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I took a newbie out on Wednesday and Thursday and he was a slow learner but his reading gradually improved although he was very nervous and hesitant using the PDE.  Even though it resembles a calculator on steroids, a lot of the buttons are not used and there are only about 8 to 10 functions one has to remember.  Unfortunately, he was terrified of the thing and froze every time I tested him on various functions even after going over scenarios several times. 

When we stopped for lunch yesterday, I went over some of the negative things he was likely to encounter such as hail, rain, mud, dogs, heat, flies, old naked women, the plague and so on and he paled considerably.  Like most wannabes, they think it’s going to be a gentle stroll in the park on a lovely sunny day and do they get a surprise.  Their first experience of 8 hours slugging it out in foul weather soon brings them back to earth.

Anyway, back to newbie who decided it was way beyond him and he was too old to learn new tricks and so he bailed out.  What pissed me was that I put a lot of effort into teaching MR’s right down to a folder of my own notes, diagrams and photos and I consider myself a good, patient teacher.  Dems da breaks.

I had to finish the round after he left and a 4½ hour round turned into a 9 hour one and no compensation from LIT for the lousy hourly rate.  I rang them to let them know of the dud, and before I could open my mouth, they asked me if I could train another guy.

I respectfully (well, maybe not) declined and said they could have their gear back after I completed the round in the PDE tomorrow.

I gave them 3 weeks and they have three new MR’s trained and the schedule is up-to-date so I’ve done my bit. 

And earned a handsome pile of moolah too.

  1. March 12, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    We had our meter read today. I heard the footsteps going up our driveway in the general direction of our meter box. Xena the fat beagle/guard dog slept on, then the distinctive sound of the meter box being opened. I propped myself up in my armchair where I was studying ZOOL206/animal behaviour, to see what our local meter readers looked like, then I saw him saunter across the neighbour’s front yard.

    I’ve gotta say I was disappointed. Considering Donna and I carry up to 15 kg of junkmail around twice a week and practically sprint it for a pittance, this guy had a small satchel and walked like he couldn’t give a monkey’s. He certainly didn’t look like he could run a marathon or go trekking in Nepal. He looked like a reject for biggest loser. I want his job, I’m sure I’d enjoy it more than him. Actually, I’d like a job reading water meters. You don’t even need to enter anyone’s property then.

  2. March 13, 2009 at 4:51 am

    Enjoy your free time!
    I’m happy not to go back to work ever again, even though they haven’t actually replaced me since I retired for the second time…. nobody is doing the work. And I’ve told them not to phone me cos I gave them 4-1/2 extra years after I retired and they never trained anyone to take over so I’ve had enough. My son and DIL work at the same company now… so I could train my son to do the work… and he’d have a job for life (I hope!)

  3. March 13, 2009 at 6:30 am


    Steve – He’s obviously not an Alpha meter reader! The job does attract some strange types (be careful what you say!), and being an itinerant job, the turnover is considerable. I learnt early not to pre-judge what a person looked like as I’ve seen fit looking guys crumble and weedy characters flourish. There are amblers and there are movers and I prefer to be in the latter ’cause I’m money hungry!

    Like gas meters, you have to bend down for water meters and that doesn’t appeal to me. Give me a dog attached to my arse any day!

    Shammy – Everytime I stop work after a burst, it feels like I’m starting retirement again. 🙂

    It’s like our monthly MR who does the major accounts. Whenever he takes holidays, they never have anyone who knows his job except me. You’d think they’d get their act together and train someone else and save themselves some money ’cause I charge.

    I have a feeling you worked in the utility industry too.

  4. june in florida
    March 13, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Db i think you hooked on retiring.So you keep doing it again and again.Course the cash ain’t bad.

  5. March 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I agree with June, you’re hooked on retiring. You know DB LIT seem so keen to have you still working, I think you need to put your price up again!

  6. March 14, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    You’re right…. natural gas distribution company

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