An Ordinary Man Away from Home Giving Advice

The Great Civil Guy Search is over. Well, sort of. Is it ever really over? We hired two, one survived. This made the company very happy. Me not so much but Civil guys are just so hard to come by these days.

Oh, we got lots of resumes and they covered the entire spectrum, from entry level to rocket scientist. I’m almost serious here. One was five pages long. Holy crap. I’ve been doing this thirty-five years and my resume fits on one page. This one even called himself an expert. I have to admit I was a little bit excited. I never met a real expert.

Raise your hand if you predicted this next part. He was late for his interview. He didn’t finish his Civil 3D test. He was poor at labeling, dimensioning, and wouldn’t know a standard if it jumped up and bit him on the pencil. The man owed money to two of his references. Of course we hired him.

The good news is, he misses Monday or Friday every week and comes in late or leaves early on at least one of the days that he bothers to show up. I’m good with that. I’m not sure I could stand him for a full week.

How can you not know how to label and dimension? We label and dimension every single thing we build.

My first lead drafter would stand on a stool and scream to the entire drafting room, “GROUP, PLACE, AND CLEAR PEOPLE. IT’S NOT THAT HARD. GROUP SIMILAR LABELS IN A LINE ACROSS THE SHEET; PLACE DIMENSIONS A REASONABLE AND CONSISTENT DISTANCE AWAY FROM THE OBJECTS BEING DIMENSIONED; AND CLEAR ALL LABELS AND DIMENSIONS FROM OTHER OBJECTS.” He said other things too but nothing really fit for print.

The drafting room was a large open area filled with as many drafting tables as would fit. There were no walls or cubicles. There was a single wall phone mounted near the entrance of the room where we conducted our private business. Everyone in the room could hear, see, and smell… well, everything.

We sat on tall stools at wooden tables and composed highly technical drawings using highly un-technical gadgets like t-squares, triangles, and lettering guides. Smokers had little beanbag ash trays on their drafting boards too but this was way back in the old days. It was primitive. I may be exaggerating a bit here but we were about one step removed from hillbilly hieroglyphics on cave walls.

We drafted on Mylar with ink. No one even knows what Mylar is but that’s not important. WE DREW IN INK. That’s drafting without a net, Bubba. No move. No copy. No rotate. No undo button. But, shoot, this was forever ago. We have so evolved. We still ride horses and carry guns but we smoke outside now.

In spite of all that aboriginal screaming and primordial scratching we learned a craft. We learned to create simple, constructible construction documents. Knowing how to label is only good if you know where.

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.