Monday, September 5, 2011
When Hard Working And Stupid Is Worse Than Just Being Stupid.
I'm standing by the truck while I watch my colleague chuck pieces of cable halfway down our truck into a large bin; each one each one making a loud noise as it lands.
"Shouldn't you be helping him?" the driver of our truck asks me as I just stand there, staring while my co-worker do all the work.
Another fifty pound coil hits the pile.
I shake my head. "No. He can be the hero if he wants to."
It was the end of the night and like all normal people, we all wanted to just finish packing up the truck and get the hell out of there. But standing between us and the road home was a line of carts waiting to be strapped down and that pile of cable that needed to be put away.
Unfortunately, one of the guys was having an issue with a ratchet strap, causing a line of carts to block the bin of cable, preventing us from any easy access to it.
So instead of doing the smart thing and waiting until we could actually get to the bin, this guy decided to hurl the unruely cable over all the obstacles instead.
Did this get the job done? Sure.
Did this get us home maybe a minute or two faster? Maybe.
Was the a stupid thing to do? Definitely.
One of the clichés you hear in our line of work time and time again is "Work smarter, not harder." It's generally the working hard part, the physical labor of it all, that eventually leads to juicers and grips complaining about various aches, pains and bad joints in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond (that is, if you don't injure yourself right then and there). You won't feel it today, but it'll all catch up with you eventually.
Another reason why what he's doing is stupid is because of the way it makes the rest of us look. To anyone passing by (like our driver just demonstrated), this ape is the "hard worker." The "hero." He's the only one doing any real labor while the rest of us just stand around and watch.
Our only option in this situation is to either join in on the stupidity and end up injuring ourselves, or accept that we're being labeled as "lazy." It's a lose-lose situation.
And further more, while I like to think that I bring many skills to the table (alertness, technical knowledge, perfect size to fit into tight spaces, ability to provide general amusement...), I'm the first to admit that brute strength is not one of them. So if hurling that cable fifteen feet has got this guy grunting and sweating, imagine how much harder it'd be for someone less than half his size to do the same thing.
If he's in such a hurry to leave that staying an extra couple of minutes because of stalled carts was such a nuisance, I would've gladly dove right in and given him a hand once the pathway to the bin was cleared. Hell, I probably wouldn't have complained if I was left to do it all on my own while he went home.
But to handle it the way he was?
Fuck that. He can give me all the dirty looks he wants for not "helping" him (and believe me, he was). He can talk shit about how I'm not a "team player" to whoever (I'm sure he has). People passing by can praise him for his "hard work" and condemn me for just standing around if they so please (and they are).
But I'm not joining in on the stupid.