Among the tugbost deckhands in my company, there are always the guys you like more, and the guys you like less. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I tend to like guys who are friendly, polite and respectful, which, in fact, describes most of the kids and men who work for my company as deckhands. Not surprisingly, I tend to like a lot of folks here.
That being said, it makes me very happy when the best of these guys move up the ladder, whether it's into the wheelhouse as mate trainees, or out into the world as barge tankermen.
Recently, one of the better of the young cadre of kids asked me specifically if he could train with us.
It presents a conondrum. I actually feel that I'm pretty good at my job. It's not like I'm a heart surgeon. One can be good at moving oil on and off a barge with ease, simply by not spilling any. Knowing the million little details of esoterica related to not spilling oil and knowing what to do with it in the meanwhile is just a bonus. People skills, too, are also just a bonus. One can be a right dick to all and sundry and get by just fine if one can keep the oil in the tank.
But the little stuff is additive in nature. And I know how to teach. Thing is, I don't actually like teaching. As such, I don't want trainees. To be honest, I just really, really need more alone time than most folks to keep myself happy. If I can spend 80% of my day alone, I'm doing well, and will tend to enjoy the other 20% of my time immensely.
So when this kid, who I like and want to see do well, asked to be trained, I felt like a dick in saying no,but I said no. Another deckhand, an older guy with history under his belt as an AA group leader, whom I respect mightily, btb, guilted me a bit for not sharing what I had to share. What can I do? I don't mind teaching, but I can't stand the idea of not being able to have some time alone, and I know firsthand that having a trainee means that in order to do your job, the trainee is so far up your ass all the time that he's wearing you for a hat. I'd rather stick a gun in my mouth.
So I apologized but gave a firm no. The other day, I saw the kid on another barge, training with another guy. I was happy to see him, and he me, I think. I think he'll make a great tankerman, and I'm happy he joined our ranks. But part of me is also happy that I didn't have to train him. I just don't have it in me.