Monday, April 26, 2010

Hard Work Is In The Eye Of The Beholder.

I'm sitting on an apple box, enjoying the day. I'm working grip side and due to the small size of the house we were shooting in, most of us are banished to spending the next several hours hanging out in the huge back yard with the blue skies and cool, Spring breeze. Not a bad way to spend the last day of a shoot.

But apparently, not all of us got to sit back and enjoy the California sunshine.

"Damn, poor Jerry*," laments a fellow grip. "He's been running around all day."

I follow his gaze to a Juicer, who has in fact, been running around a lot more than his colleagues.

"Look at him. He's a hard worker, that one."

I sit there, kind of nodding my head in silence. Sure, he worked at a quicker pace than the other guys and seemed to be covering more ground, but something didn't seem quite right with the way poor Jerry was working.

So from the comfort of my apple box in the shade, I watched him work for a bit and the mystery was solved.

Jerry was an idiot.

Why did it seem like he spent an hour running a bunch of cable? Because he accidentally ran the cable backwards and had to redo the whole thing.

Why did it look like he was the only one bringing a bunch of lights from their equipment staging into the house? Because he'd often forget things like the scrim bag or barn doors and would have to go back for them.

In short, he looked like he was doing twice the work of his co-workers because he was doing everything twice.

But to the naked eye (or rather, anyone who doesn't know the job of a set electrician and/or isn't really paying attention), it looked like this guy was doing a lot. Sure, he may be a hard worker, but probably not a very good one and there's a big difference between the two.

At the end of the day, one of the Producers came around and thanked everyone individually for their work. I watched as he shook Jerry's hand.

"Good job today, Jerry. I was impressed with how much you were running around. You're a hard worker. I'll see you on the next one." The Producer then turns to me. "Thanks A.J. I hope you had fun."

Hm... On second thought, maybe he's not such an idiot after all...

*Not his real name.


Anonymous said...

This is what I call the busywork metric. Smart people will actually do less work of better quality, but it's not reflected in the busywork metric. Unfortunately most managers are lazy and find the busywork metric the easiest way to rank employees. Stupid. If you find a manager that knows the difference you hang onto him/her for dear life.

The Grip Works said...

LBDFA - It is a qualification that never appears on your resume, but impresses a lot of inexperienced UPMs.

Look Busy, Do Fuck All.

A.J. said...

Anonymous - Agreed.

The Grip Works - LBDFA... I love it!

Anonymous said...

Amen. Definitely been there.

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