The first 30 days as a new crew member with Flagger Force may feel like a lifetime-ago for some and yesterday for others. 30 days is enough time to know if traffic control is for you. For field employees who connect with the job, many express their enjoyment of working outside and meeting interesting people—both fellow employees and clients. Others speak of the pride in a job well-done; the dedication from the training department in helping to prepare them for the work; the quickness for potential promotion to crew leader. There’s something in the independence of being a traffic control pro that gets people through the first 30 days and beyond.
The flagger certification class has a lot of instruction to absorb. It can be hard to remember everything the first time you’re holding the paddle in front of traffic. We wondered what it takes for new crew members to discover they’ve found a career they love and to develop the toughness required to get the job done, day in and day out. Here’s what a few of your coworkers had to say about it:
Like anything in life, learning new skills becomes easier as you put them into practice. Learning traffic control is continuous, it’s an ever-evolving industry that requires additional training—whether mastering complex setups that demand field adjustments, keeping up on the latest changes to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or perfecting how you communicate with radios—it will always keep you on your toes. Think of the first 30 days as preparation for the first 90 and then the first 180, etc. The job can be tough at times and you might feel your frustrations are building, which is why it’s important to be patient and to remember why you became a traffic control professional in the first place. The circumstances will never be perfect, because that’s life. It’s how we behave within imperfect circumstances that determines our success.
This profession is one that keeps our communities moving. It’s a form of public service that demands toughness and grit and supports all aspects of our national infrastructure. Thanks to everyone who conquers the first 30 days and sticks with Flagger Force. Your communities appreciate it—as do we.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Use your crew member journal, which you received and used during your Crew Member Development Training, as a tool to help you succeed past your first 30 days. Journaling and tracking your experiences as a method for helping you perform your best doesn’t stop at the one-month mark. Refer to it often. Here are the reference guides included in your crew member journal:
CREW MEMBER JOURNAL CHECKLIST
Here are some questions to get your journaling started:
- What type of setup are you performing?
- Who was your crew leader (CL) or advanced crew leader (ACL)?
- Was travel involved or did you ride with your CL or ACL?
- Were there problems with the job order?
- What was covered in the pre-job brief?
- What was your experience like with your CL or ACL?
- How was your client experience?
- Were there any issues with motorists?
- Were you visited by an area supervisor, field specialist, or other?
- How do you think the job went? General thoughts on the day?
QUICK TIPS FOR THE JOB SITE
Here are some quick tips for a successful day on the job:
- Arrive on time, in a professional manner.
- Park your vehicle in a safe, approved location.
- Always wear your required PPE while in the work zone.
- Introduce yourself to the Flagger Force crew and the client.
- Make sure you have spare batteries with you.
- Check radios prior to beginning the job.
- Observe your surroundings—be situationally aware.
- Watch your back—plan an escape route.
- Place your water and lunch at your flagging station, away from your escape route.
- Ask questions.
FIELD ORGANIZATION CHART
Here’s a look at how field management is structured. Have a problem at the job site, client concerns, personnel issues, or general questions? Call your area supervisor. Our internal field structure is built to support field crews at all levels and offers development at every level. Where do you see yourself in a year from now? Five years from now?