Washed Checks

This week got off to a nice start.  Had a great Thanksgiving, a little time off, and we started a nice sunny Monday rested and rejuvenated.  At coffee break my wife says “Well – I’ve got some good news and some bad news.”  Hmmm.. This doesn’t sound good-not a fan of ‘bad’ news.  So she continues “We may have a little more in our account than we thought.”

May??? No ‘may’ involved – either we have more or we don’t.  I ask “may?” “Is that the good news or bad news?”

“It turns out I washed Peters check, that’s the bad news.  I have to ask him to send out another one.”

Soo.. it turns out that the practice of wadding your money into a ball and putting it in your pocket doesn’t actual work.  Wow, what a shocker.  Of course I didn’t say that out loud – only thought it out loud.

It did get me thinking about work habits.  Something I stress repeatedly in the trenches is the importance of forming good work habits.  On one of my first jobs I worked with an older gentleman. Herm, or skinny Herm as he was called, was tall and thin and he always wore blue dickies work pants with the matching button up short sleeve shirt.  Billy used to refer to him as a shrink wrapped skeleton.  Herm wasn’t going to set the concrete forms on your job, but he was a great trim carpenter.  Meticulous with an eye for detail, he would work steady all day.

One of the first good work habits I learned from Herm. He would say “Put the saw down – saw can’t fall down!”  It’s a bit of wisdom I’ve spouted often over the years.  Sometimes it’s followed by a look of confusion and bewilderment. “I’m not even using a saw!?”  The point is- don’t put yourself in a compromised position.  Good work habits – good job site habits.

Just the other day, while wheeling out a barrel of sawdust, I ran over a tool I had neglected to put away properly, sending the barrel careening off the hand truck, compromising the top ring.  That was a bad work habit that came back to haunt me.

Like the difference between a good job and a great job, it’s the small details that matter.  Keeping the floor clean, having a place to set your tools down, having an organized work area, no cell phones or other distractions.

Put the saw down – put that check in your wallet.

Those good work habits we develop will pay big dividends.

See you next Friday.  Until then take five!


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