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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm working with a younger guy who started his own business about 3 years ago. The business is a hardwood refinishing business with installations to boot. I myself have been doing floors for about 21 years, and have been doing finish carpentry also for roughly the same amount of time. The guy im working for has only been doing floors for 5 years total ( I know this because he told a customer he had 5 years experience, should have seen the customers face.) Recently he has become overly picky about very minor flaws in my work. I'm talking about very small cracks ( maybe a heavy 1/16th) which require some filler. I installed a custom tread with nosing, a brazillian cherry border with red oak inside the border installed on a 45°. I happened to cut one piece of nosing short by mistake and didn't have enough material to fix it so he had to purchase another to replace it. Understand that this guy had me do this work because his skill level wouldn't suffice. So he preceded to question my ability, and stated that the next time it would come out of my pay. Needless to say I was boiling mad, but held my tongue because I need the work. I have NEVER had one of his customers complain about my work. They are always satisfied when we leave. I have even tried to help him improve his business by offering to do some trim work and some staircases when we are slack on flooring work, but he won't take those jobs because he hasn't a clue how to do them himself. I guess what im asking is, does anyone have any ideas how to deal with this guy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also...

If anyone in Ashland Kentucky wants an experienced finish carpenter who can do custom staircases and a miriad of most finish work and is a loyal and dedicated employee please let me know.
 

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It's good to vent.:thumbsup:

I think we've all been in this position at one point during our careers in the trades. You're not alone.

Try taking direction from a fresh out of college designer who "has it all figured out" but doesn't know in which order to schedule trades, hasn't an idea why you can't just "bump" a toilet over a couple feet without removing flooring, etc.

Don't lose your job over this, vent here instead. (Do an intro too)

Welcome to CT:thumbsup:
 

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As an employee, he can't make you pay for mistakes like that. If your not an employee, then he probably can.
 

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Box Builder
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I might be looking for a guy who cuts things too short. When there is no extra material too is a plus.

Seriously though, you need to be honest with him. If you make a stupid mistake like cut something short you should be held accountable. Maybe he is giving you a hard time because you are so experienced and sound like you hold your work to high standards. Either that or he is jealous of your abilities. If that is the case, then honesty is always the best policy. Tell him you won't deal with his b.s. in a nice way. Nick.
 

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If you make a stupid mistake like cut something short you should be held accountable. .
Accountable yes, as in having a talk with them about making accurate measurements. Accountable to the tune of having to pay, no. Owner of the company takes the risk so accepts the profit or the loss. If you supplied your employee with 40 boxes of flooring to finish a job and he only used 37...does the employee get the remaining boxes to return and keep the money? No, if the employee is given 40 boxes and need 43 does he have to pay for the extra? No. As the owner you can't have the reward without accepting the risk.

Lots of bosses have little to no knowledge of how to complete a job. It sucks that they exist but they do. So long as he keeps getting jobs and is paying you what you need to get paid...that's life. Hold your tongue...or don't and risk getting fired.

I agree, vent here but at work do your best to make your boss (and his clients) happy.
 

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Kowboy
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etp714:

You're using the logical fallacy of relevancy, ad hominem circumstantial, to be specific. Your bosses' experience is irrelevant to his argument that your work is not up to par.

As an example, my sister-in-law told me that people that don't have children (me and my wife) have no business criticizing the behavior of other's children. My having children or not is not relevant to my argument that your kid is a brat.

Stick with your defense that none of his customers has ever complained about your work. I would invite him to fire you on the day your mistakes exceed the amount of money you earn for him. These are relevant rebuttals, his experience is not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Think he might be Ocd..

I always want the customer to be happy with my work. Nothing better than a satisfied customer. As for the mistake, it was absolutely my fault, just think his way of stating the obvious could have been a little more tactful. I think his age has a lot to do with it, and I think it bothers him that I have more experience to. The ego on these youngsters can be enormous. However, he hired me because he couldn't find anyone with experience. Now it seems like he isn't or doesnt want to take advantage of it. I could make him way more money if he would just take the work. For instance, I had a friend tell me of a job hanging and trimming 17 doors. I told him about it and he just brushed it off. Then a few days later, he asked me how to hang a door, how fast could I hang one and trim it out and such. Simple work to me but I guess if you don't know how it can sound intimidating. Just want to work without the uber pickiness. I've seen some picky customers before but he beats em all...lol. I told him today on the way home that you can't machine wood. It's a natural product that we work with and you could drive yourself nuts trying to make every little detail perfect. As long as the homeowner is satisfied it's all good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ahem....

etp714:

You're using the logical fallacy of relevancy, ad hominem circumstantial, to be specific. Your bosses' experience is irrelevant to his argument that your work is not up to par.

As an example, my sister-in-law told me that people that don't have children (me and my wife) have no business criticizing the behavior of other's children. My having children or not is not relevant to my argument that your kid is a brat.

Stick with your defense that none of his customers has ever complained about your work. I would invite him to fire you on the day your mistakes exceed the amount of money you earn for him. These are relevant rebuttals, his experience is not.

If I EVER made a mistake that huge I would expect to be fired. However, we ALL make mistakes at work and in life. They are inevitable. This was absolutely my fault and I have no problem admitting that, but when his inexperience dictates that he has no clue how the mistake came about then it does matter. I wouldn't criticize a mechanic about a mistake he made when I have no clue what he is doing or how he is doing it.

And my work is just fine. The tread I made looks great despite the minor mistake. I'm sure the homeowners will love it. I will post a picture of the finished product if I can figure out how on this tablet.
 

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I wouldn't criticize a mechanic about a mistake he made when I have no clue what he is doing or how he is doing it.
If that mechanics mistake cost you more money you might..anyone might. He's paying you to do a job...and to do it to his satisfaction, not the clients. I had a sub working for me that did work i wasn't satisfied with. The homeowner didn't say anything, but he still tore his work out and redid it. Yes I know how to do the work, but even if I didn't, I would have still told him I didn't like it. Unfortunately it's his name on the work even if it's your hands doing it. Because it's his name, he is the one that has the first judgement. Also HE is the one who ultimately answers to the homeowner. He answers to the HO, you answer to him...just the way it is. You are always free to open your own business.

I'm not trying to belittle you at all, I'm really not, I'm sure your work is fine, but that really isn't the point. I know that's how you see it, but it isn't. Bosses can suck, but because they're the boss it's their way or the highway.
 

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I would suggest a couple of things, but I won't. No, just kidding. :jester:

In all seriousness, I would say that your work is not subpar, nor your attitude and work ethic. This is simply based upon reading between the lines of what you've shared. Just stick to whatever good, and true, and fair, and right, regardless of how much flack you may take from a not-so-knowledgeable boss. Just keep it in mind that the boss is the one responsible for his business, and you are the one responsible for your work contribution to said business.

Lastly, I was curious if you've ever thought about going out on your own, hence, you wouldn't have to endure such ineptness from your employer? (albeit there are myriad other thing to contend with, but it would be far better than putting up with unnecessary turbulence day in and day out.)
 

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If anyone in Ashland Kentucky wants an experienced finish carpenter who can do custom staircases and a miriad of most finish work and is a loyal and dedicated employee please let me know.
Complaining about your boss and inferring he is a no-nothing micro-manager on the world-wide-web makes a loyal and dedicated employee? :eek:

What would you do if you were disgruntled? :laughing::laughing::laughing:
 

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Here's a few things to consider. This is his business. When you are long gone he has to back up your work

I am not saying the guy isn't being a DB, but in the end he is the one with the business, the customers, the overhead and all the risk. If my guys make a mistake I use it as a learning experience.

If I think I know something that a more seasoned tradesmen doesn't I will say something and if I am wrong, I am wrong. I admit it and move on. I love learning from guys that can do things better than myself. It makes me a better businessmen, tradesmen and person.

Also, he is the one signing the checks. If you don't like it, find another job or get out on your own and really see what it's like. I had a partnership several years back. I was the 40% owner. My partner would never let me do the office work or really know what was going on behind the scenes. He would always complain about the hours he worked and how much he put into the business. I had never done his side of the business, I had no idea. Now that I am on my own, even though I don't like the guy much, I respect what he used to do, because I now do it all. I know what he was talking about. I know now that he wasn't complaining just venting.

It's a whole different perspective on life and the business when you are on the other side of the table. You never now what kind of pressure the guy is under and how tight finance are. Just like you want him to give you a break for the mistake, give him one for his.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great feedback.

Thanks to all for the helpful advice and feedback. I've been thinking about starting my own company for awhile now. The last company I worked for was owned by a 92 year old man and he was in business for well over 50 years and taught me a lot about the business and about how to communicate with the customers. He was very knowledgeable about the work also and I gained valuable experience from him. Unfortunately he passed away, that's how I ended up with this job. I appreciate the opportunity and work I have but I do think it's time I strike out on my own. Many friends and homeowners have suggested I do so. I'm sure it's not all peaches and cream being an owner, but I think it's probably the best for me. I currently have two jobs I was going to do on my own time that I can get done and have talked to 3 folks who want me to do some trim work and I think one of them has a staircase to build.
 

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Head Grunt
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etp714:

You're using the logical fallacy of relevancy, ad hominem circumstantial, to be specific. Your bosses' experience is irrelevant to his argument that your work is not up to par.

As an example, my sister-in-law told me that people that don't have children (me and my wife) have no business criticizing the behavior of other's children. My having children or not is not relevant to my argument that your kid is a brat.

Stick with your defense that none of his customers has ever complained about your work. I would invite him to fire you on the day your mistakes exceed the amount of money you earn for him. These are relevant rebuttals, his experience is not.

I totally agree. I have been in these shoes before and now being the boss the tables have turned. Do i get mad when my employee screws up? Sure i do, but i also remember that i too was in those same shoes making those same mistakes and to be honest sometimes i still make those mistakes. A good boss will expect mistakes and should always have some room in the expenses for such error if not then they know they must eat the cost. A good boss will also calmly ask what was done wrong and suggest a different method or just say slow down and check twice. Sometimes a boss will have to show how it can be done properly or done better.

Being threatened with garnishing your wages is wrong and i would tell him that. In my past i have always let employers know where we stood but i never burned a bridge. I have always been respected for that and i am still on good terms with all my former employers. We are all learning everyday, regardless of how much experience we have or how much better we are. And i do not care who you are, we all make mistakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not complainig

Complaining about your boss and inferring he is a no-nothing micro-manager on the world-wide-web makes a loyal and dedicated employee? :eek:

What would you do if you were disgruntled? :laughing::laughing::laughing:

I would go postal...lol. Just kidding. Really though, wasn't complaining at all. I just have never been in this particular situation with someone younger than I and with less experience. I'm not knocking the guy at all. I'm way older so naturally I would have more experience. I appreciate the work he's thrown my way. I know when I was his age I probably acted just like him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I tried to tell him that he needs to add 15% when he orders or purchases material. Like the nosing, add an extra few feet for waste, mistakes or any other situation that may pop up. He can always use what's left on another job. The last prefinished install we did we ran out with about 4 square feet left. He says he went of the homeowners measurement which I would never do. But if I say anything I guess he feels like I'm trying to tell him how to run his business. I have to attribute that to his age and inexperience, wouldn't anyone?

When I bid on side jobs for myself I always add to the total footage. It's just the way I was taught.
 

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Etp714,

You mentioned you previously worked for a 92 y/o guy who passed away. Was it not an option to buy the business from his estate, or at last keep things going for his family?

I realize that's not always a good option, but it might have given you a start on a customer base.
 

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I would love to get a guy working for me like you. If he is that cocky he probably won't take anything you say constructively which is a shame. Anytime I get a chance to work with someone in a different trade or a more experienced person in my own trades I always try to learn better methods/new things.
 

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SuperiorHIP said:
I would love to get a guy working for me like you. If he is that cocky he probably won't take anything you say constructively which is a shame. Anytime I get a chance to work with someone in a different trade or a more experienced person in my own trades I always try to learn better methods/new things.
Kentucky is just a hop, skip, and a plane flight from Louisiana.
 
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