If you go to comfortlivingbychristine.com take a look at my recent blog, Comfort Living: College Edition, you’ll see that one of my co-horts in taming the house in Ann Arbor was Pat Lubomski, otherwise known as Pat the Handyman. His rules of doing business are gems and apply to any kind of job and life in general. I love them all, but #16 is a gem.
In a nutshell, it boils down to this, “If you’re looking for a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.” … btw, if you live in Ann Arbor, he’s your guy! (his e-mail is below)
Also, if you’re doing a home improvement project, check out the Home Improvement Trends 2011 article in the on-line section of the Media Page of that same website. You’ll find a roundup from a experts from all over the country.
Pat’s Cardinal Rules for Work:
We will do the right thing and look like we are working and act business like ,even when not doing business. Be respectful, charming , clean neat etc .
These are a Robert’s Rules of sorts …I guess you could call them BUBBU’ s Rules or Willie’s Rules.
How to Act Like a Worker 101
- Never Sit Sown Unless the Boss Says So - If you find your self with NOTHING to do , find something to do . Be Ready Anticipate what needs to be done next . or ask the Boss for more to do . But don’t just stand there or sit there . Is there a truck arriving should we block parking spaces ? Should I sweep up ,carry things to the trash etc .
- If the Boss Says Sit - Then Sit - My dad would say, not in front of the customer . This will give the appearance of ” Paying for nothing ’ Even if it is eating your lunch . My dad would say ” Lunch” He never got off the backhoe ,ate his lunch there ,and then when the machine started up again it was all over . Our customers knew we were there to work …my dad would say we work till dark and then some ….and we did . all year round all weather all winter…all outside .
- No Hands in Your Pockets - It is the paying for nothing look ] unless it is to retrieve the Handkerchief, knife , pencil or notepad you should have on you at all times . You can Put them on your hips , or better yet tools ,work, brooms , trash on the job site ,carry out stuff unneeded ,and keeping things organized . If there is really Nothing to do then we will clean out the vehicles and organize them ….YOU DON’T LOOK READY WILLING ABLE OR EAGER WITH YOUR HANDS IN YOUR PANTS …sorry
- THERE IS ALWAYS WORK TO DO - My Ma would give all us kids work all the time , she did not like to hear that there was “nothing to do” . so when we said that phrase …she would get a bucket of hot soapy water for us and sponges to …WASH WALLS ! IF we said we did not mean we wanted to wash walls , her reply was ” I did not ask you what you wanted ” Her favorite word was OUTSIDE ! that was our standing order ,no kids in the house , ever . we lived in the back yard or the woods , but home was where we got stuck washing walls .
- STAY Busy , Keep Moving … WANT THE DAY TO FLY BUY ? this is how, but … the previous should make this be easy , Your inactivity is perceived as …” Paying For Nothing “ Some of my customers will tell me to NOT bring you back . It’s what we look like , it’s just and appearance , but soon it will be a lifestyle on the positive or the negative side , so work when you are at work ,and ask for work and ask for more work . Make Work a Habit , it’s therapuetic , relieving, fantastic . The alternative is Atrophy , in mind and body . Work when you’re on the clock, get lost when you’re not . James Brown the Great soul singer had been down and out for years . He looks out on the lawn and there is his ederly father pulling weeds . “POP” , he says . The Father says . If I don’t who will ,we let go all the help . So James and His dad started to do the chores and James claims that day as THE day he got turned around and back to top . The work he said was so healing to his mind , he got it all together again .
- ALL Work is Honorable …one fella worked with me , I Had him clean the same cabinets shelves out 4 times . He gets mad and says , ” This is menial work “ You know , below Him . He’s going to be a Doctor one day . I said ,” No you won’t you can’t even clean a shelf ” How can you be a Doctor and detailed etc ,when you can’t see a glob of Jelly 4 times over . All Work is honorable , some of the nicest and smartest people we meet are the ditch diggers , and some of the rudest are the PHd’s . ( we are below them ) You have got to be willing in any field to get down on your belly and crawl like a reptile , if that’s what it takes to git er done . It is this attitude and ethic that opens the door to more and better opportunities ….
- Dress for the Worst , Bring Your Lunch - Always be overprepared . we don’t Go to restaurants, and if it get’s cold out, where’s you coat and gloves? Because if you start freezing on a job, we will have to just say ,” It must suck to be you .”
- Bring a Map …how many times those GPS things have crappped out …and there you are …lost.
- No Cell Phones! For millenia man survived without them , you want so if there is an emergency, you house is on fire, your parents have run away , your parents are on fire , your dog has run away , your kids teacher needs to call you OK I’d rather have them call 911 myself …but please stay off it , I Hate the thing. What a big Fat Distraction …get a blue tooth like I did .
- NO HEADPHONES, IPOD’S LOUD RADIOS ETC. the best reason is , If I yell to get your attention and I don’t , then shame on you when that big log rolls over your head ….When working alone , in a place , you need all 5 senses . Remember Stop ,Look Listen from the 1st grade , How can you if your ears are plugged . I want all of you working looking to protect you and ME TOO
- No Texting or Games or Nuthin While in a Vehicle , YOU are the second pair of eyes on the road . you WATCH , Your a team Look out for one another , take care of each other …and NO sleeping do that at night
- DO NOT Show Up Without Enough Sleep .….you are an unsafe worker , who might cut someones toes off …I have seen this
- Do NOT Show Up in an Altered State , inebriated , stoked , or high on anything except life . Again , we do not want your altered 5 senses on a job so you can hurt someone , or get hurt or do something Stoopid
- Do Not Wear Weird/Crappy Clothing that makes it look like you ARE working for food and I picked you off the Freeway Exit .THat Greasy Grimey smelly coat ,burn it man .and what I also mean is Not to wear a shirt with a giant hole in it , penny loafers to do concrete , or shirts with your political cause on it ” I hate the president ” the customer might like him , or your favorite band ” Death Penis ” Or Like the one fella at the Job this summer . He had a shirt that said ,” Just another Pirate Looking for BOOTY ” Harmless , no . The women at the store told me so , Don’t pick fights with your t-shirt, try to be as middle of the road as you can ,wear work cloths and shoes , My one good buddy always cut trees in sandles . NOT at my Job , he looked like some kinda Nut …he just looked stupid ..and the fact that it was dangerous.
- Act Like a Pro - Act like a business man or women , producing results is the bottom line , pleasing the customer with these rules helps . We are not there to take their money ,we are on the Job to Serve our fellow man , if we get money for and enjoy , that’s a benefit .
- I Love My Work and would do what I do for Free, it is great to help out people and fix their homes and sometimes thier lives too.
- NO Smoking …Anything - I had a friend quit over this, from a job at 15 an hour and bonuses . He is still on the gov’t dole . W0W !
- Never Leave the Job in Disorder - Clean as you go ,and at the end of each day . It’s safer, and makes a better impression .
- Pick a Spot to Work From and Claim It - Be it a drop cloth you put on the floor or a closet , put your stuff there , keep it there and keep it neat and clean , lined up and organized ,less tools lost .
- SMILE. WE ALL NEED TO KNOW HOW MUCH YOU LOVE THIS JOB …and don’t complain . You want to complai,n Join the Army go to Iraq and get blown up by strangers , otherwise shut up .
- Don’t Talk to the Customers, Unless Your the Boss - Get back there and get to work, he is not paying us so you can socialize. Keep it business like. Call the Customer Sir or Ma’am and be grateful they are paying you to take over this part of their life and responsibilities, treat it all as if it is your own, and put the same effort thought and ethics into it as if it is yours… and YOU WILL be rewarded with more work, Your Job is to protect the customer, and also to make sure he doesn’t spend all his hard earned cash .
- Just Because They Ask You to do a Job ,Doesn’t Make it Right - You have to talk people out of doing somethings, before it all backfires, and you lose the client. You help them NOT spend thier hard earned cash as John Urqahart the lawyer always asks me to do for him.
- When the Boss Says What to Do, Do That - Do what he says to do 1st. Select the priorities and how long it should take, add in little, easy stuff fun stuff mixed in, to keep it exciting and make progress.
- GET What the Boss Sent You to Get - If the boss sends you to the hardware etc to get something, don’t let the man at the store distract you. The boss might prefer products that are not typically used to do certain things , but after 30 years he knows what he wants. The clerk who has been at the store for 2 months and whose last job was cooking French fries, probably doesn’t know SQUAT. The reward for work well done is more work …
- Hard Work Never Killed Anyone
- Set Personal Goals … as to how long or how fast you will get a job done a work towards it . You are being paid to work it , not milk it . This ain’t no gov’t gig.
- Work Against the Clock… but pace yourself don’t get all crazy psycho speed , this is a great way to get better ,
- The Man who Says He Can and the Man who Says He Can’t , are BOTH Right - Some of the most effective dedicated , and even famous people of the last 100 years had very little formal education Thomas Edison was home schooled. Albert Einstein could not make change , and one who founded a university had never attended one (Ezra Cornell, Cornell University). So it’s not how hard you work , or how much you know , but it is YOU. That determines the direction you go . When all goes wrong in life, and I would tell my Ma, she would say ” And whose fault is that?” We were never allowed to blame anyone but ourselves. MY=y Dad would say, “You can do anything you want in life. Just pick a direction and GO.” Until the 1950’s most boys did not go beyond the 8th grade. They went to trade schools or right to work as apprentices. Harry Truman was one of three men in his high school graduating class. My dad went to the eighth grade. My now retired Doctor, Dr. Heffernan, went from High School to Med School, he was never and undergrad …..
- MY How Times Have Changed
- Also If the Boss is Happy You Will Be …and if you help the boss in any way it helps you . IF you help the customer, it helps you, if you help your employer it helps You. Larry at the Plumbing Supply put it like this when I asked Him why was he always so Happy . He says that If he is happy and treats you right, you will come back . You helping his boss prosper does well for him it all comes back to me. He says, “If my being happy makes this place better, then I am going to benefit, it’s worked for 26 years, and the boss knows it too.”
- I Say Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
- OH YEAH , Please Arrive Clean …..take a bath ….brush your teeth …etc
- If You Think You Should Do Something, You Probably Should, like close the windows before leaving . if your not sure ASK, or Call and ask …two heads are better than one …especially if it is a defect , or a little detail , do it right .
- Do Go Overboard - NO HOUSE is the Taj Mahal or the space shuttle, if folks want that type of detail, let them hire NASA. We want to do good work, but not beat it to death, either. We want to please the customer more than we do us. So what is the standard they want it done to — Chevy, Cadillac, Rolls Royce, Space Shuttle?
- Watch Gran Torino and see all this and more.
- Don’t Steal , the Governmt Hates the Competition
Again, if you’re doing a home improvement project, check out the Home Improvement Trends 2011article in the on-line section of the Media Page of comfortlivingbychristine.com. You’ll find a roundup from a experts from all over the country. Also, check out my early January, 2011 blog, Comfort Living: College Edition shows a 4-day turnaround of an entire house — for less than $2600. (that’s not a type-o!)
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