It's been a long while, but G-Ray, my right-hand man, has been promoted and will now be taking over his own barge in another port, and that leaves us here at HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/Adult Day-Care Center with an opening. We were hoping to start auditions soon (we're peculiar people and need peculiar people to continue spreading excellence like a farmer with a shit-tank full of fertilizer), but were informed that we would be taking on a tankerman with no say-so in who comes to live with us.
This is a bit unusual, but not startlingly so. Normally, I plead special circumstances- we're isolated in very close quarters, blah blah blah, just like anyone else on a boat, I suppose. I guess we're not actually that special, when I think on it.
This went over slightly less well than a fart in church, but what can you do? Sometimes you're the windshield, and today we're the bug. Our supervisor doesn't have to live butts-to-nuts in a teeny tiny metal box for a month at a time with a total stranger, after all. Probably, not doing that was one of the big factors in his deciding to be a supervisor. Some small, shitty part of me wishes I could invite him to live, sleep, eat and carry out his daily economy with an utter stranger, and then ask him how well he sleeps... but he's got to put meat in the seats, just like I've got my job to do.
I do quite a bit of thinking about the how's and why's of why I'm here and how we do the things we do. Whatever productivity differences we have between us and other barges in my company is based mostly on qualitative, not quantitative variables- We're good at our jobs on here, and so are many other people. That's not an issue, unless I'm asked to enumerate the value of qualitative aspects of the job. Saying 'look at the value of the output' is an honest answer and a legitimate metric of the impact of qualitative input, but quality-of-life issues at work are a set of scalar variables that have a non-linear cost/benefit relationship with output.
I hate to throw in soft-math concepts like the idea of investing in the development of a gestalt in the job environment when having a sulk, but we ARE very protective of our gestalt on the HQ. There's some pretty miserable motherfuckers doing our job out there, and doing it well. Who the hell wants that for a life? OTOH, perhaps we overvalue our contribution. Those miserable men I was talking about, they might be a pain in the balls to deal with when human factor issues pop up, but bottom line is that they produce, too. Being nice, being happy? That's good. It doesn't put money in the bank for the owner, does it, though? Or does it?
When things go bad, when men are tested, certain qualities rise up and shine,and others turn to shit. I prefer, when being tested, that we already be performing at out best. Bad times show up unannounced for the most part, and fortune favors the prepared mind.
The best second man I ever had, I met as a stranger- we had an opening, no one in mind, and the office sent a guy over. What followed was a golden era, and we lucked out heavily when G-Ray came aboard after to fill that spot.
So, things are going to be shaken up here on the HQ, and that's OK. We'll survive, and it's an opportunity to develop in new directions and see what results. We've had a phenomenal run, and I've been extremely fortunate to be able to go to work and be among good friends. I suppose that's what I'm really lamenting. The odds of that magical combination of personalities coming together are pretty slim. I'm fortunate to have experienced it at all, so I'm anxious, knowing that it's ending.
IN THE EMAIL FROM JOSEPH CALDARA: Bob and the Cyber-Llama….
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