I'm talking to Assistant Supers, Second Assistants, Assistants in Training and Interns.
I got a great phone call from a young Turfhead who just landed his first second assistant superintendent job and wanted my take on succeeding. It was a great conversation and I told him that I would further answer his questions here. Sorry, he preferred not to be outed. Doesn't matter. The application is near universal.
1. Show Up Early. You are the new kid. And for sure, no one is going to wait for you. This is a business of often getting up with a 3 or a 4 still showing on the alarm clock. And rolling in 5 min before start time won't cut it. Don't have a key yet? Fine. Be waiting at the gate or the door. Late is inexcusable. No Show? May as well just slit your wrist.
2. If You Aren't Moving Quickly, You Are Doing It Wrong. If anyone around you is moving quicker than you, you are in big trouble. Efficient purpose is key. If you see the superintendent rocking and rolling, you better be doing it quicker than him. Let the staff see you being busy. They will imitate that eventually.
3. Bring All The Right Gear. Rain coat, extra shoes, layers, gloves, headlamp, protein bars, cell phone charger etc. Get used to keeping a "go bag" with all the gear you may need for the day. I had a wooden box in my truck that was like an overstocked locker. Because Murphy's Law is real.
4. Make Stuff Happen. Your superintendent doesn't want to hear that it can't be done. Why? Because he or she are where they are because they did the impossible. Find a way. Seek solutions.
5. Your Job Is Turfgrass Management. You aren't at work to chat up the drink cart chick, set up fantasy baseball leagues, take selfies or have long discussions about The Deadliest Catch with the equipment manager. Focus. Be about the business, Yo!
6. Always Have a Notepad and Pen Handy. In the digital age, you may substitute your smart phone here. But make sure you have a way to write down orders or directions or rates or schedule stuff.
7. Don't Wait To Be Told. Find things to do and do them. Some things are just obvious. Fix them. Or at the very minimum ask about fixing them. If you have to be told that "we always need to...." more than twice, you are gonna get a big black mark or a nice pink slip.
8. It's Not About You. Pay your dues. Don't be first in the crew lunch line. Don't take the choice parking spot. Give up your seat at the crowded meeting in the boss' office. Yes, you are a genius and should be running the show... but acting like you are is Turfhead Quicksand. One day you will be the Monkey King. Today is not that day.
9. Everyone You Encounter Outside Your Department Is Mister or Missus or Sir or Ma'am. Period. Members, golfers, customers, foot golfers, other department people, they all get respect. Please and thank you are always at the tip of your tongue. Represent. And do it with class. Learn names. Use them. Show interest. Someone does you a favor, you write a thank you note. By hand.
10. Be The Last One To Leave. Don't make the Super close the overhead doors. Park equipment properly. Organize for the morning. Take out the trash. Sweep. Prep for tomorrow morning. Find that thing you didn't have time to do and do it. Think forward to when you will be running the show and think of how much you will appreciate someone like you.
There are more. Lots more. But do these 10 things with vim, vigor and gusto and you will be miles ahead. Is it brown nosing? Heck yes. Duh. Get over it.
Feel free to add anything else in the comments below.