Learning, Mentorship, and Teamwork. They all go hand-in-hand if you want to better yourself and others around you. You go through many different phases in your career as well as life. One day you are the kid playing baseball, the next you are watching your own son or daughter play a sport. I remember all those “old people” telling me how fast life goes by. It is all too true.
I remember my first day as an electrical apprentice. I had gone out and bought brand new tools, a tool pouch, and work boots. I was ready to do all kinds of electrical work… or so I thought. I spent most of that day sweeping floors and cleaning the job site. Over the next few days and weeks, I would gradually be asked to do more and more “electrical” work. I loved learning but quickly found out I had bought lesser quality tools than what was needed to do the job. My boots were not comfortable or waterproof. At least my pouch worked.
My point being is, I didn’t know any better. I was a young kid starting out with no money. I didn’t know the first thing about being an electrician. Lucky for me, I didn’t want to stay that way. I became a sponge and asked tons of questions. I watched others and learned how things were built or wired. I borrowed books and read manuals related to my new field. There was no internet, google, or YouTube to go to then! I worked hard in school when that started in the fall. As driven as I was, it wasn’t enough.
I needed a mentor or people to help me along the way. I was lucky to work with many people. Foreman, journeyman, other apprentices, other trades, teachers, salespeople, startup techs, etc. Some were great and a wealth of knowledge. Some were horrible. I believe you can learn a lot from all of them. Even the bad ones usually know something worth grabbing or adding to your arsenal. At least they would show you what not to do. I always tried to learn something from everyone I worked with. To this day, I feel the same thing is true. You are incredibly naïve to think you know more than everyone around you or that there is no more to learn. Learning or knowledge is a lifelong endeavor. It doesn’t stop with a certificate, diploma, age, or job title.
Every successful project I was ever part of had one common denominator. An awesome team. I believe our industry needs this more than ever. No one person or company can do it by themselves. Trades need to coordinate. Architects and engineers need to work with the field personnel to overcome conflicts, changes or unforeseen conditions to remain on schedule. Project Managers must ensure the field has the proper manpower, tools, material, and information to be successful.
I am very fortunate to be surrounded by such a great team where I work. I am not only speaking of Hewitt Young employees. We have a lot of great customers, suppliers, and contractors that help us to be more successful. Many of which I consider to be good friends.
In closing, thank you to everyone who has ever helped me in life. I hope you never stop trying to educate yourself and those around you. Help others when you can. It’s easy once you start. Be humble. Surround yourself with quality human beings (maybe a dog too). Be thankful for all the good in your life. In tough times know you are not alone. It will get better. Nothing lasts forever. Enjoy the ride.
Article written by: Mark Spall