The Chimney Sweep Online Fireplace, Woodstove, Gas Stove and Barbecue Shop
The Apprentice: Joe Pearson
Joe's interview for the position of Office Manager was impressive. A skilled computer jockey with a college degree and experience working
at an auto parts desk, Joe seemed to have just the right combination of work experience, eagerness to learn and amiable personality needed to do
this demanding job the way we feel it should be done. During the interview, he stated his intention to learn the business from the ground up,
eventually taking over when Tom retires.
"Well," said Tom, "You're hired. But around here, we don't learn things from the ground up. We're going to start you at the top. Of a chimney."
The next day, Joe found out exactly what Tom was talking about: he was assigned to serve an apprenticeship with Master Sweep Howard
Lopeman, where he would certify as a field-trained Chimney Sweep before commencing his office and showroom training.
What we do around here is solve people's hearth-related problems, often on the phone or via E-mail. This requires a good grasp of countless bits of
arcane knowledge, which we feel is best acquired through hands-on experience. A day's work for our Sweeps might include cleaning a chimney or
two, performing a code inspection for an insurance company, replacing the thermopile in a gas fireplace, sleuthing out a wall thermostat problem,
minor masonry repair, regasketing a wood stove door, or any of the many other services we offer. In the coming months, Joe would learn to handle
a ladder, walk a roof, navigate a crawlspace, and tool up a service truck. He would sweep chimneys, install and repair stoves and fireplaces, and
run gas plumbing. He would learn how to troubleshoot heating appliance problems and diagnose chimney draft issues. He would rescue critters
stuck in chimneys. In his spare time, he would study every article in our Sweep's Library until he knew them by heart.
Finally, with Howard's blessing and Tom's permission, he would solo.
And, several months later, so he did. Joe is now in the office full-time, learning how to help our customers our way while attempting to master our
self-written bookkeeping system (which he has already begun to rewrite).
Rummaging through the computer files, Joe stumbled across our
self-written code report generator, which ceased to run several years ago
with the demise of ms-dos. Which sparked the following conversation:
"What program was this thing written in?"
"We modified a mail-merge program that came with Microsoft Word."
"The original version. No number. Just Word."
The Chimney Sweep, Inc.
913 Harris Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225-7032
1(888)-354-6722 toll-free in U.S. & Canada
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