The First 30 Days
In the first 30 days of becoming a technician I was in training. Two weeks in class and two with a coach out in the field. The weeks were alternating so we could learn different parts of the job and then practice them out in the field with a coach.
The first week I was very excited. It has been a while since I had a job that would allow me to earn money and move up at an accelerated pace. The company that hired me was reputable, I had a friend who had worked for them years ago and she loved it.
I had not been in any technical field prior to this position. Most of my jobs had been in the social sciences. This was my first adventure in a more technical position. The first week we learned all about how to set up a Dish. Using tools again was fun. I had always worked with tools with my father and over the years worked around the house but nothing like this.
The first 30 days fly by and then you are on your own. The coach assigned will work with you the second week of training but the fourth week you are mostly on your own but he/she is at the site. There were lots of questions asked as I put what was introduced in week one into practice in week two. Week three is filled with more learning, mostly what to do on the inside and out once the dish is up and ready. A little bit of customer education and then a test that will allow us to move forward and get back in the field with our coach for our fourth week.
From training you learn what tools you will need. During training they are very specific about how to set up your belt and where everything goes. Once you are in the field every technician who comes to help you will rearrange your belt the way they have theirs.
Within days you will learn how to set up your belt. Your cable prep tool which strips the cable is always on your belt and at the ready. I prefer to keep the cable cutters, prep tool and compression tool all in a row on the outside pouches.
For the larger pockets I put as many connectors as will fit. In the pocket next to it I put a variety of sizes of clips, some for single cable and some for dual messenger cable. Barrels are in one of them as extras. Those are the things I find I always need a little big extra of everyday. The tote in the truck will usually have enough but I always keep a pocket full at the end of the day. You never know if you will run out or forget to put them in at the beginning of your next day.
As you progress those first few weeks you will learn what will be the best way to keep your tool belt. Allow the technicians to move things around for a bit, try out the layout then decide for yourself. Soon you will be able to just say, thanks but I have my own and it works for me. For your tool belt I suggest the suspenders. Using suspenders will not win you any awards in the wardrobe department but your back, hips and feet will thank you later.
Each house is different. Every customer has their own story. On the continuum of outgoing I am an introvert. This is not a hindrance in this job. Meeting people is easy and they are usually happy to see you. Usually when you go to a home it is to install their Dish system. When you do this they are excited to be receiving channels, games, etc. If their system is down due to a storm or kids hanging from the Dish, you are there to fix it and restore service. People are typically happy when you are there to give them service. Remember to always listen, give them a chance to speak and listen to what is going on for them personally as well. You might be the only person an elderly or shut in will see that day. Take the time to just be there. There is always ways to make up time. Be as efficient as possible. Move quickly but safely. That gives you back the minutes you passed listening to the customer.
At the end, let them play with the remote. When you are showing them how to use all the functions on the remote, allow them to get lost, push the wrong button, etc. This way they can see how they get off the channel they want or get out of a menu, etc.
Keeping Safe in the Heat
Use Your resources
During training they tell you to use your resources. When you get out into the field you learn that your resources are not the field booklet they give you but the phone. The phone becomes your best friend. Calling your manager once you have hit a block in your path is crucial. Try to work on your own and get through it but do not wait until five o' clock rolls around and everyone is wrapping it up for the day.
On those first few days calling into the office quickly is critical. At that point you know so little calling helps you figure out where to start. By your second week out on your own your call into the office will be later, and you will notice that on some jobs there will not even be a call into the office. Those jobs will become more and more frequent as you become more accustomed on the path to take for each kind of job. The manager will sometimes walk you through and sometimes they will send someone out to assist you with the job.