July 05, 2010

Practice Kindness- Blogging and Life

A good blogger practices kindness in many ways such as providing attribution to sources for posts. So I'll try to follow my own advice and blame Kristen for this post. I write frequently about what I try to teach my children and why this is one of those posts.

In what feels like a different life I worked for a general contractor doing both residential and commercial construction. As the project manager my role was to serve as the liaison between the customer and the company. You can call me biased, but the PM was the most important person on the job.

As PM I would provide estimates for the work to be done, serve as marriage counselor for couples who couldn't decide what color to paint the kitchen or what surface to use for their counter tops. I kept the workers from going crazy when the owners treated them like chattel and often served as the designer for the new kitchen or bathroom. Every day was different and every job was action packed.

So what does kindness have to do with this? Quite a bit. Since we were a general contractor I would often find myself standing on a roof under a blazing sun. When I would climb down I would be drenched in sweat and dying of thirst. I always noticed when people offered me a cold drink or a towel.

These are small gestures that are not required but they go a long way. I carried water in the car, a towel, wipes and clean clothes that I could change into. But even though I was prepared I really appreciated the simple kindness of being offered a glass of water. It wasn't just the water that was sometimes refreshing but the way in which my prospects and clients treated me.

You might be surprised at how rude people can be. You might be shocked by how some people would refuse to let you use the bathroom. We just spent hours doing hard labor to make your home beautiful and special. We poured our best effort into making it something that you want to show off and you can't let me pee in your guest bathroom. I am covered in crap from beneath the house and you treat me like I am some kind of criminal. WTF.

So whenever I have workers at my house I try hard to be kind. I say please and thank you. I offer them something to drink and treat them with dignity. And I make a point to teach my children to do the same. You might be surprised by how far that extra step goes. I remember jobs where we had the option to charge someone a little bit more but didn't because they were good people. We didn't mind putting in a little bit more time because you were good to us.

I am not going to say that I have never made a mistake or that I have always been good about this. I am sure that there times where I haven't, but I am conscious of this. Sometimes I was the guy swinging the hammer and doing the demolition. Covered in dust and sweat and wearing goggles I didn't look like the guy who was better read than the home owner, but I was. I know, that sounds a bit like I am pissed off, insecure or upset.

Not insecure, but upset a little bit. Maybe it is because I was that guy who was treated poorly or maybe it is something else, doesn't really matter to me. What I know is that what I am interested in is making sure that my children see workers as people and treat them accordingly.

No comments: