10 Things They Never Told You About The Line Life
Living the Line Life

10 Things They Never Told You About The Line Life

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 thoughts on “10 Things They Never Told You About The Line Life

  1. avatar Becky Poe says:

    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!!

  2. avatar Deb says:

    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.

  3. avatar Steve Bray says:

    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 !!!

  4. avatar Sarah says:

    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.

  5. avatar SALLY says:

    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.


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