Mind Your Manners

Politeness is important when it comes to any career, especially the plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical trades.

Many people besides myself have noticed a general decline in good manners in recent times. In the trades or any other job for that matter, manners or lack thereof have a way of leaving an impression.. People are more likely to advance in pay and promotions if they are well spoken and refrain from foul language.

I cringe when I hear people casually converse with curse words in public. It happens a lot nowadays. In fact, this blog was inspired by a visit to a restaurant with my wife and our young grandchildren. Seated nearby were several adults whose loud conversation was riddled with curse words. They surely were aware of my family and other strangers nearby. They simply didn’t care.

I’m no prude. A blizzard of expletives escapes from my lips, especially when I miss a 3-foot putt on the golf course, but I try not to let it happen when around people other than my closest buddies. Especially not in my writing, which I suspect gets read by some people who would get turned off by profanity.

You may hear a lot of profanity working in a construction trade. This doesn’t make it acceptable. Curse words are an effective way to let off steam or emphasize a point, but when they pop up in just about every spoken sentence, they merely mark the speaker as crude and inarticulate. When used in anger, cursing shows a lack of self-control. People will listen to your argument if you explain your point of view calmly and with facts rather than foul language.

People react positively to the words “please … thank you … excuse me.” Get into the habit of voicing them when appropriate. You’ll never get fired for failure to use these phrases. Make them a habitual part of your vocabulary and over time people will form an image of you as someone likable and sensible.

If you really want people to notice you in a positive way, go the extra mile and write thank-you notes to those who have done you favors – including bosses who promote you or grant you privileges. Tell them you appreciate their confidence in you and will do your best to fulfill their expectations.

I write this sensing that I may come across to some of you as a product of bygone times. Foul language is now commonplace in movies, on TV and in casual conversations. You may be thinking that manners have nothing to do with the skills you bring to a trade.

However, something I have learned in a professional career spanning a half-century is that some qualities apply to every job, everywhere, as well as simple day-to-day living. Good manners never go out of style.