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“ERIK, G.M.”

Erik (not real name) had been the hotel’s general manager for over twenty-two years. I’d been told that he’d worked his way up from front desk clerk.

 

Few persons knew that his first job with the hotel had been “maintenance man.” When the engineering department consisted of three persons: engineer, painter and maintenance worker.

 

Erik learned the hotel business – hands-on – from the ground up. Literally. Without a college degree to back him up.

 

He had worked in nearly every department during his career. Thus, he possessed more than a basic awareness of each department’s function, and each worker’s job description.

 

Erik was one G.M. that a hotel staff/team member could not fool. He was one G.M. that every staff member could count on to understand what he or she was talking about, and was up against.

 

More than likely, Erik had been there, too.

 

We met in 2005, when I worked on two painting projects at his hotel. Erik got upset because one of the sub-contractors came to the site every day, and yelled – “bullied” – his own men.

 

One morning, Erik must have had enough. When my contractor came around and criticized my buddy’s and my paperhanging, he was confronted by the G.M., and two men wearing expensive dark suits.

 

In May, I received an email from Erik, through linkedin.com. Now retired, he said that he’d heard about the most recent job offer back at my old hotel. He gave his “30-second staff sales pitch.”

 

What shouldn’t have surprised me was how much he knew about that hotel’s operations. About the painting work that needed to be done there. Also, about the hotel painter’s job with any hotel.

 

Erik’s second starting job at his hotel had been “painter.” In fact, he had set up the paint shop there. He had established its “job description.” He had stocked its inventory shelves. He had written the guidelines that every painter since him has followed.

 

He told me something else that shouldn’t have surprised me either. His first job at – not with – his hotel was as a painter. A card-carrying IUPAT/IBPAT member, employed by a union commercial contractor in the area.

 

“Talking shop” with Erik has been a tremendous experience. He has been able to offer feedback from many vantage points within a hotel organization. Including as general manager, and painter.

 

Being able to “talk shop” with someone like Erik has been a well-timed gift!

 

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“A kind, gracious problem-solving attitude can save years of tears.”  Anonymous

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved

Painting In: Company Policy, Common Sense and Common Courtesy: Part 1

Scenario:
A person – let’s say a painter – leaves his or her employment with a company.

 

Whatever the circumstance, it is standard company policy for any former employee to separate physically from the business, organization, people there, and property.

 

It is standard company policy that a former employee not return onto the property except:

 

  1. for a business reason that requires their physical return;
  2. for an occasional, brief visit – one to two times a year maximum;
  3. by invitation – eg. for a departmental party or cook-out;
  4. to “apply in person” for a job opening;
  5. for a job interview;
  6. to return – a rehire – to work there.

 

 

By the way, any and all returns should be cleared, in advance, with the hotel or facility general manager, or front office. That’s called “respect” or “common courtesy.”

 

It is common sense for a former employee to stay away from the business, organization and people. That gives everyone involved the time and space needed to:

 

  1. yes, mourn the departed employee’s loss;
  2. accept the person’s absence from the team, and the group; and
  3. adjust to the changes necessary because of the person’s departure from the organization.

 

It is common courtesy for a former employee to remain off the property, and away from the organization, except for any of the six reasons given above. This gives the replacement the best opportunity possible to assimilate into his or her new position.

 

He or she needs, and deserves, the opportunity to succeed. The replacement – new employee – has a job to do there.

 

  1. He or she needs to learn the ropes within the department, also interdepartmentally and organizationally.
  2. He or she needs to adjust and tweak his or her skills, abilities and resources to meet the unique needs of the new property – and employer.
  3. He or she needs to be welcomed properly by his new teammates and bosses.
  4. He or she needs to find his or her place on the team, and how to fit in!
  5. He or she needs to establish a reliable communication and negotiation system with his or her supervisor, other department directors, and managers.
  6. He or she needs to build teammate relationships and organizational friendships – at all levels – that are mutually beneficial, supportive and gratifying.
  7. He or she needs to find unique ways to contribute to the organization and the business.
  8. He or she needs to participate in and belong to the company family.

 

 

When a former employee stays off the property, and stays separated from the company, he or she benefits, too. He or she has the best opportunity to succeed autonomously.

 

  1. He or she can mourn the job loss, with the attention and respect it deserves.
  2. He or she can look back and gain a clear perspective of his or her total employment experience – and work life – there.
  3. He or she can reflect, objectively and subjectively, on past achievements, contributions and also unmet goals.
  4. He or she can rest in the present, and both assess and appreciate his current skills and abilities, accrued knowledge, creative talents, aspirations, and place in the world of employability.
  5. He or she can plan for the future. The person can create a plan that (a) respects that person’s work ethic and set of values; (b) offers opportunities for changes, growth and doing well; and (c) fulfills the greater need to feel like the person fits in and belongs, contributes, and can do more good.

 

When my grandfather retired from the ministry, he left a parish where he and my grandmother were totally respected, and deeply loved. In leaving, he announced to the consistory and congregation that he and Grandmother would be “staying away” from the church parish for one full year. Why?

 

“To give the new man a chance,” he explained to everyone concerned. (And, others that asked!)

 

Grandfather knew that it would be a major challenge for the successor to fill his pastoral shoes. He knew that it would be a bigger challenge for “the new man” to establish his own place – his own identity – in the church and in the community. To fit in and to belong!

 

Grandfather kept his pledge, and promise. Yes, he and Grandmother maintained their closest personal friendships with a few individuals and couples in the church. (They had retired there, their home community for over 25 years.)

 

Still, they refrained from having any communications and activities that may have, even indirectly, made “life uncomfortable and difficult for the new man.”

 

As a result, the new man sought Grandfather’s counsel on a regular basis. And, the two clergy became trusted friends, strong supporters of each other, and professional confidantes.

 

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POINTS TO PONDER:

1. Have you ever been a “former employee?” Did you follow standard company policy after your departure?

2. Did you exercise common sense about your former employer, teammates/coworkers, and organization – and their circumstance?

3. Did you practice common courtesy toward your former teammates/coworkers, former managers, and former employer, as well as your replacement?

4. Have you ever been working where and when a former employee showed up repeatedly on the property?  For years? How did you handle the situation each time?

5. How well was the company policy, including security rules, followed by all current employees and managers, including you? By the former employee? By the business owners?

 

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“In the long haul, it pays to follow company policy, exercise common sense, and practice common courtesy – and help others do the same.”

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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