Painting and decorating, in combination, has been respected as a trade or profession in construction for over forty years. Painting, its predecessor and around for centuries, not as much.
For many years, in many socio-economic-political circles, painting was looked upon as a lower-skilled, lower-level job. Supposedly, anyone able to hold a paint brush could do it to earn some money. Example: College students that needed to pay for their education.
Men that worked as painters were the subject of crude jokes, raw cartoons, class-conscious ridicule, and business-employment de-classing. Many were labeled or type cast, even within their own trade. They were regarded as non-professional, unlicensed, uncertified, and uneducated.
In the construction industry, painters had to work much harder than other tradespersons to prove their worth, and to earn a decent wage. Regardless of the high level of professionalism that a growing number of painters were bringing to their jobs. The skill and workmanship they demonstrated. The fine craftsmanship with which they completed every project.
Too often, this tends to be true today. Recognition of painters for their expertise can be slow in coming. Even with the unlimited speed of and access to outstanding electronic media.
To test this point, I surveyed thirty-one journey-level painters with profiles posted on a professional/career website. All listed “Painting” as one of their top “skills” in the ‘Skills and Endorsements” section.
Six questions were asked. Below are the questions – and corresponding numerical responses.
1. How many months after posting “Painting” as a skill did you receive an endorsement of it?
2 A. 1-3 months 3 B. 4-6 months 7 C. 7-9 months 9 D. 10-12 months
7 E. After 12 months 3 F. No response
2. Who endorsed your “Painting” skill within the first twelve months? Check all that apply.
4 A. Co-worker 3 B. Supervisor/Manager 7 C. Customer/Client
5 D. Paint supplier/Manufacturer’s rep 3 E. Painter/non-coworker
4 F. Former co-worker/Manager 2 G. Property owner
2 H. Friend/Relative 1 I. No response
3. How many persons endorsed your “Painting” skill without being asked?
6 A. 1-3 4 B. 4-6 5 C. 7-9 3 D. 10-12 3 E. 13-15
5 F. 16 or more 5 G. No response
4. Who asked the person to endorse your “Painting” skill? Check all that apply.
8 A. You 4 B. Supervisor/Manager 4 C. Co-worker 3 D. Customer/Client
4 E. Paint supplier/Manufacturer’s rep 3 F. Former co-worker/Manager
2 G. Painter/non-coworker 3 H. No response
5. Who did you anticipate would endorse your “Painting” skill, that did not? Check all that apply.
5 A. Supervisor/Manager 5 B. Co-worker 4 C. Customer/Client
3 D. Former co-worker/Manager 4 E. Paint supplier/Manufacturer’s rep
3 F. Another tradesperson 2 G. Relative/Friend 5 H. No response
6. How many persons that endorsed your “Painting” skill endorsed additional painting trade skills?
3 A. 1-3 6 B. 4-6 8 C. 7-9 7 D. 10-12 5 E. 13-15
1 F. 16 or more 1 G. No response
More than two-thirds of the painters that responded – even with a “No response” – added a comment. The following one got right to the point.
From Steve, Chicago area:
“Why are co-workers, supervisors and managers slow and reluctant to praise their painters publicly? Example: Endorsing, Liking, or recommending their painting and decorating skills on electronic career and social networks. I’ve been lead painter for a 1100+ room hotel and convention center for over twelve years. The two engineering techs that handle basic re-paints and minor touch-ups, and help with big projects, have each been there over six years. We know that everyone there, including management, considers us professionals at our jobs, and appreciates our abilities. What gives?”
“Often, supervisors and co-workers are wrapped up in their own agendas. They may be great at promoting themselves, close colleagues and friends. They may forget or overlook opportunities to publicly support and promote co-workers and staff members. They may not want to ‘go public’ with their praise. Or, they may not want to go on record with YOU about their position regarding your skills and contributions…”
Bottom line: If it’s important to you, ask someone that should know, or will find out.
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Which one of your skills deserve more endorsements that it has received?
What skills-endorsing strategy works best for you?