Ask the average person on the street about how they envision a day in the life of a tradesman, and chances are you’ll get a few similar answers. It’s all about turning up, brewing up, and fixing up the problem at hand, they tell you, before going on to talk about vans and tools and last-minute trips to the wholesalers to buy the right parts for the job.
Sure, they’re not exactly wrong, but as anyone in the industry knows, a day in the life of a tradesman is about much more than what’s in the job description. It’s about those little nuances and familiar quirks that everybody knows about but nobody really talks about.
Until now that is.
Here, we look at just some of the things that make our industry unique, things we’re sure every Tradesman Saver reader can relate to.
Getting sent for a long stand
It’s a tradition almost as old as time itself, isn’t it? You turn up for your first day on-site, a wide-eyed and buoyant apprentice eager to make a good impression.
So eager, in fact, that you’ll do just about anything, even if it means agreeing to go for a long stand or to fetch a left-handed screwdriver.
Pranks like this are practically a right-of-passage for the new tradesman but don’t worry though, your time will come…
Pranking the newbie
Years down the line, the student has become the master. The prankee has become the pranker, and now it’s your time to play a trick or two on the next generation of apprentices.
They might not fall for the old “go and fetch us some tartan paint” routine as quickly as you did, but there’s always the replacement bubble for the spirit level or, you know, a good old-fashioned scare.
Clocking off early on a Friday
Of course, a day’s work isn’t all pranks and giggles. You get down to some seriously hard work too. Day in, day out, you’re up early and straight at it, grafting away until you’re sure you’ve done a quality job your customers will thank you for.
So after all that, who could blame you for clocking off early and enjoying a longer weekend then your office-dwelling mates?
Dealing with strange requests
Being asked to fit a new kitchen is one thing, but being asked to babysit the kids and do the washing up while you’re at it is quite another. Still, it wouldn’t be the first time you’ve been asked to do do something above and beyond the call of duty, would it?
From doing the food shop to answering the phone, these weird and wonderful requests are far more common than most people might think.
Making hay while the sun shines
No matter what the time of year, you wouldn’t trade your job for the world, but let’s be honest: it’s in those warm, summer months that you really love your job, isn’t it?
That’s especially true when you get the chance to do all your grafting outdoors in the sunshine, making the most of the hot weather whilst those indoors plaster themselves to the air conditioning.
The long slog of winter
After all that glorious summer weather, the tables turn – and turn harshly – once the winter months set in. If it’s not the slog of dragging yourself out of bed early on a dark, freezing cold winter’s morning, it’s all those rained-off days that have you counting down the days until next July.
Still, you know just what to do to protect yourself in the winter months, and you’d still rather be doing that than just about any other job in the world.
The post-Christmas scramble to keep the tax man off your back
When everybody is looking forward to a brand new year and all the exciting things that lie ahead, you’re buried under a mountain of receipts and invoices.
It’s self-assessment time again, and even though you promise yourself every year that you’ll get more organised, it’s still a last-minute rush to meet the deadline.
Having to book a week off just to talk to HMRC
Speaking of all things tax-related, is there anything worse than the hours upon hours that Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs make you wait on the phone? You only have a simple question, but the wait to speak to an actual human being can be agonising.
Here’s a tip for you: a study revealed that if you call HMRC between 8.30am and 9.30am, or between 12pm and 12.30pm PM, you’ll have significantly less time to wait.
Working for free
You’ve already lost half a day’s pay on hold to the taxman, now Aunty Joan wants you to nip round after work and “just do a quick job.”
Okay, so you don’t mind doing it every now and again, but if you helped out everybody who asked you to do them a quick favour for free, you’d never have any time to get any paid work done!
Still preferable that than working in an office, right?