A contractor I once knew referred to electricians as prima donnas. Usually this isn't the case. However, I can very easily understand why he thought that generally speaking. Part of the so-called attitude starts in apprenticeship school. We are taught from the get-go that the Oregon electrical apprenticeship is the best in the nation. From all the studies I have read, we definitely rank high for sure.

Also, in order to be a Master Electrician, or "Supervisor" as Oregon calls it, you must complete four years of apprenticeship and then continue to work for someone for another four years—for a total of eight—before you have the minimum qualifications to sit for the Supervisor's exam. At this point I could have been a doctor instead.

For clarification, the next trade closest to us is the plumber. They have a four-year apprenticeship, take a journeyman exam, and then can open their own business the next day—compared to us having to wait for a total of eight years.

With heating and air there is no mandatory required school, it is an elective.

General contractors have even less requirements. All they are required to do is take a Construction Contractors Board (CCB) exam which is standard of ALL contractors: electrical, plumbing, heating & air, etc. They have to get a bond and insurance and they're done. Yes, that's right, no mandatory school.

My point is that to make a comment such as "electricians are prima donnas" is just simply not understanding my trade's requirements to be a master craftsman and business owner. Today there are less general contractors who are hands-on but do more clipboard holding.

Here is another funny story: I was working with a heating & air crew once and was talking to one of the apprentices. The journeyman made a remark in a not-very-nice manner, "He is an electrician and he knows everything." I won't lie to you and tell you I didn't think that was funny because I did.

The bottom line is that everybody wins when respect is given. Respect for the homeowner and respect for all the trades working together to accomplish a task.