The Construction Veteran Podcast

The Uncomfortable Truth About Respect

August 13, 2023 The Construction Veteran Episode 22
The Uncomfortable Truth About Respect
The Construction Veteran Podcast
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The Construction Veteran Podcast
The Uncomfortable Truth About Respect
Aug 13, 2023 Episode 22
The Construction Veteran

Ever caught yourself belittling a co-worker, or perhaps, been at the receiving end of such treatment? It happens more than we'd like to admit, especially in our industry. In this candid conversation, we dig deep into the uncomfortable realities of how people in the building industry treat each other - and it's not always pretty. We talk about the hierarchy that seems to permit those higher up to talk down to subcontractors, or an owner to a GC, and share a gut-wrenching story about a drywall guy being publicly berated. 

But it's not all doom and gloom. Change is brewing, and respect is slowly finding its way back into our workspaces. As a product of this industry who started in my mid-20s, I share how learning to respect those older and more experienced than me has profoundly shaped my professional journey. We also emphasize the importance of treating everyone as part of the same team, irrespective of their role or status. Ending on a hopeful note, we invite you - our listeners - to extend a heartfelt apology to someone you may have disrespected. Let's remember, we're all here for the same mission - to make the world a better place. And that starts with a little more respect for each other.

Support the Show.

  • TCV Email: constructionvetpodcast@gmail.com
  • TCV YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@constructionvet/featured
  • TCV Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/constructionvetpodcast/
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Show Notes Transcript

Ever caught yourself belittling a co-worker, or perhaps, been at the receiving end of such treatment? It happens more than we'd like to admit, especially in our industry. In this candid conversation, we dig deep into the uncomfortable realities of how people in the building industry treat each other - and it's not always pretty. We talk about the hierarchy that seems to permit those higher up to talk down to subcontractors, or an owner to a GC, and share a gut-wrenching story about a drywall guy being publicly berated. 

But it's not all doom and gloom. Change is brewing, and respect is slowly finding its way back into our workspaces. As a product of this industry who started in my mid-20s, I share how learning to respect those older and more experienced than me has profoundly shaped my professional journey. We also emphasize the importance of treating everyone as part of the same team, irrespective of their role or status. Ending on a hopeful note, we invite you - our listeners - to extend a heartfelt apology to someone you may have disrespected. Let's remember, we're all here for the same mission - to make the world a better place. And that starts with a little more respect for each other.

Support the Show.

  • TCV Email: constructionvetpodcast@gmail.com
  • TCV YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@constructionvet/featured
  • TCV Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/constructionvetpodcast/
Speaker 1:

I'm really sorry if you guys clicked on this video thinking it was about everybody's favorite Aretha Franklin song, music. Alright, so let's talk about a subject in the industry that really does not get a lot of attention. That's respect just for other people. I'm sure all the parents out there tell their kids the same thing I do Treat others like you want to be treated to. But why do we think in this industry it's okay to talk down to our subcontractors or an owner to talk down to a GC? I'd like to say that this is like the exception to the rule, but it's sad that this is kind of how the industry's gone for at least the last decade plus. But have no fear, Times are a change. So you guys probably remember that I share a story about a drywall guy getting screamed at, probably a few feet away from me, by a guy in this industry.

Speaker 1:

Now it's not just specific to this industry, but man, people treat other people pretty poorly and this is really focusing on just the respect for other people. Just because you're not as high in the pecking order or your company is working or having another company work for them, it does not mean that you can treat them like children and talk down to them and, as we all know, will they do it, maybe because they're contractually obligated. However, that's just not the right thing to do and you're going to be kind of a D-bag. When you're someone like me that started in the industry in their mid-20s, I mean you're going to run into people that are well, well older than you I mean we're talking 2030, maybe 40 years. You're senior, so you've got to have that respect for them because these folks will mentor you in the future of your career. They're going to take you along the path and show you how things are really done, and you've got to lean on them, especially when there are trades that you have no idea really how to do it.

Speaker 1:

I definitely don't understand how we think we're okay talking down to people based off of where they're at in the contractual order. You know we're all on the same team. No matter what role you play, we're trying to get the objective done, and this happens in the service too. You know people get cocky because their job is X and the other person's Y or Z, or they might have passed a certain school, or they might have some sort of license or something behind their name, some certification. The same thing happens in the civilian world and it's not okay. I mean going back to the school thing just because somebody has maybe a terminal level degree or graduate degree, you know why would they look down on someone without one or someone with just an undergrad? And it's sad, but it happens.

Speaker 1:

I'll say what's really funny and really sad is when you have someone brand new to the industry talking down to someone that's 20, 30 years into this industry, thinking, oh, because this is the role I play, you got to listen to me. That's just like a junior officer talking down to a senior NCO. How well do you think that's going to go over? And not everybody is as cool, calm and collect as you know. I think I'm pretty even keel, but not everybody's like that and words start flying and maybe sometimes fists if you're not careful. So you might not want to do that.

Speaker 1:

I tell folks that work with me during our safety orientation to let people slash my tires, not theirs, right? Let me make the bad calls, let people get angry at me and of course I say that tongue in cheek, hoping nobody slashes my tires. But you know I can do these things in a politically correct way only because I've had to learn that over time I was the guy that threw their hard hat until it took so many more mature than me. At the time I was still an assistant superintendent and he had to tell me you know, what can you do? And I couldn't do anything. Things were out of my control and I got upset, but it was that. You know I'm really preaching to myself here. I had no respect for these people because I came out of the service thinking, well, my higher up told me to do this. I'm going to get this done. Come hell or high water, it's going to happen.

Speaker 1:

That was definitely the wrong way to do it and in fact I can remember one situation where I had a guy on the radio and I was telling him to move his product. And he gets back on the radio and this is in front of everybody could hear him on this channel saying who the F do you think you are A little guy. And of course I was very embarrassed and humbled and put in my place. So I'll finish with this If you're not a people person and you're not willing to humble yourself and hear other people out, this may not be the best industry for you or you need to learn to do that pretty quick. I've been in situations getting yelled at Nobody likes it. I just held my tongue and I went with it. But I always told myself, if I make it into a position of power, I'm never going to treat my people like that. Do I slip up from time to time, 100 percent? I'm not perfect. However, I really strive to be better and I strive to treat people like I want to be treated. It's that golden rule.

Speaker 1:

Again, there's probably somebody that you're thinking of that maybe you talk down to or disrespected. So my suggestion for your week is to reach out to that person and hey, it's really hard to say this but say I'm sorry. I know there's two very difficult words for a lot of people like us that are in a position of management. But suck it up, buttercup Guys, just like the service, we are all out here for the same mission in this industry. We're trying to get that building built. We're trying to get more clients. We all want to try to get that big bonus at the end of the year, right, but we're also doing this for our families and to put food on the table. Think about that when you're about to disrespect that person in front of you, think about their family, think about who that individual is and think about them being a member of your family. Nobody wants somebody to talk to their kid like that. So think about it that way. Good luck to you guys.