Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who's the Boss?

On the way back from softball last night I got a phone call from my friend Taidu, who I haven't talked to in about a year. We did some catching up (he's in Florida working for a Grocery store now, and will be going back to school next year), and then started talking about our past a bit. Between my Sophomore and Junior year of college I planned on staying in Whitewater, so I began looking for a local job. A campus-wide email was sent out for on-campus jobs for the Office of Residence Life, so I applied for a computer position, and just in case I didn't get that I also applied for Grounds Crew and Utility Crew. Rick, the guy in charge of Operations for ResLife got back to me first, so I accepted a job on the Utility Crew with one of the guy, Marc. Frankly, the job was weird: We started calling ourselves "the Bitch Crew" because any job that no one else wanted to do we were given the task of. Deliver paint, load up salt bins, clean out heater vents, move furniture; you name it, we were doing it. We basically would stop in at the office every morning in our grungy gray t-shirts and khaki shorts, pick up a set of keys and a cell phone, and then get our list of tasks for the day. Once in a while we'd work with someone else, but most of the time it was just me and Marc all day. I liked it, because we were given quite a bit of freedom, naps could be taken (without our boss Dave knowing) and we were done at 3:30 everyday. I continued working there that next school year, though because I was by myself I was moved to garbage duty. Basically I'd drive a Gator around campus, stopping at all of the outside garbage barrels, empty them out, put in a new bag, and then drop off the bags in one of the dumpsters. Piece of cake. I'd usually end up stinking to high heaven when I was done, but I liked the solitude and driving around the gator was always fun. That next summer I was asked to be the Lead Worker for the crew, which was going to expand to 5 guys. I accepted, with an increase in pay, and we welcomed Justin, Taidu, and a third guy, who's name escapes me at the moment (he only worked with us for a few weeks). As my first real "being in charge" job, this one was definitely an eye opener. Marc wanted to take more and more naps as the summer went on, while I was a bigger fan of getting all of our work done first and then napping until it was time to go home. Justin worked hard, but even he fell into the nap routine after a few weeks. And Taidu was originally from Ghana, so he barely said a word the first few weeks. Eventually he warmed up, and we all got along great, but motivating your peers around the age of 21-22 years old is a far harder job than I ever thought it would be. I think the combination of getting work done, plus trying to figure out what I wanted to do after I graduated was starting to get to me, as the whole summer I would get random twitches in my eye (Ivan talks about a similar phenomenon here). However, it was a very good experience, in that it helped me become more assertive, made me find ways to creatively motivate people, and helped me learn great leadership traits. Just because I'm the boss doesn't necessarily mean that every idea I had was correct. All the other guys had a great knack for finding the easiest way to do something (mainly because they wanted to do the least amount of work), which often made our jobs quicker and easier. However, it was up to me to decide what work needed to be done first or best. One of those life experiences that I look back on and realize they really shaped me into what I am today....a disgruntled employee.

1 comment:

MrB said...

Taidu was the shit