Being thankful. It’s a quaint idea — even trite in some circles. But a sense of thankfulness keeps you grounded and keeps what you do every day in perspective.
That perspective should last throughout the year, but most of us — me included — focus most on it during the month of November, the month of Thanksgiving in the United States. Actually, I take that back. We focus most on it during that awkward moment after we sit down to our Thanksgiving meal and before someone turns to us and asks, “What are you thankful for?”
In potentially dangerous professions like the drilling trades, we can’t give thanks enough for continued safety and well-being. You walked off the jobsite today with all your fingers and toes and went home to your spouse and kids. That’s not a small thing. Readers probably get tired of me talking about safety. But safety is no small thing, either.
For November’s cover story in our print edition, I spoke with Chuck Valenta of Terracon, whom I met at the 2015 National Drilling Association convention. Valenta is working to standardize that company’s practices, including safety.
“Here’s the old mindset: They used to wear those injuries as a badge of honor,” he told me referring to older, veteran drillers. “They didn’t think about it when they did it, but … that’s the mindset we do not want to put into our younger drillers.”
That badge-of-honor mentality doesn’t have to continue, and probably shouldn’t. That’s where a sense of thankfulness comes into play. Be thankful for your coworkers, who help you achieve your goals. Be thankful for the clients and contracts that keep your business going. Be thankful for the equipment that you use — and sometimes abuse — but can always depend on.
That sense of perspective changes how you approach work. You treat it like a craft, something to take pride in and something to do with care and precision. Safety will follow.
In my spare time, I’m learning Spanish. In that language, Thanksgiving is Diá de Acción de Gracias. It literally translates as “Day of Thankful Action.” It’s that action I’m talking about. Action helps drillers speak up on the jobsite when they see something not right. Action helps contractors price jobs right so in the first place, so they’re not tempted to have crews cut corners. Action keeps that hardhat on your head, even when you know OSHA ain’t coming around.
Later in our interview, Valenta calls drillers “people of action.” Act. Make safety part of the perspective you bring to the jobsite every day. That way, when you get asked at the Thanksgiving table what you’re thankful for, you can talk more about your company’s growth than the fact that you still have all your fingers.
What do you think? What are you thankful for? Put rants and other thoughts and ideas in an email and drop it in my inbox. I’m thankful for reader input.
Stay safe out there, drillers.