When Did You Become Competent? - Carpentry - Contractor Talk

When Did You Become Competent?

 
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:01 PM   #1
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When Did You Become Competent?


Hi everyone,

For the past year I have worked with my father as a carpenter. Recently everything I have learned from him has clicked. and I learn 100 more things every day.

Im sure it will be another 2 or 3 years before I dare to call myself competent. A lot of you on hear have never had a formal apprenticeship and are equal if not better than someone with a certificate.

How long were you working before you were competent?

Sorry if its a strange question, but i look forward to your replys
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:12 PM   #2
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


I've been in the trades for 12 years, and in construction/carpentry for the last 8.
After 6 years I thought I was good, I've spent the last two realizing that I'm adequate.
I've got competence in some areas that I've spent more time in, but I'm still far from being competent all around.
Just keep learning and, more importantly, retaining that information.

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Old 08-19-2015, 11:22 PM   #3
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


it depends how wide an area you wish to be competent in. You can really never stop learning new things in this trade, as well as being proficient in other trades, the common remodeling stuff, if that's what you do.

If you do nothing but framing, after a few years you should be a pretty good framer . If you wish to be competent in different areas, then add on some more years for each area, ex. finish carpentry. I would say give it ten years or so to be "seasoned". Of course the level of competency will go up with how eager you are to take on new challenges and learn new things, rather than be happy with just doing certain tasks over and over on each job.

I found it was when I finished my apprenticeship that I really started learning and expanding my knowledge base, and refining techniques. I am always striving to find ways to be more efficient, I enjoy the challenge.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:58 PM   #4
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


Quote:
Originally Posted by BRShomerepair View Post
I enjoy the challenge.
I love the problem solving.
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Old 08-20-2015, 12:23 AM   #5
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


Part of it to for me was learning patience with stuff. When something isn't working, or an unexpected issue comes up, take a step back and think it over, instead of rushing ahead frustrated.

I would focus on working at a steady pace and thinking jobs out and doing a proper job, making sure you aren't in a hurried rush type mode. For me jobs always go smoother when I am relaxed, and if you take your time and do a quality job, speed comes with efficiency, not rushing to do things as fast as you can, which can affect the quality of the end result. Generally speaking about renovation and repair work here, which can be quite different than building new stuff.
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Old 08-20-2015, 12:25 AM   #6
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


Problem solving takes time and costs money. I prefer no problems and smooth sailing.

I hung vinyl and fiber cement siding for probably 3 or 4 years before I felt like I had a firm handle on it. I have been doing it for over 15 years now and I still have the occasional WTF? moment.

As for the other things I do, I tend to stay in my comfort zone. I stick with residential and small commercial glazing because there is way too much to learn in the large commercial glass wall systems. I don't have 5 years or more to become a pro in that area. Also, like I said, I don't like problems.
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Old 08-20-2015, 01:08 AM   #7
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


If you truly work to master one area of construction it will inevitably lead you into other areas. I started painting, then finishing floors, then tiling, gotta learn some plumbing if you're going to yank a toilet, then laying hardwood floors, base and case, sash window repair, glazing, pressure washing, fence building, decks, roofing etc etc. One skill leads to the next; one of the best things about being a ronin (woops meant contractor).
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Old 08-20-2015, 01:27 AM   #8
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


Thanks everyone.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:31 AM   #9
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


Competency is a good starting point. By asking good questions, and listening carefully, you will get there sooner. Once you have reached competency, the real fun begins.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:42 AM   #10
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


The learning stops only if and when you want it to
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:46 AM   #11
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


In talking to guys that just got their journeyman ticket that's usually a starting point of sorts for them. There's so much to learn past what they teach in school.

I'm currently a 3rd year apprentice but I inherited crew lead after our last superintendent left. I'm competent in some areas but have so much more to learn in others and I've been at this 5 years now.

If I have a spare moment I'll ask our regular subtrades questions. Most are open to talking about their trade. There is a lot of knowledge out there but you need to take the initiative to ask and make sure to listen.
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Old 08-20-2015, 08:50 AM   #12
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


I'd just trow 5 years out there for a number.
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Old 08-20-2015, 08:55 AM   #13
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


You are competent when you can accomplish a task to the satisfaction of the customer or owner (if you're an employee) consistently while making instead of losing money for you as a business owner or your employer as an employee...

Consistent doesn't mean you won't make mistakes...

You've mastered it when you find yourself in the position of others coming to you for advice on becoming better or more competent at that task because of your demonstrated consistent competency... this can happen sooner for some than others...

But there's always room for improvement...


IMHO in asking the question, you are a few steps ahead of others...

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Last edited by KAP; 08-20-2015 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:43 AM   #14
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


I'm hoping to get to a basic level in the next 2-3 years...
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:02 AM   #15
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?




Surround yourself with idiots and fools ..... Works every time

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Old 08-20-2015, 11:10 AM   #16
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


Quote:
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I'm hoping to get to a basic level in the next 2-3 years...

You can back slide faster than that!
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:28 AM   #17
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


Quote:
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I'm hoping to get to a basic level in the next 2-3 years...
That's where I'm at too. Let me know how it feels.
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:39 AM   #18
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


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That's where I'm at too. Let me know how it feels.
In 2-3 years, you realize it's actually another 2-3 years...
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Old 08-20-2015, 11:57 AM   #19
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


Thats what i consider myself, competent. I can and have set up a lot of square foundations, framed straight, strong houses, sided and trimmed that look good and im proud of,, roofed quite a few houses/buildings that didnt leak, had straight valleys, ect.... Erected/built/welded quite a few boat docks and some metal buildings that were quality, fabricated handrails, ect... I can make a living doing them. Been in construction over 15 years full time, part time for several years prior.

But im not an expert in any of those, imo. There is a lot of trades im not competent in.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:15 PM   #20
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Re: When Did You Become Competent?


After five years you think you know it all. After ten years you realize how little you knew at five years . After twenty years you realize you will never know it all. There is just too many trades and skills to learn in one lifetime. If you were to stick strickly to one trade, you should be competent after five years. Hopefully after ten you should pretty much have it mastered. Every person is different. Some will never master anything due to lack of ambition or intelligence . Most people as stated don't stick strictly too one trade. I started out framing 32 years ago. I consider myself competent at many trades as trying to stay employed in hard times forces you to expand your knowledge. Every skill you get is money in the bank down the road.

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