Rise and shine

Not every mishap in the cabling industry is cabling-oriented. Some blunders could happen to anyone in any industry; we just happen to hear about the blunders that put cabling professionals behind the eight ball.

Patrick McLaughlin

Not every mishap in the cabling industry is cabling-oriented. Some blunders could happen to anyone in any industry; we just happen to hear about the blunders that put cabling professionals behind the eight ball.

Such was the case for the owner of a cabling installation firm who found himself a few installers short about a week before a major job was to begin. Of course every job is important, and serving the customer well is always a priority. But this contract was especially critical because, as the cabling firm`s owner put it, "If we did well, we could lock up a long-term commitment from this client that would keep us busy for about two years." Pretty good job security in such a competitive environment.

This owner knew that he had to get two or three more installers onboard quickly in order to get this crucial job done on time. Vowing not to compromise his standards and keeping in mind the importance of the upcoming installation, he spent considerable energy over the next several days recruiting and interviewing installers. He tested them on their technical knowledge, watched as they terminated cables, and spoke frankly with them about the tremendous importance of neatness and appearance. He asked every question he could think of, making sure these new hires would help, not hurt, his chances of landing the coveted long-term contract. After significant research, he selected three new installers, all of whom demonstrated capability, experience, and professionalism.

He soon found out, however, that he failed to ask one critical question during the interview process--a question that, had he asked it, would have provided valuable insight into the actions of one of his new crew members.

In the afternoon of the first day of this much-hyped job, the cabling-firm owner toured the facility with the man who managed the cable plant and had significant say as to who would be chosen for the two-year assignment. Well-dressed, well-groomed, and well-prepared, the owner held polite conversation with the man he was trying to impress, always emphasizing the pride of workmanship he instilled in his employees.

As the tour progressed, the two encountered several crew members, who were hard at work, as promised. That is, until the tour reached a particular office. There, the cabling-firm owner and the cable-plant manager found one of the three newly hired installers underneath a desk. He wasn`t installing an outlet box. He wasn`t terminating a cable to a connector. He wasn`t even taking a coffee break. He was sleeping. Snoring, in fact.

"You just don`t think to ask a prospective employee if he has narcolepsy," rationalizes the slightly embarrassed company owner, remembering how it felt for his heart to hit the soles of his feet. He says that the law probably prohibits him from refusing to hire somebody solely on those grounds anyway. "But if I had known he could fall asleep at any moment, I would have sent somebody along with him," he adds with a laugh.

He`s able to laugh because, despite this near-disaster, the company performed well enough on the initial job to land the long-term contract.

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