My First Job Oppertunity

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by kreft, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. kreft

    kreft LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,645

    My dad works for a general contracting firm as a Senior superintendent, as some of you may know.

    Well he came home today and said i can work at has job this summer being a laborer. I wanted to work for this company since i went to work with my dad when I was 5. But now that i have the offer to work for them i'm starting to have second thoughts.

    I have a few questions for you guy's........

    What was your experience like when you guy's started as a laborer?

    What did you do as a laborer?

    How fast did you advance to the next ranks? (How long did it take you to prove yourself?)

    How did you prove yourself?

    My dad said that i will be doing all the **** work, like cleaning up trash and washing the super's truck. But I wan't to know what else laborer's do. What else do they do?

    I know I won't be operating equipment BTW.

    I look forward to hearing your laborer stories.... And please try to answer my questions...

    (p.s. I'm 16)

    Thanks in advance, Tyler.
  2. CAT powered

    CAT powered LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,185

    Laborer is doing a lot of hand shoveling, sweeping, and generally sh*tty work nobody else wants to do. Expect to be the one that has to shovel out the tracks of a machine after it's been in mud or poo.

    I don't have a lot of experience with how it works with being a laborer and everything, but I know that at the local quarry you have to spend at least 1 year as a laborer before you get to even touch the equipment. It certainly gives you more of an appreciation for the equipment.
  3. Dirtman2007

    Dirtman2007 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,366

    The laborer does get the Sh*t work. In my line of work is could be anything from down in the trench checking grade to shoveling, getting tools, Ect. I was lucky being in the family I started right off on the machines and mostly avoid the mexican backhoe. I'm pretty much in charge of the jobsites now, I'll do anything from running the machines to hand work, ect. Whatever is needed to get the job done. That's why you never let your laborers run the machines, once they figure out how much easier it is you'll never get them back on the ground. I've seen a guy spend more time walking over to a bobcat and bringing it to the truck to moved something that you have easily pick up by hand to move.
  4. raschmid07

    raschmid07 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    Interesting you brought up the topic, I was just dealing with a GC I have worked with for the past two summers and breaks in school today. The company I worked with is a fairly reputable and large company back in Knoxville. I started out as a "laborer", sweeping and cleaning up trash around the jobsite. When I first started, I HATED it. Having said that, I came to understand that you have to start at the bottom to work your way up in any business. After showing the superintendent that I had a fairly good work ethic, I worked my way out of janitor duty. From there on out I worked with the foreman and carpenter, doing anything from setting door frames, installing handrails, to running the Lull and Bobcat. After busting my ass with this company for the past two summers and being promised that I always had a position with them when I wanted to work, I was told today that they don't have a need for me over the week of Thanksgiving. While I understand that the economy sucks, they can spare $350 for a week after I have worked so hard and been praised by them in the past. Keep in mind their website claims they did "in excess of $127 million in construction volume in 2007." Sorry for going off topic, but I have been pissed all day. Having said that, go out and work hard and you will be rewarded. You will meet tons of great people, many making you greatly appreciate the education you have been aforded. While this opportunity is now gone for me it seems, I think I opened another door today. I know the owner of the Cat dealership in Knoxville, and since I now have a week free during Thanksgiving, he is going to set up a meeting with he, the owner of a large excavating company in Knoxville, and myself over Thanksgiving as a sort of interview. Hopefully this means I will be entering the excavating and sitework world, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
  5. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,137

    Odd, I never started out as a labourer, so I really can't say as much, but the people that we did have as a grunt were really bad on the equipment, so we kept them in the ditch.
  6. wanabe

    wanabe LawnSite Senior Member
    from So. IL
    Messages: 943

    Start as a laborer! You will get the hang of things and figure out how things work! It is not that bad! I have done it before and while it is hard work, I did have fun with everyone else! You will know whats going on and then jump up as a operator! And if you want to have some real fun with this, find a old short section of shreded up phone cable! When the operator is not looking stick it in where he just got done digging! You will laugh so hard!
  7. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,319

    take the job!! it will put hair on your chest.
  8. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Laboring isn't that much fun, but it's the only way to learn from the ground up. I'll be the first to admit I haven't labored as long as most, I started out landscaping so I did a lot of hand labor there for 4-5 years. As far as laboring in a trench while someone else was running the equipment, I never had that opportunity very often. I always worked by myself, so I'd lay pipe by myself, then get back in the machine and keep trenching. I also checked my own grade, just about anything that would be convenient to have another guy I did by myself. I think it almost helped, just knowing that I had to rely on myself 100% and I always tried to do as much by myself as I could with another guy, I waste little time when working alone. I wish I could have done a good year of just laboring, but I think I've somewhat made up for that by doing the labor/operator half and half for a good 3-4 years. Only up until I joined the union has the laboring slowed down and even then I still get stuck with a shovel from time to time while grade checking.

    Sorry for the personal story, but take the laborer job, especially at your age. I got lucky to be able to run any equipment at 16 when I started, merely a stroke of luck that I had some lawn maintenance customers that wanted landscaping to the tune of moving dirt. Once I did a few of those, things fell into place. Working for a GC, you may not have that chance at the same age, for liability reasons mainly. I'd take what you can get, experience wise, and run with it. By the time you're 18, you'll know enough and will be respected enough for some seat time, very easily.

    I'd also like to point out that laboring is dangerous, on a heavy construction crew, that is. Residential stuff isn't too bad, but working 15+ feet deep in a trench box with pipe coming in isn't something to be taken lightly. I have done a little of that and I don't like it all that much, I trust the operators I work with too much and take their skill for granted. I did a wad of grade checking on my last job, which technically isn't laboring, but I was within arm's reach of the bucket on the 400's I was guiding. Just the way things go, but it definately takes a few brain cells to stay out of trouble.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  9. coopers

    coopers LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,223

    Bottom line it sucks A@%
  10. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    The biggest thing is don't put yourself in danger and ask questions if you don't know what to do.

    Always pay attention it only takes seconds and you could be dead.

    Your only 16 and have lots of years to go so don't do anything stupid.

    Good Luck

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