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Does size matter?

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DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
Just curious. Have you ever hired someone because they were a certain size? Big person for moving heavy stuff? Little person for getting into tight spaces? Medium person for, well, whatever.

Long arms? Small hands? Long legs? Hmm.

Have at it.

Retired and loving it.

Comments

  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,323
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    Hi, Long ago I used to hire guys who were really smart as I thought that would help get the work done. Turned out that big brains just got in the way of the work. I found the best people to hire are the ones who really care. So, average brain with big heart was the best combination. o:)

    Yours, Larry
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    Nice, Larry. Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
    Larry Weingarten
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    I never hired by size, but it just worked out that most of the people that stayed on were small.

    That was for plumbing and radiant heating. For steam, I'd guess the bigger guys are better suited for the heavier, back-breaking work.

    I used to know a sports announcer, Red Rush. He was a big guy and smoked cigars. He would hold a quarter in his outstretched hand and say that if you could grab it, starting with your hand underneath his, he would buy you a suit of your choice. Nobody could ever do it.

    And then he would do it to you and always won. You would have to buy him a Garcia Y Vega cigar.

    I learned from that that big guys can be very quick.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    JohnNY
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,605
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    HAHA,

    This made me laugh because I had a similar story.

    35 years ago I was working as an electrician. I had a customer call me and ask me about wiring a bathroom exhaust fan. He had already installed the fan just needed it wired. He lived just a couple of streets over. So i said sure i can do that, then he asked me how big I was (let's just say I am not a midget}

    So I asked him what difference that made. He said I would have to climb into the attic and the fan was located back near the eves of the house and it was very tight getting in there.

    But I did the job so I guess I figured it out somehow
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,924
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    Not "hired" for a size reason, but I hung on to an apprentice once (we called him Lenny, the plumbers called him Mongo) in part, because he could carry full sticks of 4" SCH40 across the building and put them up by himself. He wasn't very bright, but he was a super nice guy and always eager to learn and help. Really a great employee and a heck of a welder. There would be instances where we'd have a heavy lift that would safely require 3-4 guys and/or a forklift, so while I was gone commandeering help, Lenny would get tired of waiting and just do it himself. I had to lay him off due to lack of work, but sometimes I wish I had him back!
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    My buddy, stone mason (old Italian) wouldn't hire tall guys for laborers. They called them 'long backs'. Said they couldn't lift stones all day and always hurt their backs, were always sore.
    ---
    Back when I was in construction, everybody wanted to have this one guy on their crew. He could carry 5 sheets of 3/4 cdx at a time, all day.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 843
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    My dad always said "Use your head, not your back." It was good advice. I am now pretty good at rigging heavy stuff. Archimedes taught me a lot too. Sometimes a brain IS an asset. But you still have to care.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,457
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    My uncle would not hire anyone who went to college, because he said they couldn't be trained, because they already knew it all. But then again, the job he was hiring for didn't need much training.
    I believe my father in law, a 30 year union plumber, hired his helper because he was small though. My father in law was big Norwegian at about 260 pounds, so whenever he had a job that was tight, he would send in the apprentice. With some of the places I have had to fold myself in, with my feet behind my head, I always wondered how he made it before he got that apprentice.
    When we had our store and was looking for people, my main concern was if they wanted to learn, and if they could think. Size wasn't important to me.
    Rick
  • PerryHolzman
    PerryHolzman Member Posts: 234
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    From the Power Plant Non-destructive testing world of Eddy Current Testing (ECT) of Condenser and FW Heater Tubes. These typically have many hundreds to 12,000 tubes per HX. We ECT test to identify degraded tubes before they fail to 1) understand what kind of degradation we have, 2) preventative plugging of tubes to prevent leaks and plant shutdowns, and 3) be able to schedule a replacement unit (Normal order process is often well over a year as all of these are custom sizes and built for the specific application.

    "Tony" (not his real name as he is still around and working) was not the brightest. But could follow directions, keep count of where he was in a row of tubes, had really good QA skills, and had two work speeds. "Slow..." and "Incredibly slow" if you ticked him off.

    He also was less than 5 ft tall and skinny. Many FW heaters have 16" manways and the FW Heater Heads are rather constrained - even if they have larger manways.

    "Tony's" Slow work speed was about twice as fast in a FW heater than normal sized guys who were struggling to twist and turn and maneuver inside a FW heater head.

    Any time he lost on a job working in a condenser or a heat exchanger with an open head was more than made up by the time he gained when in a FW Heater. For some jobs he just worked the FW heaters while others did the other components (It's not uncommon to have multiple ECT teams for a power plant outage).

    Permanently employable as long as he wants to work, and with any of the major ECT vendors (they all know about him).

    Biggest mistake made by plant personnel at some of the various power plants (I never did this) was to make remarks about his speed or lack of intellect... Then they got the "incredibly slow" speed; and almost all contracts are on a T&M basis and their outage schedule gets affected.

    I liked him a lot... and he worked every plant outage I ran when I was running the HX program for 3 nuclear power plant units (14 years). He found something that he was good at... and excelled at it if you let him.

    Perry
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    From my experiences when working w companies weather a full service hvac ,oil or plumbing company , most of which all work was usually renovation or retro fit and replacement jobs .i found that the college educated and those who had manger position and where getting into the business didn’t last to long weather big or small ,they always though that in 2 weeks they would be a supervisor and running a crew mean while they knew nothing about doing any thing and of course more money . I m a small guy and weather your short or tall the one thing for sure fat guys didn’t get fat by working hard . Sure I know 1 or 2 that work hard but most I ever had under my wing ended up being threw back to the sea . To myself if your fat skinny or what ever that’s fine but if your lazy and dishonest your gone . It only takes me once seeing some lazy ,hiding and showing no incentive and acting stupid and your dead to me . To myself size never mattered it’s all about a positive attitude and never taking a lazy shoddy way out or making every body else due the tough stuff and breeze in at the end . Size never mattered to me there’s a lot more that has to be positive before size comes into play like being mentally tough smart enough to think before doing and having a clear head to know cause and effect of what your doing . Following direction mindlessly is something just about anybody can do there’s enough of that out there already . For doing ac in attics I yet to meet a big guy that didn’t cop a attuitude when they had to work in the attic . But like the saying says size doesnt matter it’s positive attitude and stick to It ness that win the prize and finishes the job every-time . Doing quality work w everything on the square and level clean up and being on time no excuses is what I really look for . Peace and good luck clammy ps this is why I work alone
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,231
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    My father is not a big guy but when he was working he was the King of Leverage, fashioning straps and rollers of all kinds, he would get us to move all kinds of equipment that was by all other accounts too large for my brother, dad, and me to handle. He turned 78 yesterday and is living in Florida now but he worked with us up until about 6 years ago. He started as a helper at age 13 in NYC. I guess from 1955 on he learned to get a lot of things done by hand that we now do with machinery. His famous quote, which we would roll our eyes at frequently was "Ask a lazy man, he'll tell you an easy way." He was anything but lazy. He was a lifelong tradesman.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    icy78
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,457
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    JohnNY said:

    My father is not a big guy but when he was working he was the King of Leverage, fashioning straps and rollers of all kinds, he would get us to move all kinds of equipment that was by all other accounts too large for my brother, dad, and me to handle. He turned 78 yesterday and is living in Florida now but he worked with us up until about 6 years ago. He started as a helper at age 13 in NYC. I guess from 1955 on he learned to get a lot of things done by hand that we now do with machinery. His famous quote, which we would roll our eyes at frequently was "Ask a lazy man, he'll tell you an easy way." He was anything but lazy. He was a lifelong tradesman.

    Your dad sounds like he has a lot of my philosophies. I always tell people that a lot of the good inventions were made by lazy people to make things easier. I know it isn't true, but it makes a good story.
    I also do all of my own heavy lifting. I have just mostly worked by myself, so have to be able to do it as needed. I use a lot of lumber to get it done, and have stacked more than one Buderus on its horizontal indirect, or put boilers up on 18 inch platforms. I have had some customers want to help me, but I have also found they are more likely to get you hurt. At 160 pounds, and just turning 62, it is getting more difficult, but I just do it slower.
    Rick