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It's a Team's Life

Crabs at Work

By Linda Caffee
Posted Jan 5th 2017 7:18AM

Why am I bring up crabs? Here is the definition of crab mentality for Wikipedia:

Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket (also barrel, basket or pot), is a way of thinking best described by the phrase, "if I can't have it, neither can you." The metaphor refers to a bucket of crabs Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the bucket, but instead they grab at each other in a useless "king of the hill" competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is claimed to be that members of a group will attempt to negate or diminish the importance of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, spite, conspiracy, or competitive feelings, to halt their progress.

When we decide to step out of the norm and choose a different path we often encounter the naysayers or "crabs" that often look like family and friends or people only telling you for your own good. Listening to the "crabs" can keep you in the bucket and that is when we need to decide who we really need to listen to.

Deciding to leave stable jobs and drive a truck can bring out a lot of "crabs" and we ran into a lot of these, maybe even an ocean full. The true support came from our daughters who were 100% for doing something new and exciting. Over time though many came to realize the decision for us was a good one with great consequences.

Some of the worst "crabs" we run into are within our own industry and can be found everywhere, fuel islands, customers, or when we are parked. Often we are out on a ledge and we could fail easily or we could set the boundaries to try something new. Our truck skirts are a prime example and we hear both sides. Many or supportive and ask about fuel mileage and what precautions we have taken to avoid a blowout. These people we usually have a very interesting conversation with and that leads them to thinking of what they can do to improve their operation.

Crabs also come out of the woodwork when they see someone get out of a truck in slacks and a tie. The worst we have heard is that we are trying to ruin the trucking industry, which always loads to a smile as it is pretty amazing that a tie can ruin trucking as we know it. While once again this is often over the top it is fun to hear the stories from people we have met that change their attire to button down shirts and slacks and the responses they receive.

When I write about our fuel mileage even among friends we see the crabs come out which is often surprising to me. The first response is usually along these lines, well you don't drive a real truck, or if you hauled 80,000 lbs then we could talk. Well we do drive a "real" truck and we cannot haul 80,000 lbs as that is not how our truck is set up. The ones that comment this way also cannot haul boats either so they are also lacking as being a real truck. When we compare our truck to those like us our fuel mileage is exceptional.

We as well as others I know are often considered lucky as we are often in the right place at the right time for a load, for a new challenge, or to have something written about our experiences. Lucky? I think not it is a lot of very hard work to be lucky over and over again and I challenge anyone that wants to be lucky to get busy and get the work done behind the scenes.

Sometimes the crabs pull exceptionally hard and it would be easy to let go and slide back into the bucket with the other crabs but then we think "how boring would that be?" and we once again start looking for something new to try or exceed at. We have learned crabs never sleep, they are often in disguise, and their biggest joy in life is to complain about others while doing nothing themselves. Are you still in the crab bucket or are you one of the crabs holding others back?

This is what can happen if we keep thinking within the box or bucket.

Bob & Linda Caffee
Saint Louis MO
Expediters since January 2005

Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;
Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;
Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;
Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.


  • Greg - January 4, 2017
    Excellent! The naysayers give me ( and apparently you and Bob) more reason to think you are on the right track. Great blog. Keep moving forward, let the "crabs" eat crow.
  • sasquatch - January 9, 2017
    This is an amazingly great article! Don't ever let the naysayers pull you down, they are just lazy and don't want to work.
  • teamcaffee - January 9, 2017
    Thanks to the two of you! Crabs are at work everywhere and the key is to know if a crab is pulling you back or if someone is saying being there done that and here are the results.

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