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Old 07-10-2008, 07:00 AM   #41
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That is why they included a picture of the dog.


which you would think redundant, because, as everyone knows, service animals understand braille.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:52 AM   #42
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That is why they included a picture of the dog.


Scratch and sniff, perhaps?
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:47 AM   #43
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[quote=cyclone6;680622]
1) I am in charge of the IT side of our business. We had a computer shut down one day (our mail server) where email was not available for about 2 hours. About 20 minutes after we found that the email was not working, we got a call from "Ralph". He wanted to know the situation. It was explained to him that it appeared to be a very minor issue, and would be resolved shortly. After we were advised that any downtime is unacceptable, he said that we needed to do a "root cause analysis". The meetings that followed far outlived the supposed crisis.

quote]

where i work any IT downtime, even 5 minutes has to be explained to the CTO

if "Ralph" wants five 9's uptime you should present him with a plan and estimated costs. Or at the very minimum write down something like an SLA that includes estimated downtimes for different problems. and if he wants something faster, he has to write a check.

ask your boss what he expects, tell him what you are capable of providing and make a plan to change if need be
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:49 AM   #44
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This "grading on a curve stuff" is crap and I think it's detrimental to developing a teamwork mindset.

If a team has 80% performing at acceptable or better and 20% not cutting it, after cutting the 20% deadwood -- does that mean the remaining group -- now 100% of a downsized team -- is performing acceptably? Nope -- you can't have 100% performing acceptably, even if no one's productivity dropped below the previously "acceptable" level.

Instead, we have to redefine acceptable performance such that 20% of the people who used to perform acceptably are now unacceptable even though their work didn't deteriorate. It's a load of hooey and damaging to morale. And it can make employees feel like they are competing for each other in terms of their "ranking" instead of helping each other toward a common objective.
blame GE for that one, although i don't think they applied to everyone
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:57 AM   #45
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Are there recommended reading lists for civilian careers?
Sort of. At least in the places I wasted time worked, teh reading list was never handed out. You sort of had to guess what it was, based on conversation, what was on someone's desk, buzzwords flying around, etc. Since I never gave a rat's patoot about all that stuff and generally had much bigger, denser textbooks to read, I sort of missed all that.

One exception was seeing a manager of an adjacent group pretty much forced his team to read and report on "The Tipping Point." I am damned glad I left that employer shortly after he became my boss' boss.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:27 AM   #46
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Ah, you have just described the number 1 down side of working for a smaller outfit -- the FOB (friend of the boss). My direct manager is like that. He hasn't shown up at work for 4 months. The 1/2 day he came in, he made one guy interview for his job and asked me why I took 4 off to study for a professional exam. Because he's loafing on company dime, he assumed that everyone else must have as little integrity as he does. After I told him that I used my vacation time for those 4 days "off", he back tracked and came up with some crap about cultural fit. He's the problem. He's trying to take his tyrannical investment banking style into a technology environment and wonders why nobody put up with his idiocy.

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Originally Posted by cyclone6 View Post
Considering retirement in the very near future, I thought I'd share a few of the things I've heard and seen over the last couple of years that just drive me crazy - all at work, except for the last.

I work for a small environmental consulting firm - with 20 or so employees. We have a VP who's job description appears to be to make us as much like big government as possible. (Just as a sidenote, "Ralph" is one of those guys who does very little real work, but is always buddying up to the brass and making sure they know the improvements he's bringing to the company). Here is a list of 5 events that make the exit option seem like the most reasonable:

1) I am in charge of the IT side of our business. We had a computer shut down one day (our mail server) where email was not available for about 2 hours. About 20 minutes after we found that the email was not working, we got a call from "Ralph". He wanted to know the situation. It was explained to him that it appeared to be a very minor issue, and would be resolved shortly. After we were advised that any downtime is unacceptable, he said that we needed to do a "root cause analysis". The meetings that followed far outlived the supposed crisis.

2) One day, during a staff meeting, we were presented with the new business plan. Right near the top, one statement became obvious: "We are going to become the Coca-Cola of the environmental consulting business". A company of 20 employees?

3) We were advised that the company was going to settle on a formal, official font policy. Thats right, if you use Times New Roman, you are directly violating company policy...

4) During a staff meeting, we got the following the question: "If you have 2 horses that can pull 9000 pounds, how many pounds can 4 horses pull?" Well, we're all scratching our heads, and being engineers and such, figure maybe its 18000 pounds? Nope... "30,000 pounds, because the horses are using synergy"...

5) Lastly, I took my nephew (about to enter college) to my old alma matter - Metro State here in Denver. I guess it wasn't surprising to see that its not just Harvard and Berkely suffering political correctness. As we were walking across the campus, we ran across a sign that read "Service animal rest station". I had no idea what that meant, until I saw a picture below the sign of a dog on a leash. Then I noticed the plastic bag dispenser above. It was then that I burst out laughing. Maybe it should have read "dog crap area"?

What the hell?
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:34 AM   #47
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Thanks for my laugh of the day.
(Sorry it's at your expense, though..)
I was going to say 18,000 lbs as well, but then I realized that the horses may have urinated just minutes before the pull, so they could easily have pulled 18,020 lbs.
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:01 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclone6 View Post
Considering retirement in the very near future, I thought I'd share a few of the things I've heard and seen over the last couple of years that just drive me crazy - all at work, except for the last.

I work for a small environmental consulting firm - with 20 or so employees. We have a VP who's job description appears to be to make us as much like big government as possible. (Just as a sidenote, "Ralph" is one of those guys who does very little real work, but is always buddying up to the brass and making sure they know the improvements he's bringing to the company). Here is a list of 5 events that make the exit option seem like the most reasonable:

1) I am in charge of the IT side of our business. We had a computer shut down one day (our mail server) where email was not available for about 2 hours. About 20 minutes after we found that the email was not working, we got a call from "Ralph". He wanted to know the situation. It was explained to him that it appeared to be a very minor issue, and would be resolved shortly. After we were advised that any downtime is unacceptable, he said that we needed to do a "root cause analysis". The meetings that followed far outlived the supposed crisis.

2) One day, during a staff meeting, we were presented with the new business plan. Right near the top, one statement became obvious: "We are going to become the Coca-Cola of the environmental consulting business". A company of 20 employees?

3) We were advised that the company was going to settle on a formal, official font policy. Thats right, if you use Times New Roman, you are directly violating company policy...

4) During a staff meeting, we got the following the question: "If you have 2 horses that can pull 9000 pounds, how many pounds can 4 horses pull?" Well, we're all scratching our heads, and being engineers and such, figure maybe its 18000 pounds? Nope... "30,000 pounds, because the horses are using synergy"...

5) Lastly, I took my nephew (about to enter college) to my old alma matter - Metro State here in Denver. I guess it wasn't surprising to see that its not just Harvard and Berkely suffering political correctness. As we were walking across the campus, we ran across a sign that read "Service animal rest station". I had no idea what that meant, until I saw a picture below the sign of a dog on a leash. Then I noticed the plastic bag dispenser above. It was then that I burst out laughing. Maybe it should have read "dog crap area"?

What the hell?
  1. Meetings are necessary so that middle-management is able to report to upper management. They can (but don't always) serve to provide a means to layout the future strategy to have longer uptime to the point where 100% uptime is possible.
  2. Weren't Google/Yahoo/Microsoft/etc. all started by less than 20 people in the company?
  3. Official font policy should not impact intra-office communication. Only a company's outside presence.
  4. Kind of like the same idea of lifting a dumbell with one arm but being able to lift more than twice the amount when using 2 arms?
  5. Now that's hilarious!
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:03 PM   #49
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Sort of. At least in the places I wasted time worked, teh reading list was never handed out. You sort of had to guess what it was, based on conversation, what was on someone's desk, buzzwords flying around, etc....
I found multiple copies of "California Contract Law" lying around the office to be extremely useful.

You guys seem so much more fun now that I've given notice. I can only assume it will get better.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:13 PM   #50
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In the late 80's, company A instituted a program called TQMS, short for Total Quality Management Systems. To alleviate the pain and suffering, its employees called it Time to Quit and Move to Seattle, where its competitor company B is located.

Well, they got their wish. Company B took over Company A. They didn't have to come to Company B, Company B came for them. The employees probably were issued a dictionary of all new acronyms from their new boss. Talk about getting caught between a rock and a hard place.

PS. Just thought of googling it. Yep, this story is out there in cyberspace.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:55 PM   #51
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[quote=myself;681283]

Kind of like the same idea of lifting a dumbell with one arm but being able to lift more than twice the amount when using 2 arms?/quote]

This involves the recruitment of additional torso muscles. If your two additional horses are Clydesdales on steroids they would be able to handle more weight than two more of the original breed.

An engineer/scientist/accountant would call this cheating.

Upper management would call it innovative business creativity. Total Quality Management.
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:31 PM   #52
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The other day, kicking around the same subject with my family members working in different big corps, we found that this malaise is widespread. I remember fondly the first place I worked after college. I heard from people who are still there. It has changed, and I would suffer the same BS had I stay. Well, I would have had a nice pension with 30 yr service, but who would have known....

Somebody told me this is like the system under Communism. The orders and slogans came from the top down. The peons, rank-and-files and middle management do not believe it, but tell each other just to tough it out. It's truly "the emperor with no clothes", but in this case, no one can identify the emperor!

What is scary is the old Communism bloc has discovered Capitalism, while we may just be gravitating towards their defunct style.

PS. I thought about it and now have my own answer. There is no single Emperor to point out to ridicule. Everything is done by committees. Hence, even the perpetrators can later deny responsibility. Just like the Communists.
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:35 PM   #53
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During a staff meeting
Meetings:

Where minutes are kept...

And hours are lost...

- Ron
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:10 PM   #54
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"Workplace BS" is a nominee for Redundancy of the Month.
How dare you nominate something without first running it by the mod committee, Andy, and then mod emeritus committee? What's this weird drive you have called initiative? Your initiative is to listen to what we say and then hit yourself across the face for not having thought of the brilliant idea first. Sorry, just got home from work. I need a couple of drinks to take the edge off the cynicism.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:26 PM   #55
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How dare you nominate something without first running it by the mod committee, Andy, and then mod emeritus committee? What's this weird drive you have called initiative? Your initiative is to listen to what we say and then hit yourself across the face for not having thought of the brilliant idea first. Sorry, just got home from work. I need a couple of drinks to take the edge off the cynicism.
Loosen up, and spice up your fonts, will ya!
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:49 PM   #56
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Oh, you bet. A few years ago "Who Moved My Cheese" copies could be seen on about every manager's bookshelf, because the CEO liked it. Sometime before or after there was talk about whether we were "inside the tornado" or something like that from another book.

There were always two ways to know when the latest all-managers meeting was:

1) a brief period of rampant productivity among the staff

2) followed by a month or so where every manager in every meeting spouted the same buzz phrases
I recall watching "Who Moved My Cheese" several years ago; I couldn't control myself and asked "why not just follow the mice who knew where the cheese was".

BTW: retired USAF officers sometimes don't understand that managing civilians is different.
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:05 PM   #57
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Motivation

This tread is good in that it reminds me why I ER'ed. Here's a little something featuring the actor from the movie Office Space which, IMHO, is the Citizen Kane of movies exploring the topic of office BS.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Motivation.jpg (22.6 KB, 11 views)
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:26 PM   #58
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Instead, we have to redefine acceptable performance such that 20% of the people who used to perform acceptably are now unacceptable even though their work didn't deteriorate. It's a load of hooey and damaging to morale. And it can make employees feel like they are competing for each other in terms of their "ranking" instead of helping each other toward a common objective.
Which of course is an accurate perception. Teamwork at work is like "sisterhood" among women. Great to talk about, but look out if you should start to believe in it.

Ha
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:26 PM   #59
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Which of course is an accurate perception. Teamwork at work is like "sisterhood" among women. Great to talk about, but look out if you should start to believe in it.

Ha
Just like trying to be a SNAG (sensitive new age guy): sometimes I think I don't need a vasectomy; I need my balls removed.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:30 PM   #60
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... sometimes I think I don't need a vasectomy; I need my balls removed.
If it's a financial issue, I'll be happy to chip in.
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