Yesterday was not a good day. I spent the better part of the morning walking, yes, walking the entire jobsite, getting people answers, arranging work to be done, and the last thing.
What is the last thing?
Gaylord blew up again. This time, at two of my crew. This time, I did not remain silent. One of the guys he blew up at left the job site, and I don’t think he wants to come back. His last words were, “When you get this sh*t straightened out, call me. I don’t need to put up with this effing crap.”
I stood in disbelief as Gaylord raged for several moments, before I responded (no, I will not tell you what I said). He stormed off, and I followed, right after Jim, the one who left, said his last words and blew out.
I stood in disbelief? Why in disbelief? Because somehow I believed this wouldn’t happen again. Somehow, I believed that our discussion the other day had a lasting effect. Apparently, it didn’t.
As I said earlier, Gaylord stormed off, and I followed. He had disappeared into an unfinished apartment, and was talking with the general contractor, when I walked through the door.
The strangest transformation happened. He was as polite as he could be in front of John, the general contractor’s foreman. He explained that he was sorry for causing Jim to leave, but I needed to understand why he was upset. So, I listened, for about five minutes. Then, believing the conversation was over, he started to walk off again.
“Not so fast, Stoney” I said. (Stoney is his nickname)
“There are a few things YOU need to get here. First, I understand what you are going through. I even understand your frustration with this project. BUT, everyone is frustrated, not just you. You are not the only one working under a great deal of stress .”
Stoney tried to interrupt, but I wouldn’t let him, and I could see John would have cut him off if I hadn’t. “Furthermore, those men you just cursed out aren’t your employees, and you have no authority over them. From now on….” And here Stoney started to get angry, and tried to protest. Again, I wouldn’t let him.
“From now on, you don’t talk to them. You don’t say anything to them, except to help them. If you have a problem, you come to me, or you cuss out the project manager. We'll see how far you get with that. But you aren’t going to bitch at me, either. I’m the wrong person to piss off here, and if you don’t get that, that’s your problem.”
John jumped in, and suggested that we communicate through him, since Gaylord’s crew is actually his subcontractor. I looked at John, and told him that was fine, but I know it won’t work.
This project is messed up, and the project manager doesn’t get it. There is high stress at every point, of almost every day, and I don’t know what to do about it. I am just a carpenter, an owner’s representative, nothing more than an employee when you get past all the bs. But I have guys working for me that do not deserve to go through this crap.
The one thought on my mind this morning, before I head back to the jobsite is; what will happen today? I used to ask that question with joy and anticipation. Now, I ask it with dread, and anger.
I am not proud of the way I reacted. I am not proud of what I said. Really, I don’t know what else to do here. This isn’t the last time Gaylord is going to explode, and thus, it isn’t the last time I am going to have to do something about it. I recognized something in this situation. Gaylord is taking his frustrations out on others, and that isn’t going to stop, because he doesn’t know any other way.
There is no way he is going to learn new behavior by the end of this project, which will last possibly another year, and I don’t know what to do. My frustration with this is mounting, and in the end, I don’t think I want to expose the guys working with me to this crap anymore.
Today is a new day, and I already dread it, not for me, but for them. Well, also a little for me, because I don’t want to do what I fear I am going to have to do, which is to remove Gaylord from this project.
Lord, any help here would be greatly appreciated.