Painting Contractor, Washington, DC - June 19, 2016
A typical day at the Embassy started at 7:30 AM and ended at 4 PM. Over the course of the year we worked about half the days either in the Embassy complex itself, or in the Ambassador's Residence; which took priority over all other jobs. The other days we would work at any of the 90 odd Diplomatic or Military properties in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. The Embassy had extensive real estate holdings in Washington, Maryland and Virginia.
My co-workers came from a variety of countries. The majority of them were UK subjects and either Irish, Scottish, or English. Many had wives who worked in the Embassy or other Embassies; and were subject to A-2 Visas, which meant they could only work in an Embassy, and not in the American private sector. Often the hardest part of the job was working with people who were not used to the highest of work standards in expensive housing. It seemed many in the Trades Works Group (TWG) made a career out of avoiding work, and it became my niche as an American to be the one who had to work harder than others. The absolute worst part of the job was the ineptitude of Management Officers at the Embassy in organizing the jobs. Many times my painting crew would be assigned to work in a house where carpenters from another company were blasting dust throughout the place, making it difficult or impossible for us to perform our jobs. Also, time management was a concept which was foreign to all of management, as they would have no idea of how much time any job should take; thus wrecking many plans. However, all in all, this was one of the best experiences I had in my working career. I got along with just about everyone, and made my name as a good worker. That, in hindsight, was the most enjoyable part of the job.