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  1. For almost 25 years I have been a technician in the Appliance repair industry. In that time I have seen and witnessed many things that technicians have said or done in a home but there always seemed to be some sort of creed or code with techs that they wanted to learn and to repair the item in the home correctly. My history was I went to Devry for Electronics and actually got into the business from a friend. I never thought that I would end up doing this however being mechanically inclined, having common sense, and skills with an electrical meter, and also the ability to read wiring diagrams and timer schematics I soon found out that from helping a friend I enjoyed the freedom of being on the road in a van. I always read books, articles, and pursued knowledge in this field. My toolbox is not just tools, but an education in all things related to appliances at the time. I quickly learned in the field that there were 2 kinds of Appliance Repairmen… 1 you had the part changers, and 2 you had the actual technicians. Number 1 the part changer I could not understand how they did not want to trace down the problem. How the feeling of not knowing what was wrong with a unit drove me crazy, and made me learn and understand each unit I worked on. I had notebooks with notes, and repair manuals from the manufacturer and would take the time to read them. I would take the time if I was on a unit to learn something and not just slam in a part and leave, and say on to the next. I found out that there were many other technicians like me, that we traded information, that we called each other a lot, that we talked about issues that we were seeing, and how to test, and check them. We advised each other what to look out for. The information was invaluable. After a few years in the industry the place I was at was a little slow, what started as helping a friend to me became time to move on. I wanted to see what a larger company was so I went to Sears and they welcomed me with arms wide open because I was a full line tech who worked on everything, and every brand in a time were they literally just started working on things not sold at Sears and what they called “off brand”, items not Whirlpool, or Kenmore labeled. At the time when I started there I could say that most of the guys were technicians, truly skilled on Kenmore branded appliance and I learned many things from them. Kenmore was all that they worked on so a few guys were true masters, and I would work hard and become one myself. I wanted to be a great technician, because I wanted to know my job. I cant say that I am the best, but I could say I made it to the top, and they accepted me there and elevated me, it was a brotherhood. I helped Sears with truck stocks for off brands and became instrumental with the company in training technicians. Along with a few other techs we got a training program together and ran a course on basic electricity I & II to help technicians learn how to troubleshoot an appliance with a meter, with a live appliance. This is what separated the men from the boys, and I could not believe how many techs in different divisions had no idea how to use a meter (other than continuity) and troubleshoot an appliance. After many of these classes the area I worked improved with lower part usage and recalls. This truly shows the best tool in the toolbox is an education. I wondered tho, how the hell did some of these guys get by? How can you guess at what is wrong? If it was not a mechanical break, but something electrical that failed how did they figure it out? The meter, it never lies to me, it tells me what side of the schematic I'm on, the hot side or the neutral, and I could trace down between 2 points. What it told me was what was “good “ in the appliance and by elimination and method, led you to what was wrong in the appliance. It was strange I was in my 20’s teaching guys who have been doing this for 30 years in their 50’s. What I found was they were all trained by Sears, they were great at anything mechanical, and just lacked some knowledge, and now we gave them another tool. They did learn from other techs, with conversations and issues and they remember all that, that is how they troubleshooted electrical from experience or pure continuity checks, and it got some of them pretty far. For awhile we had an excellent overall group. THEN IT ALL CHANGED…. Sears stopped training a tech for 6 months, and literally said enough on what they considered lost labor hours and trained them for 6 yes SIX weeks total. Then they handed you a toolbox, keys, and a route. Even in 1 division like laundry you cant even see all the appliances in 6 weeks, never mind see the issues... and this was a time where there were not a quarter as many models. How could this guy with 6 weeks training run 10 calls a day?? Over time I just got fed up with many things there and left the company. It scared the sh^t out of me that they would let a guy loose in only 6 weeks. I had to train many of them, and I wouldn't let one go in a house if they weren't prepared, and I learned that the hard way after 5 weeks of training 1 guy. They had dropped the amount of pay, and had a crappy benefits policy and it attracted a lower skillset of workers. This new model of employee was trained for 6 weeks instead of 6 months and worked on all brands. It never made sense to me, they would put part in after part into a unit that had a service plan not knowing what was wrong. An Untrained, unskilled tech cost you thousands more than it does to train him. Think about the parts used on IW and Service plans, and then the lost revenue from high estimates or incomplete calls because he don't know what is wrong, and by excessive recalls and trying to clean up the mess. In the last few years Sears and A&E techs seem like a shell of what Sears use to be. The unskilled, and untrained techs in a home. The things they tell customers and the wrong advice and just mess they cause is crazy. I see it now more than ever, and it keeps getting worse. I cant believe the quality of technicians they had, and 20 years later what a mess of techs they have now. Sure there are a few excellent ones, there are great workers anywhere, but overall I have never seen a company do what they have done, just destroy their own reputation by letting the workforce just go. Are other techs seeing this as well is the industry in bad shape overall with training???
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