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My Senior Man Needs To Retire

 
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Old 10-23-2019, 08:07 PM   #1
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My Senior Man Needs To Retire


I have been in business 15 years.
My senior man and I worked together for another painter before going our own ways due to our boss's retirement 15 years ago. Once i got established on my own my senior man came back to me as a sub and then as a full time employee quite a few years ago now. We have known each other a long time and are good friends.

I am 51 and my senior man is 67. He needs to retire, i know he doesn't want to financially.

The reality is, and i have been tolerating it for a while now, he can no longer maintain the quality and stay productive. I don't want to start ranting about all that bothers me but I am fixing more things behind him than i care to tolerate.

When i bring the issues up, and i try not to nag on and on about them, he seems indifferent to my concerns.

The other side of things are my other two employees do the lions share of the production, they do all the ladder / high work etc. i know they notice the differences and i am guilty of agreeing with their grumbles.

A year or so ago i chatted with him about slowing down and he said his goal was to keep working as long as possible, I have even tried to get him interested in working at a local paint store, but i don't really blame him for not wanting to work retail.

So now i am here and need to be more serious / forceful about the issue.

So how in the world do i approach it? In my mind it is over morning coffee at a local coffee shop, not on a job site around others and tell him we need to establish a time frame for him retiring.

Couple of other things, he draws SS and he and his wife live paycheck to paycheck, and he is not in the best of health.

I appreciate any thoughts and guidance.
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Old 10-23-2019, 08:12 PM   #2
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


can you pick & choose his work and have him go part time?

letting him down easy...

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Old 10-23-2019, 08:19 PM   #3
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


67 is no excuse is he burnt out?
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Old 10-23-2019, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


Yea I have been thinking about such an approach. Whatever i decide I know it is only right to agree to have a future date in mind and have him work shorter periods as the date approaches.
Thanks.
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Old 10-23-2019, 08:37 PM   #5
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


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Originally Posted by avenge View Post
67 is no excuse is he burnt out?
Avenge, I hate to judge his health, it is what it is. 50 years of smoking and poor choices takes it toll.

Burnt out - I don't think so. 15 years ago he went into business for himself and when the economy tanked his business dried up overnight, that's when he returned to painting and came to me, and he hasn't been out of work since. I know him and his wife are appreciate for the income he earns, I like to think i pay him, and all my guys well.

Around the jobsite he is enjoyable to work with and the whole crew gets along great, we all enjoy each others company. I would be surprised to hear he was burnt out.
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Old 10-23-2019, 09:09 PM   #6
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


Sounds like he needs to work and that retirement may not work for him right now...

Maybe a change in roles for him?
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Old 10-23-2019, 09:13 PM   #7
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


I'm feeling a bit less kind because he's indifferent to your concerns. Tough one, though.
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Old 10-23-2019, 09:55 PM   #8
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


I don't envy either of your situations.

I also paint, so I think I have a good handle on what roles there are for a painter, but is there anything else he could do to stay employed while not being a hassle to you? Runner for supplies/clerical/shop work?
I don't know, just trying to name things I'd like done for me.
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Old 10-23-2019, 11:25 PM   #9
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


Fact of life getting old sometimes.

Maybe he needs new glasses.

Maybe he needs brighter lights.

Maybe he can produce, but for fewer hours.

Lots of maybes.

One thing is for sure, he already knows he's dropping quality and productivity. He probably feels like he's doing the best he can and is holding on for as long as he can.

Depending on what style / culture you want to have ok can take a couple different directions. One is to just tell him his quality and productivity aren't up to snuff and fire him. The other end if the spectrum is give him a chance to have high productivity and quality hours at a corresponding pay, with other hours of less critical responsibilities and lower pay.

It's a business, and one of the things to figure out is how far you're willing to go working with an employee. Think this part through, everyone will be watching how you handle this.

I'm serious about the medical part. If I don't wear glasses, my painting isn't going to be good. My busywork is now down to average since I can't feel my fingers that well. Keeping concentration painting 14 or more hours? Not going to happen.

In a way, I've had to retrain to work around ageing.

It's a tough call for you. I'd be inclined to try to work something out, but he'd be doing all the "working out" part.

I can't tell you how many old people I've seen that cheap out and don't keep their eyeglass prescription up to date. It kills you in any finish work.
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Old 10-24-2019, 09:32 AM   #10
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio painter View Post
So how in the world do i approach it? In my mind it is over morning coffee at a local coffee shop, not on a job site around others and tell him we need to establish a time frame for him retiring.

Couple of other things, he draws SS and he and his wife live paycheck to paycheck, and he is not in the best of health.

I appreciate any thoughts and guidance.
Any chance you can use him where most productive on site and transition more to a management role? Take some up some of your slack as owner? Find smaller jobs for him and pay him per job.

Beyond that Business is business, be straight up with him. Give him an opportunity to light a fire under his butt. He is an employee, he's run his own show to some degree, he'll get it or he'll push back against it. That's what you need to know to make the right decisions
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Old 10-24-2019, 07:02 PM   #11
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


Older guys donít give a ****. Seen it many times.


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Old 10-25-2019, 11:56 AM   #12
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


I am experiencing this right now.

I have a guy I've known for 30 years. He is currently 78 years old. He taught me everything I know about laying block and brick. He's been doing it for almost 60 years (minus his time in the military). At one time, he was considered the best. His work has been slipping for years. His production is still good, when he works. 30 years ago, he could work me into the ground. Now he can almost keep up with me. Which is pretty good for him.
He has voluntarily stopped helping on concrete. Last time out, he tied 3 pieces of wire. Said, "I can't do this anymore." and left. I think the realization hit him and he couldn't be around it. I told him to stay and supervise, but he wouldn't.

I'm at a point his quality isn't good enough. I don't have the heart to tell him. Nor would I ever say that to him.
If he finds out I'm doing brick or block, without asking him, his feelings get hurt. He is obviously upset. I can't hurt his feelings like that.

Reminds me of 30 years ago. He had a guy working for him, Ernie. I remember him saying, "I don't think I can have Ernie on the job anymore. I'm afraid he's going to die, on the job and I don't want to think I'm the one that killed him."

That's where I'm at. He's 78. Has COPD. I've had to take him to the hospital twice. (not job related)

Sorry for the long story. Kind of letting you know, your not the only one. I don't have an answer. In my case, I just don't tell him about jobs, so if he doesn't know.

I think you need to have a sit down and discuss it. I would tell him he will be called for fewer jobs. He's slowing down and it will affect the others. In reality, if he gets moved back to a few days a week or one job with a few days break, in between, he might be happier and feel better.
His work quality, in my opinion, the quality of his work will not improve. I've seen it in myself. Years ago, I wanted perfection. Now, I see things and know it doesn't affect the overall outcome and let it go. My overall quality of work is still held to a high standard, but I am easier going. Maybe in another 20 years, I'll be the same way.
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:56 PM   #13
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


Thanks for all the replies, gives me a few things to think over.
Builtitguy, thanks for your post, much appreciated to hear someone in the same situation, I too worry my guy could die on the job.
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:46 PM   #14
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


I had an old guy helping a while back. Came back from a materials run to find "gone to hospital" written in the sheetrock.

Heart attack.

Couldn't really do much after that.
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:27 PM   #15
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


I've had several older employees over the years that simply did not want to retire and were that age or older. At some point it becomes a liability issue for you as they are much more apt to get hurt taking on heavy lifting and stuff they shouldn't be doing.

I'd have a sit down and tell him what your thinking, then set a date for his last day and stick to it. If he's been a great employee maybe send him off with a nice bonus in his pocket. You could also refer small jobs to him that you have no interest or time to handle.
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Old 10-26-2019, 07:33 PM   #16
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


Health issues can hit at any age, although the older you get, the more it increases... had a young guy had a brain aneurysm at the shop out of nowhere... so I don't know if that's the main reason to make the change as you can never tell when it will happen...

If it were me, if there was no way I could find another role for him that would resolve it, based on the years of service, I'd give him notice and a severance package that reflected his contribution to the company over the years and that would also give him time to get his next gig or sort out what he was going to do... after that, life goes on... we all get to that position one day...

I guess the best question to ask yourself, is if it was you, or your dad, what would you like to see happen?
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Old 10-27-2019, 05:02 AM   #17
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


There is no way I could give an ultimatum. Just me. It's tough in these situations. Part of the issue is they can't perform at a level that is workable. The other part is they are our friends. You can't spend 30 years with someone and not become attached to their lives. I know him well. I know his ex-wife. I remember when she left him. I remember when she came back. I don't know when she left again. I know his kids. I'm his emergency contact at the hospital. I'm the one who calls his kids.

In my case, I would have to slow him down. I couldn't cut him off. Work isn't work for him. It's his life. Gives him a reason to get up. I think he looks forward to the jobs I call him for. Of course he gives me H*** for the way things are set up. I have to drive 1 1/2 hours to get the sand he wants. He always wants to do something another way. Doesn't matter. There is only a few more years this will happen. In my case, he is done with concrete. He realized it, himself. Won't be long, he will be done with block and brick. Hopefully, he can hang onto that until he decides he's done. Of course I am purposely telling him about fewer and fewer jobs, but that's the way it is. 2 jobs a month or 1 job a month is enough for him.

I still recommend letting him know you will be cutting his hours. I would be honest, but try to be aware of his feelings. If he goes down to 3 jobs a month, he will be happier and feel better. It will also give him something to look forward to and a little extra money in his pocket. These things are tough. It's no longer an employee/employer relationship. They are friends.

Had to post again. Been thinking about this.

Good luck
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Old 10-27-2019, 07:17 AM   #18
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


Quote:
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I don't envy either of your situations.

I also paint, so I think I have a good handle on what roles there are for a painter, but is there anything else he could do to stay employed while not being a hassle to you? Runner for supplies/clerical/shop work?
I don't know, just trying to name things I'd like done for me.
Exactly what I was thinking. I see an old timer here and there in jobs. Filling in here and there keeping an eye on things cracking the whip so to speak on younger guys teaching etc. I have a semi retired roofer 58 who does all our roofing and use him as much as I can here and there stage jobs run some errands bends metal for additions and so on.

Maybe buy him a vacation all inclusive so there's min impact on there bottom line . Maybe the islands it's hurricane season and there dirt cheap someplace he can clear his head and reboot and get thing back in perspective. He'll he might come back and say f***k all y'all I'm out of here... or realize his limitations due to health burn out ETC.

It's a tuff call. Good luck.

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Old 10-27-2019, 07:21 AM   #19
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


Quote:
Originally Posted by hdavis View Post
Fact of life getting old sometimes.



Maybe he needs new glasses.



Maybe he needs brighter lights.



Maybe he can produce, but for fewer hours.



Lots of maybes.



One thing is for sure, he already knows he's dropping quality and productivity. He probably feels like he's doing the best he can and is holding on for as long as he can.



Depending on what style / culture you want to have ok can take a couple different directions. One is to just tell him his quality and productivity aren't up to snuff and fire him. The other end if the spectrum is give him a chance to have high productivity and quality hours at a corresponding pay, with other hours of less critical responsibilities and lower pay.



It's a business, and one of the things to figure out is how far you're willing to go working with an employee. Think this part through, everyone will be watching how you handle this.



I'm serious about the medical part. If I don't wear glasses, my painting isn't going to be good. My busywork is now down to average since I can't feel my fingers that well. Keeping concentration painting 14 or more hours? Not going to happen.



In a way, I've had to retrain to work around ageing.



It's a tough call for you. I'd be inclined to try to work something out, but he'd be doing all the "working out" part.



I can't tell you how many old people I've seen that cheap out and don't keep their eyeglass prescription up to date. It kills you in any finish work.
Good stuff


You in Europe they don't typically fire or lay people off. They're already invested in them so they retrain them. If one department or don't work as productive required/ needed or slow they move them around.



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Old 10-27-2019, 07:47 AM   #20
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Re: My Senior Man Needs To Retire


I'm 68. Scratching my head at the some of the "justifications".

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