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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    What to do when you know more than the guy you're apprenticing with?

    I'm in an odd position of working for my family owned rental business and being the Jack of all trades. Arizona it pretty lax on most things so anything I can learn, get a certificate for or apprentice to do I end up being called upon to do which I mostly enjoy. The upsides are I have funding for any tools I need to make the job easier (savings justifies the costs) and if anything breaks we go with a standardized replacement so I'm not repairing tons of different things. I simply replace something then learn that one thing, in the case of heating and cooling it's that everything is going to splits as it was easier to buy them in bulk and convert to them as we go.

    I digress but wanted you to have some context as to the knowledge base required of me (no large commercial units, no ice machines and so on, all splits all day all the time). My apprenticing could be seen two ways, either a part time long drawn out one of observation on something new and tech support when needed or a 6 month "alright good luck kid you got this" type of thing. My worry here isn't a lack of information, it's an abundance of misinformation. I love learning from people that have decades in a trade and learned a lot from him (HVAC contractor) when he was servicing older units but he's old (and a hack in my opinion), like so old I'm pretty sure this dudes first install was using methyl chloride and such a hack I wouldn't doubt for a moment if his old truck was using propane in place of R12.

    Anyway, I love the nerdy aspect of HVAC and the technical side of it and understanding all of the how/why type of stuff. He pretty much sees splits as "new fangled" and uses a flip phone I'm fairly certain he got when Clinton was in office. So what do you do in a situation like this, when you see something an "old timer" is doing and you're fairly certain that while it will work it isn't ideal from an evac to 1000 microns being "good enough" on a 410a system to not using nitrogen when brazing "something quick and little". I don't want to be disrespectful but I certainly learn more from this forum than I've ever learned from him, he's only helpful to the visual learner side of me.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Medford, N.Y.
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    6,677
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    Don't knock the flip phone /people! Just a few months ago I got my 1st Smartphone (Android),lol.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
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    891
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    Iím sure he knows a lot more than you think. You sound confident and full of book knowledge, but knowing how to use it, when to bend it, and what itís limits are, take experience similar of what that old man has. Listen and learn. You may not find everything applies to todayís technology (and please donít pick up the hack habits) but try to pick up the little bits of knowledge that rise between, and ask questions.

    On the flip side (for example) you can explain to him in casual conversation how POE oil is hygroscopic and requires deeper vacuumed to properly dehydrate systems, and such.... remember, the technology has changed around him since the time he was in school. Itís the journeymanís job to teach the apprentice how to do tasks, be safe, etc.... itís the apprentices job to learn from him, pay attention, and it really helps the journeymen stay current if you bring forth the new information that is taught in school. Itís a symbiotic relationship where everyone learns from everyone. There are only so many courses put on by suppliers that we can go to and we donít get to go to all of them, so kindly teach us as we teach you so everyone can progress through the industry together. There is a chance he may simply disregard the information and thereís little you can do about that, but there is also a chance that he hasnít had anyone really explain why itís done, what happens if itís not done, and how to properly do it. Itís hard for me to say, only you know him and can determine if Iím on the right track with this. If it were me then I would want my apprentice to speak up with the facts and information. I like to be informed and Iím never to big to learn from someone else, whoever they may be, or what their experience level is.

    ... I liked my flip phone. Life was simpler then.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Quickly, I must hurry, for there go my people and I am their leader!

  4. Likes WAYNE3298, Mimbler, Turtleman liked this post.
  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    6
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by thatguy View Post
    Iím sure he knows a lot more than you think. You sound confident and full of book knowledge, but knowing how to use it, when to bend it, and what itís limits are, take experience similar of what that old man has. Listen and learn. You may not find everything applies to todayís technology (and please donít pick up the hack habits) but try to pick up the little bits of knowledge that rise between, and ask questions.

    On the flip side (for example) you can explain to him in casual conversation how POE oil is hygroscopic and requires deeper vacuumed to properly dehydrate systems, and such.... remember, the technology has changed around him since the time he was in school. Itís the journeymanís job to teach the apprentice how to do tasks, be safe, etc.... itís the apprentices job to learn from him, pay attention, and it really helps the journeymen stay current if you bring forth the new information that is taught in school. Itís a symbiotic relationship where everyone learns from everyone. There are only so many courses put on by suppliers that we can go to and we donít get to go to all of them, so kindly teach us as we teach you so everyone can progress through the industry together. There is a chance he may simply disregard the information and thereís little you can do about that, but there is also a chance that he hasnít had anyone really explain why itís done, what happens if itís not done, and how to properly do it. Itís hard for me to say, only you know him and can determine if Iím on the right track with this. If it were me then I would want my apprentice to speak up with the facts and information. I like to be informed and Iím never to big to learn from someone else, whoever they may be, or what their experience level is.

    ... I liked my flip phone. Life was simpler then.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks for the great response!

    I likely should have titled this differently to reflect that it's only in some areas. The thing I love about learning from people that have been doing something for as long as I've been alive is that as you said, they know where you can skimp, where you can use a shortcut and when and where to do it by the book. It's astonishing what doing something for such a long time will teach you and you're right, it's the job of the one doing to learn and use some sense of judgement on what to apply and what sends up a red flag. Spend a week working with a carpenter that's been doing it their whole life and you'll learn more about a tape measure than you knew was possible or even just how much easier framing a wall can be with a few small tricks of the trade. It's my job to hopefully bring him up to speed on these new fangled zeotropes. Though I have to say if I use the term zeotrope he's going to think I'm from another planet lol

    HVAC is interesting with an amazing amount of differences in the people doing it, it's really fascinating to observe and I love that there's something for everybody. In my case I'm just going to be working on splits but I'm still trying to learn things like SH and SC even if they aren't applicable to me.

    PS I'm with you on the flip, I got stressed enough at one point a few years ago that I switched back to one just so I had an excuse for not texting people. Sadly though, there's just too much to be gained from them so I learned to leave the thing alone and "forget" it a fair amount of the time.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Louisburg Kansas
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    4,110
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    thatguy nailed it. One of the best posts I've ever seen.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

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