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Old 05-21-2011, 08:56 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
On the customer problem... Don't withhold information.... it helps no one!



The reason this occurs is usually one of two circumstances:
  1. Spite
  2. Fear that you may get the assignment
Do the right thing.
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Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
A new boss has been hired (without consulting any of his team) and he is way underqualified.
Team members do not have to be consulted nor are required to agree on management hires. His being underqualified is your opinion.

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He's apparently a friend of his future boss, but his only work experience is running 3 little startups, none of which turned into viable businesses.
Sounds a little petty to me.

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Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
He's already announced a major reorg without talking to any of his team, or even his direct reports.
Maybe, just maybe, he's getting instructions from his management...

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Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
Half his direct reports are interviewing elsewhere.
Good for them. They have evidently realized their talents would be better served elsewhere. Oh, you think it's a reflection on the change in management. I would suggest these people were already wanting a different job and the change in management was just the catalyst.

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For me the scariest foreshadowing of problems ahead was a meeting today. We have a customer problem and called in all the department heads to brainstorm possible solutions. It was chaotic and dozens of ideas, some ridiculous, were duly collected and the new boss has 2 people chasing down details for EVERY one of them. Fine. The scariest part however is that we have had this problem before. There is a known solution which is logical and simple. No one suggested it. Aside from me, there were at least 2 other people who know the solution, and possibly more in the room. It looks like everyone has either checked out or is cautiously waiting to see what may be happening next before engaging.
Shame on you. It sounds like you're more interested in submarining the new boss than doing the right thing. Even though more people may have known the solution - you knew it. It's time to dust off your moral compass.

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So what to do? Do I try to hang on and see if this will play out tolerably, although it doesn't look promising? Do I give up and join the exodus? Do I sharpen my pencil and ER a little too early, but do it now to avoid work grinding me down before I go? If I were an amateur sociologist or if I could simply not care and let the place fall down around me, I might be able to keep working here, but I'm not sure I'll be able to. Any other ideas for what might help me last a few more years?
You're withholding information to correct a customer problem. You resent the new boss. You're creating a morale problem in the workplace (yes...)

I think the decision is going to be made for you shortly.
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Old 05-21-2011, 09:02 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Sure sounds like a dysfunctional workplace, and that's not uncommon. But by withholding the solution, you are part of the problem. If others know, it's a copout for you to withhold just because they are, they're part of the problem too. 'You get what you deserve' comes to mind.

If you had a problem and one of your co-workers withheld the solution from you and you found out after running down a bunch of dead ends, would you be OK with it?

The new boss did not hire himself, someone above him did. So your solution is to sabotage the new boss to punish the person who hired him? Put yourself in the shoes of the new boss or his boss for a minute - you are helping the organization YOU work for to fail.

It's fascinating how the boss is always the problem...I'd say it goes both ways in this example.

And if you don't like where you work, find another place to work or actively try to make it better where you are.
Exactly - saved me some typing.

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... Being assigned to a new boss without being involved in any way certainly affects my attitude about the company. ...
I've been through more re-orgs and bosses than I could count. I was rarely (if ever) ever 'involved' in any way in - I was told - here's the new org, and you are reporting to so-and-so. If I didn't like it I could polish up my resume for an internal or external move, or possibly (depending on circumstances) express my concern to higher management and ask for a move (delicate and potentially dangerous). Maybe a time or two I was given an choice between group A or group B ina re-org, I can't recall, but it's possible.

You seem to be expecting a lot, yet you won't offer up a known solution to a problem? Sour grapes is just hurting yourself and co-workers.

I'd turn this into an opportunity - 'new boss, I'm willing to take on this problem, I have experience in this area and am confident I can solve it, but.... I really need to have some other work taken off my plate to be able to focus the attention it needs, and I'm going to need some help from some other people who also worked on this before. That's why I didn't bring it up publicly, since it won't work without these other factors, and I couldn't speak to those other factors in public'.

New boss gets a a solution, and you get to see how the new boss responds to such a proposition. If you solve the problem, you are a hero. Win-Win.

-ERD50
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Old 05-21-2011, 09:30 AM   #23
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Based on what you have said, you should quit, and if you worked for me and I found out you had the solution to a customers problem and did not come forward with it, I would fire you. If I was your old boss and I found this out I would not hire you. In my opinion you are playing with fire, and if you stay where you are you are going to get burned big time.
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:00 AM   #24
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The reason this occurs is usually one of two circumstances:
  1. Spite
  2. Fear that you may get the assignment
Do the right thing.
I appreciate the feedback, and you are right I think I am waffling between these two. On the Spite front, I am certainly resentful that I have a new boss with no input to the process at all. Many places this would be the norm, but this particular company makes a big deal about how cooperative and inclusive all our processes are. Thinking back over the last few years, I cannot think of another example anywhere in the company where a new boss was hired without involving team members in some way. As for the impending reorg, I am not opposed to it, in fact I originally suggested it about six months ago, but since it affects other groups more than me, we have been working on understanding implications and alternatives and defining how we will deal with the changes before making the change. With the transition to a new boss, that process ended, I'm not even sure he knows it was going on, and what came down to us was fiat: He's making a change. In fact this edict came BEFORE he has met with his new staff. I will be getting no credit for this and there's no reasonable way to say "you know this was all my idea. How about a Thank you" So I guess I resent that too. Old boss apparently was a master at making people feel appreciated (privately) for going above and beyond, so maybe I'm missing that. And feeling unappreciated certainly put me in a bad mood for the brainstorming, to which I was in fact not invited, but only accidentally found out about and sat in on, uninvited. Where I did also offer several NEW solutions which are quick and easy and volunteered to do any of them. I did withhold the one we did before (which I still think is most OBVIOUS) but after solutions started appearing on the board, it also started being curious to me that no one else was offering that obvious solution either. So maybe my spite and resentment was getting the better of me. If this is going to be a long term attitude, I need to escape.

As for being afraid of getting the assignment, perhaps there's a little bit of that. An analogy which is close to the actual issue is that I am a software engineer on the billing team, working on internal accounting systems, and the machine that is running too slow is in an unrelated part of the company on the factory floor. It's not that it's broken, they just want it reprogrammed to run faster. Getting reassigned to the machine programming team would be a significant demotion and drop in pay, not to mention that while it can be fun to solve these problems from time to time, I would not want a steady job of it. In fact, I would certainly have to leave if that became my full time job. The outcome of the brainstorming is two guys assigned to investigate and report on the complete list of alternatives, including my new ideas, over the next two weeks. No one in the meeting was told of this assignment and I've only learned about it coincidentally when they requested a meeting next week to learn more about my ideas. Meanwhile, not knowing this was going on, I talked to the guy who runs the machine immediately after the meeting and told him I could come by Monday before work and try to fix his machine again. I'll write the new code over the weekend so I'm ready Monday. Now, I'm really in an awkward place. Much as I resent working for an inexperienced manager and think he is under qualified, I don't want to undermine him or fail to give him the opportunity to grow into this job. If I fix the machine, now that might be undermining his program of assigning 2 guys to 2 weeks of research. If I don't fix the machine, then I would feel like I really was withholding unfairly from the company. I think my best option here is to fix the machine, then go tell boss I had an opportunity to take a look first hand and tell him my solution. That will be an awkward first "official" meeting with the guy, but I'm not seeing any better alternative.

So several people have suggested that my bad attitude and lack of willingness to go another extra mile suggests I am a bad employee and maybe even should be fired. That is also a significant fear. The job market is somewhat better now, but still not great especially for old technology guys, and while I think I have a secure option with my old boss, nothing is guaranteed. Finding a new job is always a problem and likely involves stepping down to lower levels of work until I can show what I can do in a new place. I am reluctant to do that again when I am so close to ER. But I also want to say in my defense, I already think I am going the extra mile (at least a few of them). We are discouraged from doing anything outside our assigned areas during normal work hours, so I am working on issues for my team working full time (plus a little bit) and I don't think I am disorganized or wasting time surfing the internet. I only read this board at home. lol. But when I think maybe I have an idea to help elsewhere in the company, I work on showing what can be done, or even doing it, in the evenings or weekends. Am I doing ALL that I can do? No. But working excessive hours is not really a viable long term strategy. I think I am making a generous contribution and trying to do the right thing in general. It not uncommon for me to be the first one in the office or the last to leave, or sometimes both. If push came to shove, I could perhaps even talk to the owner as he's the guy I see most when I'm working afterhours. Would the right thing to do in this one case been to push again for the known solution? perhaps. But instead I'm still likely going to fix this Monday and I've got a lot more to think about what it's going to be like to work in this new environment.

I think what I resent most of all, is the last few years of building up rapport and earning the support of my old boss are now all gone. New boss apparently has not consulted old boss about his staff. I am an old technology guy and the new (young) boss is showing every sign of assuming I must be a mediocre performer and I am resentful of having to jump through hoops again to earn the right to be invited to things like brainstorming meetings. Old boss was about the same age, so it's not just the age of the boss, but the inexperience that seems to be the problem I have. I do need to get this attitude adjusted, but am not sure how. Maybe time for a strategic vacation.
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:24 PM   #25
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if you worked for me and I found out you had the solution to a customers problem and did not come forward with it, I would fire you.
Rustic is 100% correct, and I'd have you terminated also.

You are not helping anyone by witholding information in this case. Instead, you are making things worse by perpetuating a bad situation for all involved.

If I were the customer and found this out, I'd be looking for a new organization to do business with.
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:33 PM   #26
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...For what it's worth, the previous solution was something I did myself over a couple weekends outside of my regular work and while I was happy to help then and we still have the solution so it could probably be done more quickly this time, I cannot make a reasonable work-life balance that includes that much work. I worked seven days a week for about six months doing my regular job and "saving" people from other problems at this company a couple years ago. Just because I can take on extra work (always uncompensated) doesn't mean I always should.....
I don't blame you for not suggesting the above solution (you work uncompensated for two weekends outside your regular work; presumably the company knew you did this and did not see a need to compesate you).

This does not sound like a solution to a problem imho, but another problem (why can a work-related matter not get done without uncompensated employees having to take it home?) that management needs to solve.
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:58 PM   #27
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If you are in good terms with your old boss and you knew the solution to the problem then, why did you not inform your old boss?
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:00 PM   #28
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You've done some insightful analysis of yourself and the situation. This is where you have a choice: be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. You need to get control of your fear and your anger. Then you need to decide what you want to do. You need a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C - mutually exclusive or variations of each other.

The behavior you presented so far would be a guarantee to lose your job. You've got some damage control to do. Unfortunately, your new manager knows exactly how you feel. Yes... that's a given. There are no secrets in the corporate world, only versions of the truth.

I have fired employees for bad attitudes which adversely impacted the morale of the team. You can't get productive work from a team if one of the team members is complaining all the time.

There are many discussions about how nature (familial) and nurture (environmental) influence who we are. The bottom line is it's our choices that define us. It's time to start making better decisions.
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:41 PM   #29
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Old boss knew. So did the guy who runs the machine and the head or programming (who was also in the brainstorming meeting). We did do the solution last year when we had a similar problem. Which is to say *I* personally did it and then showed everyone involved exactly what I did. Apparently it's not a permanent fix and lasts about a year. There is even an entry on the diagram of the factory floor, showing the solution, which was PRESENTED at the brainstorming, so the guy who presented and the guy who made the diagram presumably also know. I could have stepped up and volunteered more unpaid overtime to do again what apparently our institutional memory has forgotten, but I don't think it's forgotten. I think it's an under appreciated solution and whoever does it, won't even get the private attaboy that old boss used to be so good at using to motivate people. I am confident that if old boss were still here, we wouldn't have even got as far as brainstorming, since we would have talked about at a staff meeting and had volunteers (me, if no one else, but likely several people would have stepped forward) who would go make a fix and it would never have even risen to the level of issue it now is. That's in fact what happened with a similar issue last year.

What I'm not sure I've conveyed sufficiently is that this is NOT my job or even in the assigned area for my group. If we had an accountant on staff who also happens to know how to install a new mouse on his computer, I would be hard pressed to suggest that he should be in trouble if he does not install the mouse for all new employees, or be proactive about volunteering to help all employees who have a problem with their mouse. It is NOT his job, he does have a full time job he needs to do, and there is even a group who is supposed to deal with employee's routine IT problems. Likewise, there is a group who takes care of these machines and I am fortunately on good terms with them, because I can easily see them resenting my dropping in occasionally to solve their problems. If I made a big deal about it or hogged credit, they would certainly resent me, so I do it quietly, key folks like old boss, head of programming, machine operators and head of machine group all know, all knew before and all mutually agreed on the low key approach, and I even have worked some with the machine group to try to teach them how to do this.

I don't think I am in the wrong here, even though I could have volunteered more info at that meeting. I even have a date Monday morning with the machine guy to fix it and my code is almost half done, so I should be ready by then. I appreciate the frank feedback and I am indeed thinking deeply about it (even as I am saying my current thinking is I'm still a good guy, I'm still wondering if I'm fooling myself). But I am also thinking that the behavior of other people in the meeting tells me that there are deep dysfunctional problems at this place and I need to decide what I want to do. Apparently old boss insulated us from a lot of craziness. I do not think I want to volunteer to solve everything and spend huge hours doing so. I'm willing to make some sacrifices to contribute, but want to be hopeful that it will help, or at least be appreciated, and I'm not seeing anything to make me think that yet. Maybe I need to understand how far I'm willing to go on hope alone before I see some hint that things will improve. I hate to think I'm just slow to realize how bad it's going to be and the best people are all either leaving or left already. Which means maybe I am the mediocre old guy who wasn't willing to jump ship quickly enough. Is this a giant ER hint that I'm over-ready to stop working?
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:48 PM   #30
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I wouldn't over elevate what people here say. We have no real information, so our responses will mostly just reflect our prejudices and habitual ways of responding to seemingly similar events.
I think you are wise to keep an eye out for bureaucratic minefields, but also that worrying about a little temporary overtime would be an error. This is going to be a lot less disruptive than looking for a new job.

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Old 05-21-2011, 01:49 PM   #31
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Old 05-21-2011, 02:32 PM   #32
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thoughts, If it is the exact same problem in a system your company developed that you solved for one customer and didn't change for other customers until their system failed-then you failed. And that's on the head of the old great boss.
Maybe no one recognized the problem as caused by the same issue as the last problem.Since you say you single handedly worked it out ,no one else thinks of it as the same thing. If you believe that your old solution would work-put it out there . After all if one size fits all , your workload should not increase that much.
And they will be hiring new blood that will be wanting to excel.
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Old 05-21-2011, 02:48 PM   #33
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I was pretty shocked that some of the feedback here suggests that I am the problem and am likely to be fired, or at least deserved to be. Maybe everyone thinks they are a good person, but I totally didn't expect that response.

But I am also shocked by realizing that I would feel a certain amount of relief if that were to happen. I am agonizing over my decision whether to accelerate my ER timetable and I do not have the total assets I planned on, but I would also be pretty relieved to have this decision made for me. Another part of the situation I need to think about.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:11 PM   #34
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If it is the exact same problem in a system your company developed that you solved for one customer and didn't change for other customers until their system failed-then you failed.
The machine in question is on our factory floor, and it isn't broken, it's just not running as fast as we want. It's the same customer who wanted more output last year and the fix worked at that time. Apparently the fix is temporary and a year later, we are back to the same slow behavior. No one is shipping known defective anythings to anyone. We could run the machine longer each day. We could buy another machine. We could apply a new version of the speed fix again. Nothing about any of this has anything to do with our billing system and none of it has anything to do with me, except I'm good at programming things, so I think I can probably fix it again (and promised the operator I would try on Monday before work).

I cannot seem to emphasize enough, this is NOT my area of responsibility and I only accidentally got involved in the first place. It is not my job and has never been any part of my job, and I really don't think I deserve to be fired for failing to do someone else's job on my own time after hours. Honestly, I'm not even sure it's someone else's job except maybe the original supplier. We don't expect the operators to reprogram the machines, and we don't expect the programming (setup) group to give the machines new capabilities. It's a facility that's built into the machine, but as far as I know, no one but me has ever tried to use it to change performance. I've shown other people how, but it's way outside what they usually do, so they apparently don't feel able to do it. I don't see how firing me helps anyone.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:28 PM   #35
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As my dad used to say, "Every day when you leave work, think 'Ka-ching!'" You just earned that much more money.

In my book, four years to accumulate retirement $$ would outweigh four years of sucky job situation, unless you have reliably identified the job itself as a true, incessant drain on your mental and physical health (which some members have).

There will no doubt be decades of retirement for you to ponder whether you made the right decision, by pulling the plug before your desired "number" is reached.

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I was pretty shocked that some of the feedback here suggests that I am the problem and am likely to be fired, or at least deserved to be. Maybe everyone thinks they are a good person, but I totally didn't expect that response.

But I am also shocked by realizing that I would feel a certain amount of relief if that were to happen. I am agonizing over my decision whether to accelerate my ER timetable and I do not have the total assets I planned on, but I would also be pretty relieved to have this decision made for me. Another part of the situation I need to think about.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:53 PM   #36
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"It's not my job" is one phrase that most managers detest. I have watched people walk by a piece of paper on the floor and not pick it up because 'It's not my job'. If you were in management which type of employee would you like to have or consider for promotion. One that went the extra mile, suggested solutions to your problems, as well as doing their job well, or one that only did their job well. One is far more valuable to the company. One is going to get raises above the other, and one is going to be let go before the other.

I also can not relate to 'I'm miffed because I did not get a say in who is my new boss, like last time'. I don't ever remember even being ask. In fact I would have been shocked if i were.

I think you have tree real choices. Talk to your old boss, see if there really is a job there, then quit. You obviously do not have the best interest in your present employer at heart. Two, focus on early retirement, go into a shell and hope you make it before they have the next round of layoffs. Three, go to your present boss, tell him the solution, let him know you really don't want to be involved in it, but you will if it is necessary and work into the conversation that a bonus or raise for the extra work would sure come in handy.
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Old 05-21-2011, 04:50 PM   #37
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........ if you worked for me and I found out you had the solution to a customers problem and did not come forward with it, I would fire you...............
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Rustic is 100% correct, and I'd have you terminated also.............
Aren't you glad you posted this thread?
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Old 05-21-2011, 05:32 PM   #38
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I am glad I posted this thread, though I am startled by many of the responses. I AM the guy who picks up the paper on the floor when I see one. I was the guy who fixed this problem the last time. I am the guy who's programming this weekend and will fix it again Monday morning (BEFORE work starts, because policy is to put a full day in on my regular assigned work).

I hear loud and clear the idea that many posters here think my behavior was a fireable offense. I clearly don't understand that yet. I cannot spend all my off hours at the plant looking for problems to solve in other departments. I cannot crash any meeting I like and insist on them hearing out all my suggestions for how everyone else should work. That would surely get me fired.

In a meeting to look for ideas, I suggested several and volunteered to do them (implicitly without pay and on my own time). Any of which WILL work and solve this problem. But I did not mention the best idea, the one we tried before, the one several people also knew, which is another one that I can implement myself. That one I privately took to the most directly affected machine operator at the end of the meeting and arranged to take care of as soon as practical, Monday morning. If someone can clearly explain WHY this is an offense which should result in my termination, I do clearly want to understand. I am otherwise baffled. Perhaps it is because I didn't speak up in the public forum? It cannot be because I am not volunteering to take care of the problem, in fact I am. Perhaps it is because I am not involving my new boss more directly in the solution? I think I can accomplish this without making him look bad in any way, and in fact I am concerned about how to do just that now that he has started his research project. Perhaps it is because I am upset with all the changes and how many people have left, but while I say I am upset here, I do try to be positive and upbeat in my interactions at work.

Clearly I do not understand why I should be fired for this.
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Old 05-21-2011, 06:03 PM   #39
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Your last explanation is, IMHO, is quite different from your first and earlier post. Early post came through to me 'I remember the problem, I know how to fix it, but I hate my new incompetent boss, I have given this place too much already, and I am not going to tell them the solution we used last time.'

No one said you should go out of your way to find other problems in the business and fix them on your own. However, if you did, you would be your boss's hero. No one said you should crash meetings. Believe me, I believe in the chain of command. You could go to your boss privately and tell him. It doesn't always work out but generally if you make your boss a hero, it will pay off for you.

As to why I said I would fire you? It came across to me, that you had the solution to the companies problems but your were just going to sit back and let them expand resources solving it for themselves. You did not have the best interest of the company at heart. No, I am not saying you should put their interest above yours, but in a lot of instances they are the same.
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Old 05-21-2011, 06:36 PM   #40
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And, the answer is... never come to a forum full of INTJ's if you have the list bit of doubt yourself
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