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10 Things They Never Told You About The Line Life

Linemen Rock

Posted on August 16 2018

line life

The line life is a roller coaster. For thrill seekers like me, that roller coaster has made for one helluva life, for some, it was to much and they decided to take another route.

Either way, here’s a list of things some wished they'd known about before jumping in...

1. It’s unpredictable. 

It’s not uncommon for linemen to miss holidays, anniversaries or birthdays. It should also come as no surprise when they’re called out in the middle of family activities. If a storm is brewing in the Pacific, a tornado hits in the midwest, a mysterious wind storm takes out 5 million in 24 hours or a fire burns a quarter million acres, a lineman will be heading out the door. 

2. It’s Family.

The men and women in this trade depend on one another to get through the danger and unpredictability. The first linewife support group popped up in 2008, and many have formed since, as a result of the need to surround yourself with like-minded people who understand what this life is like. You'll find that people outside of this trade just don't understand. 

3. They’re Unsung First Responders. 

Not a single person in the United States can survive without power, or so we are led to believe by the instant complaints on social media the second their power goes out. Despite the fact that linemen keep the juice flowing, they have yet to receive the respect or security granted to declared first responders.

4. People are Assholes.

Those people that we mentioned above also hit every news and company page to complain about guys sleeping, eating and just about any other action that takes them off the pole or out of the bucket. Doesn't matter if they've just worked 36 straight and need to get some grub. If they're seen at the pancake house, they're going to get crap from the public, pictures taken and posted... etc.

Any firemen or policemen doing the same get patted on the back and told how much they're appreciated.

5. No One Will Understand. 

Your family and friends aren't going to get it. They won't understand when you show up at events solo. They won't understand why you take four kids to a movie by yourself, eat dinner before he gets home and get mad when they complain about being out of power for 3 hours.

6. You’ll Have to Learn to Do It Alone. 

Speaking about doing it alone. You'll have to figure it out. There are few linemen out there who can make it to every event, family function and play date. Those first few times out will feel a little rough, but you'll get the hang of it.

7. There’s no Such Thing As Routine. 

And the minute you think you've gotten the hang of it, there will be a change up come out of left field. We've had Christmas on the 23rd because a storm was coming, birthdays alone and anniversary flowers that were ordered by a sleepy lineman five states away.

8. Feast, Famine, Feast, Feast, Famine. 

We've watched many line families get use to a 60+ hour a week pay check struggle when they go back down to a normal 40. Storms tend to come in cycles and pay checks aren't always the same. Learn to live on the 40 so you can maintain some level of normalcy if there's a famine like in 2005 when many linemen were laid off. 

9. The U’s and the I’s.

There's always chatter about union and non-union. Ask your lineman if you don't understand why there's so much back and forth on this topic.

10. People Die. 

The hardest part, in my opinion, is losing people you know. Even if you don't lose them to the trade, these guys become family because of the unique working relationship they build and losing any of them is harder than you can ever imagine.

 

Knowing these things will help you be better prepared. There are people right there with you, no matter the storm, the fb thread of haters, the family members who don't understand, the kiddos that cry because daddy hasn't been home in a week - you'll make it.

 

Line life

 

 

11 comments

  • Becky Poe: August 27, 2018

    Live in western Kansas, you never know about the weather!! Wind, fire, snow, these guys are there until the job is done!
    Thank you to the men and their families!!

  • Deb : August 27, 2018

    You learn very quickly how to start the generator, cut the grass, run the snowblower, lift heavy stuff etc. as a “line wife” . When the sh*t hits the fan, he grabs his boots & leaves. It doesn’t matter that you had reservations or vacation plans. You do what you have to do & yes, Thanksgiving can be a solo meal.

  • Steve Bray: August 27, 2018

    After 40!years in line work every detail above is true. And don’t do it totally for the money because you are a community servant and everyone relies on you in all conditions and you’ll hate it if only for the money . BE SAFE and LISTEN !!!

  • Sarah: August 27, 2018

    Not a line wife….yet. Hopefully one day I will get the honor to marry my lineman. It’s funny to think that before this life is presented to you, you never imagine that it exists. People don’t think about the power until it’s not there. These guys are hero’s, and I am so proud to be in the life. Praying that they stay safe out there.

  • SALLY: August 27, 2018

    My son is a lineman and now a GF. I’ve watched him through the years work hard and advance, him and his family make sacrifices with being away from home or out of state, whether to follow the work or storm work. Not a day goes by that I don’t worry about him, but I am so proud of him for what he’s done for himself and proud of his family for understanding his line of work and supporting him.

  • SALLY: August 27, 2018

    My son is a lineman and now a GF. I’ve watched him through the years work hard and advance, him and his family make sacrifices with being away from home or out of state, whether to follow the work or storm work. Not a day goes by that I don’t worry about him, but I am so proud of him for what he’s done for himself and proud of his family for understanding his line of work and supporting him.

  • Ronell Matthews : August 23, 2018: August 27, 2018

    My son is a lineman and even tho it makes him happy to do his job, it scares me every day when he goes to work. I pray for him to be protected and stay safe at least once a day, sometimes more. I love him for everything he is and everything he does. Lineman are definitley first responders and need to be recognized for that! They work harder and more hours at once, without a break just to make sure there’s power for those without, but are never mentioned when it was because of them that a life may have been saved, but a police officer saves a life and they’re all over the news. Think about it without power there wouldn’t be any news. Lineman are without a doubt First Responders! Stay safe and protected!!

  • Phyllis: August 23, 2018

    They are a brotherhood I never really understood that until my son had died working on the line I new it was dangerous but he all ways told me I do not work on live wire and allways told me that he is allway careful it will b 10 months sense he died doing a job that he loved

  • Pepper: August 23, 2018

    SO True. My daughters are married to lineman/ground crews. Best hardest working people I have ever known!

  • Karen : August 23, 2018

    Been my wife Life for over 30 years
    …and I am soooo proud of my hubby and his linemen crews that keep everyone on With power every day and night
    They are definitely first responders

  • Debbie Maier: August 22, 2018

    My husband retired 1 1/2 years ago after 40 years in the trade. Lucky to have had great run and now our Son has followed in his footsteps. I pray every day for his safety. I’m so glad they’ve made a couple Movies about it called Storm Soldiers. Watch them if you haven’t. They are truly First Responsers and deserve to get credit for it. Stay Strong and Always work Safe. ♥️

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