Get sick or get out

Oil Platforms from the Air

Photo by Simon Varwell

I’ve never been in an offshore crew boat, but I’ve been told it’s quite an experience. Those who know say the trip isn’t always smooth. On a bad day the seas are high and the ride is very rough. On a good day, it still takes forever to get that boat the mile or more out to sea.

Many men who work offshore in the Louisiana Gulf Coast take these crew boats out to the oil rigs, stay a week or two, then take them back in. Rocking back and forth through the hours the trip can take surely can’t be all that pleasant. A few men probably get sea sick, especially if they’re new to the experience. For me, reading or doing any kind of paperwork in a moving car is enough to get me motion sick — I can only imagine that the motion in a crew boat would make it impossible.

Back in the 1950’s, my grandfather worked for a company named Totco in Houma, Louisiana. Instead of once every few weeks, it was his job to take a crew boat every day to some oil rig offshore and help them determine if the rig was drilling correctly. When the tests were done, he took the crew boat back to Houma. The next day, he repeated the process. Day in and day out, the process continued until all of the rigs were visited. Then, when all that was done, he got the distinct pleasure of starting all over again.

This was the business he was in, and it’s the way it had always been done. But, one day he had an idea; an idea on how he could do more in less time (and maybe make it a little more pleasant to boot). He went to the company he worked for and sold them on the idea that if they would buy a sea plane, he could visit so many more rigs in a day that it would pay for itself in no time. The company agreed, and after learning to fly, my grandfather’s efficiencies went through the roof, and he and the company served more customers faster and made more money as a result.

Like my grandfather, I know you too must be looking for ways to streamline processes, increase efficiencies or just find the quickest route to work. So, what’s your favorite “change” story? Do you have one of your own?

One Response to Get sick or get out Post a comment
  1. Good points, Michael! We get stuck in the mud and think there is only one way to do things and only by looking at options can we find that there is an easy and probably cost-saving measure waiting for us to try it.
    Julie Walraven | Resume Services recently posted..Don’t Throw in the TOWEL!

    September 23, 2010 | 4:39 am

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