Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Was this a test?

A large part of my job is to manage small crews of gardeners on the properties that we maintain. It's a small company; four managers and about 14 gardeners. As you might expect, the job is a very physically demanding one, and also doesn't pay that well. For that reason, most of our gardeners are under 35 years old and in good physical condition, with a few exceptions. One of these exceptions started working for us a few weeks ago and is the reason for today's post.
Through reading, blogging, talking, counseling and meetings, I understand that I too am in recovery. As part of that recovery, I'm recognizing that I can be a very impatient person. This frequently emerges at work because I'm a very hard-working person. I don't stand around. I take initiative. I ask questions. And I expect this from the people I work with.
I think because of these expectations, today was a huge challenge for me. We were working at our biggest and best client's 60 acre estate that includes an orchard barn, two trout ponds, a skating pond and a warming "hut" for the skating pond. Believe me when I say that this is no hut. And the trout ponds? All manmade and stocked and scrupuliosly maintained. The actual residence isn't even built yet. But there are at least 20 people working every day from numerous companies just to maintain the existing grounds. So I feel that it's extremely important to work our asses off at this property. They pay us several thousand dollars a week to do so.
Today was a continuation of their 19,800 bulb installation. We're hoping to have most of it finished tomorrow. My crew consisted of myself, another reliable and hardworking gardener, and Joe (not his real name, poor guy). Joe is in his late fifties and rather overweight. The job requires a majority of our time to be kneeling or crawling through gardens. Joe tends to show a massive amount of ass crack while doing this. (Go ahead, I can hear y'all laughing from here) Joe doesn't have very much, if any experience in this field and frankly, it's a mystery to me why my general manager hired him. He doesn't ask questions, he can't move quickly, and he tends to stand around unless someone tells him what to do along every step of the way.
By 9 a.m. my blood was starting to boil from working with him.
Now here's the kinda cool part. I recognized it. Then I did my best to try to have patience, to not snap, to not wring my hands in frustration.
We worked hard until lunch at which point I left the jobsite to get away for a few minutes. Somehow, by the afternoon, the three of us had found a rhythm and actually cranked out a lot of bulbs before the end of the day. It wasn't until I was driving home that I realized how much my attitude had shifted. I don't quite understand how it happened, but I'm certainly glad it did.

Anyway, that's my somewhat related-to-the-topic post for today. Enjoy the pictures, but don't tell my boss. ;-)




Sounds like really hard work, but the upside looks like the really beautiful surroundings.

What a great lesson in achieving patience. Our program teaches us how to really live with others. I'm so grateful for that.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like maybe you have been praying for patience and the 'ol HP gave you an opportunity to try some out ;)

deanna said...

It can feel so rewarding when you keep your cool in a situation where you know you'd usually blow a gasket. Congratulations!

Addicted Rantings said...

That’s so incredible! How could you possibly know I was laughing at the whole ass crack thing?

Either my computer has a video camera on it, or you are freakishly intuitive.

Shadow said...

ha. that's what simply being aware of something can do to you... notice it and try to do it differently. which you seemed to have done effortlessly. that's great!

Lou said...

If you look up impatient in the dictionary, it has my picture. It is hard, but I'm working on it with some success. Now you hurry up and do it too Molls!
I'm sorry, but that house in obscene.

AlkySeltzer said...

Patience and Tolerance are actions which lead to peace and love for our neighbor and ourselves.

How beautiful are these virtues, and the changes in us which bring them about sometimes--not perfection ya know!).

I'd sure enjoy getting warm in that hut--gotta go back to mowing the grass
if I don't first have a cardiac arrst!

Cat said...

I am still wroking on that character defect of mine and I suspsect that one will take me some time. it is of course in line behind a whole long list of others! Cat

Sobermojo said...

I have 54 employees and I've learned over the years they all are motivated in different ways, some take a lot of pushing some take none and some take a great deal of patience. But the biggest factor has always been my attitude towards them. I can make or break a day's worth of work by just be an asshole or a nice guy. Which when I was drinking all the time it was more asshole then nice guy. Now I don't have the hangovers and I take more time with them individually and I'll be damn if it aint working like a charm.

Kathy Lynne said...

isn't it nice when we get to experience and notice the changes in ourselves? nice pics.