Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Driver's Seat

The last sixty days have been pretty harrowing. We're remodeling the labor and delivery section of the maternity ward at work. This is more than just your basic patch and paint job. We gutted half the wing and started from scratch. The new section includes an operating room which had its own special set of challenges. Management, to save money, let the house crew in on a lot of it. It's not that much of a stretch, but most people need to be reminded that we're not janitors we're mechanics and most of us used to run our own contracting businesses. That didn't stop the hospital from hiring in a bunch of outside contractors which was in some cases a blessing and a curse in others. But I digress.

One nice thing that came out of it all was that the house crew is a lot more cohesive now. We even have a catch phrase, a rallying cry when faced with the seemingly impossible. Our supervisor is constantly saying, "It is what it is". We had stickers made up to put on our hard hats. Some people thought it was a negative thing but when ever we hit a snag that seemed insurmountable, eventually somebody would say it and we'd find a way around it.

As of today, half the project is done and they'll be using the O.R. next week. We've still got all the rooms on the other side of the hall to finish and with considerably less outside help. I'm thinking now is the time to really make ourselves look good. If we can really kick some ass on what's left, they're going to think twice about hiring outside the next time a project comes along.

One of the things that was really lacking on the first half was a foreman. We have a project coordinator who would show up occasionally, add more requirements and shorten the deadline and go back to his office. What we really needed was a guy on the scene to keep all the separate aspects in his head and massage the details.

When it comes to shows I've been that guy for a long time. When I consider all the duties that I perform on a big show it seems like it ought to be daunting, but with enough experience you can tackle anything. I feel like I'm finally at a point where I'm familiar enough with hospital procedure to jump in the driver's seat. I didn't make a specific bid to be the "guy in charge" but I'm just going to start filling that position the best way I know how. We just need somebody to grease the wheels and if I do it properly, no one will even know I'm at it.

I know this seems like just an ordinary "This Is What's Happening At Work" kind of post, but what I really want to do is encourage you to jump in the driver's seat. You're good, you know you are, it's time to make yourself that much more valuable. I'm not even sure why I'm saying this because this blog is typically anything but a motivational speech. I guess someone out there must need to hear it, so there you go. Get going!

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  1. nice i like like it i need that saying for shows when people come up to me and are like it to loud i can say "it is what it is"

  2. Mister: Hopped over from the link on The Mister, glad I did. Oh, this post brought back some memories for me! I've done a lot of construction admin in my time as an architect, and I have to say there were very few days where I didn't feel my shiny, white hard hat was a big fat, target. On one job I borrowed one from the GC's rack because it was all scuffed up and had the contractor's logo. I felt a little less like a hammer or something was going to hit me by 'accident'. Still, I did have some great times on the jobsites once I got to know the PM's, supers and foremen. I liked the site visits, hated the in-office paperwork. Did a fair amount of construction obs on some hospital projects, fascinating stuff!

    You are right about stepping up: once I learned to do that, things went smoother and I got some respect from the contractors. And that isn't easy for architects to do!

    BTW, that pic you show: is that a T-shirt graphic? If not, it would make a great one! I'd like to get one of those!

    Sorry to be so wordy. THANK YOU so much for the shout-out and the link. I don't know how to pay you back; I'll come up with something. :)


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