How to Keep Sane in the Work Force

Greg Croce | TLT President's Report August 2018

Four rules for keeping cool, staying sharp and feeling fulfilled.

Never stop asking questions. People who do often find themselves stuck on a problem months later. 
© Can Stock Photo / deandrobot

It has been just about a month since I have become your president, and already it seems the pace and opportunities are incredible. I have already represented STLE at the Lubmat Conference with our STLE associate in Europe, Manfred Jungk, and his wonderful wife, Andrea. That was quickly followed by NLGI in Idaho.

So what is next? Well, my favorite professor of tribology, Ashlie Martini at the University of California, Merced, asked me to attend the Gordon Research Seminar and be part of a panel talking to students about tribology careers in our industry. I said sure, then quickly, “Say what?” What do I know about careers in tribology? I am a lubrication engineer. But I have been around for some time, and you know what? As with everything else, I have plenty to say.

As noted, I am no expert, but here is my view on How to Keep Sane in the Work Force. I have four fundamental rules I have lived by in my career, and while I would not say I am even averagely successful, I feel pretty good about my career thus far.

1. Never stop asking questions. My first boss told me, “You have your first five years to ask all the questions you want, because after that you need to be giving answers.” Hogwash. If you don’t know something or, more important, don’t understand, ask. I see too many people who feel they can’t ask questions—only to find those same people stuck on a problem months later.

2. Learn every job in your company. This is hands-down the most important to me. No matter what you do for the company, you generally are a piece of a bigger puzzle. Take time to learn every job in your company. Start by asking what other people do with your information. This used to drive my boss crazy. Every time he would come looking for me, I would be somewhere else in the building talking to my colleagues and learning. I felt pretty good about this when I read an article about Sir Robert Branson where he was quoted as saying, “I love learning every day and can’t wait to keep asking questions and discovering the answers.”

3. Never say no. When your boss asks you to do something, maybe a special project or task, it doesn’t matter how busy you are, don’t say no. You will find time, and there is a reason they asked you to do it. And guess what—you will learn something.

4. Don’t work for money. Or as my cousin Bobby puts it, don’t trade dollars for hours. Believe it or not, several times during my career I have turned down promotions. Initially this sounds like a contradiction of Rule 3. Why say no to a promotion, you might ask, while never saying no to an assignment? Because I don’t work for money, I work for job satisfaction. As strange as it sounds, it doesn’t matter how much money you make if you don’t enjoy what you do. Find what you love to do and get better at it. Make your job fun. If you can’t, you need to find a new one.

There you have it: four easy ways to keep sane in the workforce. I hope you can, if you haven’t already, put at least one into effect!

Till next time.
Greg Croce is Delo Brand technical manager for Chevron Products Co. in Richmond, Calif. You can reach him at