Common Pool Guy Personalities
The swimming pool industry is full of "interesting personalities" and anyone who has worked in the trade can attest to this. The nature of swimming pool work, most especially in seasonal areas, tends to attract some unique characters, or so you might think. After a quarter century in the pool industry I have met and worked with hundreds of different workers at dozens of different companies across the country. What I discovered is that the people who work in this industry are not as unique as I thought. Time after time I would meet new swimming pool workers, at new swimming pool companies, but the personality type I had seen many times before. To prove my point, take a look at this list of common people that you will encounter if you work in the pool industry:
Every pool company has at least one "crazy guy". The Lunatic will be easy to pick out of a crowd due to their constant, unhinged behavior. Having at least one fully crazed person is important for any successful swimming pool crew since so much of swimming pool work requires you to be crazy to do it. Week old bloated possum stuck in a skimmer basket? Crazy guy. Need someone to climb into an underground surge tank and stand in chest deep water that has mice swimming in it? Crazy guy. In addition to being indespensable as part of the crew, the Lunatic can also work efffectively with any other personality within the industry...because nobody ever wants to get in a fight with the crazy guy.
Nobody works as hard as a rented mule...and the hourly wage that a mule makes at a swimming pool company is dispropotionate to the amount of work that is shoveled on them. The Mule is usually pleasant and mild mannered and not inclined to complain - which leads to most everyone else in the company taking advantage of this and piling their work responsibilities on the mule also. Most commonly the Mule will be a "lifer" as they are unlikely to ever have enough time on their hands to actually make a resume and look for a better job. The Mule, at least on paper, is one of the most profitable employees in any given pool company.
The Micro Manager
The Micro Manager is found in almost every pool company and they will be easy to find - as they tend to live up your ass. The manager personality is the hardest of all pool guys to get along easily with due to the manager being skilled at manipulation, intimidation and appearing busy while accomplishing little, to zero, actual work. The Manager uses fear as a primary motivating tactic, which as it turns out, is highly effective. In addition to constantly overseeing your work details, the Manager will also directly interfere with your productivity and will constantly ask you to change the way that you do things - even things that are already being done as correctly and efficiently as possible.
The Big Bossman
The Big Bossman is usually second in command for the pool company but he likes when people call him the boss. He has a casual aire about him, probably because he has one of the easiest jobs within the company. The Manager reports directly to the Big Bossman, and in turn they both will be sure to speak with you about all of the things that you are doing wrong on a daily basis. Most employees will go well out of their way to avoid the Bossman both on and off the company clock. Any encounter with the Bossman on a Friday is likely to result in you being asked to come in for work on Saturday.
The Don is the one that really runs the show in a pool company. You can always tell when the Don is near since productivity suddenly increases, and problems start solving themselves. The Don does not actually spend much time working at the pool compay instead choosing to spend his time driving cars that cost more than the entire annual payroll of the business. When speaking with the Don, be sure to addrress him as "sir" and avoid upsetting the Don at all costs...if you know whats good for you!
The Pack Rat
The Pack Rat is usually the last person to leave at the end of the day. Often this is because they do not want anyone to see them collecting copper wire scraps, aluminum cans, plywood cut-offs and decomissioned pool equipment. The Pack Rat, when confronted, may claim that they are collecting these items to recycle them, or trade them in for cash, but in most cases the Pack Rat just keeps the items they collect for "a rainy day". If you ever need a hard to find part, piece, odd or end, then your first call should be to the Pack Rat that works in your pool company. He has one...if he can just remember where he put it!
The Tank...is hard to miss. The Tank in any pool company will be the guy that needs to turn sideways to walk through a door frame, and he will carry tupperware containers filled with high calorie, low fat protein foods everywhere he goes, stored in a family sized camping cooler. The Tank is a huge asset to any pool copmany due to their ability to lift and move things far beyond what most humans could hope to budge. Just be sure to keep the Tank away from all mirrors and reflective surfaces or his productivity will take a nose dive.
A pool company could not possibly exist without at least one Macgyver. Macgyver can fix anything, with anything, and can do it while looking cool with a mullet. You will never encounter a problem that Macgyver can not invent a solution to using only the items in his immediate vicinity. Some people say that Macgyver should have gone on to work on much more important things than swimming pools, like being a doctor, or The President, since it is clearly going to take MacGyver to fix the problems that we currenlty have.
Every pool company has someone that everyone calls the Russian...even though they keep saying that they are actually from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugolslavia or Bulgaria, but unfortunately for the most part nobody can understand what he is saying. Back in his home country he was an engineer, scientist, or possibly a hit man of some kind, but now he runs wheelbarrows of gravel all day (without complaint). The Russian is reliable, hard working, and seldom interested in gossip in the workplace, preferring to keep to himself and work productively without stopping for 12 hour stretches. Never, ever, mess with the Russian.
In every day at 4:45am and the last person to leave and lock the door at night, usually hours past when everyone else in the company has gone home, the Workaholic is the backbone of every swimming pool company. Without someone willing to work 20 hours per day, seven days per week, the company would cease to function and grind suddenly to a stop. The Workaholic is your go-to person for every important thing you need, from career advice to bandaids, and technical problems to restocking the toilet paper in the washroom, the Workaholic will take care of it for you. If you work with someone like this, cherish them, because they are clearly going to die early...and then everyone is screwed.
The Bean Counter
Someone needs to be accountable for all the money that goes in and comes out of a pool company. The process of accounting for every penny of a pool business is an astoundingly difficult job made vastly more difficult by the uncooperative nature of most pool workers when it comes to collecting and remitting receipts. The Bean Counter is unrelenting, accurate and they usually have a very organized desk. It is best to give the Bean Counter a wide berth in the weeks leading up to March 15 every year.
You will know who the No-Show is in your pool company, because he is the reason that you had to stay late busting your ass doing someone else's job. Any time there is an important day, like concrete or plaster day, you can count on No-Show making himself known. No-Show is the worst guy on the crew to get stuck working with as his flighty nature will leave you holding the bag more times than not. It is almost worth employing a No-Show just so that you get to hear the insane, hair brained stories that they come up with the next day when they show up like nothing happened.
He has dreadlocks, all of his clothes are tye-dyed and you can never get him on the phone between 4:15 and 4:30 daily. The Horticulturist is very common within the swimming pool industry. In more recent years the Horticulturist has cut off their dreadlocks (or they fell out) and has become much harder to detect within the workplace. The most tell tale sign that you are employing a Horticulturist is their lack of math skills but familiarity with fractions.
He is not a bad guy...but when he drinks, he does it with military grade, no holds barred intent. If you are a company that pays their employees on a Thursday then you will likely never see the Boozer at work on a Friday. Or Saturday. Or Monday sometimes. He probably doesn't have a drivers licence, nor does he want one, and he has probably been working with the company since inception. Do not let the Boozer take other employees out drinking or you will be without a crew for a week!
The Cowboy is rough, rugged, and a manly man. He is the only employee of the pool company that drives a personal vehicle larger than his service truck. He prides himself on being stoic, and cool under pressure, and is an important go-to employee and natural leader in the field for less experienced technicians. The only down side of the Cowboy is that he requests extensive periods of time off for ranching and rustling...whatever those things are.
The Professor is the staff member at your company that is the end of the line for difficult questions that nobody else can seem to answer. Wise, experienced and happy to teach inquisitive minds, the Professer is a critical element to every pool company. While the professor no longer does field work, since at least the late 60's, he still has the ability to fix things that nobody else in the company has ever heard of before. Some say that he can use his mind to talk to swimming pools...
The Late Comer
Always last to the party (and the jobsite) is the Late Comer. He is chronic in his inability to get up and get out of the house on time and you can almost set your watch to how much he will push the envelope of how late you can be without getting fired on almost a daily basis. Usually the Late Comer has a lot of skills and experience, which explains why he did not get fired the first 200 times that he skated into work well after everyone else is out the door and servicing pools. Never count on a Late Comer for an early morning concrete pour unless you like such pastimes as crying and finishing meters of concrete on your own. The only thing that a Late Comer seems to be early for is picking up his paycheck at the end of the week.
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