Boy, I hated being treated like a number

Because I’m a guy, I love machinery and trucks and R.G. LeTourneau (I’m even subscribed to Logger’s World magazine, courtesy of my in-laws – love it!).

You may remember Clyde, the manager (he’s the guy that told me to hang myself on my first day). One day, after spending the better part of a year working for him, a few of my coworkers had to replace some idlers on a big track machine. There were three of us who broke the tracks apart, drove out pins, and wrenched out rusty bolts (an aside: I think the big country boys I worked with would put the scrawny kid on the end of the thirty pound pipe wrench every chance they got. I was probably kind of funny to watch for a while).

After we spent an hour working on the tracks, Clyde made an appearance in the shop, noticed I was working with the guys, and came over to me. “Hey squirt, I think these guys have this track project handled. Run wash my pickup, OK?” Just like in yesterday’s post, my collar got hot, face got red, and I felt like wrecking something. It’s crazy how fast triggers like that can bring such emotions.

I did go wash up his truck, but later on I tried to explain to him the issue I had with his reasoning: “I value my education here, and that includes learning how to replace track parts on a machine. And not only that, but I’m interested in it! Do you see any value in me knowing how to do that rather than only knowing how to start the pressure washer?” He didn’t have much of a response, but mumbled something about needing to keep a professional image with shiny equipment as he left the room mid-conversation.

The whole experience really rubbed me the wrong way, so later on I asked one of the track repairmen why he thought Clyde did what he did and he confirmed my suspicions. “You’re cheap. Ten bucks gets him a clean pickup.”

A few weeks later after leaving for vacation, I called from across the country to let them know that in two weeks, they would notice I haven’t been in for two weeks (not always suggested, but that’s the way it panned out for me in this instance).

I’ve been nicknamed “Quitter” for bouncing from job to job a bit in my younger days, but I’ve been OK with that title. I’m no fan of working for folks who don’t see their people as investments but rather count them as expenses. If you’re a business owner, talk to your people about the value you can add to them. If you’re an employee, take stock of the value you’re putting in and ask, “how can I increase my service today?”

Enjoyed this post on adding value? How have you added value or increased your service as an employee or an employer recently?


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