George’s well-worn hands toil with an uncooperative computer terminal. Like a prisoner in solitary confinement, his sad expression offers a window into his depleted energy. His wife is ringing his cell as it is almost 6 p.m. and his daughter’s school play starts at 7 p.m. He doesn’t want to answer it. Not an office guy, he forced himself to learn how to use the computer and QuickBooks. Payroll must be ready by tomorrow and the computer keeps flashing a network error. The computer tech won’t answer. His office administrator has been out with the flu and can’t be reached for help. Finally, he gets up and heads hurriedly home so he won’t miss his daughter’s performance.
It’s been a bad week. Jose, one of his long-term employees, quit for an outrageous pay increase some desperate contractor offered, plus he took his helper with him. The Jones’s job has turned into a nightmare. The customer is just crazy picky and nothing seems to please. It’s already 50 percent over budget. Cash is tight because a large commercial job has not paid yet. All George is told is that it’s being processed. Family life is not very good as he comes home late and falls asleep on the sofa. He wonders what’s gone wrong and remembers back 12 years ago how excited he was to start his own business. He loved working in the field with his crews. The joy of building things and being his own boss. Why isn’t business fun anymore? He’s never felt lonelier. It feels like no one is on his side.