Spotlight Sawyer

August 24, 2016 Leave a comment

I know a sawyer who drags his backside around at work like there’s a piano tied to it.  He typically puts out .5-.75 as much lumber as me in a shift but easily matches me when the manager is on the floor.

Everybody takes it easy sometimes and a good boss can accept that provided that it’s not done in a way he can’t let slide but the production numbers eventually show a pattern…

It made me think of a story that came out of the bush near the village where I grew up.  It was the about a rigging crew(logging) that was really taking it easy and, as we would say, effing the dog.  In a surprise move one morning the boss came out with the choker setters and told them to sit down and watch him work.  The boss set chokers while they watched.  Turn after turn the tension mounted.  The story goes that in an hour or two he had set more chokers than that crew had the entire day before.   The story goes on to say that the boss lectured the crew about it being natural to take it easy sometimes but they were being too greedy and he couldn’t ignore it.  He supposedly fired them all and, out of shame, no grievances were filed.

True or not it’s a good story with a good lesson for managers and underlings alike.

 

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Treating an Emergency like an Emergency or Strange Priorities

August 24, 2016 Leave a comment

I was thinking about a time when I needed some help from a coworker.  He was running by and I stopped him but he quickly said he didn’t have any time for anybody because our air compressor was down and work was halted because of it so this was his top priority.  He needed to run out for supplies to complete the repair and only after that was done would he have time for anything else.  Fair enough.  There were a bunch of guys idle because of this so I had no trouble waiting.

I saw him after coming back with the parts for the emergency repair and he had an iced cappuccino in his hand.  I was shocked.  The emergency apparently wasn’t too important to stop for a fancy drink.

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Corrupting youth?

August 6, 2016 Leave a comment

There are a couple teen summer students helping out at the sawmill.  I was passing by one who was stacking lumber and noticed a couple of small knots on the outside of one of his stacks.  I came over and flipped the boards around so the knots couldn’t be seen from the outside and explained that we should always try to stack our lumber with the good faces on top and the good edges on the outside of the stack so it looks as nice as possible.

I said that his parents and teachers probably taught him that inner beauty is what mattered, and I said that it was true…except for the lumber business.  In a lumber stack outer beauty is what matters.  I added that this wasn’t deceitful because the lumber quality is determined by a grade, or specification, and THAT was the level of quality we promised.  Stacking the boards so no defects are visible is just a way of putting our best foot forward.

 

 

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Dollar stores.

July 21, 2016 Leave a comment

I often shop at the Dollarama in Port Place Mall in Nanaimo.  I find it a handy stop for an inexpensive snack or any knickknacks I might need while downtown or heading over to Gabriola Island but they have all kinds of things for sale.

There are a lot of substance abusers, homeless, and poor people in the area and I see a lot of them in and around Dollarama and it made me think:  It’s a good store if you’re chronically broke.   It’s not usually the greatest deal for groceries on a per-pound basis but if you scrounge a few dollars you can buy something.  It’s retail shopping that fits with living moment to moment as many of these people do.

 

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Sciolism.

July 16, 2016 Leave a comment

I was frying schnitzel for supper tonight and thought about a guy I know who had a fish and chips shop in greater Victoria.

Have you ever realised that the person you’re talking to doesn’t know what they claim to know and you just shut down rather than call them out?

He had talked about offering authentic British chippie fare so when I visited his shop I asked for sausage and chips (my personal favourite) he said, “uh, we only do British stuff here.” I didn’t say anything but I didn’t really listen to anything he had to say about the food after that.

…buy his fish was OK.

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Two different people’s laudable contributions to the world.

July 15, 2016 Leave a comment

I was talking with a friend about a former colleague being razzed because he wasn’t nearly as decorated as his peers and in that conversation my friend said that he didn’t do anything awesome to get his medals…he just did what he was “effing” told.  That’s something I really respect.  Guys like him make the world run smoothly.

It made me think of another man, call him R, in the village where I grew up who didn’t do what he was supposed to and has a medal of his own because of it:

In the mill where nearly everybody in the village worked an electrician was in the often fatal position of being the bridge between a couple bus bars in an MCC(motor control centre). What you’re supposed to do when this happens is wait until the power has been turned off; by then the poor guy being lit up is usually beyond saving.

What R did instead was rush into the MCC and take a running jump at the man being electrocuted.  Both men were thrown clear of the bus and both lived; R could have died in there too but it worked out that day.

R is a good natured fellow (like most people are) who saw a colleague dying and jumped in without thinking.  That is something I respect too.

 

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A reminiscence about an old job.

July 15, 2016 Leave a comment

I was talking with a friend and in his shop and it happened he had a few old medals in a display case and it made me think of the joke about winning them at the battle of eBay…

Anyway..I commented on the medals in the case and since he’s a veteran with medals of his own I told him a story about all the warrant officers in my company office many years ago:

All of them were retired regular forces who were working as class B reservists and they all had long eventful careers…except for one, we’ll call him X, and he had been a reservist who had never gotten too far from home during his career.   When they were in dress uniform there were a lot of medals hanging on their chests…except for X who had his CD for long service but nothing else.

The razzing was along the lines of this:  “Hey, how come X doesn’t have anything but a CD?”  “I think it’s because you have to leave Vancouver Island to get anything else!”   “Hey X, how come you have nothing else?  The company clerk has a Queen’s Medal for goodness sake!”

I bumped into one of my former colleagues while buying gas years ago and apparently X went to Afghanistan so he has something to go with his CD now.  Good for him.

Something my friend said in that conversation will be the topic of another post.

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