First days can be a scary affair. First day at school is a scary affair, so is first day on the job. This is made worse if you are the timid-never-been-outside type. I had an easier time because I was.. well, a naughty boy. That’s what my parents called me anyway. I mixed with all kinds of characters when I was in school and mixed with even more naughty characters when I left school. So the first step into the real world was quite easy for me. Nevertheless, there was a sense of urgency and expectations.
My first job was an apprentice crane driver. An apprentice crane driver doesn’t mean that you get to climb into the drivers cabin and the driver, your master, will teach you how to drive and control that monster. Far from it. You are not even allowed to stand beside him at the side of the cabin while he is maneuvering that machine. An apprentice must be on the ground. What is there to learn on the ground? Plenty.
First you must learn how to unwind the massive steel cable when he wants to hook up something. Then you must learn how to safely tightened a 10 ton shackle. No, the shackle don’t weigh 10 tons, it can take the weight of 10 tons and that is considered small. You get to learn how to properly align the cable when you hook it to the crane so that whatever that he is planning to hoist up don’t tilt and cause it to come crashing down. In short there are thousand and one things to learn first before you can actually drive a crane, because the driving part is easy. It’s the maneuvering that makes an experienced crane driver highly paid.
An experienced crane diver can hoist up the largest object with the least effort under the most demanding conditions. Sometimes the job demands that he place the items precisely where the engineers wants it. Any mistake will see the whole item swaying uncontrollably in mid-air and accidents might happen and lives could be lost.
Don’t look down on crane drivers. They might be rude and crude and they might shout obscenities at his apprentice, but they earn more than a junior engineer. An experienced driver easily takes home 3 to 4k monthly. It’s a good occupation to consider going into if you have an interest in heavy machineries. You don’t need high education. Just the basic, so that you can get your license.
Like all blue collar jobs, it’s easy to learn, but had to master, but once you have mastered it, and once it is known that you can drive a mean crane, you will be in great demand, as an employed driver, or maybe after a few years, as a self- employed one. Once you have some reputation in a certain field, words will quickly spread around. Then, it’s time to think about getting your own crane or maybe cranes.