Last month we said a prayer for insiders and outsiders. Let us begin the New Year with an appreciation of corporate bosses (because lord knows we'll spend the rest of the year running them down).
Following is a memo that Writing Boots has obtained from a contact who is managing a large commercial construction project. He wrote it to the managers at the parent company, located elsewhere, and he sent it to me, because he thought we'd find it amusing. We did, to say the least.
Subject line: "what a week"
Setting here in ______, reflecting on the past week that is ending today, Saturday, a day that started with rain and 45 MPH sustained winds, no crane activity, trying to organize 150 people into cleanup crews and inside work activity. A day that started with an hour-plus long discussion with the site crane operators (since they couldn’t do anything else), trying to determine why 50% of the [parent company's] crane incidents are on this job. This is after a week where a couple days were dedicated to client meetings highlighted by yet another million dollar write-down of contingency, two days of intense ass chewing by corporate crane and safety people (where I spent most of my time simply nodding the affirmative), in the middle of which we actually documented our 11th [OSHA] recordable [accident] and then 20 minutes after our corporate crane manager implies that the project may be shut down by if we have one more crane incident, we indeed have that incident. He had barely driven out the gate. Just testing him I guess.
So we spend yesterday afternoon doing a detailed root cause analysis, then fire one operator and give the spotter a few days off—and this right after I sign layoffs for several workers due in part to their lack of productivity. Hurry up and get it done, don’t you know, but be safe about it! A week when I tell people that they risk having no pay check if I find dunnage laying in their area and one where I tell office people that they will get the same treatment if they have a messy desk. To use the phrase “a week that will live in infamy” is actually a little weak. If I sounds like I am having a down week, I am not. I am having a normal week.
Now I am not contemplating throwing in the towel in the middle of a job, never have never will. Nor do I think I am crumbling under the pressure. But I think some are and I’m coming up with fewer and fewer reasons for them to stay the course. I am dreaming (not bad dreams but I have given up wet dreams for fear they may somehow result in a recordable) about the job but others tell me they are not sleeping because of the job. It is indeed becoming more and more difficult to cut people off at the knees one day and then pump them back up the next. I guess [the corporate safety manager] did volunteer to come out and be our "hatchet man" after assuring me that he is pretty damn good at it. Perhaps that's what is needed. I certainly hope not.
I don’t need a shrink, not even a pump-up phone call because if there is one thing I have learned in forty years of this business, is how to leave it at the office. The only mistakes I walk out on are those involving ex-wives. Being a bit facetious there. But I think you guys know me by now, and writing about things helps me purge. So consider me purged.
For this week, anyway.