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Painter’s View: Maintenance Tech and Nurse Follow New Hospital Procedure

A local hospital has a new procedure for each floor nurse. Every hour, she or he must check on every patient under his or her care. Then, the nurse writes his or her initials in the appropriate “hour” space on a sheet of paper taped on the wall in each respective patient’s room.

 

Here’s what a relative observed…

 

  1. The nurse on each shift did enter the room and did initial the appropriate sheet(s) of paper.
  2. Some nurses at least glanced back in the direction of the patient’s bed before initialing the sheet of paper.
  3. Those same nurses were likely to actually speak to the patient during at least 50 percent of those quick log-in visits.
  4. The same shift nurses were likely to return promptly to the room and check on the patient’s welfare.
  5. The same shift nurses tended to extend patient care in empathetic, cheerful and thorough ways.

 

During the night, a hospital maintenance tech entered the room at the same time as a male nurse. Quietly, they chit-chatted while doing their respective jobs.

 

The maintenance tech checked on the operation and controls of the HVAC system. The nurse checked on the patient’s comfort level, bed, wall lighting fixture, etc.

 

Both men completed their tasks about the same time. They arranged to meet or coffee at break time.

 

Nurse Louis wrote his initials onto both sheets, taped onto the wall. Maintenance tech Juan pulled out a mobile device. He pushed a few buttons on the keyboard. Then he returned the phone to his pocket.

 

It turned out that Juan had a new procedure to follow, too. Each time that he left a work area, he had to log it into the engineering department’s daily data base.

 

Also, both men were originally from Puerto Rico. And, both were working at jobs they loved.

 

When I picked up the relative after dismissal one evening, Louis removed the I.V. and disconnected the mobile monitor. With great pride, he told me about the maintenance tech, Juan.

 

“Juan is the smartest, most honest man I know. And, the hardest worker. The best maintenance tech in America. Well, in Florida. He’s as good at his job as anyone with a big education and degrees. Like me.”

 

In those few words, Nurse Louis said a lot about himself, too. And, he revealed why he was among the few shift nurses that actually looked back and checked on his patient each time that he came along to initial each daily log on the wall.

 

Kudos to Maintenance Tech Juan and Nurse Louis.

 

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A man of merit on the job is a man of worth in any community.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

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

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Painter’s World: The Future of Painting and Decorating

In the future, which most of us have not thought much about, the painting of surfaces will no longer be needed.

 

All construction and building materials will be coated at the manufacturing plant. Even touch-ups on the construction sites will be unnecessary.

 

If you’ve been paying attention, that’s the case more and more today.

 

So, where will that leave the experienced painter? Will he or she become extinct?

 

A number of occupational pilot programs offer training in things like “paint coatings technology,” for example. Painters learn skills used at the product design and manufacturing levels.

 

  1. Design, development and maintenance of computer systems that run assembly coating systems equipment.
  2. Operation of assembly painting computer system equipment.
  3. Research and development of painting and coating products applied at building products manufacturing plants.
  4. Manufacture of manufacturing equipment that applies coatings.
  5. Installation and maintenance of manufacturing equipment that applies coatings.
  6. Quality control.
  7. Sales and marketing of above mentioned computer systems, manufacturing equipment, and pre-coated construction materials and products.
  8. Risk management.
  9. Accounting, credit and collections.
  10. Training of construction workers in installation of pre-coated materials and products, etc.

 

You get the picture.

 

Painting science and technology. Not a bad choice, actually. Generally, technology jobs pay more per hour. They offer more job stability, and mobility. They offer access to job, and volunteer, opportunities not available outside the realm of science and technology (STEM).

 

By this time, the old structures and pieces will have bitten the dust. I’m referring to the homes, office buildings, stores, schools, restaurants, manufacturing plants, etc. that required painters on site, or a paintshop, for brushing, rolling or spraying on product.

 

The panorama of our residential, commercial and industrial landscapes and skylines will be occupied solely by surfaces pre-coated at the plant. Sleek, clean lines. Toxic-free, hazard-free.

 

Recently, I got out “Star Wars” from my Star Wars Trilogy Special Collection. I popped it into my DVD-VCR system. I looked more closely at the sets used in the movie. Awesome!

 

There, in full view, was a vivid picture of future surfaces. Those construction/building products and materials precoated at the manufacturing plant.

 

I took my first class in Painting Technology 101, I guess you could say. Food for thought for certain.

 

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It’s amazing the trade lessons that science/futuristic fiction authors, artists

and filmmakers have been teaching us, probably without thinking about that.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

PAINTSHOP: “You Have Just Been Awarded $5,000…”

You’ve been awarded $5,000 to spend on any painting projects of your choice. Where to start? How to decide? So many areas need work.

 

1. On what projects will that $5,000 reach the furthest? And, do the most good?

 

2. Is it really your decision to make? Or, are some members of management standing nearby hoping that you will select projects/areas that they want done, now that you – paintshop – have the budget to do them?

 

3. Do you need to make a list of your top five choices? Then get approval from management?

 

4. What kind of time frame are you looking at for spending down that money? Can you spread it out? Can you reserve some of it for a project later?

 

5. In that available time frame, which projects can be taken care of with minimal down time related to guest and staff ability to use the space or area.

 

These little tips may get your juices flowing now. Before that possible miracle gift falls in your lap.

 

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Every hotel or facility painter deserves some dream money for the paintshop.

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Thank you for checking in with “Painting with Bob.”

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

TALKING WITH THE BOSS

Even the most capable and likeable staff painter may freeze up when needing to talk with the boss. The urge is to put it off till later.

 

That’s fine in some cases. You might find a good solution on your own. The problem might resolve itself, or run its course. Or, its importance may actually drop a few notches. Compared to bigger or newer stuff.

 

Putting off a  talk with your boss can cause or trigger bigger  problems. And, cost more money to resolve.

 

So, if the problem is only getting bigger, and won’t go away? Ask ahead, “When you can spare ten, I’d appreciate your input on something.”

 

TWELVE TIPS:

  1. Do it face-to-face.
    Exception: The issue can’t wait. And, your boss is accessible today only by mobile, e-mail or facebook.
  2. Jot down the issue or problem, and two closely related facts. Have it ready  to “prod you on,” and keep on center/on point.
  3. Briefly explain the issue, what’s happening, and what you’ve done so far to try to take care of it.

4. Tell you boss, “I’m open for any solutions you might have.”

5. Ask how he wants you to do each solution that he suggests. His and your methods may differ, just enough to cause failure.

6. Stop. Ask your boss to clarify his viewpoint. And you explain yours. Share your feelings on both sides.

7. Work together to figure out a way to manage the problem.

8. Be sure that you understand where your boss is coming from. Ask him how he drew that conclusion.

9. Keep on the issue/problem at hand. Keep to that 10 minutes. Do not go off the track. And, do not side-pedal. Avoid other people’s views. They’re not there!

10. You may need to change your thinking to change your feelings. Take another look at the problem, and your efforts.

11. Seriously consider your boss’s viewpoint. Clear  up your assumptions about your boss’s intentions or motives.

12. Consider how much you may contribute to the problem/issue – and to the problem-solving effort.

 

In hotel/facility painting, the relationship between the painter and his boss is closely linked. They must work as part of a team to keep their department running smoothly – and their property meeting the expectations of a LOT of different people and factions.

 

In commercial and industrial painting, it’s common for problems to surface. Even with products that you’ve been using very successfully for over ten years.

 

Manufacturer’s reps and product analysts are familiar figures on site. Their prompt testing of applications could make the difference between completing a project to specification, and to passing all final inspections. The only way the customer/client pays. And, the individual painter gets his money, too.

 

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Break the ice. Offer your boss a chance to “take ten.” Together.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

 

 

Painter’s World: Mind your own business

At a seminary reunion, some of my grandfather’s old classmates asked how he managed to have such a successful church, financially.

 

“I stay out of their business,” he told me he answered, “and mind my own.”

 

The same goes for a painter. Whether on the staff, with a contractor’s crew, or a temporary worker.

 

Stay out of what does not directly concern, or relate, to you and your work there. Mind your own business. Let other people do their jobs. And you do yours.

 

Simple enough, right?

 

A FEW MIND-YOUR-OWN-BUSINESS SCENARIOS

 

1. Your hotel is managed and operated by an outside company.

There should be no need for you to communicate directly with them, unless an authorized company official initiates that. Then, watch what you say. Also, promptly tell your supervisor about the communication: who initiated it; who said what, when, where, etc.

TIP: If you do need to connect with them, first follow the chain of command on your end. Example: supervisor, manager, administrator.

 

2. You run into a big problem on a commercial project, applying wall vinyl selected by the customer.

Do not contact the customer yourself. Unless it is part of your job to deal directly with them.

TIP: Call your job foreman, or company boss.

 

3.  Staff members in another department are having problems handling assigned tasks, that you can help make easier and safer for them.

It is not your call!

TIP: Offer no advice nor help on your own. First get written authorization from your supervisor/ director and the supervisor/director of that other department.

 

4.  You have a serious teammate or fellow staff member situation.

Do not run to Human Resources! Not to one person there.

TIP: First, keep it in the department. Privately mention the matter to your supervisor, in a “What can I do?” or “How do you advise I proceed?” frame.

TIP: Refrain from criticizing, running down, or tearing/apart your coworker. Let your boss check into the problem.

 

5. A client’s top official or manager repeatedly interferes with your ability to complete project.

Please, do not communicate directly with any client’s official.

TIP: Promptly alert your company’s superintendent, senior officer or owner. Let it up to him or her to handle it.
6. Another trade craftsperson, working on the same large project, keeps damaging the surface areas you’ve already finish coated.

Do not say one word to that craftsperson’s boss – foreman, superintendent, company owner.

TIP 1: If you’re the lead painter or foreman, try taking the craftsperson aside, and politely asking him or her to please be more careful.

TIP 2: If you’re a crew painter, hint how those mishaps might affect everyone’s paychecks, and the final sign off by the client or customer.

TIP 3: Promptly, notify your superintendent, or employer. Report the problem. Stick to the facts.

TIP 4: If you’re a temporary, report the matter to your assigned contact with your temporary staffing company.

 

It can be tempting to step forward, and try to handle a problem or situation, that is not within your authority.

 

Bottom line: Keep it straight with yourself who is responsible for what, and who, ultimately, is in charge. And do not let anyone else – even a boss – put you in that position. It could raise serious liability problems and legal questions.

 

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One key to troubleshooting on the job or project is keeping out of other people’s business.

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Many thanks, mentors, for mentoring me well!  Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Second Shift Tasks and Projects

Q. What tasks and projects fit well into late afternoon and night schedule?

1. Office areas, especially the painting of doors and molding.
2. Ceilings that are in high traffic areas during the day.
3. Touch-up painting and cleaning of restroom surfaces.
4. Vacant rooms – painting of entire room.

 

Q. How can tasks and projects that need full-light get done on a second shift schedule?

1. When available light is a question, use portable lighting that can be dimmed or filtered.
2. Create ceiling-to-floor partition, where excess lighting can be used.

 

Q. What tasks and projects should be done only during the day? On a First-shift basis?

1.  All interior/exterior surfaces can be painted, weather permitting and in low-traffic area.
Examples: Doors, moldings, ceilings, walls, floors, etc.
2. First shift can be a good time to perform spray painting tasks.
*  The ambient light will be at its highest.
*  When doing so, be aware of solvent odors, as both you and others may be exposed and become ill.

 

COMMON SENSE SECOND-SHIFT PAINTING TIPS

1. In any vacant or unoccupied area, use CAUTION TAPE for safety notification.
2. Always post WET PAINT signs outside of all interior work areas, even if area is vacant.
3. Tackle exterior projects which require temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and full sun.
*  Do any exterior project which requires relatively low humidity.
*  Painting of any exterior surface must take into consideration the weather.
*  Paint products can be affected when not applied under the proper conditions.
*  Problems with drying time, paint sheen retention and proper adhesion can result.

 

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“Never tell yourself, ‘I have to do something.’ Tell yourself, ‘I get to do it!”

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

John’s On-Its-Way-Out Hotel

John’s 200-room hotel was down and out in every way that you could think of.

 

1. Structurally, the buildings were old, and deteriorated.

2. Essential amenities – eg. in guest rooms, eating areas, pools – were obsolete, damaged beyond repair, and compromised by mold, mildew and water leakage.

3. In the last year, staff had been cut to one-half, or less.

4. Management was top heavy.

5. Budget had been cut to 40 percent.

6. Guest occupancy ran at 40 percent, or lower.

7. The hotel property set now on a state highway, because the “U. S. Highway” designation had been moved to the new bypass two years ago.

 

Still, it held on. “I don’t think we an make it much longer,” John e-mailed. “Word has it, but management won’t tell us anything yet, that the doors will be closed by Christmas.”

 

John had three years to go to qualify for full Social Security benefits, and Medicare. Where would a 62-year old painter be able to find work? Even part-time?

 

So, John did the unthinkable. The unauthorized.

 

Every afternoon, he worked “off-the-clock” in guest rooms.

 

One-by-one, he repaired bathroom plumbing. He replaced ceramic tiles in complementary colors. He laid not no-skid mats in the bathtubs.

 

He camouflaged beat up headboard walls, by repainting them. He sponge-cleaned draperies to remove mold and mildew buildup in hidden areas. He cut fresh lemons, and stuck one or two sections inside every window air conditioner unit.

 

How could John afford the supplies that he used? Where did he get them?

 

1. He cut out all drive-through cups of coffee, snacks, fast food, and dinners out. And smoking.

2. He qualified for the local bus services. Over 60, the half-price fare. Four days a week, he left his car in the driveway at home.

3. From Home Depot, Lowes and paint stores, he purchased rejected/returned gallons of paint. Trying to stick close to very light colors, that he could tint.

4. He let people in church know that he needed used paint brushes, rollers and covers, sea sponges, etc. All in good condition. Also, partially full tubes and containers of caulking, putty, fillers, etc.

5. He talked the director of the area “Habitat for Humanity” into giving – or selling cheap – cans of primer, paint, varnish, sealer, polyurethane, etc. left over from home building projects.

6. He did what it took to get the supplies needed to fix up all of the guest rooms.

 

His efforts helped. Other staff members – eg. housekeeping and engineering – noticed. They started to stay longer, and make little improvements here and there.

 

1. A part-time housekeeper, from Trinidad, grew plants. On the transit bus, she carried pots of young foliage. After her shift, she planted them. Then, she helped the groundskeeper weed, prune and revive neglected plants, shrubs, flowerbeds, and shorter trees.

2. A kitchen worker stayed late frequently. He thoroughly cleaned, scoured and reorganized the main kitchen.

3. Two food court workers stayed on two slow days. They cleaned and reorganized the food court displays, countertops, cooking and warming areas, etc.

4. A maintenance worker helped John cut new carpet remnants into 12-inch by 12-inch squares. Then,  they laid them in the entry ways of over fifty guest rooms.

5. A laundry room attendant, that once worked in New York City’s garment district, borrowed a portable sewing machine. He re-stitched and re-hemmed over 100 quilted bedspreads, and 50 coverlets.

6. A super-store manager, located over 80 miles away, shipped boxes of slightly used bath linens, returned by customers.

 

In the end, the hotel made it through June of 2014. The owners gave a two-week notice to all staff members, including in the front offices. Here’s how the hotel staff said their good-byes.

 

* June 16 to 20. Staff was allowed to take furniture, lamps, paintings, and mirrors. They could also take linens, window treatments, fixtures, tools, supplies, kitchen and cooking utensils, china and serving pieces, table services for 8, etc.

 

* June 23 and 24. Staff helped the drivers of charity trucks load up remaining larger items in good condition: beds, sofas, chairs, desks, tables, mirrors, etc.

 

* June 25 and 26. Staff hauled all remaining pieces to two large dumpsters on the property.

 

* June 28. The staff returned and enjoyed a carry-in dinner around the (drained) pool.

 

* June 30. The utilities were shut off.

 

* June 30. The hotel’s general manager and an owner locked the doors from the outside. A security company padlocked the chain-linked fencing and gates erected to keep out intruders.

 

 

JOHN HAS NO REGRETS.

“I could have gotten into trouble. But, I never thought of it. I just tried to fix the place up… I wanted to give our hotel one last chance.”

 

 

What would you do to try to give your hotel another chance?

 

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Kudos to John! How’s life back with your family in the Antilles?

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Thanks, everyone, for your support and input. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

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