When I started off as an apprentice tool and die maker
I expected to learn from my employer and master trades person’s how to do the work expected of a tool and die maker. I thought because the machine shop was full of interesting equipment like lathes, milling machines, drill presses and grinders that I would spend most of my time learning how to operate machine shop equipment. What I was surprised to learn on the very first day that I was about to learn how to work with individuals who had different approaches to how they did their work. Lessons in communication, networking and research skills seemed even more important to the workers than doing actual productive work. They gave me small tasks to do to see if I would listen to their instructions. Practical jokes were played on me to see what sort of disposition I had.
Developing social skills was a new challenge when you’re dealing with individuals who have never been taught how to teach or instruct or for that matter communicate. Some of the older tradesman seem to think that I was their personal butler or indentured servant sentenced to serve five or more years under their tyranny. Two years in a college program where I learned tool design was a very stimulating environment but the transition to a tool and die apprenticeship meant that I had to learn how to do repetitive non-stimulating work. I was surprised to learn that it requires personal motivation to complete a non-stimulating repetitive job just as it requires motivation to complete work that is intellectually stimulating.
What skills did you develop that you did not expect you would need?
Are there skilled trade issues that confidential coaching could help you with?