Saturday, April 22, 2006

Only the best for our company

Right now our team at work consists of my boss Eeyore, another project manager, and a project engineer that I will call Chachi. Remember Scott Baio playing Chachi on Happy Days? You get the picture then. Chachi has been out of college for a while and was working for a site engineering firm in another part of the state, but as it turns out the other PM in our group went to college with him (and was a frat brother) so he scored an interview and was hired by our company. The ironic part was that I expected the two frat brothers to be constantly high-fiving each other and setting up a beer bong in the lunchroom, but such is not the case – they are as polar opposites as you can imagine.

I love Chachi. No, not in a dirty old lady type of way - in the way that he is so freaking goofy at times that he cracks me up constantly. As an example, at one point we were working in a temporary office set up in a trailer in the backyard of our main office (we were freshly back from the jobsite and our main office is bursting at the seams with people), and the week after Halloween he started wearing this purple furry pimp hat during the daytime. So I would walk in after lunch and there he would sit, working diligently on his laptop with this pimp hat perched on his head. Okay, it was funny at the time, but work with me here…

When Chachi came in to interview with our boss, apparently he nodded off to sleep during the interview. Now, Eeyore can tend to be somewhat talkative in the manner of droning on and on about things instead of letting anyone else get a word in edgewise, so I’m almost sure that for Chachi (with a full belly from lunch and sitting in the hot office) it was all he could do to fight off Eeyore’s version of Verbal Sominex. And despite all that, the VP decided to hire him anyway. He’s a good guy, though – he does work hard and even though he doesn’t always understand how things work or all of the policies and procedures, he does try awfully hard.

He’s very laid-back as well. Back in January, we had a small work crisis that resulted from Chachi not doing something he’d been tasked with. Eeyore was upset, but he usually blames his management style for something like this happening so he asked Chachi and me to come into his office in 15 minutes with a complete list of everything we were working on so he could engineer a little damage control. I quickly went into my office and outlined everything I was currently doing on my ongoing projects in a typical Liz format (typed neatly and bulleted, of course). I anxiously went into Eeyore’s office to prepare for the ass-chewing that was certain to follow. Chachi followed me in and I noticed that he wasn’t carrying any list. So I dutifully went down my bulleted list of 50,000 things to do, and then looked over at Chachi.

He stretched his legs, propped his feet up on Eeyore’s desk, and said, “Duuude, I’ve been checking some shop drawings, and I made a couple of phone calls.”

That was it. No bulleted list. No specifics. But that is typical Chachi.

One afternoon soon after we were shipped back to the main office, we got a frantic phone call from the assistant project manager who was still out on site. Apparently the sewage lines going out of the building had something go horribly wrong and raw sewage was backing up through the floor drains into the basement of the building. The worst part (as if having your building coated in shit wasn’t bad enough) was that the entire IT department is located in the basement. Not good. So Eeyore called Chachi and instructed him to grab a shop vac, put on his work boots, and get out there pronto to assist in the cleanup effort. And being someone who is up for anything, he dutifully loaded up and hauled ass out to the site.

The scene wasn’t good. He proceeded to spend the rest of the day helping the rest of our crew and some people from a disaster restoration company vacuum up all of the sewage. Eventually, he started getting hot and tired so he took a little break to grab a bottle of water and he took off the long-sleeved shirt that he was wearing, leaving a short-sleeved t-shirt on. Then he got back to work.

What he didn’t pay attention to at the time was that he was wearing a Harvard t-shirt that someone had given him as a joke when he was still in college. So there he was, vacuuming his little heart out, when two of the IT employees came creeping down the hall….

IT Guy: (suspiciously eyeing Chachi’s shirt) Wow, did you go to Harvard?

Chachi: Yeah, man, our company only hires Ivy Leaguers to handle this kind of work.

The IT guys went scurrying into the depths of the basement, daunted by the presence of pure genius wielding a shit-filled shop vac.

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