After our success with a new method of installing the display brackets, the project began to gather speed and I became quite proficient at installing them. And right around this time, Alex left to start a new project. We had secured the contract to build the Montgomery Wards store in the same mall. I was hoping to go with Alex, but he wasn’t going to need any help for a week or two and so I stayed at the May Co.
Bob Barnard was now my boss. And it wasn’t the best relationship. Within a week, we had our first blow up; as I was now expected to show others how to install and finish the drywall around the display brackets. Some of the journeymen resented this and gave me a bad time about it. They weren’t going to take orders from an apprentice…so I went to Bob and told him I that needed a pay increase. To journeyman’s wages. That didn’t go over very well and Bob told me to forget it and get back to work.
In my view, I was doing journeyman work and I deserved it. Heck, I was showing journeymen how to do the work…maybe I should have foreman’s wages? Finally, my idle thoughts overrode my common sense and I told Bob I was quitting unless I got a raise. He told me to go ahead and quit. Not exactly what I had seen as the outcome. It was the middle of the day and I had just quit a job I really loved. What was I thinking?
As it turned out, Alex and Bob talked that day after I left and came to an agreement that satisfied us both. Alex called me at home that night. I would get a raise, to 70% of journeyman’s wages. That put me 6 months ahead in apprenticeship wages. My ego was satisfied and so was Bob’s. I went back to work the next day and oddly enough, the journeymen now respected me.
But, I still wanted to get to work on the Montgomery Wards store with Alex…