Why are electricians reportedly unhappy in their work if it’s such a good job? Do all electricians earn loads of money?
Becoming a qualified electrician is a long haul; you need to work supervised for two years more to apply to become an accredited competent person. The hours of work, especially when on call, can be odd.
- 1 What are some disadvantages of being an electrician?
- 2 How stressful is being an electrician?
- 3 The self-employed electrician roller coaster ride
- 4 The problems of being a self-employed electrician
- 5 Why is being an electrician hard?
- 6 Electricians need to be agile
- 7 How do electricians deal with live circuits?
- 8 Why do electricians retire early?
What are some disadvantages of being an electrician?
There are many disadvantages to being an electrician. For anyone who thinks being an electrician is glamorous, think again.
Some of the disadvantages of being an electrician:
- To become a recognised qualified electrician takes a long time. It can be as long as 7 years before you are accredited as competent. You can be a doctor in 10 years!
- During the apprenticeship, you will work like crazy to impress the qualified electricians and keep your job. In years 3 and 4 you will carry out most of the installation while the qualified electricians are earning more than you.
- You can be asked to work on-call, the hours are appalling, and you can work through the night and not have a social life.
- Everything you do as an electrician is regulated and can be audited at any time, bad audits by people who do not understand how difficult it can be working in a dwelling with demanding customers.
- You will find yourself on your hands and knees, struggling to pull cables through joists. You may come across rodent droppings and years of grime and dust.
- You can be up and down ladders and step ladders all day.
- Electricity is dangerous; at best, a lapse in concentration can see you injured and, at worst, in a plastic bag in the mortuary.
How stressful is being an electrician?
Significantly, everything you do as an electrician is regulated by some governing body, all electrical work in the home is covered by building regulations that you must adhere to.
There are frequent amendments to wiring, currently on the 18th edition with amendments.
Although there for a good reason, regulations can be difficult to comply with. You need to understand the amendments, and there can be so many it’s hard to keep up. How do you work as a domestic installer and then spend the rest of your time reading?
The self-employed electrician roller coaster ride
You will do your work all day. It’s your bread and butter. Then you will go home and prepare your quotations for new work.
You will produce invoices and purchase orders for new equipment like cables, fuse boxes and all the ancillaries you get through daily.
You then go through all the enquiries and respond accordingly. Before you know it, you have spent 15 to 16 hours working every day.
The problems of being a self-employed electrician
You work in all weathers, and if it is freezing cold, you go to work. If you don’t, there is no income for the day.
You bid for a job 30 days ago that was accepted, and now fuel prices have increased, and components have increased, and before you know it, your daily income has reduced by 30 %.
You are en route to your customer, and your van breaks down. The replacement parts are invariably on backorder, so your choice is to leave the work or hire a van that will eat your profit, so you work for nothing.
To top the week off, HMRC wants to audit your books! Can life get any better than being a one-man band electrician?
Forget your social life, you won’t have time, or you are too tired to consider a few beers with friends.
Why is being an electrician hard?
Many folks think that being an electrician is the more cerebral trade in the construction industry, and to some extent, they would be right.
However, the same folks underestimate the physical aspects of being an electrician. You need to be fit and agile to get the job done.
Copper cable is heavy, and although you won’t find an electrician carrying big reals of cable daily, they still need to get cable reels upstairs, up ladders. Okay, they may be pulling the cable from a rotating reel, but it’s damn hard work.
Suppose you have ever tried pulling 6 and 10 mm cables through holes in joists while on your knees you will know just how difficult it can be. It’s also tedious, so don’t let anyone convince you an electrician’s job is varied and exciting. It’s not.
Electricians need to be agile
If you see some of the spaces electricians must work in, you would be amazed. Electricians squeeze into tight spaces to run cables while balancing on roofing joists to avoid crashing through the ceiling.
When it comes to terminating RCBOs, there is never any space in the fuse board, and your fingers ache and become sore, often getting annoying nicks from blades as they trim cables.
How do electricians deal with live circuits?
Carefully. Often the electrician works on live circuits, and the risk of electric shock is real. The electrician needs to be extra careful and fully concentrate on the task ahead.
If the electrician gets a shock, it can be just a quick jolt that is unpleasant but standing on step ladders; an unpleasant jolt can become more dangerous as you fall six feet from the step ladder.
Electric shocks can be fatal and kill some electricians every year in the UK, which is worrisome for the electrician.
Why do electricians retire early?
There are two main reasons: they have had 35 years working, and it’s just time to hang up the screwdrivers and pliers.
Second, they have been savvy enough to invest in a pension scheme because they have earned more than other tradesmen.