Can’t Get It, Can’t Stay!

In Texas it’s not “căn’t” but “cān’t”. LongIMG_0264 a. When spoken, it only works as a contraction; otherwise, you’ll sound dumb. I don’t know who coined the adage, but if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it ten thousand times since the first day I stepped onto the rig floor.

They weren’t kidding either.

What’s sad it’s not just an adage. It’s an attitude. Sometimes an excuse for “I don’t like him.” Never mind that the man in question has a wife, three kids, and bills to pay.

Having said all of the above. Drilling rigs are the playing field for a team of men and, yes, women. If someone doesn’t pull their share of the load, the team suffers.

Drill pipe slips are the best example. They are beyond heavy for one man. They’re equipped with three handles. When a roughneck pulls slips, he uses every muscle in his body. Imagine one of the three men just going through the motions. The nicest guy in the world will get on the next chopper if he doesn’t put out.

14532745-two-roughnecks-do-the-equipment-for-fixing-of-rig-pipeThat reminds me of another adage. “No demand for nice guys out here.”

Again. True.

So, back to the topic. Years ago, like 20 years ago, I asked a tool pusher about a driller who didn’t return from leave. He told me I fired him. Me? I’m like, dude, I know who I’ve fired, and I thank God the number is low. Anyway, I wouldn’t be worried about the man’s absence if I was the one who fired him. I was 38. Not over the hill yet. After a short investigation, I found out I’d fired several men … without knowing I’d fired them. The other pusher used me, and my position as the company rep, to get rid of people he didn’t like.

I still know their names. Every man of them is written in a book I keep in my computer bag. Today, it still bugs me that men, somewhere, think I’m responsible for the loss of their jobs.

People are different. Personalities can be fragile. Even big burly men have feelings. You have a guy or gal you don’t particularly like, someone who struggles in their job, go look in the mirror. His/her problem might be you. Try a different approach. Put them on another team. We see it all the time in major league sports. The quarterback is pathetic, then gets traded and becomes a super star. Go figure.

Try it. It feels good to do the right thing when lives are affected. Besides, your boss might be looking at you the same way.

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