Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Posts tagged ‘Engineering Team’

Painter’s World: Helping Your Teammates

You want to keep your job, right? And, you want to stay as productive as you can for as long as they can?

So do your teammates wherever you work. Whether they work in the same department as you, on in a different department.


Ten Ways to Be a First-Rate Teammate

1. Keep your eyes and ears open.

2. Pay attention to the different way that a teammate is doing his or her job today, versus yesterday, last week, or a month ago. What’s going on with him or her?

A. Is he or she taking more work shortcuts?
B. Is he or she taking longer breaks?
C. Is he or she babying a certain part of the body – eg. right leg, left wrist?
D. Is he or she slacking off wherever or whenever possible?
E. Is he or she complaining about parts of the job that he or she used to enjoy?
F. Is he or she slipping in mini-breaks, in addition to the allowed 15 minute breaks AM and PM?

3. If your teammate shows signs of needing help:

A. Ask if it’s okay to give him or her a little help.
B. Or, lend a hand without saying a word, or without being asked.
Examples: Lifting a 50-pound bag of mulch, or carrying 5-gallon buckets of paint.

4. Cover his or her back, especially when he or she is going through rough times.

5. Offer to switch your holiday work schedule with a teammate that has children.

6. Show up with a cold bottled water, sandwich and snack when he or she is working alone on a major work order or task, or difficult project.

7. Offer to help a teammate troubleshoot on a time-consuming and stressful problem.

8. During a teammate’s vacation, try your best to keep up with his or her work orders, so he or she is not swamped upon their return.

9. Say “Please” and “Thanks” once in a while. And, always compliment each of your teammates whenever it is deserved.

10. Help make a departing teammate’s last day a really good day. Help throw him or her a little farewell party – even if you’re glad to see the person leave.

Foremost, a painter is part of a team – and one cog in that BIGGER wheel.

Thanks for checking out “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s View: The Finer Essence: A View of Fathers

The Finer Essence is part of the title of a 32-page booklet, written and published by my mother for her cousins and children, my sister, and I.  It’s a collection of biographical stories about some of the fathers in our family. (Including my father, grandfathers, great uncles, great-grandfathers, etc.)


Originally, the plan called for the soft cover publication to be ready for distribution near Father’s Day of 2008.


However, the publication date got moved back when I suffered my first adverse reaction to exposure to very high levels of major myotoxins. Specifically, black mold infestation.


Eight years, and a lot more genealogical research, later the illustrated, full-color book – expanded to 40 pages – rolled off the press. Well, out of the printer.


Last week-end (four days ago), its pages got collated into sets, flat stapled, and folded. Then inserted into white 10 x 13 envelopes. And, as I write this post, they’re being weighed, meter posted, and mailed at the nearest U. S. Postal Service counter.


The books will not arrive (except my copy) in time for Christmas. Close enough, though.


It’s one of those gifts – about ancestry – that can keep on giving. Every time someone opens the book’s front cover.


What kind of gift can you give that will keep on giving? For generations, perhaps?



Best wishes for a safe, healthy and joy-filled holiday season.



Many thanks to everyone for visiting “Painting with Bob” – and for doing what you can to make the work world a better place.


Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.


Following Orders. Taking the Hotel’s Heat

Mark, a hotel painter, told me about a recent “guest” experience. “I’ve gotten over the guest’s verbal outburst. Not the general manager’s verbal attack. He blamed me, again. After I’d followed his orders.”


“I waited till 11 am to paint the concrete walkway outside of a row of guest rooms. The paint takes a half hour to dry, in most cases. At 11:15, a guest came back earlier than expected, and couldn’t get in his room. He had a fit.”


“This sort of thing happens regularly,” explained the painter. “My supervisor or G.M. tells me to do something one way. I follow instructions. One of them – usually the G. M. – comes back later, and calls me out. Or tells me to do it differently. Often the way that I proposed in the beginning. Bob, I know what I’m doing.”


Mark had been the hotel’s lead painter for over nine years. He’d been a journey-level painter over seventeen years. For six of them, he’d run projects for a commercial contractor. And trained people.


“It’s the trickle down effect,” he said. “I recognize that.”


Mark explained that he didn’t mind taking his share of the blame. “I don’t even mind taking all of the blame occasionally. Especially, when it takes a bit of the heat off my boss. The chief engineer. He’s one hard worker….But these frequent attacks…”


I tried to reassure him. “It happens to everyone at some time. Wherever they work. Like you said, ‘Its the trickle down effect.’” But I added, “And, that’s okay, Mark. As long as the trickles are landing on other team members, too.”


How would you handle a situation like this?


What would you say to your G.M., or facility’s operations manager? To your supervisor?


Great leaders have an uncanny knack of knowing what you’re good at, and what you’re not. 

…Paraphrased quote by Philip Gulley.


Daily thanks to you, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik.

All rights reserved.


Painters and decorators are always on the lookout for better, easier ways to run their paintshops, and workshops. Example: I keep an electronic “guidebook.” Tabbed and indexed. Set up so I can select, then print out any part, as needed. Some part of it goes with me, nearly everywhere.


Thirteen tips from Bob’s Painting and Decorating Guidebook.©

1.Keep sandpaper sheets and scraps organized.

Needed: Expandable accordion-style file folder – $4.99 up.

A. Assign/label each compartment a sandpaper grid number.

B. Include the following categories: Emery, Discs, Dovetail, Screens

C. File your sandpaper in the appropriate section.


2. Organize your small supply of screws, nut, bolts, washers, etc.

Needed: Plastic organizer box, with adjustable or molded dividers.

A. Place each type and length of screw in a separate section.

B. On lid, draw horizontal and vertical lines that correspond with dividers inside.

C. Label each section with the type and size of pieces shown underneath. Use permanent marker pen tip.


3. Organize your small supply of nails in the same way.


4. Use a self-made wall and shelf unit to store extra shop-vac hose and attachments.

Building tips: Backboard: Plywood, 3/4 or 1 inch; shelf: 1 inch. Attachment holders: Plastic pvc/plumbing connectors. Hose: Garden hose holder/bracket, wall-mount.


5. Make tack cloths for wood finishing from cheesecloth. Excellent, affordable choice!

Needed: 1 or 2 yards of new/clean cheesecloth – dense weave.

A. Cut cheesecloth into 6-inch or 12-inch squares.

B. In discarded small cooking pot, bring linseed oil and varnish to boil. Remove from heat.

C. Dampen cheesecloth squares in mixture.

D. Store in covered, heavy glass jars, with tight lid.


6. Revitalize paint brushes, hardened with old product.

A. Shellac residue – Soak overnight in alcohol. Rinse and wash in trisodium phosphate (tsp) solution. Use brush comb to help clean and condition bristles.

B. Other products – Soak in paint and varnish stripper to dissolve gunk. Rinse with TSP and comb. Product examples: Latex, polyurethane, wood finisher.

C. Dried product solvent known – Soak brush in that product. Example: lacquer thinner.

— Then use a stripper. Product examples: StripX Stripper, Woodfinisher’s Pride.


7. Evaporate water-based paint products safely before disposing of cans.

A. Set open cans in ventilated area.

B. Allow old product to evaporate completely.

C. Replace lids on cans, if possible.


8. Dispose of left-over oil-based products, solvents, paint removers, and most water-based products at hazardous waste disposal/collection site.

A. Store in cool, dark, dry location in paint shop.

B. Keep out of sunlight, and off of damp concrete floor.

C. Leave each product in original container, with its label still affixed and legible as possible.

TIP: If label is not legible (dried paint), print product name on outside of can, using black permanent marking pen.


9. De-activate oil and other chemicals soaked into old rags.

A. Drop used rags into bucket of water, when through with them.

B. Properly dispose of rags at hazardous waste disposal/collection site.


10. Choose chemical strippers with care. Then, follow label instructions.

A. Avoid dangerous solvents. Examples: Methylene chloride, acetone, tuolene, xylene.

B. Safer choices: Organic-active ingredients; slow evaporation.


11. Use plenty of sawdust shavings to soak up residue from chemical stripping.


12. Store finishing and other flammable products in sturdy, locked metal cabinet.

TIP: A used office cabinet works for this.


13. Keep assortment of clean steel wool/abrasive pads in shop.


My father showed me how to set up a paint shop. He made it very clear WHY it was important to know that. I was only 10 or 11.
“Suppose you have two minutes to grab your tools, and head out to the site. What can you afford to show up without? Nothing, Son, when you need it NOW!”




FREE GO-TO GUIDES: Click on post: Steel Wool Guide and Sandpaper Grit Chart.


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Special thanks to the following: and’s group; also,

Home Depot’s Bill, and; and’s commercial consulting.

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Thank you, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob,” and for connecting.


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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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