How to succeed every day on the job
Congratulations, you have made it into an apprenticeship program! This is the first step into a lifelong fulfilling career. Sometimes it can feel as though the pressure is on now to excel on the jobsite and prove your worth, especially if you had to work hard to get into the apprenticeship. This article will help give you tips and tricks for succeeding on the job and set you up for becoming apprentice of the year!
I can always see how quickly I need to check in on an apprentice after assigning them on a task based on one simple metric; how many questions they asked. It is one of the most crucial aspects of learning how to succeed in this trade, and I can not stress this enough. Because this trade is one where you learn on the job, you’re not expected to know how to do things ahead of time.
Anytime you’re given a task, make sure you understand fully what it is you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. Ask as many questions as needed until you fully comprehend the task at hand. This is expected of you. You will not learn if you do not ask questions. When you make mistakes, and you will make mistakes, own them, fix them, and find out how to avoid them in the future. A large part of the construction trades is learning a bunch of ways on how not to do things.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”Thomas A. Edison
Show up everyday, on time.
I’m not sure what it is, but often apprentices are notorious for showing up late. If you can prove that you can show up every day, on time and be ready to work, people WILL notice. Construction is an industry where you need to be punctual; start times are strict and deadlines need to be met. This is not an office setting where you have a generous window of time of when you can show up and leave.
If the jobsite starts at 6am, you need to be there ready to go at 6am. Not driving in at 6am. Ready to go. Personally, I enjoy arriving about 20 minutes early. This gives me plenty of time to settle in, finish my coffee and wake up. And if I forget something at home and have to turn back, I can still make it on time.
Have your proper tools!
Most apprenticeship programs will have a specific tool list that you are responsible for buying and bringing to the jobsite. If you have not gotten your tools yet or want professionally hand picked tool set, you can check out our Start Tool Kit below!
Stay off your phone!
Another thing apprentices are notorious for is playing on their phones all day. Construction is very production oriented, and constantly texting or TikTok-ing gets in the way of that. People will notice as well, and you don’t want that reputation. If you have to be on your phone, make a call, send a text, and you’re aware of it ahead of time, just let your foreman know.
Have a good attitude
Having a good attitude, goes a LONG way. It’s very easy to get cynical on the job, but it’s not conducive to a health jobsite. Asking questions, volunteering for new tasks, and not complaining are all hallmarks of a quality apprentice. Journeymen will start to request to work with you, you’ll get better reviews, and you’ll succeed upwards.
As you’re doing a task, clean. When you’re finished with a task, clean up. When you have nothing to do, CLEAN. Job sites get dirty really fast. It is up to everyone to clean up after themselves to prevent a messy jobsite. If you find yourself between tasks and nothing to do, start cleaning and organizing the material. Get it ready for the next task. There’s always something that can be cleaned up and organized.
Construction can be a fast paced environment, and you should act like it. When you’re on the job, your normal walking pace is now a brisk walking pace. This not only makes you more productive, but it gives the appearance you are working faster and are more engaged. People can and will take notice when you’re dragging your feet.
Carry a notepad.
Think of questions? Write them down. Given multiple tasks? Write them down. Told to get material? Write it all down. Don’t be the guy or girl that goes all the way to the container and back and forgets one thing.