Wow. Long time since I’ve updated anything here.
I’ve been at ISP as a drafter for a few weeks now. The first week I was there, there were no new orders. Well, maybe a couple. But not enough to get my feet wet with my trainer, P. P was quitting at the end of the week; drafting was not for him. But, with no new orders coming in to cut my teeth on, I didn’t get a lot of practise in. I did calculations, practise drafting of previously done orders, and getting used to AutoCAD again.
The following week was, as Glenn would say, “not too pretty good”. It was a tough week. They brought in the previous person, B, to help me out for a day. B was quite helpful in getting me more up-to-speed. But I still made mistakes.
It’s funny – when you know something because of education, on-the-job training, and experience, you may look back at who you were and what you didn’t know in a kind of negative way. That is, I find it temping to do that. I look back at all the mistakes I made and wonder how I could have made them all. I feel a whole lot better about my ability (qualifications? experience? knowledge?) now than I did a couple of weeks ago.
But I know I’ve cost the company money. Yes, yes, I know – they took someone without experience, and so they must have known beforehand that it would, at first, cost them money. But … here’s the unfortunate part. The mistakes in drafting I made – some of them were actual mistakes (calculations, for example); and some were PTSD rearing its ugly fat head back in my direction, causing the deer-in-the-headlights brain-freeze that was pretty common years ago; but a lot of it was the repetition of mistakes.
You see, the engineer that was there previously, J, left and went to what could be called a sister company from way back (not really affiliated with ISP anymore), leaving ISP with no engineer. I would submit a drafting drawing to the receptionist, she would send it to J, and he would check it and send it and the bill back to ISP for revisions. Yes, the bill. Each revision costs the company. Yes, this seems reasonable until…
The time lag factor. I, a total greenhorn, would submit a drawing with the typical newbie mistakes. Ten more jobs would come in within the next day or so, and I would draft them. They each had the same mistakes! There were not corrected yet since the revisions were not done and sent back to me until somewhere between a few days and a week. So a week’s worth of repeated mistakes would happen, costing the company greatly.
Now comes the self-conscious part of me feeling bad about it. But management would assure me that this will pass as I gain skill. I offered to redo the ones that J had not touched yet so as to catch as many mistakes that the steep learning curve has taught me to find. I was told I worry too much and that, as they say, this too shall pass.
So now comes a slow period. I did four drawings for company that ISC does regular business with. Each one was faster and easier and, I hope, with fewer errors. What took me two hours to do when I first started now takes about 10 minutes. I created new AutoCAD templates based on old ones without the same mistakes repeated in them. I created spreadsheets to automate the calculation process, eliminate dumb math mistakes, and create nice, pleasant looking (i.e. readable) calculation proofs to send to J. I organized the computer files to make them faster to access. I created different file names (that still conform to company policy, though I forgot to rename one file and got shit for it) so as to find them faster.
Can it be done? Can this method of drafting at ISP and sending it all to an engineer work? H, a boss I work with, seems to think so. He ought to know – he’s a bit older than me and has no doubt been in the business a long time. But the owner is no doubt sad about losing money. Do they hire an engineer? If so, will they need a drafter like me? There was an ad in the employment webs for an engineer. Am I being replaced?
I’ve been there four weeks now. I think I’ve learned a lot and improved a lot. But, still, the feeling of feeling bad still makes me feel bad. It’s not caused by the people there. They’re all great people – everyone, I’m pretty sure.
Or … is it … just me? I’ll take H‘s advice – don’t worry about it – just do my job.