With a prayer for a check in the mail on Saturday, on Friday I would hand out paychecks.
In commercial construction, to ensure subcontractors finish their work, general contractors typically retain 10% of monies due until the job is complete. That’s where our cash was, retained until the cows came in or until our customers no longer needed the money to finance their operations.
Daily, my blood pressure would rise as I passed a manufacturing plant for which we had not been paid for our work. Fed up, I asked my attorney to notify the contractor, owner, architect and anyone else he thought of, that we were going to file suit to collect; the threat got everyone’s attention and the owner called for a meeting.
We met in the plant’s conference room. The owner’s representative opened the meeting by asking the contractor why we hadn’t been paid. He answered, “They haven’t repaired the damaged fascia metal.” My roofing department manager replied, “What damage?” The contractor stood, puffed out his chest and exclaimed, “If you had listened you would know!” I grabbed the department manager as he lunged across the table, trying to grab the man by the throat.
When calm returned, the owner suggested we view the damaged fascia. With the contractor and my manager safely separated by the owner, architect and myself—we trooped to the far side of the building.
The contractor stopped and pointed to the fascia some 20 feet above the ground and said “There.” We stared until the owner’s representative said, “Where?”
“There, where I’m pointing!”
“I don’t see anything.”
“Wait until the sun is a little further up; then you can see it.”
“My goodness, you mean you’ve been holding $50,000 of this man’s money on a defect you can only see when the sun is a particular place in the heavens!”
He turned to me and said, “Mr. Tucker you’ll have a check by tomorrow afternoon.”
Soon after I made the determination to sell the company.
I recognized that I was part of our collection problem. I was a square peg in a round hole: I had tried to do the best I could; spent a lot sleepless night and kept long hours but I wasn’t detail oriented or tough enough to survive in the construction industry.
To assure happiness and success, it is important to recognize, admit and accept your aptitudes and talents; to know and focus on what you do well.
“Knowing what you can not do is more important than knowing what you can do.” – Lucille Ball