Faces of National Fuel: Serviceperson Jose P. on Work Stress, Safety, and Taking Care of Your Own
Jose P. started at National Fuel 14 years ago as a meter reader. Today, he’s a serviceperson who spends most of his working hours in the field locating and marking gas lines for homeowners and professional contractors prior to excavation projects. It’s critical work that ensures the safety of the community, which means Jose never gives anything but his all when he’s on duty. And, to be honest, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Learn more about Jose in his own words, including his high-pressure, fulfilling job and the joys of working outdoors—even in winter.
On performing under pressure:
There are days that are simple, but sometimes it can get really physical and stressful. You might have to hook up to a test station that sits in the middle of a field, so you have to have the right protective gear because you’re walking through shrubs and water. We also deal with high-pressure gas pipelines, which is a big deal. If you don't mark it right, and someone digs and hits it, it's going to be pretty ugly. So, there is no room for giving it 80/20; there's no room for 90/10. You have to give 110% to do this job.
Why he’s cut out for the challenge:
Not everybody wants to do the job because of the stressful aspect of it. But I’m not running away. The stress keeps me sharp. I have a family and try not to take the stress home, but it pushes me to do the job the right way every time. Maybe it was my previous job operating a press at a printing company. We had newspaper deadlines every day. I think that helped prepare me for the stress of dealing with high-pressure gas pipelines.
What he loves most about going to work:
A lot of people are in an office all day. The best thing about my job is we talk to our supervisors in the morning, we get our work, and then we go into the field. It’s perfect because we work from 7:00 to 3:30 and get to enjoy the weather. When I’m at a location for two hours under the sun, that's awesome. That's the best part of my day.
Even when other people would rather be indoors:
Of course, you get rainy days or snowstorms in the middle of winter, but I still get to be out in the elements. I get to see the city. I get to see things that people in offices don’t get to see.
Why he decided to apply to National Fuel:
When I was working at the printing company, the same delivery person would come in every day, so I got to know her pretty well. One day she had an ad for the meter reading job cut out from the paper. The last day before it expired, she gave it to me and said, "Why don't you send your resume? My husband works at National Fuel and makes good money. He loves it there. It’s a great company."
The thing that sold him on the job:
When I was interviewing, one of the guys said, "Meter reading is a tough job. You've got to work through bad weather and really bad basements. But we have a lot of people retiring, so within a year, you can start bidding on other jobs. You will be able to move up and do other work.”
I thought that sounded pretty good, and the printing business was in decline. National Fuel offered stability.
After 14 years, the thing he likes best about National Fuel:
National Fuel takes care of employees who work hard. If you give 110%, they give you 120%. If you need time off for personal reasons—if you're sick or somebody in your family is sick—they bend over backward to accommodate you. When my dad fell ill, I had just started a new position within the company, but it was a rough time for me personally, and I couldn’t do the new job to the best of my ability. So, I went to my supervisor and said “Hey, I'd rather go back to my old position and do what I really know how to do so that I can concentrate on my family." They didn't hesitate to let me transfer back. And when my dad passed away, my bereavement time was mine to take without question. They did what they had to do, and I did what I had to do. Whatever you need, they try to give it to you. That's why I like it here.
His plans for the future:
I like what I'm doing now. I've been doing it for four years through bad situations and good. I don't see myself doing anything else, but if the right opportunity at National Fuel comes up, I'll put in a bid for it, because I want to keep growing. I see myself here until my retirement, but what exactly I’ll do within the company until then remains to be seen.
On the people he does it all for:
I have two kids. My daughter is 22 and my son is 17. He’s involved in bowling, and he plays baseball. Sometimes, I leave here, shower, and go to one of his games. My schedule lets me do that. Sometimes, I go to the gym for an hour and then head back home to spend time with my wife. On the weekends, we like to get out of town. My wife will say, "Let's go here,” and we just get in the car and go.