Career Story: Cable Splicing Technician

Cable Splicing Technician

Job Title: Cable Splicing Technician

Education: Northern Virginia Community College (no degree) ••

Previous Experience: none

Job Tasks: I work for a regional telephone company. As a cable splicer, I will be assigned to locate and repair defective copper wire that feeds subscribers dial tone or high speed circuits for data transmission. Often I will be assigned to work installation orders. These could be either residential or commericial and involve contacting the customer to verify that our business office has written the order for service correctly. I would then follow the codes on the order to find the dial tone (or circuit) at our outside terminal, connect to the home or business and possibly run wiring to the desired location for the customer.

A typical day starts at 7:30 am when I arrive at the company's garage. I find my work for the day by logging into my Blackberry. I write down the assigned work then I go to my truck, look at a map (if necessary) and drive to the location. I meet with the customer or contact them via phone if they are not at the location to verify the work. For repair work, I would go to the network interface (the phone box on the home or business) seperate the customer wiring from the company's outside facilities and using my company provided equipment (mulitmeter and/or test phone) I determine if there is a problem inside the location or in the company's facilities.

There are many connection points in a telephone circuit. My job is to separate the circuit at these points to determine where the trouble on the line is occuring. Once the fault location is determined, I can consult my Blackberry to provide alternate facilities or I can look at the cable drawings (microfiche pictures) and using other company provided test equipment, locate the source of the trouble and fix it by removing a wet connection or splicing together broken or damaged wires.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of my job at this time is the lack of commitment to our customers. Because my company is now offering a new service on fiber optic cable, the copper side of the business suffers. We have only six trucks for 10 technicians in my crew. We are constantly late on our commitments to have the work completed. Customers are upset (and rightly so) with the company and I am the only person they ever see face to face. It is also very tough to work outside when it is only 12 degrees and the wind is blowing.

The best part of my job is the independence it provides. Most days, I don't work with other techs so I get to drive around by myself. I love helping people and fixing things so when I complete an order or trouble, it provides me satisfaction.

Job Tips:
1. The phone company is a good place to work, thanks to the union that represents the employees. As a former officer of that union I would tell all new hires that once hired, all they need to do is be a work every day, on time, doing what the company has taught them to do, the way the company taught them to do it and all will be good.

As far as getting into a regional phone company like the one I work for, most new hires must be willing to accept term employment or a location that they don't want. All term employees to date have been made full time and most employees can eventually move to the location they desire.

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