Gut Rumbles

April 27, 2009

Yeah, I did that

Originally published February 28, 2004

When I had new employees hired at the plant, I called each individual into my office to talk with them. I told them that they took a shitty job. That's where I started at the plant, so I know. At the end of a shift, nobody could tell white people from black people because we ALL were coverred with white dust. That's what we made.

I also told them that I expected three things out of them and they had 90 days to show me their wherewithall. I said that my office door was always open and if they had a problem, they should let me know right away. But I also told them them this:

1) I expect to see the best I'm EVER going to see out of you during the 90-day probationary period. If you want to be an asshole during that time, I'll fire you.

2) Show up, on time, every day. If you can't manage that task for 90 days, I'll fire you.

3) Don't ever come whining to me that you're having to work too hard. I did that fucking job when it was a lot more physical and a lot more demanding than it is today. Just shut the fuck up and come to work, or whine to me and I'll fire you.

I fired a bunch of them, too.

How difficult are those rules to follow? They weren't impossible for ME when I first started. I could toe that line. Hell, I never missed a day of work for five years and sucked up all the overtime I could get. My first ex-wife was spending me dry and I needed the goddam money. I worked my ass off. I could walk the walk.

I always told each new employee before he left my ofice that he was welcome to visit me at any time. But I ALSO told him that he really didn't ever want to be CALLED to my office. "If I ever CALL your ass in here, I'm probably going to fire you," I told them. "I am not a man to be feared, but I am DEFINITELY NOT a man to be fucked with. Now, you go out there on the floor and make up your mind where you want to stand in this equation."

I was grieved against more than once for "cursing" employees. I was guilty every time, but I lost only one of those grievances.

"You lying son of a bitch! I was standing right there and SAW you run the tank over." I won that one against the lying son of a bitch. I don't know what else I was supposed to call him, the lying son of a bitch.

I had a mechanic threaten to whip my ass. In fact, he was waving a big wrench and promising to bash my brains out with it. I picked up a piece of pipe and said. "Come get some, you brainless asshole. I'll beat you to a bloody pulp right here on this deck. You just take a swing. There ain't no fence around MY ASS, bad-guy, and if you want some, now's the time to get it. Bring it on." My pipe was better than a wrench as a weapon, and he knew it.

He put down the wrench and filed a grievance because I called him a brainlesss asshole. I won that one, too. He had a four-man crew with him who saw the entiire episode. "Did he threaten to bash supervisor Smith's brains out?" Well, yes, he did. "Did supervisor Smith pick up a piece of pipe and threaten to kill the man right there?"

"No, sir. Rob picked up a piece of pipe and threatened to beat the man to a bloody pulp. He never said anything about killing."

"Do you believe that the possibility of violence was obvious in that situation?

"Well, when you have a 6' tall mechanic waving a wrench at a 5' 7" supervisor who has a a 3' piece of stainless steel pipe in this hands, yeah. I saw the posibility of violence there."

"Did supervisor Smith curse the mechanic?"

"I dunno. They were both cursing each other. I believe that Danny called Rob a motherfucker and Rob called him a brainless asshole. They squared off and I thought that a bad fight was about to occur. I just got away from that scene as quickly as I could."

I beat that one, too.

I got in trouble at work after I attended a "workplace violence" training class taught by a woman wearing sandals. Yeah. THAT WOMAN was sure enough going to teach me how to handle the rough cobs in the field. I called the entire training class "bullshit" and mentioned on my blog that I keep a piece of pipe behind my desk to deal with serious trouble. Man, did I ever fuck up by writing that line.

You see, when Danny threatened to bash my brains out with a pipe wrench, I should have run from him. I SHOULD NOT have confronted him, called him an asshole and waved a piece of pipe at him. I should NOT have invited a solution to the situation right there and now. I should have cut and run.

That's how they train supervisors today.

God help us all. I never had any more trouble from Danny after that day. He knew that I meant what I said that night, and he also knew that I wasn't lying about beating his ass to a bloody pulp. One of us was going down on that deck and I didn't really care who it was. I was fired up and ready to go.

Take all the goddam "sensitivity" training that you want to take, but that shit will never make you capable of supervising other people. You've just got to learn how to be the boss. And sometimes, that means being a bad-ass.

But if you're good at it, just say "Follow ME" and take off. Look behind you. The troops will be there.

You don't learn that shit in training classes taught by wimmen wearing sandals.

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