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I cant really understand my superintendent is telling me and is making me look bad.

4693 Views 30 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  smalpierre
So, as the title states my superintendent comes off hard to understand exactly what he is trying to tell me. I feel as though if he gives a very general order leaving me in the blank. We had a discussion about how he was disappointed in my performance because I ask questions that I should know by now ( 6 months after I started on his job). He also told me to just grab the bull by the horns and go with it. I tried this approach but it still causes conflicts at times. For example I was supposed to clean this building before final inspection. I did a final sweeping the two weeks before but there was dust, wires, cigarette butts and other small things on the floor again. I proceed to sweep the floor again and he responds with " why are you sweeping the floor again? You already did that. No more sweeping. got it?" Another example is, I would be told to clear out the building pad after wall footings were installed and we are getting ready for precast. Well, the concrete guys have a ton of rebar and wood in this one spot they are still using. I feel like I have no idea what to do with this material because the site outside of the pad is loaded with mud and I don't think that would be the best thing to do. Eventually he ordered to put it over in this one spot but that was only because I was loading stuff up and haven't moved it yet.

Any advice to address this matter would be appreciated.
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What seems like large scale conflict to some people is just construction work. Dont let it get to you.
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Some folks just don't have the art of communication. Try to get good at repeating his request back to him. "So, you want me to........" That will help at least a little. Have long have you worked for him?
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I guess so. The biggest problem is I am his only laborer. So, I am singled out constantly. He will be the one deciding factor if the company will send me to school for classes to help me become a superintendent. So, it is something I definitely want to resolve.
Laborers are notoriously sh*t on. It's a way to determine if you have thick skin & can survive on a job site. Just eat it with a smile & show him you can take it.
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Start solving problems instead of waiting around for more exact instructions. Get the list of stuff he wants you to do each day, and get them done by noon. Ask around the site if anyone needs some laborer help in the afternoon, and go to your boss at noon with your plan for the afternoon. Do your best at making decisions; if it doesn't work out, well too bad, at least you did your best.

If you can't solve this problem on your own, then you shouldn't plan on becoming a super.
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The super may be a bit dysfunctional too...d_man did say he was reprimanded for re- sweeping the floor.
Sounds like he's just a d-bag that likes being on his power trip (like most supers). All you can do is suck it up and take his crap, or quit. You need thick skin to work commercial. And SFO's suggestions are great ones, but be prepared to butt heads when he claims you didn't write down what he told you to do correctly. JM2C.
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Sounds like he's just a d-bag that likes being on his power trip (like most supers). .
That's why I steer clear of commercial work.
Do what needs to be done, and keep busy. Listen to what he has to say, keep the good advice (if any) and take the bull#$#$ for what it is, bull#$#$. If you aren't in a position to make decisions, then leave all of that crap at work. Life is too short, ya know?
I think 66 is right the guy is a stupid a**hole. If the guy had brains he would give directions in a logical order on what should be done.
Its a fine line you walk. Ask too many questions and it becomes a pain and appears that you don't know what you are doing. On the other hand, nothing worse than giving someone instructions and they are nodding their head that they understand, then five minutes later they are screwing up what you told them to do. They didn't understand but didn't want to look stupid. It is very easy to miscommunicate instructions. I try to be very precise with my instructions to employees but sometimes miscommunication happens. I think its best to make sure you are clear on what they want. Less mistakes that way. Be humble and keep an open mind. If you cop an attitude no one will teach you anything. Knowledge is money. Work hard and pay attention and your break will come. Be patient. It takes years to learn a trade, not months. good luck
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I worked in manufacturing years ago and had an Engineer that would be very vague about his directions so I started recording his instructions as what he wanted. He tried to throw me under the bus in front of the CEO and when I played back his instructions he was the one with egg on his face. Use your phone to record it then go somewhere and write it down in a note pad and use it as YOUR daily job log.
Kid your six months in to a life lesson, Take the hard knocks now and learn, May be in two years time this guy may not be such a pr*ck.
I was a commercial laborer for the first five years as a youngster. I took charge of my position, I took charge of the equipment and made sure every thing got put back into the trailer at days end. It's about showing him your interest in the company as well as the job. When he asked me to dig, the only thing that came out of my mouth was how wide and how deep. Loyalty is huge with a super. I can remember sweeping out a five story building, as soon as I got to the bottom floor it needed it again. I did it with an attitude that this is what I'm being paid to do and was happy to redo the building.

I can remember when another laborer was brought on and gave a dirty look to my super when he said sweep it again, that guy disappeared quickly. Remember it's all mostly attitude. I was proud to be exactly where I was at and it showed. Eventually this position led to carpentry. This was 1984 and I made 12 bucks an hour. That was a huge amount of money back then for my position. That always helps the attitude as well.
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Iso I started recording his instructions
Be careful with that. Unless they have relaxed the laws, it's apparently a crime to record audio without some type of notice. Sorry but just a heads up.
5 years as a laborer? You are more patient than me.
Some GC's/Super's don't have much patience when it comes to explaining things. Seems like there thinking about the next thing they have to do and can't explain things to you fast enough. Then come back and give you crap for filling in the blanks or using your best judgement. Or are instantly pissed if you want to clarify something.

Been there done that. Just do your best and show motivation and sooner or later you'll gain respect.
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