r/ProRevenge – Boss Fire Us At Christmas Party – Reddit Stories


“Apprentice Engineer Pisses Off The Crew…
Get Left Behind 250 Miles From Home” Some years age, I got a gig working a weekend
music festival. Fairly simple too: ten bands per day and all pretty standard rock ’n’
roll fare. Bossman puts four of us out on the gig: me, Dreadful Boris, Big Chris and
Hammer. He also said we’d be taking out an apprentice, a young lad who was the son
of a local promoter. Well, always nice to have an extra pair of hands, and it’s good
to help train the next generation—after all, that’s how we learned in the past. As it turned out this lad was about as much
use as an aqualung to a trout, and had an entitled attitude the size of a mid-ranged
African country. On the journey down in the truck, he was boasting as to how he was ”a
really good sound engineer” already and that “he could probably show us a few tricks.” Oh, really? We get to the venue and get busy unloading
the truck: we’ve got a 16-tonner stuffed to the gills with two sounds desks and about
16 Kilowatt of sound gear for front-of-house and about 6 Kilowatt of monitors. As you might
imagine, this is pretty heavy stuff and it takes all of us to safely unload it and get
it stacked up in place—except that, after unloading the first amp rack (all on wheels
but still around 80 kilos), the Entitled Brat snottily announces that “I’m a sound engineer,
not a humper…”, and promptly strolls off. Err… Okay… Well, we don’t really need him gumming up
the works—we’re all well-used to slinging boxes around, so about an hour later we’ve
got the rig stacked up and strapped down, run out the multi core to the FOH desk, and
are ready to start cabling up and tying power into the on-site generator. Out of nowhere, the Spotty Oik emerges from
whatever hole he had buried himself in and asks what he can do. I say, ”I’m going
to plug up front-of-house, perhaps you could help Hammer cable up the speakers.” “I don’t take orders from girlies!” (Quick side note here: Hammer was 5’9”,
drop-dead gorgeous and as hard as nails—hence her nickname. She was also a damn fine FOH
engineer and a bloody good mate.) Boris, Chris and I collectively groaned inwardly
and winced in anticipation of a full 16″ broadside from Hammer (seriously, folks—you do NOT
duck with her unless you want the family jewels dangling from the nearest tree!) Instead, she smiles sweetly (NEVER a good
sign) and says, “well I’m sure you’ll learn something useful.” I then go off to
play with cables FOH, while Boris and Chris busy themselves with the monitors. A while
later I’m back on stage: Spotty Oik has wandered off again. Hammer has this resigned
look on her face: “what happened?”I ask. Turn out that, despite cables and connector
ports being well labelled, The Oik had managed to make a complete pig’s ear of plugging
up the amp racks. Trust me, it’s very hard to make this kind of mistake. I found The Oik some moments later and told
him that it was not the proper way of doing things, and that if he wasn’t sure what
to do that he should always ask one of us beforehand. What then came out of his mouth
absolutely floored me: “I don’t need to know all that crap. I’m a sound engineer!” Hammer, who was standing a few feet away,
snorted derisively and rolled her eyes heavenwards. It took me a few seconds to process this particular
nugget of stupid: “Well, you HAVE to know how all this works; it’s part and parcel
of the job and as you’re here to learn, I suggest you pay attention.” “Well, you’re just a bunch of roadies;
what do you know?” Upon delivering this charming bon mot, he
ambles off (again) leaving me to retrieve my jaw from off the deck and Hammer barely
able to restrain a fit of laughter that would have incapacitated a rhino. At a guess, this
idiot thought he was going to be white-gloving front-of-house for the whole gig. An hour or so later, we’re all set up, and
we now have a fair idea of the acts that are going to be performing. In situations like
this, you rarely get the opportunity of a full-blown soundcheck so you have to rely
on experience to set the desk up from cold. Luckily we got the first act onstage a half
hour before the kick-off, so I could quickly get a rough sense of the overall set-up. A bit of exposition: it’s convenient to
reuse channels across acts, so I generally keep the first twenty or so channels for drums,
bass and guitars, and the last half dozen or so channels for vocals. If a band comes
in with anything else—percussion, brass, Tibetan nose flutes etc., we whack them on
channels in the middle. Keeps things nice, simple and consistent across the board, and
becomes important in a moment. The working procedure in-show is also simple:
Dreadful Boris and Big Chris run the monitor desk, and Hammer and I run front-of house.
We’ll do two acts each before handing over to the other (saves wear and tear on the ears)
and when we’re not running the desk, we’ll handle setting up the stage for each act and
troubleshooting where necessary, as well as doing runs for food and coffee in between. We also tasked the Spotty Oik with helping
with the stage setups, which rapidly proved problematical. We finished the first act and
aimed to do the turnover within fifteen minutes. Generally the incoming act will tell us their
mic requirements, and we’ll write up a mic plot which then gets sent up to the front-of-house
desk. Up comes Spotty Oik with the mic plot, and he goes back to help with the stage setup.
As I’m checking each mic, I notice that I cannot hear the vocal channels. No sooner
had I spotted this than Dreadful Boris comes on the intercom and asks me if I can hear
the vocal channels (he can’t hear them either). He then goes off to check the stage box where
all the mics are plugged into. From all the way out front, I hear him shout, “duck me!”. Seconds later he’s back on the cans: “Do
you know what that fecking idiot has done? Only re patched ALL the vocal channels so
that all the plugs on the stage box are “lined up neatly one after the other!—his words!!” Ye Gods! Boris rapidly re patches the mics, and we’re
good to go again. A few hours later and I’m starting my second shift out front (I won’t
bore you with my experiences of riding herd on Spotty Oik on the stage shift which—shall
we say— was interesting.) Currently, on stage is a rather nice jazz
septet (I love doing jazz—give me a nice 20-piece big band and I’m a happy bunny).
Up strolls He Who Shall Not Be Mentioned and asks, “When can I have a go at mixing. I’m
really good, you know.” Seeing as he’s here to learn I tell him he can take the next
act under my supervision. This happened to be an acoustic duo—two guitars and two vocals.
Even the most tyro engineer should be able to handle something so simple, right? Wrong!! I’ve already set what I regarded as a sensible
baseline on the faders for him to work with. First thing he does, he reaches for the master
faders and cranks in another 15dB—NO!!! Immediately the rig teeters on the edge of
feedback and I rapidly pull the mains back. “Look and listen: balance out the two vocals,
then the guitars, leave the mains alone!” He then starts making wildly inappropriate
changes to the channels’ EQ—again the rig starts to squeak. Ok, enough! I shove
him out of the way and bring it back under control. I won’t fatigue you further with the endless
catalog of foul ups and attitude that he managed to effect over the rest of the weekend, suffice
it to say that despite the best efforts of myself and Hammer to try to teach this guy,
they all went to naught. Couple this with the constant drip-drip-drip of snide commentary
about how he was “really a better engineer” than the rest of us, and by the end of the
weekend, we’re all pretty pissed off. Come the end of the event and it’s now the
fun part of striking the rig and loading out (I’m being sarcastic about the fun part,
by the way). Two solid days, and we’re all knackered and the last thing we want to be
doing is the get-out but, of course, it has to be done. It’s always an all-hands-on-deck
situation… except the Spotty Oik has, once again, vanished into the woodwork. Two back-breaking hours later, and we’re
all done, and the truck loaded to go home. So where is the Spotty Oik? Nowhere! We give it a good fifteen minutes—but no
joy. We then decide to go look for him, so we spent another twenty minutes trolling around
the site trying to find him. Again, he’s done a disappearing act. We get back to the
truck—it’s now close to 3am—and almost simultaneously we say, “Duck him!”. We
climb back aboard and drive the 250 miles back to the warehouse to unload. Next afternoon, Boss man calls me to find
out why we’d left the Spotty Oik behind. I gave him the Cliff Notes and was then told
that The Oik had had to call his dad at three in the morning to come and get him—a 500-mile
round trip. He then said, “I never liked that promoter anyway. He was always late paying
the bill on previous gigs. Next time he calls wanting a rig and crew, I think I’ll tell
him to Duck off!” “So, You Want Me To Fire Everyone At The Christmas
Party? Okay Then…” Many years ago (early 1980s) I worked for
a company that did what I called “Mall Molesting”, they did market research surveys in a mall
and were always stopping people to ask questions, etc. The company was run by three Older women who
had started it in their kitchen. They were opinionated, and had no care about anything
but money. Part of this included paying employees not by the hour but by the survey. Which was
against Labor rules as it never matched the basic hourly wage. This is important… Christmas came, and we were planning our employee
party when one of the owners called and told us that in order to avoid paying bonuses,
we were to fire everyone at the party and then hire back the ones that we liked after
the new year. We (the other managers and I) talked about
it, and then I called the Federal Bureau of Labor, who had been trying to get the information
for the employee pay for several years but had always been turned away. I had them come
to the back door and let them into the file room, and showed them the boxes. I then said
I had things to do in the front and would be back later and went to the front desk to
finish the paperwork I needed. Said paperwork? A blow up of Santa going down the chimney
with “Merry Ducking Christmas” typed across it, all the management resignations and the
Fed-Ex envelope that would hold our keys and said paperwork. Labor guy finished what he needed to do, we
locked up, sent the package which was timed to arrive at their Christmas party, and walked
away. The company ended up spending about 250k in reimbursements and fines for the labor
problem.

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