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Thread: So... Once Upon a Time...

  1. #241

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Once upon a time a few decades ago I was the guy who got stuck with the new kid at work. Each summer our local school system would pick three kids to work a summer job in the public works department. In street maintenace we'd get a boy and a girl. It was the 1980's so pc was not in full swing. The boy would work outdoors and the girl would get secretarial duties. Being a crew leader meant I got tasked with the boy each summer. Being under 18 they weren't allowed to run motorized lawn equipment. To me that was stupid because by twelve in my community you cut your parents grass. Things were changing though. Every kid gets a trophy was a new way of thinking. My first summer the kid was a future idiot. He was lazy and dumb as a door knob. I complained to the boss after a while so they cut him loose before he hurt himself or someone else. His final straw was the day he fell in love with the summer helper girl in the office and was serinading her over the two way police radio we communicated with before pagers and celphones. When the police chief complained to the city manager my boss had no recourse but to let him go. No telling what happened to that guy.

    The next summer I had another kid who was also dumb as a door knob, but he was willing to learn and did not mind working. By the end of the summer he had developed muscles and was a skilled worker. He came back the next summer but… he had discovered girls and partying. So I had fun with that one. When he came in hung over I'd find work that needed a jack hammer and we'd bust up a sidewalk that needed replacing. We mixed concrete in a drum and moved it with a wheel burrow. He could easily move a fully loaded with soupy concrete one into place before long. He bought a nice car and ended up getting married young, buying a house and became a professional fire fighter.

    At my job later I was an inspector and I'd get an up and coming, destined for college youngster each summer. Some were great and I developed a philosophy that I was training my future boss with each one. I left the government job and began work as a consultant. It's an engineering company with inspectors. Some call us field engineers. So it is a natural thing to train young engineers in the summer months while they are still going to college the rest of the year. I've seen many go on to become leaders in the industry I work in. The leaders who spent time in the field for months at a time end up being way better bosses than the ones who never tested concrete in 99 degree weather for 12 hours or had to stand out in 15 degree weather counting steel bars in a bridge deck before covering them with concrete.

    On the bad side of the spectrum, this one guy had to put in two weeks in the field as an engineer in training. He thought that meant reading plans in an air conditioned office all day. They put him outside in the heat one day on a day a worker got hurt on a bridge project. OSHA was called to the scene. When the OSHA man asked the up and comer what happened he became billigerant with the OSHA official. Not a good idea. When the OSHA person flexed his muscles through OSHA rules the up and comer called the police on him for harrassment. How dare that government worker impose a penalty on him. That up and comer went on to be a leader in our state transportation department and is personally responsible for a whole bunch of chaotic rules being imposed on contracters who have powerful lobbyists in state government. Rules that cost the tax payers extra money in claims by the big contractors who sue the state, or end up putting small contractors out of business. But that one guy who received a trophy for showing up his whole life has no idea how life outside his little bubble actually works.

    Not long ago I saw in a trade magazine a young engineer I was tasked with my first year as a consultant had won a prestigious award for thinking outside the box on a waste water treatment facility that was over burdened in a large city. When I was working with that kid he was working three jobs one summer to earn enough to pay his next semester at school and still have some beer drinking money. He drove a junky little Toyota everywhere and was a pleasure to be around. The type of person who at times just stared into space because he was day dreaming some theory of how to turn turd water into something useful. My project was a "metric job" where everything was based on the metric system. Concrete was measured in cubic meters or finished items in meter lengths. Areas were hectaires instead of acres and temperatures were celcious. The client had conversion factors that were one decimal place. A millimeter was say 25.4 per inch. But often times when computers got involved things did not properly convert. Tons was one such number.

    The project involved thousands of tons of gravel. At a rock quarry nowadays they just push a button and conversions take place. So a gravel ticket will have printed on it a standard ton number and a metric ton number. Back then the paperwork would state standard numbers and we had to convert them to metric. Using the clients 1 decimal place conversion factor would not match what the contractors computer said it should be. So at the end of a day when the standard number of gravel tons was say 16890.23 our conversion of 0.9 would give a figure of 15280.21 tons for example but…… the contractors computer would say 16408.14 metric tons. That meant a difference of 1127.93 tons. And at $15 a ton the contractor was being ripped off some $16918.95 for that one day. That was a half a years salary for some back then. One day the boss said "you, new guy (talking to me), figure out the conversion numbers their computer is using and get the smart kid to help you". About a week later the two of us had figured out instead of 0.9 it should be 0.97145 for that one and several like it.

    We gave the list of correct conversion numbers to the boss who kicked it up the ladder as it were and some other twirp got the credit once our numbers became the official okee-dokee governmental conversion factors. As it turns out that kid (who is now in his late thirtys) saved a city millions of dollars in fines by the EPA for implimenting a method of waste water treatment he had invented in college but nobody ever thought would work. I reached out to him via email to say hello and congratulate him on his acheivement. He said he concocted the idea one early moring at the Outter Banks of North Carolina while being held upside down by some drinking buddies with the tap from a keg turned on that summer he worked with me.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 09-07-2019 at 10:05 AM.
    John 3:16

  2. #242

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Funny how things (and people) sometimes turn out. Thankfully, I don't have to train anyone at my jobs. Every once in awhile though, someone goes on vacation. And we can't find one of the usual stand-by candidates. So I end up with a guy usually less intelligent than the previous one I've trained. Who himself was less intelligent than the previous one to him, who.... I think you know where I'm going with this. Gotten to the point that I just make sure they know how the alarm system works, show them where the required paperwork is located (rather obvious where but they still apparently can't find it for some bizarre reason), what certain responsibilities are for the shift they work, and finally close with greatly emphasizing that if they want to be relieved early then they better make sure to return the courtesy.

    We do get a few characters. Ones like "Candy." Who is a recovering drug addict who apparently somehow avoided ever getting arrested because she received her Security license. Lives in a homeless shelter (nothing wrong with that). A bit older, but still rather attractive. Pathological liar. And she was attracted to me. I told her we could be friends. Spend more than 5 minutes conversing with her and it's clear there's something wrong with her mentally too. Also, homeless shelters have curfews. You can't just go in and out whenever you want to. Plus, they close and lock the doors at night usually 1 minute past curfew. Harsh, but it emphasizes that the rules are not to be ignored. So, if you have a job, you still have to get back before curfew or you get locked out. Meaning, you can forget about working the night shift. Guess who worked the night shift with me?

    The only good thing with working with her was that you knew she'd make up stories. Even on the job. My response was that I was in charge inside the building. She was in charge of the parking lots and outer perimeter. And I trusted her judgement in handling any sort of "weird" developments that occurred in her "jurisdiction." Thankfully it never got to the point that she radioed me that she was in trouble and needed immediate assistance. But there was one time she came awfully close to doing so. Like I said, pathological liar.

    She returned a couple of years later as a fill-in for a Security Officer who called out sick. She was there for two or three days. But I only had to deal with her for one. She walks in and smiles at me. Says, "I bet you don't remember me." In the most flirtatious voice possible. I told her I absolutely did!

    Oh Candy, who could possibly ever forget you.
    Last edited by Monocrom; 09-07-2019 at 06:47 PM. Reason: Typo fixed.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  3. #243

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    So there really is a girl named Candy from that Iggy Poppe song……

    I'll think of your story next time I hear that tune.
    John 3:16

  4. #244

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    So there really is a girl named Candy from that Iggy Poppe song……

    I'll think of your story next time I hear that tune.
    That would be a heck of thing if it was her. But yes, there is a Candy. Not sure if she's the Candy.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  5. #245
    peter yetman's Avatar
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    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    I so enjoy your stories, guys.
    I have to save them up and then read them in a paying attenition sort of way.
    This could never work on Facebook, but no-one would understand if I explained that this is my reason for doing CPF.
    Thank you,
    P
    Peter's shopping list:- HDS / Oveready 170N Exec/LE and an Oveready V4 Nichia Drop In. Otherwise I'm content. Want want want, that's me.

  6. #246

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Facebook'rs have an attention span of abou……
    What were we talking about again?
    John 3:16

  7. #247

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    Facebook'rs have an attention span of abou……
    What were we talking about again?
    I think it was Raiding Area 51.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

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