You’re fired!

It was a funny story today, right up until the part where a guy lost his job.

Up in Crookston, Mike Raymond drove a Polk County payloader onto the ice on the Red River where it promptly fell through. Funny stuff.

Today the county sent him a letter, the Grand Forks Herald reports, that said “you’re fired.”

It did him no good that he’s been with the Highway Department for 28 years. It did him no good that his father before him was in the Highway Department. It did him no good that he was a “good employee,” as described by his boss.

Raymond’s mistake — and it was a mistake — was that he was either (a) trying to be a good guy or (b) using county equipment for personal use. He says he thought it would be helpful to ice fishermen if he cleared some snow around the Crookston boat ramp. That violates the rules.

His boss says he sent a memo out last year warning county employees against using county equipment for personal use. He’s got a fish house on the river too, although he says he didn’t clear a path to it.

Lives change with stupid mistakes. Have you ever had a boss who gave you another chance? Do tell.

  • Peter P

    Good, He should have been fired, and they need to send him the bill for having the tractor pulled out of the river, or deduct it from his pension.!!!

  • GregS

    So why is this guy being fired?

    Is it because of an embarrasing press story?

    Is it because of a rule violation?

    Or is it because of a safety violation?

    Dumping a payloader into a river is embarrasing and plowing the landing was a rule violation, but ultimately this is about safety.

    Someone, and not necessarily the driver, could have been hurt.

  • Bob Collins

    Rule violation which nobody is disputing.

  • bsimon

    “Is it because of an embarrasing press story?”

    That is likely the real cause. If the story hadn’t gone viral, this guy would have a note in his file & keep his job.

    To answer the original question, my worst infraction was breaking a forklift on a summer job. Didn’t get canned. The breakage was more a result of not being properly trained than intentionally abusing the equipment.

  • Bob Collins

    I have two, only one employment related:

    -a- As a very young radio news guy, I worked at a station where the audio board you used to go on the air was the same audio board you used to tape interviews via the phone. After you finished a newscast, you flipped a switch so you didn’t accidentally go on the air. I forgot to flip a switch and then called a friend and was relaying a conversation that had a lot of profanities in it. The chief engineer (radio stations had chief engineers back then), walked in gave me a horrible look and flipped the switch and walked out.

    I sat stunned for minutes that seemed like hours waiting for the boss to come in and end my radio career. He did. He walked in, smiling, and said, “look, that was pretty stupid and I know you’re never going to make that mistake again, right?” And then he left.

    I always thought that was one of the best ways to handle a situation ever. I thought he was a pretty good guy.

    -b- When I wasa a kid, I stole a magic marker from my dad’s grocery store. My sister ratted me out and late one night I got up to get a drink of water and heard my mother at the dinner table tell me father (he got home late ). I did not sleep the rest of the night and int he morning, before school, I waited for the axe to drop. And waited and waited.

    Finally, when we saw the bus coming, we started running out the door, through the kitchen. As I passed him at the table, he gave me a pinch on my bottom and said, “you know what THAT’S for, right?” And that was it.

    I thought he was a pretty good guy, too.

    And let the record show I have not sworn on the air, nor stolen a Magic Marker since.

  • Joel

    Once at a job during High School, I had my pay wage deducted by $0.10 cents an hour after I told my manager that I was quitting to go work someplace else. I was angry about that at the time, but in the end I more than made up for it in the tips I received at the new job.

  • sarlson

    I worked at a golf course on the grounds crew when I was a teenager. We would race the other grounds crew people in the various vehichles that we had. One day I thought that I had won a race when in fact my co-worker had turned away because we were approaching the top of a hill where a new practice green had just been planted. My biggest mistake was that instead of just driving over it all with no turning or brakes, I wrenched the wheel around and the front wheels tore up a bunch of grass as they skidded around, leaving huge tracks in the new grass. I thought I would get canned for sure, but when my boss pulled me into his office, he just told me that I couldn’t go into 4th gear on that vehicle anymore. I was definitely more careful after that.

  • Teresa Boardman

    Have been my own boss for years. The last time I got fired I decided I didn’t like other peoples rules all that much. My boss got fired a couple of months after they sacked me. LOL She was something else, and no there was never a chance to correct a mistake and I have never been perfect but I always worked hard and put my heart and soul into it.

    Interestingly now that I am my own boss I find that I am harder on myself than any boss I ever had but I would never fire myself. 🙂

  • Mark Gisleson

    Raymond was fired for cause. No one gets to keep their job when they make a mistake this horrendous, at least no one drawing an hourly wage.

    No, to get to keep your job after screwing up this bad you usually have to be a member of the management team.

  • GregS

    I used to work at Minnespolis Electric Steel, a foundry in nordeast. I ran chains for a 30 ton overhead crane, a big orange bridge that carried two chain loops on a trolley.

    My job was to flip the loops around two steel knobs on the molds so the crane operator (who was way up there near the ceiling) could move them.

    One day, my crane operator who was always high on something, stumbled in two hours late, completely hammered.

    He hardly was able to climb up to his cab.

    After picking up and setting down the first mold, he took off down the galley, but forgot to reel in his chain. The loops dragged across the ground snagging and flipping everything on the galley floor.

    It was like rolling thunder.

    There was a cloud of dust 60 feet high with globs of white hot steel flying out of it. My crane guy was oblivious, he was looking down the galley and had his tunes cranked in the cab so he couldn’t hear.

    No one was hurt, but 300 guys had to dive for their lives.

    The company fired him.

    The union got his job back – for the third time.

    He had seniority so the union cared about him. I didn’t have seniority, so I had to keep running chains for him until I did.

  • Mark Gisleson

    “One day, my crane operator who was always high on something, stumbled in two hours late, completely hammered.”

    What year was this? In all the time I wrote resumes I never once heard any construction or foundry worker talk about a crane operator having a drinking/whatever problem that resulted in anything like this. Invariably a crane operator is the most trusted person on a job site.

    And the union got him his job back? Ironworkers, Steelworkers? Which union? Third time? Was he running a crane the other two times?

    I only ask because I have never heard a story like this one before. Crane and other heavy equipment operators don’t get their job by seniority alone, they have to be checked out on the equipment. GregS please provide some details as to the employer, union and date. The whole point of the seniority system is to ensure that key workers are known and trusted by less senior workers.

    I defended a lot of drunks and substance abusers when I was a union steward, but I’ve never heard a story like this about a crane operator. I even googled [“crane operator” drunk] but very few matches were relevant.

    I’m only asking because had I been on your jobsite, I would have never have let anyone as drunk as the guy you describe get into a crane or any piece of heavy equipment. Frankly, I can’t imagine any blue collar worker tolerating such menacing behavior. Janitors, service personnel, mechanics, etc. can get drunk, but no one wants to be around a drunken crane operator.