“This one time, at band camp,” is a famous line you may remember from the movie American Pie. Although the narrative, as it pertains to this article goes as such, “this one time, in residential”.
I remember being a student at trade school and hunting for a job as a helper for summer work, I landed a position at a small outfit in the city I grew up in. They did residential service and install and had a sheet metal shop on site, something I don’t see much anymore. I would show up daily and be put into a truck as a helper or observer, more of an observer I would say, because at the age of nineteen I had zero tool wielding skills or the wherewithal to ask the right questions.
I remember hating install days as it was a race to the finish and the installer I worked with wreaked of black iron threading oil, booze and coffee. He drove a five ton truck that had a pipe threader permanently installed in the back and it was equipped with every fitting and pipe size imaginable, I thought this was quite impressive. I remember he asked me to core through a concrete foundation with his hammer drill, he set it up and showed me how to use it. I began drilling, but shortly into the task the drill got caught up, I let it go and the drill body rotated on the bit and clocked me in the chin. In retrospect, I was probably concussed and very lucky that my jaw wasn’t dislocated. It wasn’t a few hours later, I was carrying a length of pipe down to the basement and accidentally smashed the customer’s window, let’s just say no one was impressed. That day, I made it a point to never become an installer, yes probably an immature decision based on my emotions, but nonetheless a scar I haven’t forgotten.
Service days were cool, I usually teamed up with a relatively young tech in his late 20’s, he was upbeat and smart and his truck was super clean. We would hit up five to six calls a day but wouldn’t rush through, I somewhat enjoyed the pace, the problem solving aspect, and diverse issues that we came across. I knew if I was going to move forward in the trade, it was a service tech I wanted to be.
The Type Of Work I Enjoy
I respect every nook and cranny of the HVAC/R industry, residential included. As for me, landing a job in the commercial world was more of a fit. Landing a job as future commercial service tech was a step closer to the perfect placement. Moral of the story, it is okay to experience different industry niches until you find the right one. Sometimes it takes a near knock out punch from a Rigid hammer drill and broken window to realize it. Happy HVACing