Sunday, December 11, 2005

Methods to Madness

I think out of all the things I've learned as a Caddie Master, there is one that disappoints me the most: caddies bitch and moan about everything. Now I'm sure in other occupations you have colleagues who spend a good part of their day complaining about something or other. But I think caddies are the worst. And I think the reason is simple: they are never gauranteed money. The best analogy I can come up with is a scene from the movie "Cinderella Man." Crowe's character is trying to make some money working down by the docks, and he has to fight to get close enough to the fence to get picked for work. It's every man for himself. The life of a caddie is very similar. So as a Caddie Master, part of your job is to juggle the loops available for the day in one hand and juggle the caddies' names in the other. If you're able to keep 70% of the caddies happy by the end of the day, you're doing a decent job.

The reason it is so hard to keep everyone happy is because there are so many acceptable theories about how to assign work, and every caddie prefers a different method.

One way is the "first come, first serve" method. Well, of course it sounds good on paper. The hungriest, hardest working guys get out FIRST while the lazy bums fight over the scraps. But oh wait. You forgot to take into consideration one immutable truth: 90% of the caddies ARE lazy bums. So what ends up happening is you have 3 or 4 guys who show up at 6:00-6:30 every morning with the rest getting in around 8-10. Those first 3 or 4 guys get out every day while the lazy caddies sit around, sometimes all day long, leaving the course at the end of the day with no money to show for it. Apparently this system isn't fair. Most of the caddies say that we need to "spread the wealth."

Another method is to look over the caddie sheets and see who has been working and who hasn't. Then you simply prioritize the guys who HAVEN'T worked and try to get them out first. Occasionally this method will work, but for the most part, it only benefits the uber crack-addict caddies who sit around for an hour and then decide to leave because nothing is happening. And of course, right after they leave four or five foursomes show up, all requesting caddies, and as a Caddie Master you're forced to crap your pants and throw on a bib yourself to pick up the slack. But as long as everyone is working hard, this method does work under slow working conditions (nobody is showing up to play).

Another method is to combine the two. This is the approach I use. I work with the requests first, pairing up the players with whoever they want, and then I go on a first come, first serve basis. Occasionally I'll immediately put a caddie out on the grass who hasn't worked in a while, but that is only under special circumstances. I figure this way, caddies will WANT to do a great job, because if they do, they'll be requested and not have to show up at the ass-crack every morning just HOPING for work. They'll know who they have and when they're supposed to arrive. Simple.

But like I said, despite my best efforts, people still complain. And it's almost always about money. Well, I shouldn't say that. It's also about childish stuff: "Hey Tom, Billy didn't tend the flag enough today! He was a lazy bastard and had me running for the pins! ALL DAY TOM!"

Or, "Hey Tom, remember how you yelled at me for riding on the back of the carts when I should've been running and getting players' their yardages BEFORE they got to the ball? Well Johnny was riding on the carts all day long! Yeah! All day! And if you go out there now he'll STILL be riding. You need to yell at him like you yelled at me or else I'll crap my pants and throw myself to the red ants! That's right! The ANTS that are RED!"

You know, kids stuff. This is my first real attempt at managing people, and I have to say, trying to find that balance between keeping people happy and establishing a certain level of authority is tough. It's really hard to be loved and feared at the same time.

But enough about that. I need to get on Mapquest and try to find a library or something nearby so I can post a little more frequently. Surely Floridians read. They need to distract themselves SOMEHOW from the smell of garbage and old people. I mean how much methane does a state really need to have? How can anyone feel safe SMOKING around here?


bordercollie said...

I grew up caddying at Yale Golf Course.Got up every day @ 6am and walked the 3 miles to the course.We had a tough old Irish starter who took no crap and could size someone up pretty quickly.Once he figured out that I could handle myself out there and that I showed up 6 days a week when the course opened,I always looped.Walking only,double bag - two loops a day.My take is that you reward the caddies that you can count on - someone bitches - your reply - show up when I need you.Being a hardass now will have them gain respect for the job and for you.Remember,you have moved up in the pecking order because you showed responsibility -
be well,bc. ;)

dave said...

Wow I agree with this bordercollie person. I think he said it correct you might drop the creative few but they can head north where they read. If it doesn't work you can head somewhere where it might.
We have a library here in Lady Lake but they moved it a year or two ago; hope the new one isn't as moldy as the train cars were.

Jam Boy said...

Thanks so much for the comment bordercollie. There's some real wisdom there. And to be honest, I think that is where I would like to be at some point, but I need to keep working hard first and show everyone that I'm not afraid to take the reigns when the time comes. If I start being a hardass now, they'll know I'm full of it. But I'll definitely think about that one.