When the place where I worked shut down last October, I started doing freelance construction PM/estimating. It puts an edge on my life that I don’t particularly enjoy, but it pays the bills and keeps the cats and dogs in kibble.
It isn’t consistent, though, and my current employer (oh, that’s me) can’t afford benefits. So, I have started randomly applying for jobs. The first person who called for an interview was Gulf Marine who needs an industrial estimator. I’m not an industrial estimator; however, I’ve got estimator sense which goes a long way and I like the fake it til you make it theory of employment, so I applied.
The interviewer was a man who looks like a blonde Mr. Whipple. Instead of squeezing Charmin, he was squeezing a file folder with my app and resume. In the course of our conversation, I learned that he had only been at his job for 6 weeks. He said-like this was a news flash-that bids have to go out on time and the client is the most important person. Really? Having done this kind of work for 25 years, I had a hard time not turning the hairy eyeball on him.
Generally, I would have put the interview at a 7.8 out of 10…up to a point.
We started throwing around fabrication terminology which I really can fake since my best friend (in the male category) is a pipefitter and we are workaholics whose pillow talk revolves around our jobs. Then, Mr. Whipple drew a picture that looked like this:And wrote “W8x24” next to the sketch. He asked what those numbers meant.
I had to admit that I had not a clue. Actually, I knew the 8 was the width but the significance of the 24 escaped me. (It’s the weight in lbs per linear foot in case you want to apply for a job at Gulf Marine.)
You know, even though I knew I wasn’t qualified for that job, it bothered me to not be able to answer the question. I felt strangely embarrassed and like a failure. On the drive back to the house, I did that old “I should have said…” and replayed the conversation. As soon as I got home, I googled I-beam.
All this for a job I didn’t really want and wasn’t qualified to do. I think the geek that I was as a kid is the geek that I am: I hated to not ace a test then and now!
So, I am a font of information about I-beams today. Just ask me.