This article is about the downfalls of the utility locating job and industry, and why I left after 20 years. My background is in locating utilities in a large city in upstate New York, including water, sewer, sanitary, sewer, drainage, and electrical lines.
First of all, let me say I think 20 years is too long to be in the utility locator job, so I saw another opportunity within my company and took it due to the high stress and fast pace of the utility locating job. Recently our city bought all the street lighting in the area from National Grid, and that was added onto my duties which were already numerous and time consuming. It seems like each city and town is growing and where there is an open lot or vacant land, a developer is ready to put up houses or commercial properties.
So if you need a job, there is plenty of work in the utility locating industry. However, from my viewpoint, it was conducive to burn out. High ticket volume in the elements of upstate New York for at least six months are contributing factors also. It was a great job for six months out of the year, but when the cold weather and snow hits your area, it presents lots of other challenges, including, frozen spray paint Frozen equipment, slipping on ice, getting wet feet from walking through snow banks, and digging up water valves and water shut offs, catch basins and fire, hydrants and sewer manholes.
Other downfalls include contractors, calling in large road jobs, and never completing the work or even starting the work, and then six months later, calling in the same ticket again. Then when emergencies arise, you have to drop everything and go across town for a water break, a hit utility pole, or a gas leak and locate that within two hours!
These are just some of the downfalls of the utility locating industry. Some of the good things are the freedom of the job not being micromanaged, but the cons definitely outweigh the pros in my opinion. Hope this article was helpful.
Mark has been in the damage prevention industry for over 20 years, and is also an accomplished cartoonist with a YouTube channel. We asked him to write an article after watching his latest video on why he left the profession. You can follow him at the links below:
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