So right after college I failed in my attempt to sell life insurance. There is a whole post on it here where i tell you about the old lady that tried to whack me with her cane. I briefly mentioned that after that I went to work for my dad at a place he owned with 2 of his nephews. That wasn’t a new thing for me. I had been working for my father since I was 16. Every summer I worked there full time while I was off school (I got 1 week after school was out and one week before we went back off, I worked the rest). It made my social life a bit weird as I only had weekends to do things, but at least I had some money to spend and to save for college. I kept working there during my college breaks and even part time during college for my first 2 years, working every Tuesday and Friday night.
We worked the night shift. or probably more accurate, the second shift. 4:40 to 1 am every day. During the summers I pulled double duty and would help my cousin out with his painting business. 2 or 3 days a week I would meet him somewhere around 10:30 or so and work until about 3, then get something to eat and ride to work with my dad. Let me say that it isn’t easy working for your father sometimes. My dad was a workaholic, to a point. While he knows how to relax and can go from work to doing nothing on a lake shore fishing with ease, when he works, he WORKS. Don’t you dare slack off because he sure won’t. He ruled the night shift and was a demanding boss but was always respected among the employees. He treated them fairly, which may have been new to them. To be honest, it didn’t take many brains to do that job, just some common sense. As a result, most of the employees were not the brightest or most upwardly mobile, but dad treated them fair. He made sure they knew what was to be done, what he expected of them and if they couldn’t do it, tried to find out why and help them achieve it. However if you didn’t give a shit or couldn’t be bothered to care, he took no prisoners and was not shy about letting you know and ending your employment. He would tell me that it wasn’t personal, if they didn’t want to be there, he didn’t want them there either.
He also had this desire to make sure that the other workers knew he was not playing ‘favorites’ with me. As a result I seemed to always get the crappiest jobs in the place, worst machines and so on. The manager of the day shift remarked about it once to me asking if I pissed my dad off or something because he always saw my names on the crappy jobs. One day I asked my father why I got the crap jobs and he told me “Because I know you can do them without me having to show you twice or worrying about you goofing off.” While I love my dad, compliments were few and far between back then, and I took that as a big one.
There was one time, however, when he did play favorites. As fate would have it I had to work on my birthday. About 8:30 or so we broke for lunch. As we were all heading to the lunchroom, my dad called me to follow him into the office. I go in there, in my greasy work clothes and everything except my face and hands greasy, and inside was my mom, girlfriend and one of my friends, along with lunch, a cake and beer! We sat down and ate, talked for a while and when I hesitated at the beer, since I was running heavy machinery after all, he told me to go ahead. He was sending me home for the night with my mom and company. Nice!
We had one other thing where I could say it was more showing favoritism to his shift than me, but maybe also me. We had this job we were doing where we took a small piece of pipe and had to drill a hole thru it on both side, and then debur the hole (clean it). It was a slow job, as you burned thru drill bits and could only go so fast. Well, day shift was finishing about 400 pieces a day. I was doing about 450 a night. This was a big job and we were probably on it for 2 months or so. This went on for weeks. Then one day the day shift pulled 475. Wow, that was a big increase. So I busted things a bit and managed to get just under 500 for the night. When I come in the next night, day shit had 510 completed. No way. I have met the guy from days, he isn’t that good. So I run this thing as much as I can, take my time leaving for lunch, come back a min or two early and so on and get 525. Day shift next day does 526. OK, now I am kind of pissed and taking this personally. Then I hear the day manager talking to someone in the locker room (as we are coming and they are going) about how he was running the machine during lunch so they could ‘beat’ night shift. I mentioned this to my dad later that night and he said “I know, knew about it for a few days. You been doing good keeping up, just match what they do and don’t worry about it. I got it covered.”
I didn’t know what that meant but for the next week whatever they did I matched. Their rate stayed between 500 and 525 so I did the same. Then Friday of that week came and on lunch my dad called me to the locker room. When I get there, he opens his locker and hands me a box with 150 pieces in it, tells me to add them to my count. It seems that he has been running it on HIS lunch break since he found out and stashing the pieces in his locker. So I ran for the night and did a little over 500, then added the 150 my dad gave me to bump that count to 650. When we showed up the next day Jeff ( the day shift manager) came up to me and said “OK, How the F*CK did you manage to get 650 pieces! We couldn’t get that with me running it for John thru every break AND lunch!” Hahaha, he just admitted to it. I just smiled and walked away. A few seconds later he said “Dammit, Jack knew, didn’t he!” I just turned around and smiled some more. Both shifts still kept the pace about 500 pieces for the remainder of the job, but we did have one day in there were we spiked it by 250 pieces stashed over the next 2 weeks, just for fun.