A few years back, our design team was involved in a large exhibit installation out of state. We’d drive out early on Monday, stay at a hotel next to the site and come back on Friday. Every morning we would meet at 7:00am to divide up the resources and plan the day. At night, we would eat dinner together as a group and afterwards, four of us would break away from the larger group and go out for a drink. On the nights that we pluralized drink, we sometimes wouldn’t get to bed until 2:30am and that 7:00am meeting was very hard to get to on time.
One of the team, (I’ll just use his initials to hide his identity) AJ, was consistently ten minutes late to the morning meeting. This was problematic because AJ was the all around guy. He’d make the hardware runs, had a knack for building anything out of almost nothing, and lift both heavy and really heavy stuff. (He also always has a cigarette that he will let you borrow.) AJ was in demand and showing up late was putting a knot in his boss’ military issue underwear.
When the camel’s back was finally broken, AJ’s boss chastised him and, as a punishment, took away his cell phone until the end of the week. At first, we rolled our eyes and secretly laughed. “Dad” was taking AJ’s cell phone privileges away? How will that help get AJ to the meetings on time? Heck, usually it was us calling him on his cell phone that got him up and out of bed to the meetings.
It quickly became apparent that this punishment was going to affect the whole crew. The hardware store was a few miles away and by the time you realized you would need something from the store, AJ was already out the door, so you had to call him on his cell. And it hard for him to answer when the phone was in his boss’ pocket. When AJ was at the store, he’d have questions about something he was supposed to buy and he’d have to track down a pay phone. It was a moronic punishment. We ended up sending someone with a phone with AJ just so we’d have a communication link.
Lacey pretty much summed it up when she said, “What is he going to do next? Take away his drill?” His phone was as much a tool as it was a company perk. AJ needed a good verbal beat down, not grounded.
So we took it in turns to call AJ’s phone non-stop. At first his boss just let it ring in his pocket, but he got sick of that and left it at the communal desk. We’d wait until boss sat down to look at plans and then call the phone. He finally just turned it off.
Boss realized how dumb it was when it finally impacted him. He needed the van and AJ had it on a supply run. Boss actually got out his cell phone, called AJ’s phone and when it went straight to voice mail he said angrily, “AJ’s got his phone turned off.” Someone reminded boss of the phone’s location at the desk. Boss was pissed, not at himself, but at AJ.
I think he got the phone back before the end of the week. AJ was on time for the meeting every day after that. Mostly.