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  #1  
Old 09-11-2009, 01:43 AM
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The Great Chasm between Young and Old

Unable to find a 'real' job this year, I am doing manual labor / construction work for a work-related acquaintance who has begun his own operation. Basically, He and I work side by side on the jobs he gets on an unsteady basis.

Now, I am no savant, but I have my strengths and more often than not I perform well in most situations. When it comes to construction, most yokels can don a belt and throw a wall together, or build a pit in the shape that somewhat resembles how they'd like their stairs to look when they're done. After 5 years or less in construction, you pick up a pretty decent amount of information if you know how to put the story together and you pay attention.

So why is it, that whenever I work with an elder, despite whatever talents I may or may not have, he/ she absolutely insists on lecturing me like a dribbling toddler with regards to the most simplest and insignificant tasks?

jesus H. Fu@#$ Christ! man.


Or is it just that Alpha types are more likely to be running their own business because they couldn't put up with being someone's subordinate? And I just keep working for overgrown Alphas?



...I appear to be complaining, but given the circumstances, I am truly grateful that he has kept me on board and grants me at least that much respect that I am worth having around.
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2009, 02:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jt20 View Post
Unable to find a 'real' job this year, I am doing manual labor / construction work for a work-related acquaintance who has begun his own operation. Basically, He and I work side by side on the jobs he gets on an unsteady basis.

Now, I am no savant, but I have my strengths and more often than not I perform well in most situations. When it comes to construction, most yokels can don a belt and throw a wall together, or build a pit in the shape that somewhat resembles how they'd like their stairs to look when they're done. After 5 years or less in construction, you pick up a pretty decent amount of information if you know how to put the story together and you pay attention.

So why is it, that whenever I work with an elder, despite whatever talents I may or may not have, he/ she absolutely insists on lecturing me like a dribbling toddler with regards to the most simplest and insignificant tasks?

jesus H. Fu@#$ Christ! man.


Or is it just that Alpha types are more likely to be running their own business because they couldn't put up with being someone's subordinate? And I just keep working for overgrown Alphas?



...I appear to be complaining, but given the circumstances, I am truly grateful that he has kept me on board and grants me at least that much respect that I am worth having around.
Construction is a real job.

Most yokels cannot throw on a toolbelt and do the job PROPERLY. after 5 years you are barely above an apprentice. The old guys are trying to teach you a trade you can have for the rest of your life-listen to them and learn all you can. Most construction types are not the best at sensitivity, but they are trying to teach you a trade, not public relations! You will find that when you are doing a task the way they want it done you won't get lectured anymore (at least about that task!). I kinda miss the grumpy old guys- they were much easier to get along with than the SNAG'S -(sensitive new age guys!).
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jt20 View Post
So why is it, that whenever I work with an elder, despite whatever talents I may or may not have, he/ she absolutely insists on lecturing me like a dribbling toddler with regards to the most simplest and insignificant tasks?
I must be getting old ... elders have stopped talking to me that way, usually. I've had to "train" elders on some occasions, which is awkward in an entirely different way ... I really don't want to be disrespectful to people who have been working in the field before I was born.

I think it comes down to power, and not necessarily the bad kind. Most people just want respect, and they think they can get it by letting you know how much more they know than you and how much you need their help. I usually just politely let people know that I already understand what they're telling me, but I also make a point of listening to and acknowledging whatever help they can give me. People are proud, or at least they want to be. I figure as long as they aren't condescending, they can give me as much advice as they want. I'll take what I can use.
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  #4  
Old 09-11-2009, 03:47 AM
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Bodhi,

Thats what I do. I am very cordial, I try to give only the most subtle hints that I have very firm understanding of the directions and the rationale that precedes them. If the point is not made, I make it more blatant... then further so.

Its almost as if these characters are so insecure with their achievements, that they are continually reestablishing their worth. And I only say this because it happens often with numerous individuals... and I know the difference b/w personality types and their respective flaws vs. the necessity of establishing a stratified work environment.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:31 AM
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Consider this possibility: a lot of the folks they deal with probably have to be told five times which end of a screwdriver to hold. I'm afraid we are breeding a fair crop of either idiots or people who are not looking for careers where their true talents lie. And even the smart guys don't always get it.
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  #6  
Old 09-11-2009, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jt20 View Post
So why is it, that whenever I work with an elder, despite whatever talents I may or may not have, he/ she absolutely insists on lecturing me like a dribbling toddler with regards to the most simplest and insignificant tasks?
There are two possibilities........the former is more prevalent.

1) The individual is insecure in his own knowledge and the act displaying what he has............for the world to hear..........reinforces his own confidence and beliefs. It has nothing to do with you. In this trade, many of the individuals have picked up their habits over many years and few of those habits are related to the the "correct" way to do the job. The word "correct" is in quotes because four of them will give you four different methods for completing the task. All of them cannot be correct. Many times none are completely correct.

It's an interesting business whereby some really poor workmanship can be generally hidden and only a very knowledgeable homeowner will notice it.

2) You are not as skilled as you believe and he sees that you need verbal instruction and continues to provide it on an ongoing basis.


One of the two is applicable............and I'd probably bet on #1.
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  #7  
Old 09-11-2009, 09:12 AM
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He's made his reputation and career doing things his way,...for better or worse. He wants you to do it his way to protect both those things. Completely understandible. If he's normal, after you gain his condfidence in your ability through your work effort, these comments and remarks and such should stop.
Now, if he's just one of those guys whose always looking over your shoulder and micro managing every nail you hit, I suggest you learn to deal with it while you gain as much knowldege and experience as you can and then move on when opportunity knocks.

Couple of ifs:
If you are technically proficient and if you have worked around in the trade
for a number of employers and this guy is an exception to your bosses treatments of you, then it's likely his issue.
If other bosses have dealt with you in a similar way, then mabye your technical and or people skills need improvement.
All life is human relations. my $.02

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  #8  
Old 09-11-2009, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jt20 View Post
Unable to find a 'real' job this year, I am doing manual labor / construction work for a work-related acquaintance who has begun his own operation. Basically, He and I work side by side on the jobs he gets on an unsteady basis.

Now, I am no savant, but I have my strengths and more often than not I perform well in most situations. When it comes to construction, most yokels can don a belt and throw a wall together, or build a pit in the shape that somewhat resembles how they'd like their stairs to look when they're done. After 5 years or less in construction, you pick up a pretty decent amount of information if you know how to put the story together and you pay attention.

So why is it, that whenever I work with an elder, despite whatever talents I may or may not have, he/ she absolutely insists on lecturing me like a dribbling toddler with regards to the most simplest and insignificant tasks?

jesus H. Fu@#$ Christ! man.


Or is it just that Alpha types are more likely to be running their own business because they couldn't put up with being someone's subordinate? And I just keep working for overgrown Alphas?



...I appear to be complaining, but given the circumstances, I am truly grateful that he has kept me on board and grants me at least that much respect that I am worth having around.
Construction is a real job that real people support their families with. You are the new guy, get used to it. Not just any "yokel" can do that work usually, so swallow that arrogance. I am beginning to see maybe why you dont have a "real" job yet, what with that attitude....nobody owes you anything...
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  #9  
Old 09-11-2009, 09:41 AM
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i'm with you jt20.

i first became a manager when i was 23. anyone older than me resented me for the whole duration i worked there. moved on to a management position at my next job at age 25, same thing. anyone older than me, especially anyone on into their 30s, 40s, or older, resented my authority over them. it was palpable, and i'm not a bossy guy.

i've only seen insecurity from where i'm sitting, and it just gets worse the older they get. i've never worked construction, so maybe it's different.

my 2 cents.
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  #10  
Old 09-11-2009, 10:14 AM
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Ran into this a few times normally its just someone who is very insecure and feels the need to show off to prove they know just as much as you do. If they don't get the hint then make it clear you know what you are doing.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:37 AM
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From an "old guy".
You are NOT going to change them. Their behavior is rooted in their experience. You have yet to prove yourself--at least in their mind.

Either tolerate it, or move on. Life is too short to get stressed out over work conditions. I had a guy that was technically "over" me, because he arrived at the company prior to me-although we did the same work. It was worse because I had trained him. He was anal about certain things--an example--" Don't write 'water', use 'H20"--its less characters".
We eventually worked it out, but it was stressful for a while.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:40 AM
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I can see both sides of the problem and have faced them myself. I worked for one firm and it was a startup plant. I was 28 at the time. The other guys were in their mid to late 30's. I was called the youngin, and they thought I didn't have the experience they had. To some extent true, in other areas not. Did I make mistakes, tes. Did they yes. Some of my ideas worked, others didn't. Still, I had to deal with their mistakes too.
I worked concessions for a local chapter of a National volunteer group. We worked the grandstands at a county fair, with another older voluteer group. Demo Derby nights were the big money nights. A little bit of a redneck crowd and a bit rowdy. One of the older people were saying to stand in front of people and block their view till they bought something. Kept explaining it. It would have gotten me killed. Probably several flights down the steel bleachers. I finally said yeah, yeah and walked away.
Now I did work as a machinist for about 10 years. Probably the same enviroment or simular as construction. I have seen more than a few young inexperienced people ask how to do something or instructed on how to do something, then do it another way. Then blame someone else if their way didn't work. Then again, I had the taks of soldiering up some food grade mixer shafts. They were Stainless steel and had to use food grade soilder. I told them they needed to tin the parts, before they pressed them together. They used white lead grease to help press them together. I don't think that would be fun with regular soilder. The flux for food grade is a lot worse than the regular stuff. One guy would go near me because he thought I had measels or mumps or something.
Now aprearance alway plays into this also. I know a plenty of people who look like country bumpkins. Act it to an extent and have a bit of the twang in their speach. Trust me, they do know their stuff in certian areas. Also, how young or old you look. I am guilty of that too.
Tom
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  #13  
Old 09-11-2009, 10:41 AM
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He probably feels like he has natural seniority due to his age (Respect your elders etc etc) Oddly enough I've never had a problem with this sort of thing. I know I lack good looks so it must be my personality
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  #14  
Old 09-11-2009, 10:55 AM
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In my defense, since a few think my attitude sucks: I am not some cocky know-it-all [maybe on the forum, but thats different ; )] but I have worked with a wide array of 'classes' in this field. In real life, I am quite modest and indirect unless I see fit to use my cunning prowess of blatancy.

By the 'yokel' statement, I meant: once you do something a few times, you (or any individual with an ounce of material understanding) you know the routine and perhaps can think of a few amendments to the procedure. Not to offend anyone in the field, It was not my intent to say its a field for 'people who can't find jobs'; there are some very talented people who should probably running our country in the mix.
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Old 09-11-2009, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Carlton View Post

In this trade, many of the individuals have picked up their habits over many years and few of those habits are related to the the "correct" way to do the job. The word "correct" is in quotes because four of them will give you four different methods for completing the task. All of them cannot be correct. Many times none are completely correct.

This is pretty accurate. I feel like most of the issues are consequences of the adage:

six to one or 1/2 a dozen to the other.

I confess, there are things I learn everyday, and I truly appreciate them. I am also not as experienced and sometimes much slower and 'pokey'. But I don't leave anything 'finished' unless I am quite certain I have covered all corners.


PS - I appreciate the complement.
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