Has anyone ever had someone on there crew that …..well simply put, just shouldn’t be there?
few years ago, kid shows up (19) has his new tool belt still in the plastic bag from the store he bought it at. Oh boy, here we go I recall thinking. My boss at the time gets him started pulling off braces from the main floor wall framing…. and he’s on is way to in the marvelous world of new home construction…..or so we (my boss) had hoped.
Fortunately for me, I was now running smaller jobs on a frequent basis and although our crew of 8 could keep busy on most of the large houses, it was I that usually had ( I’ll call him) Bob as one of my crew when we split up.
1st off, the kid stayed with us ( and wasn’t fired) for over a year. I think when he thought he deserved a raise, that was the beginning of the end. Bob was a fun guy to have around, very personable and was always 1st on the crew to know the names of the HO and get on a 1st name basis with them. he liked his work and tried hard and had a good attitude….these were the sole reasons he stayed with us as long as he did.
poor kid did not have clue. I swear sometimes none of us could figure out where his head was at. you could explain something in depth and hope that he would remember half of it. nope to much too remember. you explain things simply, so as not to overload him. yet that was still to much too handle.
when doing form work, after erecting one side of the formwork. he was given the task to place the form ties in the slots. he started where he was told, then moved to another section, suddenly we noticed that he had about 100 ties in the wrong side of the wall!
my boss told him to fix it, they were on the wrong side. then I caught him doing it again. so I said listen…look at the footing you can tell where the concrete is going to end up, make sure the ties go on that side. OK problem solved he’s got it now, can’t be anymore straight forward than that……
month later I’m on a job doing another form with Joe and Bob. to my astonishment he’s got 50 ties on the wrong side again…I’m like dude! what are you doing?! ok….he just slipped wasn’t paying attention, thinking about girls or whatever. That will be the last time.
nope. couple months later on another form Joe and I were working in a section together, when suddenly Joe burst out howling. I’m like what are you laughing at. he points across the other side where Bob is working and sure enough he’s plugging merrily along sticking ties in the wrong side again. we just stood and watched for a minute….Joe trying not to laugh too hard. Finally I could bare it no longer, I called to Bob, he look and saw Joe laughing. I didn’t say a thing. after a good pause he looked at what he was doing and clued in.
I could probably write a book on Bob and his misfortunes with us, but this post is already getting to be longer than I planned. so just couple more quick examples.
He never could learn to tell when his gun was out of nails. I would go along after him and find stuff with no nails in it, only a dimple. I’d be like great now I have to check over every thing he’s worked on for the past four hours! I’d showed up on site one day, coming from another site and noticed this. I asked my boss have you seen what’s going on upstairs? have you checked his work? he was like no I had faith that is was ok. faith alone is not enough I said. You gotta check his work.
I’m a pretty patient guy, I think the only time I really felt mad at him was when I was under pressure to get a job done, I had to get him to do something that required some explanation. So I was very carefully to explain in a way I thought he could follow. and then his final instructions were not to nail something to a specific section. those were my final words to him. I start to leave, but then turn around and to my shock find him doing the exact thing I had told him not to do in my parting words!
I went to the main house where my boss was working and asked what Joe was working on. he was working on blocking. I asked for a trade, and got one.
eventually I ended up having a heart to heart with Bob. one day when he was telling me about a job up north he heard about where he could get paid $40 an hour for framing. I said listen do you really thing you are a $40 a hour guy? maybe someday…..but to be honest with you I think you should get into something that more utilizes you personality. We had an number of talks Bob and I. He is a good kid. I’m not sure where he is now. last I heard he called up Joe and said he had a lead on a job, but the guy would only take him if he could get another guy to come with him. ( a buddy of Bob was already working with this guy.) Joe declined.
where ever you are Bob… God bless you, I hope you have a salesman job. If you knock on my door I’ll probably buy some of whatever it is.
Edited 4/21/2006 2:18 am ET by alrightythen