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Surprise, Surprise

During my 36 years working in the Con Edison Overhead Distribution and Transmission Departments I encountered more than a few memorable is another one:

When I began working in the industry, I was but 18 years old. Not that I felt young, as I definitely did not. I could legally drink at any bar I wanted, as back in 1972 that's the way it was in New York. I was married already, and now I was on my way to becoming a Power Lineman. What more could you ask for?

A few years in there was a change of management that resulted in everyone being rated on job performance. I was in great physical shape, loved to climb poles and prided myself on how much I had learned already, so of course I expected to achieve an above average rating.

I remember the day like it was yesterday.... the two foremen, Frank and Donald, were riding together in a van, not uncommon at all as they oversaw all the crews working on the latest 13kV Conversion and frequently rode together.

"Get in Busse" they said. I was a little concerned at this point as I was not usually invited to ride with them. As I settled into the back seat Frank came right out with it. "You're a good worker", he said, "but you break my chops all the time for no good reason.” He followed that up with “so I rated you a Low Achiever.”

I was stunned to say the least, but in that instant, I realized he was right! What was I thinking, being such a pain in the ass to my boss? Now some people would have taken this as a challenge as to how to “pay Frank back.” I, however, decided, in that second, to End This Crazy Behavior.

Now, I did not immediately become a cooperative employee, but I started working on it and slowly rose in the ratings. Mind you that manager moved on, and the rating program ended, but I Never Forgot what a great lesson I had learned that day.

Fast forward about 20 years, and..... well, if you haven't read my article titled “Management” now's as good a time as any to catch up. Just remember, a leopard really can change if he really wants to!

A note here: Frank and I stopped working together when I gravitated toward the Transmission end of the business, and we lost touch. About 3 years ago, I was able to call him and thank him from the bottom of my heart for helping me see the error of my ways back them. He really appreciated that. I was glad that I had called him.

RIP Frank, you will forever be in my heart.

Ed Busse - Lineman Retired

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