First impressions set an example of what you will experience in a workplace. It more or less held true in the many places I have worked. If someone was late, other people seemed to walk in slow motion. If the administrative area looked dirty, its corresponding shops would also be filthy. My ship upheld the assumption that first impressions set a pace.
After a late arrival and terrible night’s sleep, I went up to our work center. It was dark and cool. We had a motley band of sailors that filled in the precious free space between humming machines. I looked around to see a few youthful faces and a few that looked either worn or hungover. I spied one guy that didn’t fit either. I will call this guy; “Tory”.
Tory was a loud and smiling dude. He pointed out that I was the new guy. He always had something to chime in about. I received my first impression of him quickly. The “horn effect”, aka his loud mouth, seemed to be his superpower. The great part was that he always had a good joke or a nickname for someone. (He gave me my first nickname on the ship).
As I learned more about our in-port jobs, I started noticing things about Tory. When we our work center was grouped up for obligatory cleaning everyday, Tory was often not there. I would see him having “shits and giggles” time with some of our less cultured sailors. If Tory wasn’t “grabass-ing”, he was acting like he was doing something on the computer. (Most sailors know that working on messages doesn’t take that long).
Tory was a bit of a quasi-blue falcon foghorn that would point out when someone else was screwing up. He made sure to speak up when he saw a few of the junior sailors come back from cleaning early. I was sick of seeing his lazy ass bullshit us. I asked him the following: “When are you going to get off your lazy ass and help us?”.
His response was gold. He pulled non-existent rank when he said: “I ain’t gonna’ do shit. I’m an E5!”. I noted that arguing with a petty and lazy asshole was pointless. I was an E3 and had to eat that one. (Please note that Tory wasn’t a supervisor, just promoted into a paycheck with little skill. Many E5s had helped us when they had no direct taskings). Our actual LPO (Cannoli) gave me a tongue lashing also.
(I had a great amount of disdain for them both. I let Cannoli know that Tory set a bad example and rubbed people the wrong way).
I never got Tory to help out with cleaning, but I learned that I could set a better example when I hit the big time. I continued to clean and do all sorts of low-end things with pride when I made E5. I cleaned with the E3/4s and owned those spaces. I made sure that they could say “at least Shoe sweeps and cleans”.
I did hear from Tory when he left our ship. He picked up E6 and got assigned to one of the softest shore commands available. Still didn’t do shit and got rewarded for it.