3 “Dirty” Electrical Jobs: Are People With the Dirtiest Jobs the Most Successful?

June 24, 2014 at 8:37 pm  •  Posted in Construction  •  0 Comments

As I mentioned in the blog post A Career in Construction: Celebrating CTE Month, you built your career from the ground up, and you didn’t do it by reading a textbook. You got your hands dirty, and you worked hard. For electrical contractors in commercial and residential construction, the rewards are great and the future is bright.

Are people with the dirtiest jobs the most successful? Mike Rowe, who hosted Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” thinks so. From electrical linemen to steel workers, he’s spent countless hours profiling the hardworking American laborers who earn a living by getting their hands dirty. He thinks dirty hands are a symbol of a job well done. Stephen Samaniego of @CNNMoney interviewed Mike Rowe to get the “dirt” on dirty jobs. Mike said:

“Dirt used to be a badge of honor. Dirt used to look like work. But we’ve scrubbed the dirt off the face of work, and consequently we’ve created this suspicion of anything that’s too dirty.”

3 Dirty Electrical Jobs that Pay

1. Electrician

Without electricians, we’d spend our nights huddled together playing cards by candlelight. Electricians juggle electrical and building code while reading blueprints, solving complex math problems, and installing electrical systems. After extensive training, most electricians are qualified to choose among a variety of work environments like construction, electrical maintenance, residential, or commercial. Experienced electricians climb the ranks into more senior roles like project manager, superintendent, or supervisor.

Electrocution, and any injury on the job, is no laughing matter. If you’re clumsy or accident prone, you may want to consider a different career. While you’re at it, you might want to re-read my blog post on job-site safety: OSHA’s “Fatal Four” Safety Hazards: Job-Site Safety (Part 1). It’s not the easiest job in the world, but if you’re up for the challenge, it’s a career full of rewards.

2. Electrical Lineman

All it takes is five minutes in the dark during a power outage to realize how much we rely on electricity. Electrical linemen are the unsung heroes that power our world of modern convenience. Typically, they spend their days installing and repairing cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems, or putting up poles and transmission towers. Before picking up their toolbox, electrical linemen need the training and physical stamina to meet the demands of the job.

The day-to-day job description varies: One day could be spent climbing up poles or using truck-mounted buckets to access equipment, and the next could be spent knee-deep in dirt digging holes, using augers, setting poles, or using cranes and power equipment. It’s not a low-stress (or dirt-free) job, but it can be rewarding for those willing and able to do the job.

Click here to watch Mike Rowe help a crew of electrical contractors replace an old wooden power pole with a new metal one on Jelm Mountain in Wyoming.

3. Electrical Project Manager

In this job, you won’t spend your day wading ankle-deep in mud. In this case, the “dirt” is in the details. Electrical project managers work on the frontline and behind the scenes to keep electrical projects running smoothly. On an average day, electrical project managers roll up their sleeves to interpret technical statements of work and design documentation related to budgeting, procurement, and project planning. The job requires working with documentation like submittals and purchase orders. When it comes to maximizing resources and optimizing budgets, electrical project managers are a key cog in the wheel.

Take-Home Lesson

To sum it all up, a college or university degree isn’t the only road to success. As Mike Rowe says, “The idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane.”

Over to You:

What do you think? Are people with the dirtiest jobs the most successful? Join the conversation by posting a comment below or chatting with us on Twitter @GraybarESP.


Todd Reed, National Market ManagerAbout The Author
Todd Reed, National Market Manager

Husband to a professionally-licensed architectural engineer and lighting designer, and son-in-law to an electrician, Todd knows the importance of efficiency, safety, and productivity for electrical contractors. Todd is a seasoned professional, with 5 years’ experience within a family-owned distribution business, and 10 years as a Graybar employee. As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd’s goal is to find the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.

Sources & Credits
CNN Money Cleaning up ‘Dirty Jobs’

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