June ’11 Elevator Constructor Article

Brothers and sisters:

When I was a helper, I had a mechanic ask me if I was crazy after a heated exchange with another mechanic.  I responded that crazy was a medical diagnosis that we were not qualified to make.  It was meant to diffuse his caution but it supports the tenuous line invisibly walked by ourselves and those around us.

There is no doubt that the constant and increased monitoring by the companies of the every move of their employees through GPS and other means puts additional stress on an already stressful job.  What quality of service can you give to a paying customer during your six minute maintenance visit?  If my phone is ringing every forty minutes to check on my location, how much am I really able to get done?  If my boss has me under the gun to get a job in, what level of  craftsmanship can the contractor expect?

The added relationship distractions of our spouse, co-workers, children, adult parents, siblings and neighbors can feel like chains weighing us down.

Then we start second guessing ourselves.  Did I really tighten that adjustment?  Was that the right parameter?  Where are all my jumpers?  Did I do the right thing with my kids or my spouse?  Why did I yell at my neighbor for no good reason?  Is it really worth going on?

When someone in trouble does decide to step into the void, those left behind are fraught with questions that no one on this plane can answer.  All we as outsiders can do is offer support to the survivors.

This brings me to a serious point brought up at the April union meeting.  If you or someone you know is troubled or seems to show signs of being troubled, do not just walk away.  Screw GPS and tasking, turn off your phone and take the time to truly listen to what your coworker is saying.  They may be reaching out to you as a last handhold before the abyss.

We make a difference in our daily work.  That difference cannot always be measured in profit or the number of callbacks we take.  Sometimes the measure is in how we treat each other.  There have been many times I spent an extra half hour in the coffee shop or took a long lunch to listen when a coworker was troubled and that time was paid back to me when I needed it.

The point is, take the time now.  Take the time now to praise someone for a job well done.  Take the time now to constructively correct someone when needed.  Take the time now to let your loved ones know how much you care.  Take the time now to ask for forgiveness or extend understanding.  Take the time now because you do not know how much you will have.

The International offers mental health services through the National Elevator Industry Benefits Plan.  If you are having a hard time coping with a situation, please, please, please seek someone out and get help.

NEIEP is looking for contributors to Lift Magazine, its educational supplement available to all members.  The upcoming issue covers new elevator technology.  You do not need to be a professional quality writer to contribute, just having the desire to share your knowledge with others.  If you are interested in becoming part of the team of compensated Lift contributors, send your resume to Jon Henson at jhenson@neiep.org or call 508-699-2200 extension 6115.

Brother Jeff Ford’s brother Joe was recently promoted to Captain and is currently serving in Iraq.  Please keep him in your prayers.

The local sends its most sincere condolences to the families of Brother Ryan Faber who passed away on March 31st and retired Brother James Horvath who passed away on March 25th.

‘till next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

Don

dknapik@windstream.net