Here I am, 53 years old, and once again I’m starting a new job, hoping to make enough money to make ends meet and maybe, someday, retire. It’s a great shop – clean, quiet, and a wonderfully short commute. And like most mechanic’s shops, the Fucking New Guy takes all the heat, whether he’s deserving of it or not. It’s a scare tactic that can either make or break a new employee, quickly weeding out the ones that can’t handle the pressure. Being the oldest guy in the shop does have it’s advantages, but I remember many decades ago when things went a little differently.
I was 18 years old, just out of high school and in search of my first full-time job. My buddy, Mark, said his brother, Chris, worked at a diesel machine shop and he needed a helper. I had just signed up for automotive classes at the local community college, so between that and just a smattering of automotive tinkering, I talked my way into the job; even though I had to adjust my work schedule around my class schedule. Working 7 – 3 then going to class from 4 – 10 seems grueling now, but it was a snap for the younger me.
Probably within the first week, Chris had sent me to the parts room for something simple, like 1/2″ lock washers. Me, being green and not knowing how the parts room was laid out (and probably not knowing what a lock washer was), I was unable to find the parts quickly. Either way, Chris came storming into the parts room, grabbed a handful of washers, then got in my face….. “Bill, you’re useless, FUCKING USELESS! Fuck you Bill! FUCK YOU!! YOU GOT ANY FRIENDS? FUCK THEM TOO!!!!“. Then he stormed out of the parts room.
I stood there, dumbstruck, and thought to myself “I need to start looking for another job“. But I stuck it out and I tried to watch my Ps & Qs; but as luck would have it, the following week I did something small & stupid, something that pissed off Chris. Again he got in my face… “Bill, you’re useless, FUCKING USELESS! Fuck you Bill! FUCK YOU!! YOU GOT ANY FRIENDS?” and this is where I interjected “Just you, Chris!”
He stopped mid-rant, smiled, started to laugh, and quietly walked away.
I thought of that reply 5 minutes after the first incident and I had been waiting all week to use it. And it worked perfectly. Chris & I worked together as a great team for another 4 months before he quit and moved on to another shop.