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headlamps and influences

Grallert Member Posts: 646
My head lamp is in my pocket. It's always on my head while I'm working. This is something I picked up a few years ago from a coworker who's much younger than I am. This makes me think of the influences I've had in my work life. More often than not lessons I've learned have come from folks older than me. Folks who have been doing this line of work for longer than I have.
One example of this kind of influence, a lesson I learned about twenty years ago, a lesson I'll never forget came from someone with no connection to my line of work. At the time I'd been doing heating work for about ten years, I knew it all, I was a whiz. Everyone called him the Colonel and he had been a Colonel long before I was born. He and I attended the same little church. He asked me to look at an issue he had with his water heater. The Colonel was a collector of everything he ever put his hands on so maneuvering through his house was a challenge. This had an affect on my opinion of the project he had in store for me. He heated with wood as a lot of folks do out here. His water was heated with electric. He had at some point asked another guy to work on the water heater. This is where the lesson comes in. He showed me the water heater and the work done previously and I had some very unkind words for the quality of the workman ship. The Colonel stopped me right there looked me in the eye and said "young man, I didn't ask you here to comment on another mans work. I asked you here to do a job." I'll never forget it. I paused and told him he was right, I apologized to him and said I won't forget it. Just something I think about now and again.
Miss Hall's School service mechanic, greenhouse manager,teacher and dog walker


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
    But did you help him with his water heater issue?
    It's always a challenge to point out some defects in an installation, without appearing to be rude about the previous craftsman. This is in order not to seem to toot your own horn, while running down the work of your predessessor, (how I wish some people in Washington would learn that).--NBC
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,457
    Around here most people do their own work, so I have got in to the habit of just asking them who did the work before letting them know what is needing repaired. It can save a lot of embarrassment when you show them what needs repairing and why, only to have them tell you,"but I don't understand it, my husband is a contractor". True story; Had a customer call me that needed a trap put on the bathtub that here husband had forgot. I got there and found he had set the bathtub directly on the drain line. You could watch the water go by. And the 3" drain line was notched in to the 2 x 8 floor joists below, one inch from the foundation wall. Not much would left for support. And, the bathtub spout was installed in the overflow hole in the tub.
    I walked from that one.
    I do like the idea of just going in to do the work, but sometimes comments need to be made to stop future issues.
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 646
    I still carry that scolding/lesson with me. I really try my best to hold my tongue. If I'm asked I will mention issues I see and I now make it a point to find the good to soften the bad.
    Miss Hall's School service mechanic, greenhouse manager,teacher and dog walker