Play the Ball Where the Monkey Drops It

The minister of the church Mary Anne and I attend opened his sermon the other week by relating a story from Gregory K. Jones’ book about India back when the country was a colony of England. Many English people lived in India — businessmen, military personnel, etc. — and they longed for some of the conveniences of dear ole England. So golf courses were built, beautiful golf courses, with nice green, grassy fairways and trees along the fairways. A problem soon arose. Monkeys lived in those trees along the fairways. Monkeys, being very curious animals, would come down out of the trees whenever a golf ball came bouncing by and pick the ball up and scurry back to the trees, dropping the ball in the rough or beside one of the trees away from the green. Sometimes, when a ball would land in the trees, the monkey would pick it up and drop in a very nice place on the fairway. The people tried many different ways to solve the problem. They built fences but the monkeys would just climb over. They trapped the monkeys and relocated them far from the golf course, but others would soon take their place. Finally a rule was made — Play the Ball Where the Monkey Drops It.

As you could surmise, some of the golfers, those that hit their drives into the trees, were very happy; but those good golfers that drove straight down the fairway, were not so happy at all. Some were lucky, others were not so lucky.

What, you may ask, have the monkeys to do with IAEI? Just this, we should not base our careers on luck or wherever the monkey drops the ball. One should be constantly improving oneself, and that is where IAEI can help you — by improving from where you play the ball. IAEI helps you stay current, connected, marketable, and associated.

IAEI helps you stay current by offering seminars on many different topics. These seminars are led by some of the most knowledgeable instructors in the electrical training field. Section, chapter, and division meetings are excellent sources of up-to-date information that will keep you current in this fast and ever-changing electrical profession. The monkey keeps changing the place where the ball drops. The Code keeps changing every three years so you must stay current in order to stay on top of your game.

You stay connected by attending your section, chapter, and division meetings. Networking with others makes possible many advantages, including different ways of looking at and doing your job. Many times one learns a better way of doing the job just by talking with one’s contemporaries.

By becoming certified in your profession, you become more marketable. You have proven to others that you have accomplished the necessary requirements to call yourself inspector, contractor, or engineer. IAEI provides two ways to be certified as an inspector. More and more jurisdictions are requiring their people to be certified and maintain their certification by continuing education.

What better way to be associated than by being a member, an active member, of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors? By using the tools provided by this association, you will be able to play through and win the game, no matter where the monkey drops the ball.

May is Electrical Safety Month. Electrical safety is important all the time; but this month, emphasis is placed on safety in the use of electricity as well as on safety in the installation and maintenance of electrical systems. Safety in the work environment is certainly one place where we want to be cognizant of where the monkey has dropped the ball. IAEI joins with the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi) to promote year-round electrical safety awareness. ESFi has material and programs available to promote electrical safety and educate us all on the hazards involved with the use of electrical products and electricity itself.

Stay current, stay connected, stay marketable, and stay associated so that you can play that ball wherever that monkey drops it or at least know how to get a better lie.

James W. Carpenter
Former IAEI CEO and Executive Director, and Editor-in-Chief for the IAEI News, James Carpenter was previously the chief electrical engineer, state electrical inspector for the Engineering Division of the Office of State Fire Marshal, North Carolina Department of Insurance. He had been with the department for twenty years, with twenty years electrical experience prior to coming to the state. He was a member of CMP-2 from 1987 to 2002 and was chairman for the last three cycles. He has been a member of IAEI since 1972. He was also a member of NFPA and is serving as the TCC chair and on the Standards Council. He was on the UL Electrical Council.