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Jun 17, 2021

Playing In Traffic

When they first started building traffic intersections, they used this. but now most cities like Washington D.C use bucket trucks and this is how I started my apprenticeship at M.C Dean, INC.

I first did my time pulling and installing cable for down lights and signals. Then after about 2yrs I finally got my shot to be on the Tech crew and spent a year learning on my own how to fix and later upgrade the complicated traffic systems. We were supposed to be taught by the lead techs, but they were afraid we (the Helpers) would take their spot. They would tell us to stay in the van anytime it was cabinet work other than a knockdown needed to be done. I acted like I didn’t care because I got paid the same either way. Soon the big boss found out what was going on and told the lead techs that if their Helper were asked a question and they didn’t know the Lead Tech would get in trouble (dock pay, suspension etc.) One of the Black Lead Techs-the one who I first worked with on my very first day. He tried to say I didn’t know anything and didn’t want to learn. Big Boss man turned to me and asked me a bunch of questions even ones the only the lead techs should know since they were sent away for an intensive week of training. I answered every single one of them correctly. When I saw how the lead techs were doing the Helpers, I made it my point to learn on my own. I would go to ones who fixed the broken equipment that we brought back. I went to the supervisors of the lead techs and asked to read any material I could related to the classified traffic cabinets.

When the lead techs couldn’t fix something, they would call the supervisor out and I would ask questions and watch everything he did with eagle like eyes.They Big Boss wasn’t surprised because he saw me coming in early or staying late to train myself. Shortly after that I was put with one of the best lead techs from Romania. He was a tough nut to crack because he believed the rumors that the other lead tech spread about me on my first day on the job. However, he quickly changed his mind and taught me a ton of stuff! I soon became his most requested helper and there wasn’t a problem I couldn’t fix. Soon with his backing I became a back up lead tech and made mad overtime filling in. With a success rate better than most of the formally trained techs I became a unofficial lead-I couldn’t become an official lead tech until I went away for training. I got so good I would be given the latest computers and updates by the head tech supervisor himself and he was always so don’t tell the other techs I got the latest toys since they would get jealous and complain. When I was ready to give up on my dream ofbeing a regular electrician let alone a Master Electrician and pursue become a certified Traffic Tech, I was fired. All those doubles andsometimes triple shifts I was pulling came back to hunt me. Their flawed timeclock would give me points when I didn’t clock out on my regular shift since I was working overtime at their request and when the supervisors found out about the time clock error, it was to late. Despite the Big Boss man and the tech supervisor calling corporate to fight for me it was a lost cause. My points were taken away then put back because to much time had passed since they were on my permanent record. A lot of employees were fired that week all over the United States because of that one error.Thus ended my time at M.C. Dean/TSG of Washington D.C.


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