Taking care of your crew

I’m feeling pretty good about a decision I made as a supervisor.  One of my guys had a death in the family.  Cousin lost in a car wreck.  He told me on day 1(Friday) of our 4 night run that he would probably need to take off and he would let me know after the arrangements had been made.  Well we were already scheduled to run 1 short on the last 2 nights.  I took a deep breath and told him “Of course man.  Whatever you need.”

 The next day (Saturday) he said there was a visitation on Sunday and the Funeral would be Monday.  He had put together that we would be running short and started to feel guilty.  Saying “I don’t have to go if it will put y’all in a bind.” And “I don’t really want to go anyway.”

 It would’ve been easy to convince him not to go.  And keeping him here is what would’ve been best for the plant… and it was tempting.

But what I said is, “Nobody likes to go to funerals, but just being there can be important.”  And “I’m not your Dad.  It’s not my place to order you to go, but I don’t want you to later regret not going.”

 He decided to go on Sunday and come back in on Monday night.  At 9PM on a Saturday I made some half-hearted phone calls to the 2 people that could’ve covered his spot and neither of them called me back.  My remaining operators were spread thin, but they all knew why and no-one complained about the extra work.

 Here’s the question:  What if shit went sideways? It’s not hard to imagine scenarios where being short a man causes WAY more work for the remaining men.  Situations where having the right guy in the right place can save the day.  Situations where a missing guy costs us recovery time worth $60k/hr.

How would I feel about my decision then?

Probably pretty conflicted and shitty.  We’ll surely find out one day, because I can’t imagine a world in which I would make this decision the other way.


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