leak is much larger,,,seems it is now comming from the 2nd floor bathroom piping,,,,,well my employer,having a generous heart & knowing she could not afford all this work, finally told the service tech to replace all the plumbing in the bathroom & donated everything !,,,,,,, & remember,,,,,don't sweat it,,,, you can always get more holes :-)
  • bigugh_4bigugh_4 Posts: 406Member
    Your in the correct mood!

    > Things aren’t going well at my new job. About 85

    > percent of my plumbing experience is in

    > service/repair work, but my new employer does a

    > lot of construction plumbing. New construction

    > is an area I’m weak in, especially running PVC.

    > I’m not good at visualizing the easiest/fastest

    > way to run drainage. I’m also tend to be a

    > perfectionist, so that also hurts my speed. New

    > construction is all about speed, and I’m always

    > worried I’m not going fast enough.

    >

    > I feel that

    > as a journeyman plumber, I should be able to

    > rough-in a house no problem, but I always have a

    > ton of questions for my boss. It’s hard for me

    > to get started, because I’m always

    > second-guessing myself.

    >

    > I’ve been plumbing for

    > 4-1/2 years, and even on repair jobs, I’ve made

    > some mistakes lately (for example, a customer had

    > water leaking through his ceiling, which I cut

    > open, but it turned out I didn’t have to open the

    > ceiling to repair the leak). I found myself

    > wondering today if I should even find another

    > career.

    >

    > How do I get better at new

    > construction? I feel like I have to force myself

    > to not be so picky, but it’s not easy for me.

    > What should I do to improve, or should I just

    > find another company that does mostly service

    > plumbing? The thing is, I hate to keep changing

    > jobs (I’ve had about seven so employers), and my

    > new boss is patient with me.



  • bigugh_4bigugh_4 Posts: 406Member
    Your in the correct mood!

    A repair plumber is the best there is for new construction. If you want to see a mess hire a construction plumber and place him in the repair end! That is a real funny thing to watch! One of the biggest tips I can say to you is, mark the place where the pipe comes into or out of the house, and where the fixtures are going to go. (Usually holes drilled or sawed) Then stand back and visualize your pipe and its neat travel between those two places. You might draw an isometric sketch of the path on a scrap board (keeps from changing your mind needlessly mid install). Then just follow your thoughts! You'll do ok after a few times. and enjoy your work. it is far tougher to be a repair plumber than doing construction. repair has a much larger challenge. New construction will become robotic (and boreing)in no time for you. Repair is never boring or robotic in any way shape or form!
  • hrhr Posts: 6,106Member
    A good teacher

    aka "boss" should send you out with a skilled rough in mechanic. This would be a great benefit for BOTH you and your boss.

    The trial and error method will be frustrating for you, and less profitable for the company. Ask the boss for some help so you can improve your new construction skills. Unhappy plumbers are more more prone to mistakes and lack of productivity.

    I've found it is hard to cross back and forth from repair to service. Completely different tools are needed on the truck, for one. Different people skills are sometimes a plus for a servicemen that deal with the customer on a repeated, daily basis. A different mindset altogether.

    Often times great rough plumbers prefer, and excel, at jobsites where there is no owner interaction. Great service guys like to meet and talk to people.

    Personally, I feel the two trades are almost like seperate business's, joined only by the heading, Plumbing :)

    hot rod

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  • WeezboWeezbo Posts: 6,232Member
    Welcome to the club....*~/:) ...

    i think when we are sorta going introspective over retrospective things it is time to change perspectives and go circumspective.......i figure it is an opportunity offered to us by God to get a new set of tools to deal with a few more extra special challanges in our day....which i may is easy to say Now....when not caught or knowingly party to that bottom of the apple barrel feeling.
  • Mad Dog_2Mad Dog_2 Posts: 3,455Member
    Be patient and don't quit

    I felt the way you did at one time. I was slow and perfectionistic. Other guys were often faster than I was. It might take you several years to be good and fast. Over time and repetition, you WILL get faster and more efficient. PVC is easy to assemble, but very unforgiving.....5 seconds for a do-over. Always plot out the job on paper with an isometric drawing - a simple one. You want the most direct route with the least amount of fittings. You need to get books on riser diagrams and sketching - that will really help you. If you try to imitate the drawings, you will get a real good feel for whata good clean rough should look like. Also, always take notes and sketches form old timers or when you see installed plumbing that looks good. Having a patient boss is a Godsend...tell him how you feel and that u want to get better. After a few years, I was blowing away all the guys who were better than I, and the work better quality. Don't quit. Mad Dog you can email me if you would like..

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  • leo g_13leo g_13 Posts: 435Member
    as I tell my apprentices

    (when I have them), I'd rather they go slow and do it right, then go fast, and have to do it again. Speed is not the end all nor the be all. A clean job that passes inspection 95% of the time is far more important!

    Leo G

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  • bob youngbob young Posts: 2,177Member
    plumber

    concentrate on proper drainage system piping & arrangement. also proper support and hanger provisions. the rest will fall in place. in my estimation it takes a minimum of ten years to become a serious master plumber. to be guided by a experienced seasoned teacher is extremely helpful. the trial and error method wastes everyones time. be patient and never loose your desire to succeed. it will come to you before you realize it. nyc lic. plmbr. 44 years in trade and still learning every day
  • Keith_8Keith_8 Posts: 399Member
    my advise

    is to be patient.

    You are paying the price now for the dividends later. By exposing yourself to the different aspects of our profession you are increasing your " net worth". Nothing makes me sadder than to have a job applicant with a narrow resume. We all have our specialty and what we enjoy the most but that is no excuse for being a specialist.

    As a mentor once told me" Don't worry about the speed, do it right the 1st time and the speed will come on it's own".

    Unless you were not honest with your employeer he knew what he was getting when he hired you.

    It takes courage and a willingness to fail before you can succeed.
  • REFREF Posts: 61Member
    Hey Bob

    This site is lucky to have your input. It is great to see a veteran interact with a rookie. A good rookie I should add because anyone who can admit they are in need of help is top shelf.

    Respectfully,
    REF
  • REFREF Posts: 61Member
    A good installer

    makes a good service technician, and a good service technician makes a good installer. After all how can you really and truly understand how something works until you've installed it. AND, how great is it to fix something installed improperly and then know when you go to a installation and think= I'm not going to do it that way because I've had to fix that problem before.

    Just my very humble opinion.

    Stick with it you have a great attitude.

    Respectfully,
    Richard Fox
    still learnin' myself and always will be..
  • Mad Dog_2Mad Dog_2 Posts: 3,455Member
    I was and still are my OWN WORST CRITIC

    You know when something looks right or wrong, or if it was the best way to do something. If you have that attitude all the time your work will get better and better and no one will be better than you are. Mad Dog

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  • Mad Dog_2Mad Dog_2 Posts: 3,455Member
    Failures are people who give up....quit.........................

    You CANNOT be a true failure until you quit for the last time. The only easy day was yesterday! Mad Dog

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  • grumpyplumber_2grumpyplumber_2 Posts: 19Member


    All good skills come with time, and not as long as you would think! It is very hard to make the shift from one end of this trade to another, Heating, repair, new const., maintance, res. and comm. are the sides and top and bottom of the "box" That is a lot to know, much less be "fast" Get it right the first time if you can, and dont worry about "fast". Started all over again with a new co. my self recently, had to battle all of the self doubts that you are going thru, had a talk with the boss about some callbacks caused by trying to be "fast" He grounded my thinking real fast by telling me "pepole will pay the first time to get it done right, no mater how long, but they dont want to pay the second time." A contractor is a call for plumbing... Just finished my first near boiler piping job that I have done in 5 years, The boss looked at it, commented "wow" and the next day just "happened" to be in the area with the "fast guy". Now I'm the boiler guy... We all have place in a co., and top guns in one side of the "box". being able to "do it all" is enough of a load, fastest I aint, a "Hand" I am proud to say I am.
    Bud
  • grumpyplumber_2grumpyplumber_2 Posts: 19Member


    All good skills come with time, and not as long as you would think! It is very hard to make the shift from one end of this trade to another, Heating, repair, new const., maintance, res. and comm. are the sides and top and bottom of the "box" That is a lot to know, much less be "fast" Get it right the first time if you can, and dont worry about "fast". Started all over again with a new co. my self recently, had to battle all of the self doubts that you are going thru, had a talk with the boss about some callbacks caused by trying to be "fast". He grounded my thinking real quick by telling me "pepole will pay the first time to get it done right, no mater how fast or slow but they dont want to pay the second time to get it right." A contractor is just a call for plumbing... Just finished my first near boiler piping job that I have done in 5 years, The boss looked at it, commented "wow" and the next day just "happened" to be in the area with the "fast guy". Now I'm the boiler guy... We all have place in a co., and top guns in one side of the "box". Being able to "do it all" is enough of a load, fastest all around the box I aint, a "Hand" I am proud to say, I am.
    Bud
  • Eugene SilbersteinEugene Silberstein Posts: 1,380Member
    Practice Doesn't Make Perfect

    The old cliche that practice makes perfect should be corrected. If we practice wrong, the result will defintely not be perfect.

    The cliche should become:
    PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.

    I have known too many people in this and other industries who have been doing the wrong thing for years, mainly because they have been taught the wrong way right from the beginning.

    As long as your boss is patient and teaching you the right way to perform your job, you are on the road to becoming an excellent service/construction/installation person.

    Stick with it and continue to do the right thing. Perfection takes time.... a long time.
  • Eugene SilbersteinEugene Silberstein Posts: 1,380Member
    Making Mistakes = A Good Thing

    A student of mine gave me a sign for my office. It read:

    THE ONE WHO DOES NOT MAKE ANY MISTAKES IS THE GUY WHO ISN'T DOING ANYTHING!

    As long as you learn from your mistakes, they prove to be valuable experiences. All successful people in this and other industries have made countless mistakes and, believe it or not, those who have made the most are usually those who have risen to the top their game.

    Chaulk it up to experience, as they say.
  • tommyoiltommyoil Posts: 613Member
    Dont sweat the small stuff

    Its just another aspect of the trade you have to learn. Its good your being paid to learn it.Take the lemons and make some lemonade. It'll taste sweet in the end. Hang in there!
  • Don \"Grumpy\" WalshDon \"Grumpy\" Walsh Posts: 184Member
    Who's stealing my name?

    What is with the "grumpy" posts? Sure wasn't from me the original Grumpy! Someone needs to find a new name for themselves, and it isn't ME!
  • MichalMichal Posts: 213Member
    What I learned taking my Masters in Organizational leadership

    A major function of leaders and coworkers is to motivate other individuals and groups. (Note that leaders can also focus on motivating themselves when their focus is on self-leadership.) There are approaches to motivating people that are destructive, eg, fear, intimidation, etc. While these approaches can seem very effective in promptly motivating people, the approaches are hurtful, and in addition, they usually only motivate for the short-term. There are also approaches that are constructive, eg, effective delegation, coaching, etc. These approaches can be very effective in motivating others and for long periods of time.

    Note that different people can have quite different motivators. For example, some people are motivated by more money, others by more recognition, time off from work, promotions, opportunities for learning, opportunities for socializing and relationships, etc. Therefore, when attempting to motivate yourself, it's important to identify what motivates YOU. Ultimately, though, long-term motivation comes from people motivating themselves.

    That Lemonade will be sweat, just move on, learn and dont look back

    Hope this helps not only you, but everyone
  • Steve_35Steve_35 Posts: 546Member
    Take a god look at yourself when you're working on a job.

    You need to find if you're being picky on things that you're the only one that will notice. The job should always be presentable and professional (plumb, straight, etc) but look for spots where you're going beyond the edge.

    You'll get around 80% of your results with perhaps 40% of your time. 95% of your reults may take 75% time. Getting that last 5% may take 25% of your time. Does that final 5% justify the 25% of your effort? Only you can tell. But the thing I always try to have the guys be mindful of is if they're likely the only one to notice something it's probably not worth the extra time. It is sort of a fine line.
  • REFREF Posts: 61Member
    Well put!

    I have said for years that most technicians are not in it for the money (although techs. should be paid well), they are in it for job satisfaction. The big challenge is self-motivation. I believe with a good mentor/leader you can learn how to self motivate. It is essential to be that type of leader. Our industry is moving in that direction and this site is one example of how it is. Again a really excellent post Michal. Thanks.

    Respectfully,
    REF
  • REFREF Posts: 61Member
    Exactly!

    > You need to find if you're being picky on things

    > that you're the only one that will notice. The

    > job should always be presentable and professional

    > (plumb, straight, etc) but look for spots where

    > you're going beyond the edge.

    >

    > You'll get

    > around 80% of your results with perhaps 40% of

    > your time. 95% of your reults may take 75% time.

    > Getting that last 5% may take 25% of your time.

    > Does that final 5% justify the 25% of your

    > effort? Only you can tell. But the thing I

    > always try to have the guys be mindful of is if

    > they're likely the only one to notice something

    > it's probably not worth the extra time. It is

    > sort of a fine line.



  • REFREF Posts: 61Member
    Exactly!

    Damn that 25%. I get stuck there myself sometimes.

    REF
  • grumpyplumber_2grumpyplumber_2 Posts: 19Member


    Grumpy indeedie.... should I amend this to grumpyplumber? that would be my e-mail at hot mail, had it for quite a few years now, no numbers behind it, also have lurked and sometimes posted here for more than a few years.... and now you popup?
    Bud
  • recap

    your work day at the end of the day, and think of how you could do better, and plan what you are going to do when you wake up and are driving to the job. An oldtimer once told me it's not a mistake if you can fix it. Don't give up, this job is very difficult, but the rewards are great. good luck, Bob Gagnon

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