When Is Enough Enough

10/02/2014


From original questioner:

Hi everyone, I have been in the custom cabinet industry for 12 plus years. I have worked almost every area of the shop from building, face frames, assembly, custom islands and other custom pieces as well as install. I now have worked in the office for about 5 years. I do drafting, engineering, field measuring, work with customers/builders, answer shop questions, etc. I really have enjoyed it up to this point. There is so much negativity and disrespect throughout the office and the rest of the building that sometimes it can just drain you. The first thing we hear about in the morning is something negative about a minor issue with a job. A minor issue with a 30k job really isn't that bad of a thing is it? I understand we want the jobs to go perfect but in reality they all can't go perfect, but there are just so many variables when it comes to custom cabinets. We should just address the problem and fix it in a short manor instead of sitting and dwelling on it. I still hear about a couple of marble tops I ordered wrong a couple of years ago(I ordered the wrong bowl style). Nobody feels worse about that than I do. Has anyone ever worked in negative work enviroment on a daily basis, it can start to take its toll.

From contributor Pa


Maybe you should look for another place to work.

From contributor Da


I hear ya Paul. It takes a lot for me to vent on a social website. Do you not agree though that you're bound to have a couple issues with a fairly big project? Ya we would love all projects to go perfect but that's not reality.

From contributor Mi


In my opinion, if a person says that he expects to have problems, than he is opening the door to those problems.
He is also setting up that reason as an excuse.
Once a person starts making excuses, there is no stopping it.
Itís a very slippery slope..inch by inch becomes a mile...

We all understand that nothing is perfect, so, to the people who are reminders of the past mistakes, maybe they are trying to say something ??
Look at their comment from a different view point.
Are they trying to make you better or just being a PITA....
If itís that later, you may need to learn how to let things roll of your back..
Let go of the guilt of the mistake,,breath in, breath out, move on.
You will almost never change peopleís attitude.

If you can, have a positive only day in the office....nothing negative,,those bad issues can wait for tomorrow..
Make fun of your past mistakes,,it will quickly disarm those that enjoy the poking.
And in the end, if it too bad, leave,,,no one could fault you for that. Just call it "Irreconcilable Differences"
Michael



From contributor Da


Thanks for your response Michael. I think we all come in everyday trying to be positive but when your leaders pull you down on a constant basis it is very hard to stay positive. The worst thing about it is taking that negativity home to family. A lot of our projects do go very well but we never hear about those. Not a good job, way to go or anything and that's actually what keeps employees motivated and wanting to do better. There has to be positive energy in the workplace for everyone to succeed.

From contributor Mi


True David,
So ???,,,why not be that positive person.??
Why wait for someone else ???
You give the high fives and pats on the back....even to the bosses.
I would love to hear one of my employees tell me I did a good job..
All I hear is how hard it is and they want more money...
Kill them with kindness....
They will either love you or hate you.
Simple? yes,,Easy ? Not always..

From contributor Da


Good point Michael. Everyone does need to hear that every now and then.

From contributor Da


There will always be problems with projects - 30k kitchens, space shuttles, apple pies, etc. How you (and those around you) handle them says everything about your character and your ability to derive satisfaction from your job.

Learn to accept them and develop a method for handling them. Your company has a process for order development, cabinet building, delivery, etc. You need one for problem resolution. Treat it like anything else you have to do.

As I like to say, "Guys, this is why we call it work". They all love it when I say that....

This is likely a leadership issue that management is unaware of or perhaps responsible for. It is, as you have related, unproductive and detrimental to the company as a whole, much less individuals.

If they persist in their desire to wallow in their self-created mire, then it is time to tune up the resume.....

From contributor Da


Very good post David Sochar, in fact I read it a few times. You make a lot of good and interesting points. Well said!!

From contributor Ad


It is unfortunate that you are working with people who are focusing on the negative side of things. It is almost human nature.

If someone was making light about a costly mistake I made more than a year ago simply because they have nothing better to say. I would take them aside and have a chat. Put an end to it.

Michael had some good suggestions except the line about how expecting problems causes them, blah, blah, blah.

Complete rubbish. He is talking about his employees and not himself. You have reasonable expectations of what can go wrong in a project.

Many people never realize that they learn very little from their successful projects. They think they are smart and worked really hard. At the end of the day life is chaotic. Somedays we get lucky and our mistakes go unnoticed, other days not so much.

Every time something goes wrong we have the opportunity to learn from that experience.



From contributor Da


Good post as well Adam. I go into every project, which most of them are high end complicated projects looking to do my very best and the projects do go very well.

It just so happens that the mistakes that get brought up a year or two later are by my boss(owner) so it's a fine line taking that up with them.

I think all we ask for as workers is a positive working environment, good leadership from our bosses, the tools to do our jobs to the best of our abilities, to be told good job once in a while, and also to get criticism but in a positive way.

From contributor Mi


Adam,
Let me rephrase what you misunderstood.
If a person can anticipate problems on a job, they are a good manager.
If a person uses the excuse that since thereĎs going to be problems anyway, why worry that the project canít be the best possible, in my opinion, that person is not helping with the success of the project.

Michael

From contributor ca


David,

You have an opportunity here to be part of the solution. You can sit back and complain (like you say your boss does) or you can help develop some systems to minimize mistakes in the future. At the very least this effort would demonstrate that you agree even small mistakes are bad mistakes.

Make a list of all the mistakes your boss brings up. Try to codify them into "TYPES" of mistakes. Sometimes the problem is that your system relies too much on brute memory or powers of observation. Sometimes it comes from inadequate training or weak methods. Sometimes it is ambivalence on the part of the worker.

Produce a multiple choice list of all the TYPES of mistakes then as they occur indicate which type of mistake you think it was. This will be a real eye opening experience for you.

You could also just complain about your boss and imagine how you would run the shop if you owned.



From contributor ma


As others have said: do what's in your power to correct the problem (your problem, not the job inaccuracies.) Your problem, as I read it is that you don't get much satisfaction from your job.
Then, determine what you need from your coworkers, boss, etc. in order to eliminate the inaccuracies. Have a sit-down with your boss and go over your results.

From contributor Ja


David, perhaps it is time to show you can do it better. Start your own operation and be that way towards your employees! If not, suck it up and be the best employee period.

From contributor ca


David,

Here's a great article about the culture of celebrating mistakes. You should read it then maybe download it for your bosses to read. It could be that all you need is a platform like this to start a dialog about how your company should process lessons learned from mistakes.

From contributor Da


Thanks for all the posts guys. Everyone of them make good points. Cabmaker that is very interesting article too. That has been brought up in our office about Toyota's lean manufacturing process although an assembly line production is much different than that of custom cabinets. There are parts of that system that could be implemented though to help production and profit.

From contributor Gr


David,
This sounds exactly.... and I mean EXACTLY what I have been through. I started in the shop and had been brought into the office and did what no one else could or would do, drafting, engineering purchasing and even talking to customers. But no matter what I did, the simple mistakes, like forgetting to add a piece of laminate to the cut list (even though there was extra to get the piece out of) would be a major issue and would even be brought up at the production meetings. The negativity was all day long! And I too was bringing it home to my family who didn't deserve it. I ended up started my own business 11 years ago and have used that experience to my advantage. I am not rich by any means but I am happier than I have ever been and cannot imagine going to work in that type of atmosphere again and wonder why I did for so long. Life's too short and the negativity becomes contagious!
Good luck.

From contributor Da


Gregg you're definitely right, negativity is contagious and it gets old day after day. I think our office does a great job to make the their(shop employees) job easier yet we do not hear about it. We only hear about the small minor things that get blown way out of proportion. What really gets me is how the guys on the floor say we have the easiest job and you know we don't. In fact one of the guys on the floor complains about the office on a regular basis yet you do not see him stepping up to the plate and saying he could help out in here. We are a successful company and moving in the right direction but the negativity can have an impact at the end of the day.

From contributor Gr


Maybe it's the same company? Is it in the Chicagoland area? The same thing with the guys in the shop. One time someone came up and was complaining about one of my drawings, wasting my time, saying I was missing a dimension, which he could of figured out if he did some math. I stood up and pulled my chair out and offered him my seat and said "you wanna give it a try". People like that are usually trying to push the attention on to someone else so they don't get caught with their own mistakes. And then again, some people aren't happy unless they're complaining!

From contributor Da


No, we're not around Chicago but only about six hours north.

From contributor MR


David,

Why hasn't your boss fired you already?