Working with a contractor

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Being the Boss Means You're Supposed to Be Bossy
For many of us, hiring someone to do work around the house is the first time we manage an employee. When we bought our first home, my husband and I had a few little changes we wanted to make before moving in. (The very phrase "little change" is itself a new-homeowner fallacy, but we didn't know that yet.) The contractor we hired kept asking questions that I would turn back on him—"What kind of light fixture do you think would be good here? Do you think we need new spigots in the bathtub?" I wanted his opinion, but more than that I didn't feel comfortable bossing around someone who was old enough to be my father. I thought I was being polite by being deferential, but I eventually realized I was actually making his life more difficult by being wishy-washy. There is a way to tell someone what you want without being rude; and, if that person is working for you, they like you better for it.
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