Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Pain Threshold

Sometimes I wonder and sometimes I really don't care. Guess I'm like most people that way? Let me explain ..

I walked into a business today (who shall remain nameless for privacy reasons) and the workshop supervisor said, "Great you're here mate. Now can you sack this apprentice"? My reply went something like, "Well my role is to actually ensure training completion, to help sort through workplace issues and encourage communication strategies in the workplace. So ummm, no".

After digging around for a while, we got past the reasons the supervisor wanted the young apprentice sacked. You know the usual lazy teenager syndrome? Won't put in the effort, won't follow direct instructions in a timely manner, spends all day on his phone, isn't interested in what's going on in the workshop, can't read or write, etc.

Looking over the records it was clear, industrial relation procedures were being followed, with both verbal and written warnings being issued. I explained to the workshop supervisor that he's still within the 3 month trial period (just), so you can legally terminate his employment with little fuss. It is his decision NOT mine. Ahhh but you see, this young apprentice is the son of the Owner's best mate.

If you were to guess what I was thinking at this point it would be something like ...

You getting the vibe here? I was rapidly starting to lose interest in this story. Not because I'm a heartless barstard but because there was absolutely no way I could get this 45 year old man to grow a set in 30 minutes. (Well we'd just spent 20 minutes to get to this point, so that left us with 10)

This man was willing to live with the pain and inflict it on his co-workers, instead of dealing with an uncomfortable reality, an under performing employee. As was the business owner who didn't want to upset his best mate. I provided them with the necessary paperwork to ensure compliance with government regulations regarding terminating an apprenticeship and left.

On the three hour return drive home, I was thinking how inaction and having control taken from our lives can lead to depression. I remembered a recent motivational speech by JT Debolt in which he suggested that people are motivated to set goals for two main reasons;
1. To move toward a positive situation, e.g. I want to be thinner, or
2. To flee from a negative situation e.g. I don't want to be overweight.
Same goal, but different motivations. The closer No 1 gets to their goal, the greater their motivation. Inversely the closer No 2. gets to their goal, the less their motivation, because the pain that motivated them has also diminished.

Wasps love inflicting pain!

How much pain is this workshop supervisor, and his team, willing to endure before acting? How much pain do we put up with everyday to keep the peace? How many things go left unsaid in order to avoid more pain? We all have a limit, but the longer we drag these situations out, well you know in your own life hey? Which conversations are worth having and which battles are worth fighting? Unfortunately only time will tell. Let me encourage you to be like No 1 and aim for the positives you want in life, this helps to balance the painful parts.

Let's Drive,


  1. It sounds like you handled the situation well. Everyone in the workplace is concerned that this is a relationship which involves the boss & how they might look in his eyes. So, perhaps a lesson to be learned here by those that agreed to take on this lad.

  2. Too right Vic, the boss has a lot of power in the workplace. So when the boss is compromised ...
    It's always difficult being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Cheers

  3. Thank you Mark.
    Just the peptalk I needed today, swithing from no. 2 to no. 1 immediately :-)