Thursday, October 06, 2011

Aussie Word of the Day: Motivational edition

**Just a little warning -- this is kind of a long one.  You might want to go pee or top off your coffee before you start reading.**
Pull your finger out:  Aussie for "get on with it; stop wasting time."*  Shortened form of "pull your finger out of your ass" (apparently, having your finger up your ass interferes with efficiency).
It's been an insane week.  Things are really busy at work and I'm doing this big 90 day push to grow my Beachbody business that involves weekly webinars and daily check-ins with an accountability partner (who is awesome -- hi Ferreh!!) and I'm trying to plan Zeke's birthday party and make it fun without being too too much and this weekend is Yom Kippur and next weekend we're going to a wedding reception and I've got a presentation that I'm doing at a big statewide conference and holy shit.

On the plus side, ski season starts in less than a month, and opening day at Copper Mountain coincides with a flex day, so I've got that to look forward to.

So yesterday at 6:15 in the morning I was in my room doing a workout -- I was in the middle of a set of pushups, to be exact -- when J walked in.  This was a bit of a shock, considering that he had left for work an hour before. 

He's been having some problems with one of the guys on the job -- a former friend (Greg) who was promoted to foreman and immediately turned into a raging asshole at the first whiff of power.  Screaming, yelling, swearing at people -- just generally being incredibly abusive and awful to the guys on the job, and given that the construction industry is notorious for treating guys like dog shit, it's saying something that this guy's behavior really went above and beyond.  Everybody hated him, everybody was miserable.  J would tell him to back off and watch his mouth, and Greg tended to tone it down somewhat with J, but he was still a major douchebag. 

Apparently, a couple of days ago, it got really, really bad.  Guys were completely up in arms, an apprentice was so mad he was throwing things, and the entire job site was tense and miserable.  So J went to have a talk with the head of the company.  In a very calm and rational way, he explained what was going on and that it was negatively impacting everyone, that if the yelling and screaming was meant to be some kind of motivational tool, it was having the opposite effect, and that if something didn't change, guys would be leaving en masse.  The boss, being an asshole himself, kind of blew it off and insinuated that J was being a pussy and just couldn't take the heat.

This is pretty much par for the course.  This company is awful -- they don't pay shit, they provide no benefits, they insist guys work overtime and then mysteriously have "payroll problems" that cause the overtime pay to be absent from paychecks.  They suck.  And in a non-union state like Colorado, there's very little recourse.  It's a tough economy, everyone's grateful to have a job, so the companies make the guys eat shit because they can -- they hold all the cards. 

Fight the power, yo.

So yesterday morning, J made the decision -- probably not so smart in hindsight -- to try to have a calm discussion with Greg and explain why his behavior was inappropriate and counterproductive.  Greg responded by yelling and screaming at J, getting up in his face.  J responded, "Fuck you."  Greg said, "you just quit."  So J came home.

Notice how Greg immediately framed it (and subsequently put it in an email to the boss) that J had quit, rather than been fired?  So as to set up a factual dispute that would make it harder for J to file an unemployment claim? 

Evil fuckers.

Anyway, I'm literally mid-pushup when J walks into the room.  And I'm continuing to do pushups while trying to talk to J to figure out what happened.  This is difficult enough, but J was so angry and shaking and freaked out that it was hard for him to even form a sentence, so I told him to go downstairs and make some coffee and calm down and I'd be there to talk to him in a few minutes after I finished my workout.

We sat in the living room. 

"So what happened?"

"I tried to talk to him, but he kept getting in my face and I just snapped.  I just can't take being treated like that anymore."

"Well, I know you hate it there, and I don't want to pile on, but we can't afford for you to be out of work right now.  We're operating on a razor-thin margin as it is."

"I know.  I know.  I'll find another job."

"Is there any way you can go back?"

"I can't.  I just can't."  He was practically in tears.

I nodded, took a deep breath and got up and went into the next room.  I got a pad of paper and a pen out of a drawer and brought them to him.

"OK.  Then here's what you're going to do.  Write down the name of every single person you can think of that might be able to help you find a new job.  Call Steve [the guy who has done a bunch of work on our house] -- maybe he knows somebody or needs some electrical work on some of his jobs.  Vicki manages a bunch of properties -- call her.  Joe manages a company that does residential electrical stuff -- give him a call.  Guys you've worked with.  That friend of my dad's.  That placement guy that keeps calling you. I'll put the word out to everyone I know and also see if anyone needs any odd jobs done."  He started writing and I continued to rattle off names, which then went on the list.  "Now start calling, texting, and emailing.  We need the money, so start hustling.  Everything's going to be fine, but you need to focus.  Pull your finger out and get it done."

And he did.  He made some calls and sent some texts.  We got the kids up and took them to school, and then he drove me to work.  By the time he dropped me off, he had already gotten the names of some companies that were hiring and had an interview lined up.  I was giving him a pep talk and helping him plan his day, and he was feeling much better.

"This is awesome.  You're really amazing," he told me.

"You married the right woman," I agreed, and I gave him a kiss, got out of the car and went up to my building. 

Within an hour, 6 people in my office had responded to an email I sent out, telling me that they had electrical work they needed done but didn't know anyone reputable to call.  By 10 in the morning, he had another job interview lined up and side jobs to take him through the weekend.  And this morning, he's already had two calls from companies that got his name from friends of his.  So we're thinking that he'll have something solid lined up soon.

In the meantime, he and I have been texting back and forth.  I've been trying to give him little e-pep talks.  At one point, he texted me back:  "Tony Robbins called.  He wanted me to tell you to to back the fuck off."

I don't know.  I may be on to something.
* I know this expression isn't used only by Aussies, but I never really heard it used in great abundance until I married J.  In the U.S., people tend to use the entire phrase, i.e., "pull your finger out of your ass."  But Aussies feel compelled to abbreviate and shorten everything, so I feel like "pull your finger out" is the Aussie-fied version.


  1. Yikes. Assholes. I'm sorry. Nick sues people over shit like this, as you know.

    But it sounds like this story is already starting to have a happy ending and he's going to be in such a better work space.

    Also, I feel like at minimum, Jason should smear dog poo under Greg's car door handles.

  2. Yeah, the lawyer in me, and the part of me that hates it when assholes get away with their assholery, is primed for a fight, but the truth is, it's not worth it. First of all, if he gets a job right away and mitigates his losses, he doesn't really have any damages. Plus the time, effort, expense and emotional drain of litigation isn't worth it. He's so much happier being out of that place, so it's really been a blessing in disguise.

    I love the dog poo idea, though.

  3. First off, I have a bounty of dog poo that I could donate to the cause. On that same note, the "Real Hick-wives of Delaware County" version would be to find your closest farm store, go to the horse isle for a product called DMSO, and then apply that to the douchebag's door handles. It soaks into the skin and he'll have the taste of metallic creamed corn in his mouth for a day or three.

    Secondly, I think with all of this personal development that you're ingesting, you'll soon be able to write your own book and call it "Pull Your Finger Out". Besides, it's just all the same shit said a different way, right? ;o)

  4. HAHAHA!! See, this is why I love the internet. I never would have otherwise met an awesome chick like you, Ferreh!

    **now googling "farm supply store denver"**

  5. Anonymous9:38 AM

    I think it high past time for Jason to stop working for others & start working for himself. He has way too much talent to be treated like the shit on the bottom of someone's shoe.

    BTW - I may need to use that dog poo idea on a few people. Hmmm...