Your Own Personnel Hell

, , , , | Right | April 4, 2018

(I work as an apprentice for my father’s electrical contracting business in a small town in the rural South while in high school. It doesn’t take long to realize that the general contractors who subcontract with us often demand things of the electricians with attitudes they never would DREAM of using with my father. In one particular case we are experiencing a construction boom in the area and Dad doesn’t have enough electricians to fully man all of our worksites.)

General Contractor: “We had to make a change to the work order, and we need the electrical roughed in to the out-building by Monday when the drywallers come in.”

Electrician: “Can’t. We’re already scheduled on another project this weekend.”

General Contractor: “No, you will. The drywallers come first thing Monday morning, and that electrical will be roughed in.”

Electrician: “No, we won’t. We’re already working seven 12-hour days a week. We can’t drop everything because you made a work order change. We just don’t have the manpower for it.”

(He is absolutely right. I helped make the schedules myself. We’ve hired everyone in a 50-mile radius with any electrical experience at all and we are still barely making our obligations.)

General Contractor: *sneering* “That sounds like a personal problem.”

Me: “Actually, it’s a personnel problem.”

General Contractor: “…”

Me: “Two Ns and an E. Personnel. Easy words to confuse.”

General Contractor: “…”

Electrician: *tries not to laugh*

Me: “It means manpower. We don’t have the personnel. Personnel Problem.”

(Everyone on the job site tries not to laugh.)

General Contractor: *quietly turns around and walks away*

(To this day, I’m not sure if I got away with that because I was the boss’s son or because he couldn’t think of a reply.)

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