Well, our trainee is back this week.
I wrote back in Feb/March that we had a trainee on board, super nice guy, but that given the interruption to our routine, lack of adequate space in our berthing, and the distraction of having to work AND train, I was pretty pissed off as I had made it clear when I joined this company 10 years ago that I wanted no part in teaching. That is a skillset from my last career, the one I chose to leave, and it's not one I wish to foster or reengage in. I felt guilty about it, and I was very clear to the guy that he absolutely wasn't at fault, and we were able to cram a lot of knowledge into him, and after he went home and came back, he was put elsewhere to round out his training, and landed with some great guys, friends of mine, and learned well, and fit in well. Good guy, like I said. He'll do well.
BUT, I still don't want trainees. My boss came to us last week and asked us about our opinion on a situation. It seems our former trainee after finishing a second training tour, was placed elsewhere again to finish his training, giving him 3 vessels of varying type to work aboard. After a few days, he requested to leave, knowing he might have doomed himself in the process. The 2nd tankerman, not the lead tankerman, on his final training barge was utterly hostile, beyond the point where it was possible to learn anything.
I've encountered the guy in question. Garden variety hardon with a reputation as a loudmouth and not real bright... I wouldn't know, I've never encountered him except for catching lines from his barge once or twice. He wasn't polite, that's about all I remember. Apparently he didn't want a trainee aboard either, but he made a point about letting everyone know.
What surprised me was the supervisor's reaction, the lead tankerman/barge captain's reaction. Either he was too dull to notice that his second man was being a shit, or he endorsed his attitude. Either way, as a representative of our employer, he gave a real black eye to the trainee's impression of the sort of people employed by our company.
I hate a bully. Look, you can shave a retarded chimpanzee and make a tankerman out of him. What I do isn't rocket science. It just takes a certain personality type. On the positive margins, guys with managerial and leadership skills make up the top tier. The rest, if they can do the job adequately, can be labeled as a known quantity and given simple tasks to do, and that's enough. Have I ever been completely and utterly engaged cerebrally in the course of my duties? Oh my God, no. But there are challenges that keep things interesting, sure.
But as I said, I hate a bully. There should be no place for it, and I don't know the man in question well enough to speak about him. His supervisor, however, I know pretty well, and have worked with. I'm truly disappointed in what I heard about the environment he fosters aboard. I dunno. It might have something to do with the trainee being an immigrant, too, and not from the Chesapeake Bay area where a disproportionate number of people in my company seem to be from.
Well, three sides to the story and all that. And I don't actually care all that much, but we were sympathetic enough that we agreed to take on the trainee again to further his training. He makes a good shipmate, although we're of course a little stressed from the crowding and lack of privacy. There's a contrary part of me that wants to make him permanent crew with us just to make a point to the guys who drove him off, though.