Raise your hand if you knowthat guy. You know the one. He has shoddy workmanship, uses chincy materials and isn’t what you’d call a straight shooter when it comes to dealing with clients.

He takes shortcuts to get to the next job. He underbids you by 20 percent and customers don’t know him like you do. You scratch your head and wonder how he manages to stay in business, but just heard he got another job.

Ethical Drilling Work
Sometimes, doing quality, ethical work can make you feel like you’ve chosen to do things the hard way.

Then, it’s too late. The client’s been taken in and paid for poor work. Maybe you’ve come in a couple times to fix what he left the clients with, feeling bad that they got charged for a job they then had to pay you to fix.

Or, worse yet, maybe you are that guy. I’m not pointing fingers here. We all have to make a living. It’s just that some of us keep it on the up and up and some of us, well, don’t.

Most of us work under what I might call the “integrity ethic.” It’s simple. We work hard. We work honest. We deal fairly with people inside the company and out. We take pride in what we do. That pride pushes us to do work that reflects the best the industry has to offer.

That’s the way it should be. Unfortunately, that’s not reality among contractors in drilling or any other industry. It’s cliché, but how we do any one thing is how we do everything. People who cut corners on little stuff will more likely cut corners on the big stuff, too.

Some of us know that not everyone’s looking all the time. For some of us integrity is more, um, flexible. They work the minimums. They’d use cheaper materials if they could get away with it. They cobble together a job just enough so that it could pass a cursory inspection — if it’s inspected at all — then move on. They tell clients what they want to hear, or sometimes outright lie about the quality of work, until the check is cashed. Then they disappear. That client can’t get them on the phone. Then they turn up, sweet-talking the next client or talking their way into the next job. Clients often have to call someone else to fix what should have been done right — and with pride — in the first place.

Some of us simply do what comes easiest, not what’s best for the customer or client, or what’s ethical. Not being that guy can be costly and difficult sometimes. You might lose the occasional job because you priced your quality materials and workmanship correctly, but got underbid.

But not being that guy is the right thing to do. Your reputation will, over time, make you the contractor people turn to.

In any profession — journalism included — there are shady players. Ethics is a factor in every industry. But, for drilling contractors, lax ethics can also be a safety issue. People who take shortcuts can endanger themselves, their crew and, when shoddy workmanship fails, others.

Don’t be that guy. It may make you money in the short run. But, it’s unsafe and, long term, it makes the whole industry look bad.

Take pride in what you do. Don’t steer clients toward the cheap stuff if you can specify quality materials you know would work better in the long run. Work like you’re being watched, even when you’re not. Work like you expect an inspector or sanitarian to come by any minute. Work like you don’t want to leave a mess for your coworker, your supervisor or another contractor to clean up. Don’t sacrifice quality and pride in a job well done just to get to the next job because more jobs mean more money.

All of this sounds hard. It can be. Maybe you’re under a lot of pressure to finish the current job under budget or under deadline. Maybe it’s pushing dark and you’re breaking a promise to your wife to not make it another late day on the jobsite. Whatever the reason, the temptation is strong to take shortcuts in workmanship and materials. Don’t give in.

Don’t be that guy.

Stay safe out there, drillers.