“Time to fly, little bird. You’re leaving the nest.” With those words from TKO Installation Manager, Bill Moss, my initial round of installer training came to a close.

Though based in Plainfield, TKO has several affiliate locations in and around central Indiana. Additionally, our graphics installation crews frequently travel to serve customers located in cities throughout the United States. Time out of town is time spent away from home, but it’s a sacrifice our guys make to support their families and build TKO’s reputation for providing clients with convenience. Typically, out of town crews consist of more experienced installers. Besides the technical aspects of the job, there’s also a fair amount of procedure for new guys like me to absorb. Most of this relates to work orders, logistics, equipment, and inventory… the details of doing business.

Watching, Learning, and Being Led Through Example

When I start a job, I aim to learn every aspect of my position and build an understanding of the roles of my coworkers and superiors. Just as my crew leaders have supervised my progress, I’ve observed how THEY handle the daily challenges so I’m ready when asked to do more. Among TKO installers, initiative to do more is welcome, so long as the job is done right and the chain of command upheld… which I appreciate. Work hard, do what the boss says, and the day sails by.

Moving Up, Moving Out

When I first ventured out from the Plainfield shop, I was nervous because I knew I’d encounter unfamiliar people and places, but my jitters didn’t last long. The expectation was that I do my job as I’d been taught, and do I did, making every effort to minimize mistakes and maximize quality and efficiency. Don’t get me wrong — I still mess up… it’s kind of hard not to. Graphics installation is one of those unique activities in which a simple objective becomes a complex array of possible solutions. Every time I get the hang of a technique, a new surface needing vinyl is introduced, and the approach is altered accordingly.

It’s been a few weeks since I left the nest. Much of that time has been spent fluttering in awkward arcs and chaotic spirals, but I’m flying.