Mike Colon

From the Desk of Mike Colon, Blue Collar Black Book Founder

HOORAY for ME and SCREW YOU! The Attitude that is Destroying the Construction Industry

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It's a complex world we are living in. Too complex and unnecessarily so, or maybe we have mentally devolved so far that we don't realize we are all connected and what effects one of us affects all of us. In construction the “hooray for me” attitude manifests in a gruesome game of killer take all (all that is left over). Strap on some body armor, in this article we will suffer the slings and arrows of OUTRAGEOUS Fortunes.

Why are Tradesmen willing to work HARDER to make LESS?


Answer me this: Why is it that Contactors, the people who build the world we live in today, are now dismantling their very potential to make a living? If you have your own business in the trades, you probably know exactly where I am going with this article.


For those not in the know,  let's take it from the top.

It is as true today as it was in the days of Shakespeare and Aristotle - he who has the money controls the strings that in turn control the game. Just who is it that wants to develop the buildings that WE are so great at constructing?  Extremely rich individuals and large corporations that's who. Who makes money off the buildings WE construct? Get over yourself, the 1 to 2 thousand bucks you make a week on these construction projects wouldn't even buy a look at the interest the rich make on their money. Okay, so you get the point and before we put each other in a bad mood, let's switch things up.

Money is both Leverage and Motivation in the Contracting Business

We all want to work, we all have responsibilities we have to pay for. The problem starts as soon as the ink starts to dry on that fresh set of plans and it's time to get bids. The businessman wants to stretch his dollars and he sure as hell doesn't want to pay for any more than he has to. The General Contractors want to get the job, so they do their  best to get the numbers right on the money. Then, business man, says to the general, “Can you do it for less? You were a lot higher than the other bids.”


Stop and think for a minute. What do you do? If you kick it back to the subcontactor to start chiseling away at that bid, the business man just got the first HOORAY FOR ME. Everybody else down the line now gets the F! You. The general, the subs and don't forget about the employees. They suffer too. There is going to be a lot of pressure to be more productive and perform faster, oh and don't even think about getting a bonus, there is no money for that

Now when Mr Business Man plays the “Hooray for Me” game I don't like it, don't agree with it and it makes me unbelievably mad but I get it. Doesn't mean I would play that game, but I get it.

The part I don't get is when Contractors, Subcontractors and Tradesmen start playing the “Hooray For Me” game too. It's nothing more than cannibalism. We don't need any more help keeping ourselves from making a decent living. Yet when we play this game it takes all of us straight to the bottom.

Mister General Contractor thinks he is more important and or more valuable than everybody else is. So he whittles away at the subs who in turn put the pressure on their employees. Now tradesmen are having trouble paying their bills (and don't get me started on their savings) and all so Mr General and his wife can drive brand new matching luxury SUV's.

Of course then there is the Low Ball, self defeating Scrub Subs who want to undercut reputable tradesmen contractors. It's like comparing apples to oranges. That opportunistic general contractor doesn't care what the quality of work is like, as long as the project gets done in a way that will pass inspections and hopefully the warranty period. Never mind what's in the best interest of the end user or client, it's Hooray for Us and F! Them.

The final act of desperation in the game comes from the tradesmen level itself. These are the guys that never took their trade serious and never polished their skills or who were such screw ups and so unreliable they couldn't keep a job. It also includes the journeyman tradeworker who just never learned the business of construction and in turn buries the labor rates. They are usually hungry from being under employed or underpaid, they are desperate and we all know desperation leads to bad decision making. These guys swoop in to work for way under reasonable rates or maybe they are just working for sub par wages under the generals license undercutting everybody else on the way. Not only does it take money away from good tradesmen but it sets a terrible precedent that will continue to be used as leverage.

So what does it all mean and how do we all stop the B.S.?



Everyone in the Construction Industry should work with PURPOSE and DUTY

Your PURPOSE is to do good and improve, make the world a better place and make life better.
Your DUTY is threefold:  Duty to God & Country, Duty to Others and Duty to Self.

There is nothing wrong with fulfilling your duty to self. The problem is most people never get past it and neglect putting effort into the other duties.

Understand that you are responsible for more than yourself. You actions affect more than yourself. Conduct your trade business like a hero trying to save the day. Know how you are going to handle a situation, before you are in the situation. Have an answer for everything and every situation the client can throw at you.

Most of all resist temptation. All it takes is one person being greedy to whip everybody into a frenzy of self preservation.

When we start to turn this thing around I will be the first to say Hooray for You. All of You, because there will be no prosperity for us with people acting out of self interest and that is a bad habit to break as well as a lot of hard work. Thank God we are all used to hard work. Nobody I talk to thinks we can do it. The smart money is against us. Rest assured I have made a career out of doing things people thought couldn't be done, and hopefully you will have the same results. When we succeed I will be the last one to  say Hooray for Me, because my work won't be done until everyone is doing much better, because THAT IS HOW I OPERATE IN A TEAM.

So until then F***! No One.

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