Stop Whining and Take Pride In Your Job!

Posted by: Thu, Mar 27, 2008
Posted in category People, Work

There is an issue being raised in the union construction community as to the way that Apprentices are treated on the job. The issue at hand deals with the “hazing” or tradition of an Apprentice being razzed until he reaches Journeyman status.

My husband thinks this is a touchy subject and that I will receive a lot of flack for saying what I am about to, but it’s my opinion. I will only be speaking as to the Ironworker part of this issue because that is the trade that Chad has been in for 12 years.

Why has it come in our society that we must “baby” everyone and “sugar coat” everything. This is a tough cruel world you should be prepared or it will eat you alive.
When my husband first started working for the union, he like many of the new guys had no clue as to what he was doing. The on the job training is so crucial in his line of work, and safety is a major issue. I remember the countless nights of dinner table conversation that included all the “hell” he had endured during his long day at work. If he was doing something wrong, he was yelled at, he was “punked” out many times, and always had the worse part of any job. Chad knew that this was a union tradition that had been passed down by his forefathers to make certain Apprentices learned the ropes. Yes there were days when he thought he had had enough, but he stuck it out trying to excel everyday so that he could earn his right of being a great Ironworker.

Chad did eventually earn that right of Journeyman status and we truly believe that he learned many valuable lessons by being “punked” as an apprentice. There are many guys in his union called “slugs”, guys that put as little effort forth as possible or are just there for a paycheck. In my opinion using this hard method on the Apprentices teaches them to work hard, respect their forefathers and take extreme pride in their work. If they are there to just collect a paycheck it puts other Ironworkers lives at risk, because they do not care enough to pay attention.
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This tradition passed down by generations is no different than the U.S. Military sending you to boot camp. When you arrive you have no clue what you’re getting into, they ride you hard and demean you when you make a mistake, in hopes that you will not make that mistake again. When you exit boot camp you are considered a good tough military soldier. So why would we not do the same in certain workplace conditions, where other people’s lives are at risk daily?

Chad has been training Apprentices on the job for a few years now and he uses the same “hazing” training methods. The guys that he has trained know that he is doing it to make them better Ironworkers and they also know that one day they will be able to help an Apprentice succeed too. These Apprentices, like Chad many years ago work harder and pay more attention to avoid the “hazing”. Is that such a Bad thing?

Stop Whining and Take Pride In Your Job!

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6 Responses to “Stop Whining and Take Pride In Your Job!”

  1. blogengage says:

    Mar. 27, 2008

    I don’t think you will get much flack regarding this post unless it’s the lazy steelworkers that are replying! Your husband Chad should be riding these guys to perform to their best abilities. Like you mentioned people can get hurt when other workers are lazy and not paying attention.

    When I first read your article title I thought it was going to be a post about people not liking the great jobs they have, people like me! I guess I can say I’ve had it pretty easy in my career. I graduated from College and been working in an office environment ever since. I get air conditioning in the summer and I have a sky light in my office! My co-workers can be lazy and it won’t affect my safety and or health.

    Like I mentioned I don’t think you will get any flack from this post as your concerns are all legit and these people need to start caring and paying attention because their actions could potentially indirectly hurt other around them.

  2. DruU says:

    Mar. 27, 2008

    I was Military and to become a Non-Commisioned Officer I had to start somewhere. Of course I went to Basic Training, this taught me the respect I needed to show those that I would be working for and the importance of the military function.
    After Basic I was given my job – Aircraft Mechanic – This is when the Hazing started. I was in a position where if I screwed something up it could mean a lot of people dead. If it wasn’t for that I would not have been so careful about what I did. These people I was learning from made me feel like crap if I screwed up but along the same lines that made me feel great when I was praised for a job well done.
    After 2 years On the Job Training, I was unfortunate enough to watch an Aircraft with 28 people in it explode as it did a dive straight into the ground. A friend of mine was on it, while another friend of mine was the maintainer of this aircraft. Even though the investigation cleared my friend from any wrong doing, he would not work on an aircraft again. He did his job and he did it right, everyone knew that, therefore instead of turning the wrenches he became an instructor.
    The Hazing he recieved when he was coming up though the ranks is a very important part of his teaching, feeling like shit after you screw up helps you to remember to not screw up again.

  3. Chad & Stacey says:

    Mar. 27, 2008

    Thank you both for agreeing with me, I feel it is very important to “ride” these guys. Like you said Dru if you feel like shit because you made a mistake, you’ll think twice next time you are in that situation.

    Blogengage, glad to see you have gratitude for you job, even if you don’t like it. It makes you a better person when you appreciate what you have, knowing others may be worse off. The world would be a better place if more people did the same.

  4. mb says:

    Apr. 11, 2008

    I disagree with your idea that hazing makes a better outcome. It is easy to be an asshole. It is tough to be a leader. It is easy to yell and discourage to motivate out of fear. it is tough to coach and motivate from confidence. Usually those that motivate by putting others down do so because that is what is comfortable for them or how they were trained and raised. Not because it gets you the best results. Do leaders have to chew ass. Yes and I can be damn good at it. But it is a very limited way of improving performance. Sure you can run off the ass-draggers with that version, but it does very little to build superior, confident, highly focused high performers. Many are very frustrated with the new generation Y and thier lame-ass relationship to thier work obligation. But believe me, mentoring is a hell of a lot more productive than hazing, if you want to select one primary method of getting the best business result.

  5. Chad & Stacey says:

    Apr. 11, 2008


    We would agree with the last statement “best business result”. We are talking about the construction trade, specifically Ironworkers that have thier lives on the line everyday in the hands of these apprentices. It is alot more crucial for them to do what is right vs. in the business world. If a new workers loses a business document, it is different than not handleing a beam the right way from 60 feet off the ground.

    Like I said we agree with what you said but only for the “business” world.

  6. Grump says:

    Apr. 11, 2009

    What you said was true to an extent but busting someones balls don’t make them better it makes them nervous the next time maybe doing that 60ft connection and loosing there footing because there tring to impress some journeyman asshole explain that to there widow and kids I’ve been forunate and worked with journeymen that care about us want us to be better than them we are there retirement and the future of the trade and vary proud of it yes there are some apperentices that are worthless but there are journeyman that are as bad and worse and they are making good money and don’t give a shit it goes both ways !

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