Given the economic news we can't seem to avoid, it's enough to suggest that most of us may not be as busy as we'd like. to be. So the next few weeks might be the right time to perform a task we all hate to do. I'm proposing now might be the right time to hold those post-job reviews you've managed to put off for ever.

When times were busy, the only person on most mason contractor staffs who did the post-review was the estimator who turned in the billing. If the margin was made, things went on as usual. If a line item was off the mark, the foreman was called in and the problem was discussed.

So now might be the best, and I hope only time, you may have to really self-perform an audit of this year's past jobs. I'm offering three reasons why.

1) For your sanity. When the world seems to be in downward spiral, it's important to remember that our industry play's an important role in making our nation successful and safe. Each mason contractor has helped create structures that house, educate and provide safe working environments. While other industry's view their contributions as providing a service to society, mason contractors and their employees provide havens. And in many cases, your work is the completion of an owner's dream, built one unit at a time with respectful hands.

2) For your future success. A careful review of this year's efforts will lead to suggestions on how to improve. These sessions should provide ideas of weaknesses that can be corrected. These suggestions can help you evaluate the ways the new products and such that will be unveiled at World of Masonry may improve your productivity, or direct you to sign up for a specific seminar or training course to help you enter another market segment.

3) For your pride. Everyone has a box, drawer, or maybe a manila folder full of job photos. For those of us who have breached the technology gap, we might even have a memory cards full of images of completed projects. By creating a portfolio of recently completed projects, you advertise the pride you and your team have developed. It's a strong marketing piece that can be shared with potential owners and project managers. And you can even get a head start on submitting these great projects to our 2009 Project of the Year.

Also take this opportunity to review what other's have proudly done, to show your support by casting your vote on the Reader's choice n the Project of the Year award program.