What Happens When I Become a Journeyman? Things to Think About.

Brendan Lamothe

Key Takeaways

  • Your work directly impacts the company's finances.
  • You are responsible for both your work and your team's.
  • Balancing hands-on tasks with supervisory duties is crucial.

The Role of a Journeyman

As a journeyman, you become the cornerstone of productivity within the organization. Your role shifts dramatically from merely being a supportive apprentice to a significant moneymaker for the company. Now, you're viewed as an autonomous worker, capable of handling jobs independently and ensuring tasks are completed efficiently and accurately.

You are responsible for both the quality and completeness of jobs, a responsibility that extends to any team members working under you. Every error, delay, or issue, whether caused by you or other team members, falls under your jurisdiction. It becomes essential to adopt a mindset of ownership, responding to any mishaps with a sense of collective responsibility.

Mistakes by apprentices or other journeymen working with you are still seen as your mistakes. Attempting to deflect blame can harm your reputation. Instead, it's advisable to accept errors as team mistakes, fostering a cooperative and accountable work environment.

Beyond technical proficiency, efficiency and time management are critical aspects of your role. The company's financial health significantly hinges on your ability to complete jobs promptly while maintaining high standards. The quicker and more efficiently you work, the better the company's profit margins, enabling more jobs to be completed within a given timeframe.

Balancing multiple tasks and overseeing numerous helpers or crew members can be challenging. You must develop strong delegation skills and ensure every team member is productively engaged. It's not just about doing the work yourself but also organizing and supervising effectively to enhance overall productivity.

You should be prepared to handle interruptions and manage your time effectively. Communication with builders and supervisors is frequent, and you need to address problems or errors as they arise, often shifting focus from one task to another.

Ultimately, the role demands a blend of leadership, technical skills, and efficiency. You must guide less experienced workers, fostering their growth while ensuring the overall success of projects. Understanding these dynamics and navigating them well is essential for your growth and the company's success.

Responsibility and Ownership

As a journeyman, your role transitions from merely completing tasks to taking full responsibility for every job you oversee. You become the linchpin, ensuring that work meets the company's standards and financial expectations. This means that whether you're working independently or supervising multiple teams, the success or failure of the project rests on your shoulders.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Quality Control: Every aspect of the job, from start to finish, is your responsibility. If anything goes wrong, it's on you to address and rectify the issues.
  • Team Supervision: Ensuring that apprentices and other journeymen are doing their tasks correctly. This involves being aware of what each team member is working on and making sure they are aligned with project requirements.
  • Efficiency: Completing work efficiently without compromising quality. The faster and more accurately you complete tasks, the better it is for the company's financial health.
  • Communication: Effectively managing interruptions. This could be phone calls from builders, bosses, or team members needing assistance. Balancing these interruptions with the need to get your own work done is crucial.

Impact on Company:

Your efficiency and productivity directly influence the company's bottom line. Wasting time or resources not only affects the current project but can also have long-term repercussions on the company's financial stability. Here’s how:


Impact on Company

Speed of Work

Faster completion leads to more profitable jobs.


Minimizes costly mistakes and rework.

Resource Management

Efficient use of materials and labor reduces waste.

Remember, even if issues arise due to another team member's actions, you'll be held accountable. Therefore, effectively managing and mentoring your team is essential. Always take ownership, and when problems occur, address them as collective team mistakes rather than shifting the blame.

By embracing these responsibilities and demonstrating leadership, you'll not only ensure the job is done right but also build a reputation for reliability and competence.

Impact on Company's Finances

Becoming a journeyman means you are now viewed as a key contributor to the company's income. Your productivity directly impacts the financial health of the business. If you move too slowly or make mistakes, it results in financial losses.

Errors on the job can be costly. Every task you perform must be both efficient and precise. If a job extends beyond its estimated timeframe, the extra hours translate into additional labor costs, which strain the company's budget.

Working efficiently means completing more service calls in a day. Each job finished successfully brings in revenue, helping maintain profitability. Therefore, the speed and accuracy of your work not only affect your paycheck but also the company's bottom line.

You are responsible for supervising apprentices and other journeymen. Any mistake made by others on the job site is ultimately seen as your fault. This accountability means you must always be vigilant and proactive in managing the team to ensure quality and efficiency.

Maintaining productivity is essential. Wasting time on personal tasks while on the clock, such as using your phone, reduces billable hours and affects the company's financial stability. Your commitment to staying focused and getting the job done directly influences overall company earnings.

Job Site Management and Efficiency

When you become a journeyman, your role shifts significantly. Now, you are the person responsible for ensuring the job and site run smoothly. Every decision you make impacts the company's bank account.

Understand that every task you're assigned is ultimately your responsibility. This includes the work of the apprentices and helpers under your supervision. If anyone messes up—whether it’s a missed inspection, a damaged wall, or a delay in the project—it's on you to rectify it. Taking ownership is crucial. Blaming others will only paint you as someone who doesn’t have control over their team.

Key Points for Site Management:

  • Responsibility: All tasks and outcomes on the site are your responsibility.
  • Accountability: Own up to errors, and lead your team effectively.
  • Efficiency: Work swiftly and accurately to maximize productivity.
  • Communication: Be ready to manage calls and instructions throughout the day.

Your efficiency as a journeyman directly affects the company's finances. Working too slowly or making repeated mistakes costs the company money. Always aim to complete tasks quickly without compromising quality. Every minute saved is additional revenue for the company.

Daily Management:

Managing multiple buildings or crews can be chaotic. You're often interrupted by calls or questions from apprentices. Balance these interruptions without losing focus. Instruct your team clearly and ensure they understand their tasks. Take a moment to review their work and guide them as needed.

Tip: Delegate tasks to your apprentices and helpers. If you see them idle, assign them tasks that increase their skills and lighten your load. This enables you to focus on more critical tasks.

Lastly, learn when to put your tools down and when to pick them up. As you gain more experience, you'll understand the importance of overseeing your team and stepping in when necessary. Be proactive in managing your time and your team's efforts to ensure a smooth workflow.

Leadership and Delegation

As a journeyman, your role transitions significantly, and leadership becomes essential. Your responsibility encompasses not just completing tasks but ensuring that the entire project flows smoothly. Every decision you make impacts the company’s bottom line. Mistakes made by any team member ultimately fall on your shoulders.

Table of Responsibilities:




Managing the team, overseeing quality, ensuring efficiency, retrieving materials


Learning from tasks, supporting the journeyman, assisting with hands-on projects


Carrying out basic tasks under supervision, gaining on-the-job experience

Key Points

  • You must accept full responsibility for the outcomes of projects.
  • It’s crucial to delegate effectively without selling out your team.
  • Efficiency in task completion directly affects the company’s financial health.
  • Balance hands-on work with supervisory duties.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, daily distractions can hinder progress. Phone calls from builders or supervisors, and inquiries from apprentices, can disrupt your workflow. Handling interruptions efficiently while maintaining the progress of the job is a vital skill.

Tips for Effective Delegation:

  • Identify the strengths of each team member and assign tasks accordingly.
  • Train your team to handle responsibilities without constant oversight.
  • Communicate clearly to avoid misunderstandings.

You must pivot quickly between tasks and delegate workloads while ensuring that helpers are gaining valuable experience. For instance, hand over simpler tasks such as digging trenches to less experienced team members.

Checklist for Balancing Supervision and Direct Work:

  • Assign tasks to match skill levels.
  • Constantly monitor progress and provide constructive feedback.
  • When necessary, guide apprentices to correct mistakes without taking over their work entirely.

By mastering these aspects of leadership and delegation, you can maximize both productivity and team growth on the job site.

Hands-On Work Versus Supervision

When you become a journeyman, you're responsible for both hands-on work and supervision. Your role shifts significantly. It's no longer just about doing the job but also overseeing the work of others.

Taking ownership is key. If something goes wrong, it's on you. Whether it's an apprentice making a mistake or a fellow journeyman missing a detail, you're the responsible party. This accountability can be challenging but is part of the job.

Balancing direct work and management is crucial. While you need to guide apprentices and helpers, you also have to ensure you're contributing efficiently. For instance, when multiple crews are on-site, you'll often juggle calls and questions, interrupting your tasks.

Knowing when to put on your tools and when to supervise is vital. Don't hesitate to help out, but recognize the value of stepping back to let others learn and work. This approach helps the team grow and ensures the job progresses smoothly.

Efficiency impacts the company's bottom line significantly. Your work pace and management skills directly influence productivity and profitability. By mastering this balance, you contribute to the company's success and your professional growth.

Adapting to Increased Responsibility

Once you become a journeyman, you are seen as a crucial asset. Employers rely on you to handle jobs independently, which means all the successes and failures on a job site fall on your shoulders. The moment a mistake occurs, from a missed inspection to an apprentice creating damage, it is considered your fault. Your supervisor expects you to manage your team efficiently and take ownership, whether the error is yours or that of someone else in your crew.

Managing a team means you have to balance getting your work done with overseeing others. It is common to be interrupted by phone calls from builders or superiors, which can lead to delays in completing your tasks. As you handle multiple responsibilities, you need to give clear instructions to your helpers and ensure they are productive. If they're inexperienced, guide them without overshadowing their learning process.

Your efficiency directly impacts the company’s bottom line. Extended job times due to poor time management can lead to financial losses. Therefore, working swiftly and with precision is vital. Encourage your team to stay focused and avoid unnecessary dawdling. Every action you take can reflect either positively or negatively on the company's finances.

Finally, delegate tasks appropriately. If you're managing a crew, ensure everyone is engaged rather than having helpers idle while you do their work. Give them opportunities to learn and grow by taking on tasks they are capable of. This not only improves job efficiency but also fosters a more experienced and reliable team.