I’ve found myself having conversations lately regarding the fluid nature of service calls. For an electrician, service calls come in when someone is having an electrical issue. It can be a straightforward process, or it can bring out some interesting surprises that require some creative solutions.
The discussions I’ve been having about the type of work I do have often revolved around the question, “so what time do you finish work?” Quite often, the answer is, “I don’t know, I’m done when the work is done.”
A recent example is a service call I went to at 3:00pm on a Friday before the long weekend.
The description we received was that half of the apartment was without power. When I arrived, the master bedroom, bathroom and hallway were all not working. I asked some questions to determine what might have been the cause and to give me a place to begin investigating the issue. I started checking the most common causes I’d seen on similar calls. Sometimes you can find the problem and fix it quite quickly. Other times that’s not the case. Half the battle is finding what and where the problem is. Fixing it is often the easy part.
On this particular day, I’d started at 7:30am. So for most people a 3:30-4:00pm finish time would constitute their 8 hour day.
I didn’t finish this call until almost 7:00pm. Many people I spoke to stated they would have left ‘on time’ regardless of the state of the electrical issue. In my industry, this just doesn’t do. That would have meant 1 of 2 things: 1) calling in another electrician to take over, or 2) leaving them without power to a portion of the apartment over the long weekend. Unless there are extenuating circumstances that’s just not something that can or should be done. That’s the nature of our business.
With electrical, you never know exactly what you might be dealing with until you start taking things apart and investigating. The dynamics of how things are wired, and what issues might arise once you start piecing the puzzle together means determining a set end time is nearly impossible.
I had a 9-5 type job once. And I used to watch the clock waiting for my shift to end, either out of boredom or frustration.
Now my day is done when my job is done. It’s a nice feeling.
– Mechanical Techniques – Electrical Monitoring & Systems, 2014
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