For most of my professional life, I have been well liked. Is it important to be well liked at work, especially by those folks that work for you? I suppose some would say no...being a boss is kind of like being a parent...sometimes, you have to tell people things that they aren't going to want to hear, and so, it not easy to always be Everyone's Favorite. In my case though, in what is a probably a sign of something wrong deep down inside of me, I have craved approval/grudging appreciation/being liked. Be mad at the company, or the organization, but not at me.
It was easier other places I worked. Both in the Navy and PSNS, I moved up from within. Stay on a submarine long enough, and show at least moderate competence, and enough other people will transfer off, and you will be placed in a position of responsibility. At PSNS, I was competent enough, and motivated enough, to earn a chance to supervise pretty early on. When I was first bumped up to supervisor, I was probably the youngest RADCON boss in the Yard by 3 or 4 years, and I was young enough to have a statistical effect on the average age...I was 31, the average age was probably 41-42ish.
The common key in both these situations is, for all intents and purposes, I was the 'local Joe that made good'...and I NEVER forgot that is the people working for me who were going to make me keep looking good. I've always remembered what it is like to have to climb up and down into an aircraft carrier reactor compartment 78 times a day, and treated people accordingly.
Hanford is different. First, I'm the new guy that just showed up as a supervisor(not that any of the 'techs wanted the job)...and also, there has just historically been a lot of...tension...between the craft and the management. So...it's been a battle since day one, to be treated as a person, and not just a manager.
There are two things I have found you have to do for this to happen. The first, is being a good boss. If you don't prove you know what you are doing, so you can steer your guys out of trouble, and they can trust you, they just aren't going to care about you. The other thing is, let's face it...bribery.
Hey...look at this box of donuts that showed up! Or this half a birthday cake we didn't eat at my daughters party! Or, as in yesterday's case, 'Hey, look at this tray of freshly prepared apple fritters I just cooked up!'
Yeah, they don't quite look like apple fritters you would get from your local donut shop, but they tasted pretty darn close...and fresh has a quality all of its own. I cut up 6 apples the night before(3 granny smith, 3 gala's) and soaked them in a water with lemon juice and cinnamon to minimize unsightly browning. The dry goods(recipe here) were thrown into three plastic bags as well the night before, so all I had to do at work was mix up the wet(eggs, milk, melted butter) and do the cooking.
For each batch, I double the recipe shown...and I ended up making 3 of those doubled batches, which yielded somewhere between 40-50 fritters(each one with a cooked volume of 3/4's to a full cup(not sure how else to describe the size to you)). About half the fritters just got a sprinkling of powdered sugar...the others got the left-over salted caramel from my earlier brownie adventures drizzled over them(the caramel ones went first).
I didn't just make them for my guys...if you are going to heat up oil, and make the smell of sweet things cooking, the correct thing to do is make enough for everyone which is why there were 40-50 of them. Folk appreciated it...and I appreciated that they appreciated it. For about half the crew, Thursday was their last day for two weeks, and fresh fritters got that off to a good start.
Of course, my kids wondering I came home smelling like fried apples, and didn't bring any to them...