Learning to Work

We’re still tearing down the house in town, cutting up the roof in sections with a reciprocating saw so they can be loaded on a trailer and taken to the landfill.  In a town where many young people grumble about not being able to find jobs, it is difficult to find anyone to work.  Go figure.

Well, I did find a young man who would help me.  I told him the harder he worked the higher salary he would make.  After a day’s satisfactory work, my husband and I settled on a fairly generous hourly wage.  He was satisfied, but he needed someone to help him load the heavier sections.  He recommended some friends, so I asked him how much they needed to make. He said the same wages he got.  A little trapped, I agreed.

Today, the second man showed up.  He was big and strong like the first one, but he liked to stand around and decide how he wanted to accomplish the job.  Not wanting to be rude and tell him I was the boss, not him, I just said how I wanted to get the work done.  I could have told him I have been doing carpenter work all my life, and have probably forgotten more than he knows, but I didn’t.  He will soon realize there is a carpenter language that is pretty crude and rude if he works on very many construction jobs. Some of these salty old carpenters will express their displeasure by saying such things as “you’re about as worthless as a tit on a bore hog.”  And if the newbie gets offended, then it is open season on him, with the crew demanding him to do all the menial jobs until he gets back in their good graces.

This guy today just stood around watching the other man make a cut.  I had to tell him to look around and anticipate what else needs to be done until his extra set of hands is needed there.  That is the mark of a good worker; to look ahead and see what needs to be done without someone pointing it out to you each step of the way.  Or ask what’s next.  Another mark is to be safety conscious of where you are walking, throwing boards, loading your share of a lift, and looking out for the other worker as well.  I’ve worked with people who were so impulsive and scatterbrained that others would back off before he hurt them.  That person doesn’t last too long on the job site.

In frustration, I watched this young man pick up one or two boards at a time and walk several feet to the trailer and throw them in haphazardly.  I told him he needed to either get more energy or take a reduction in hourly wage.  He said he would get more energetic.  I took a look into this man’s future and could see him being in management, the kind workers complain about.  Making decisions, but not being a good role model.  Hopefully, he will meet up with some of those old salty characters who will teach him how to work.  And a little humility would go a long way.