Shortcuts Don't Always Work

The best (and sometimes the worst) part of safe work is that onlookers usually don't know how hard the safe tech is struggling. It all evens out, sort of . . .

A couple of weeks ago I figuratively had my head handed to me on a job.

The job was a good distance out of town, and it was to open a safe I'm very familiar with. So I had no excuse for what happened.

The problem was that I tried to use a shortcut technique that I've been successful with before. Not to bore with details, but the technique is one that can reduce the opening and repairing time for a specific ATM safe from well over to two hours on average to maybe fifteen or twenty minutes.

Anyway, my cute and fast technique backfired to cause a technical problem that kept me on the job for nearly eight hours. That's the breaks.

The good part (I guess) was that the man who hired me for the job was still impressed by my performance, even though this was not a brag-worthy piece of work. In fact, the only good thing I can say about that job is that the man got the service he contracted for: I opened and repaired the safe and installed a new lock that he supplied.

The only reason I can think of for his having been impressed is that before meeting me he'd seen other technicians struggle mightily trying to open the same model of safe, but without success. If I'd taken the traditional route and hadn't tried my shortcut I'd probably have been able to do that entire job in a couple of hours. Even that wouldn't have been impressive to other competent types in my industry, just average.

It was an ibuprofen night. After seven or eight hours of kneeling and squatting and hunching I ached all over. I at least know enough to have been grateful for an appreciative albeit inexperienced audience.

Redemption came a week later, on the next job I did for the same company. I resolved to be use the technique I should have used on that over-long job, the one I knew took longer but was more reliable. An hour and a half on that one.

Like I said, it all evens out . . . sort of.

Ken Dunckel
Safecracker -- Licensed Independent Safe & Vault Technician

San Francisco Bay Area & Northern California
CA License 001985 CA Contractor License 553337

Phone 415-203-7298


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