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talljasperman's avatar

What jobs can be job-shadowed?

Asked by talljasperman (19179 points ) June 20th, 2014

From being a fry cook to a lawyer, which jobs can and can’t be job shadowed?

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6 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I imagine all of them can. Maybe not the high risk ones, like people who deal with electrical wires and stuff.

jerv's avatar

@Dutchess_III Actually, electrician can be shadowed. Most trades can be; plumber, electrician, machinist, construction, etcetera. However, there are certain tasks you won’t be allowed to do, as merely shadowing will only teach you the very basics, not the skills required to safely handle dangerous tasks. For an electrician, that would be stuff like working on an energized panel; it’s easy to just run a cable to a dead box, but dealing with a live wire without shocking yourself requires a bit more skill.

As for those that can’t be, most jobs that rely on knowledge rather than visible action cannot be shadowed. Lawyer, accountant, doctor, most IT jobs…. anything administrative or scientific.

Take my job (CNC machinist) for instance. Many parts of my job can be shadowed. I may need to tutor you a little as to exactly how to do some things, but a lot of it is fairly simple. However, there are other parts that really cannot be learned without some more in-depth training than just watching. Try probing the solid jaws to figure out the Y offset for G512 and you will quickly enter the realm of “cannot be shadowed”. I’d wager $20 that you wouldn’t even be able to change tools in my machine (not that a mere job shadower would be trusted to operate a multi-million-dollar piece of equipment).

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was thinking of the high wires. The ones that run to the houses and along the highways.

jerv's avatar

@Dutchess_III Most electricians aren’t allowed to do that.

zenvelo's avatar

Most jobs that require some analysis or creation from the start would not be good candidates. And as @jerv pointed out, there is a difference between learning the basics of a trade to becoming a journeyman that can analyze and evaluate a problem.

That’s why most trades have long apprenticeship periods to learn the skills to do it on your own.

Paradox25's avatar

@jerv This is why there are so many workplace injuries in my field. Most companies don’t want to hire maintenance electricians or mechanics anymore, but instead go with electromechanical technicians and other titles. I also feel there are highly incompetent people involved in the hiring process for these types of high skill level, but dangerous jobs.

I got a kick out of Lowe’s, where I only had an entry level maintenance position. This meant I could not do any electrical work, despite the fact I’m certified by my state to do this, and have two degrees pertaining to this field. Most of their Mech I guys were hired because they previously worked as either diesel or car mechanics, which came in handy for the yard trucks, front end loaders, floor sweepers and Yale fork trucks. The rolling stock was electromechanical though. I would find it mind-blowing that the management could not figure out that the reasons their mechanics were getting hurt in electrical panels and damaging components was the very fact that a quality electrician requires more time devoted to that field than working on vehicles.

When it comes to job shadowing there’s a big difference between a point A to point B type of electrical guy than a true electrician. It’s also an extremely varied field, electrodynamics. Residential and commercial electricians usually suck at industrial level work. It also seems like, and has been my experience, that industrial electricians usually do better with electronics than electronic guys do with industrial electrical work. A quality electrician is priceless, but in this new era of employment it doesn’t matter anymore.

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