Lessons from a Fiber Splicer

What does a fiber splicer do? “They do precision work with incorrect documentation in poor conditions”

Essentially we splice fiber optic cable together. (Google it. It is cool) Pretty simple right?

Well I won’t go into all the technical terms and lengthy explanations of the mechanisms behind fiber optics. Fiber Optic Cable is the backbone of our modern world. It connects businesses, homes, cell towers, and everything in between. A fiber splicer makes all the connections so the equipment can communicate with little pulses of light. They work all day and then work all night. They take a nap and work all day to work the next night again. Then they get called out on a damage because someone hit a pole, and now a cell tower does not work. Fiber splicers do so much more than just melt 2 pieces of glass together. I will be happy to explain it in greater length if any one is interested. When you browse the internet or make a phone call, think of the fiber splicer who was one of the many people who work to make that happen.

Not me! I don’t climb poles.

When I was young and at VMI, I would hear these stories about how guys at OCS would have to stay up for a day or two. I thought I could never do that. Well was I wrong.

Lesson #1: You can push yourself harder and further than you think.

My first day with Lumos Networks, December 2016, I was all excited and nervous. I remembered in the interview that the HR rep had mentioned that I could possibly work one or two nights a week. I had not paid much attention at the time. But now it was my first day on the job. I was informed that we had a night maintenance to do in Lynchburg. After working an 8 hour day, I started work by leaving the house at 10pm that night and not getting back until 5:30am the next morning. I still remember how hard it was to stay awake that first night. That first night of many, many long nights. Multiple times through my almost 6 years with Lumos Networks (became Segra in 2018), I was up for 36-42 hours. Now, I know that others have war stories that are worse and for a longer time, but this is my experience and my blog, so I can only share what I experienced. While pulling those long shifts, repairing damages, I realized that wow, I could stay up for days and function above and beyond what I had thought. I was not at full compacity by any means. I learned that I could push myself further than I had imagined. A few times, I have thought about those days at VMI and being concerned about staying up for days. I now know that I can push myself in hard times because I have went through hard times.

Lesson #2: Slow is Smooth. Smooth is Fast.

Cadre would scream this mantra on the stoop at the Institute and the “Rats” (Freshmen) would scream it back. I have used it since then in times that I have had the opportunity to train apprentices in fiber optics. To my surprise, I have found that Slow is smooth, Smooth is fast, is not a common idea outside of the military circles. The idea here is that you slowly learn a task until you are proficient at it. Then, with proficiency, comes speed. This idea can be applied in various fields outside of the military. I have used it in fiber optics in developing speed in splicing fiber. Be efficient in your movements and then be consistent in those movements. Speed then will come.

Lesson #3: A poor plan executed is better than no action.

I rolled up on a damage on Wards Rd in Lynchburg. I was the first employee on site. An auto-crane truck had his crane up as he pulled out onto Wards Rd. The boom caught the Lumos cable and strand and ripped it off the poles, but thankfully, did not break it. The cable and strand was tangled up in the boom. It was laid across 3 lanes and the intersection. Traffic was backed up both ways for a good bit. Police everywhere. Utter chaos. I assessed the situation and communicated with the officer in charge. I came up with a plan. I got traffic moving as best we could. Thankfully, my coworkers arrived and we were able to untangle the cable and get it out of the road without breaking it. The plan was not necessarily poor here because we were able to repair the damage without anyone hurt or the cable broken. However, a further delay in execution of the plan could have made this situation worse.

Lord Willing, today will be my last day working in telecom. I started in this field September 2013, almost 10 years ago. That blows my mind when I think about it being 10 years. I have worked in Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and all over Virginia. I am thankful for my wife who went on the road with me for 6 months in Ohio in 2014 and 6 months in North Carolina 2016. I have made some great friends who I will miss working along side. I have had many mentors who came along side and helped me to develop some management skills. (Still working on the people skills.) This is a big step. I do not dislike fiber splicing or the people I currently work with. It is the travel and the being gone from the family that made us take the leap. The kids don’t understand quite yet that I will be home more. The oldest 2 are starting to get it.

Megan and I are grateful to all those that have been supportive by word or purchasing products from us. We have a long way to go but God has been good. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing a huge opportunity for the farm. New products and services will be launching soon!

“yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” -Thomas Paine The American Crisis


-Jeremiah Deborde

Passel Hills Farm is a family owned farm located in Union Hall, Virginia on Smith Mountain Lake. Shifting careers from a fiber optic splicer to a farmer, this is our story of life on the farm and a few tales from years past as we have time to tell them.-

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