Lead Carpenter

As a finish carpentry foreman in New England during the building boom of the mid-1980s, I saw a lot of carpenters come and go. Time and time again I would hear about the awesome carpenter hired to start the following week and would picture myself reduced to the role of helper. Almost invariably, these superstars turned out to be busts. Some lasted a few weeks, others a few months. The repairs and punchlist items they generated were there to remind us of them long after they had moved on.

Hiring was done by the company’s business manager and project manager. The project manager hadn’t worn a tool belt for a few years, while the business manager had never worked in the trade. They tended to hire people who were presentable and articulate in the white collar setting of the office. While these are valuable qualities for an employee...

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