My New Respect For “Nerds”

EDITOR’s NOTE: We swear we didn’t put Alejo up to this. In fact, we had no idea he was writing this post. We were pretty excited about the first two ideas he pitched us — one on buying the right boots and the other on lunches on the job site. Stay tuned for more of that in future posts of his.

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My name is Alejo and I am the newest member of the WorkHands team. I’m a journeyman pipefitter with over 10 years of experience in refineries across the continental U.S. I started with WorkHands a few months ago after responding to a Craigslist ad. The ad stated WorkHands was a new internet company designed to help skilled tradesmen find employment and were looking for an individual involved in the industry to work part-time spreading the word. It sounded like a perfect fit for me as I’m outspoken and would be communicating with the type of people I work with daily.

After sending in my resume I decided to see what WorkHands was all about. At the time, the website didn’t offer much information, but from what I was able to gather, it’s just what the construction trade industry is lacking. A few days later I received a call from James (VP), that turned out to be an impromptu phone interview of sorts and he said he would like for me to meet with Patrick (CEO) in person — I was stoked! I met with the two of them in person later that week and apparently they liked what I had to say as I’m still here.

My title is Industry Expert and my responsibilities would initially be to consult with them once a week to answer questions about work in the trades. Although my participation was minimal, it was still gratifying to know that I was contributing to what I believed was a revolutionary tool to help craftsmen find employment. We continued meeting for a few hours about twice a month until I was laid off from another job around mid-July. It was around this time that Patrick asked me if I would like to pick up more hours, I gladly accepted. My responsibilities remained the same, but I was meeting more frequently. Patrick again asked me if I would like to pick up more hours and become more involved in the day to day operation within the company, obviously, I said yes. This is where my lesson in the difficulty of computer work began.

It makes me feel good to know that they are working hard to help all the blue collar workers out there.

Alejo Aragon

Before my first full day of work Patrick asked me if I could type. I let him know while I was in school I typed around 74 words per minute but was currently down in the mid 50s. I arrive around at the “Brainasium” (my girlfriend and I refer to the office by this because I told her the building reminds me of the building in the movie “Grandma’s Boy”) around 10:30am prepared to type my butt off. My first task was to learn my way around Google (Gmail/Drive/Gchat) because that’s how info is shared and how the employees communicate amongst each other — not really a big deal — it’s pretty user friendly. Once I learned how to find my daily assignments, it was time to start completing them.

At the top of my priorities list was responding to and fulfilling sticker requests. Simple enough, right? Wrong! Now, I consider myself to be a somewhat computer literate person, but working on a MAC when all you’ve owned are PC’s proved to be a rather daunting task. I was able to fulfill all the requests, but it took me an average of 7 minutes per request, which is not what I would consider an acceptable time.

Next came entering RSS feed URL’s into a spreadsheet. This really showed how very inefficient I am with a MAC, it took me around 12 hours over 3 days to enter in just over 400 URL’s. This and editing a keyword list were the two tasks that gave me a whole new outlook on the field of computer work. ¬†After my first 8 hour day, I was mentally and physically drained, to the point where I was dozing off on the BART ride home.

Before that day, I always thought typing on a keyboard all day was easy. I always thought to myself, “I can do that. I work my ass off for weeks, sometimes months straight for 12 hours a day, in the heat and cold,” I don’t think I could have been more wrong. Sitting in a chair all day staring at a computer screen might not be labor intensive, but believe me, it’s far from easy. I only lasted about 8 hours before tapping out, and these guys put in 12+ hours a day (recently for 7 days a week). They might not be lifting structural iron into place or moving sticks of pipe around, but they are definitely working hard. It makes me feel good to know that they are working hard to help all the blue collar workers out there.

Patrick, James, Paul, Andrew, Jeremy, and Malcolm — on behalf of myself and fellow craftsmen that will benefit from the hard work and countless hours you have invested into this site, THANK YOU!

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