My second day at my first job and as a newby I was trying much too hard. My boss came out of his office and asked me to go down three shops to a firm he knew well and ask for a long weight. Holding his hands two feet apart he said it had to be at least this long…and to hurry up.
As I walked down it occurred to me that it could have been a 'long weight' or a 'long wait'.
Still I went in all enthusiastic and offered my hands the right distance apart and told the boss I had been sent for a long weight, he told me to hang around until he was finished doing what he was doing and he'd get it for me.
Time ticked by….and by.
Eventually he came and told me I'd waited long enough and sent my back.
I arrived back at work to cheers and clapping that I'd fallen for it...I was scarred for life. (ok, so that’s a lie.. but I did feel embarrassed)
Forward ten years and I'm at another business working with a very accomplished Boilermaker and a new apprentice in his first week. We were assembling a steel frame and the Boilermaker kept standing a meter of steel on it's end, it kept falling over and he kept standing it up. After a few attempts he turned to the apprentice and told him he needed to tack weld the steel to the concrete floor (impossible) He gave directions for the apprentice to find 'Concretecraft' welding rods next to the 'Satincraft' steel rods. (Concretecraft rods don’t exist, Satincraft rods do) The apprentice searched and searched and when he finally gave up and came out of the storeroom we were all there clapping and cheering. (deja vu)
The next day another Boilermaker pushed a piece of Aluminum against the bench grinder (which doesn’t spark) and complained the grinder was out of sparks. He told the apprentice to go borrow a box of sparks from another nearby firm. I waved him over and into the paint shop where I worked and gave him a small empty box, I wrote 'Grinder Sparks size16' on the box and told him to take it to the firm and ask them to fill it with grit blaster sand.
He was away for a half hour then returned and gave the box to the Boilermaker who'd asked for it and said they were out of small and large sparks so he'd settled for medium… he was cheered and clapped and immediately accepted into the crew. I like to think I saved him a bit of pain…
He went on to become a very good Boilermaker and that of course is entirely down to ME!