Fri, Dec 22, 2006, 1:40pm (EST+5) email@example.com (Dusty) doth
firstname.lastname@example.org (J T) wrote in
S*U*P*E*R*V*I*S*U*R*S are for cost cutting, bonuses (for themselves),
The spelling is mine, but I did NOT write that.
Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
- Eric Hoffer
Not every place. Only those that are stupid. Smart business and
supervisors use the skills of the workers, treat them fairly, and get lots
of loyalty. Come to my company and try to recruit one of the workers away.
A few years ago the parent of the aerospace firm I worked for started
positioning us for a sale. They brought in a hatchet-man and new executive
staff and started cutting heads. It became immediately evident that they
were cutting seniority first. That is where the highest wages and benefit
Out went hundreds of years of knowledge and skill. Many were given
severance packages, low-cost medical and they started their pensions.
A few months later many of these old farts showed up again earning $70 to
$100 per hour as contractors while pulling pensions.
MBA's prevail again!!!
... and you know the really sad part? It makes "sense" when you look at
from whence the different "buckets" of money come. Pensions come out of
the "Pension Fund" that is completely separate from the rest of the
workings of the organization in question. As contract laborers, more than
likely little or no overhead or benefits are assigned to the people who
come back, thus they are "cheaper" than full-time employees. So, the
division comes out ahead even though when you add up all the costs they are
You would think someone, somewhere would be adding all this stuff up and
support making decision that resulted in lower total costs. That doesn't
seem to happen.
Government thinking is even more convoluted and thus overall more
expensive than the private sector.
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
"Mark & Juanita" .... and you know the really sad part? It makes "sense"
when you look at
Absolutely! And more than that. After the turmoil, I decided to take an
early out myself; and have spent much of the past four years doing contract
work for the old firm. Even with us making $70 to $100/hour we are cheaper
than many of the direct employees, when you consider their benefits burden
add about 100+% to their hourly rate. A contract engineer comes in, does
the job and leaves. No strings.
I have told both of our kids "Don't expect to do what Dad did." The 30-40
year employee is a thing of the past. Today's youngsters have to stay
Same thing for oldsters.
But what does one do when in you are in a position like mine.
I have been working for a company now for 7 years. I am next in line for
senior management and my boss is about 6 years from retirement. He is one of
the one's you could very much call a coaster. His knowledge is invaluable
and knows people that I would love to hear a simple "hello" from.
The problem is that he drinks like a fish at work. Yes the owners and other
upper management are aware of the situation. He has been attending AA
meetings for a quite awhile but with very little improvement. Now I don't
want someone's career ended in such a way. The owners are reluctent to do
much more. We can't find any qualified people to fill the open positions we
have, but yet I am looking forward to his retirement. I am dreading next
Fridays meeting as I will have to drop the bomb to the fact of his recent
What is a company to do. I believe that the owners privately are hoping they
can coast this out until his retirement. If they are forced to let him stay,
it makes this situation worse. I don't want his position but I am compelled
to report his behavior. I find it wrong not to. And yes I don't wan't his
job as I would feel like a huge gigantic Fir tree in the middle of a lumber
farm just waiting for the axe to start swinging.
If I could find a cabinet shop that can pay me what I make now, then I would
I have no plans to retire fully. I'm 61, and my boss, the owner is 62. He
has no plans to ever retire fully either. Of course, our circumstances are
much different than most people in the workforce. The company has about 20
employees, many have been there 10+ years (18 for me, longer than anyone)
and are completely loyal as everyone is treated so well.
First of all, I don't think of what I do as "work". I actually enjoy going
to the plant every day and interacting with my co-workers. I don't have any
set hours. I can come and go as I please. No one questions what I do. As a
company, we have a simple philosophy that has worked very well. Make the
customer happy, give them a good product, on time, with efficiency so we
make a profit.
We do have an occasional staff meeting. The last one involved the owner and
all the managers. We discussed important topics such as what we will be
doing on our trip to Las Vegas, who is driving to the airport, what will the
wives do while we are at a seminar, what shows do you want to see, etc.
Perhaps some day I'll cut back to 4 days, then three days, but I have no
reason to leave. It is just too much fun. I'm sure my attitude would be
different if I spent my day screwing handles on toasters on the assembly
line every day.
Yes I am. When I was there 15 years, they sent my wife and I to Italy for
10 days. At 10 years, one of my shippers (young sports fan) was sent to
Florida for the first week of Red Sox spring training. Our Office
Administrator (15 years) will be getting her dream trip at the Christmas
Party tonight. She is taking a west coast tour for about 10 days.
When you look at the demgraphics of voters, you will find than
proprtionately more older people vote than younger people.
Therefore it should come as no surprise (irrespective of the ad/dis-
advantages of older vs. younger workers) that laws like this get
Unless the voter age profile shifts, expect more to come.
Pete (age 50)
. never trust a man who, when left alone ...... Pete Lynch .
Never been showed up by a guy younger than myself, but I've been put
to shame by more than a few old timers when it comes to work. If they
are still willing and able to do the job, there's no call to push them
out- and that BS about being held back by the old guy that won't
retire is just that. There are all sorts of ways to move up that
don't involve getting someone else nailed and taking their place. A
person deserving of advancement will find them no matter who is
standing above them.
Prometheus (in email@example.com) said:
| Never been showed up by a guy younger than myself, but I've been put
| to shame by more than a few old timers when it comes to work. If
| they are still willing and able to do the job, there's no call to
| push them out- and that BS about being held back by the old guy
| that won't retire is just that. There are all sorts of ways to
| move up that don't involve getting someone else nailed and taking
| their place. A person deserving of advancement will find them no
| matter who is standing above them.
Agreed. I'd like to add to this just a bit.
IMO, one of the responsibilities of those who've accumulated
experience is to distill it to it's essence and hand it off to the
younger folks so that they don't need to spend their entire
lives/careers to reach the same level of understanding that we have.
They'll need to pick up from where we leave off - not from where we
were 40 or 50 years ago. Among other things, old timers need to teach
impatient youngsters that moving up is a consequence of moving
foreward; and that one person's gain need not come at the cost of
My dream is that every younger person I've ever worked with will have
accomplishments that far outshine any/all of mine.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
I feel exactly the same way as you Morris.
But sometimes it does get difficult to transmit information. I was on a
business trip this past week. My work is in a biochemistry/molecular
biology lab, where one of the things we need is something like deionized
water (like distilled water). In the lab that is accomplished by letting
tapwater flow through 3 tanks: First a "carbon" filter to get the
chorine and "junk" out, then 2 "mixed-bed ion-exchange" tanks.
Everything in series with a shutoff valve on the building side, and a
simple toggle valve on the "tap" side. The tanks are about 6" diamtere
and 2 feet or so high. They are connected with tubing that includes
automatic shut-off valves: when you disconnect them there is no flow,
when you connect them there is flow.
On Monday I got a call from a younger coworker complaining the system
didn't give any water. Nothing flowed. Who should he call in the VA? I
made the mistake of not providing the complete explanation above, for
reasons I know <grin>. Just asked him to check the tubing connections.
When I came back to the lab on Friday afternoon, another coworker
complained about the same thing. You guessed it. No one did check
whether indeed there was a hose disconnected. It took me 10 seconds to
check the 6 or so connections and push the last one in, since it had come
loose (no one admits to touching it).
As our janitor explained to me a few years back: Han, common sense is a
misnomer, it's not very common at all.
Happy holidays to all, whichever you celebrate!
Han (in Xns989B9410DFA1Fikkezelf@188.8.131.52) said:
| But sometimes it does get difficult to transmit information
I've noticed that, too. Sometimes it helps to speak more clearly; and
sometimes it's a matter of holding a short 2x4 while you speak. <g>
| As our janitor explained to me a few years back: Han, common sense
| is a misnomer, it's not very common at all.
As far as I've been able to tell, the essential problem has to do with
forgetting to make sure the sense machine is turned on and properly
| Happy holidays to all, whichever you celebrate!
Thanks - and my best wishes to all for peace, good health, happiness,
and straight-grained wood free of knots.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
As always, Morris, very nicely put.
During my corporate life, I observed that many of the old timers were
afraid to share in fear of their jobs. My old boss pointed out the
stupidity of that: "How are these guys ever going to move up if they
don't have a replacement for their vacancy?"
Myself? I'm still stuck between these two proverbs:
You're never too old to learn,
You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Robatoy (in firstname.lastname@example.org)
|| My dream is that every younger person I've ever worked with will
|| have accomplishments that far outshine any/all of mine.
| During my corporate life, I observed that many of the old timers
| were afraid to share in fear of their jobs. My old boss pointed out
| the stupidity of that: "How are these guys ever going to move up if
| they don't have a replacement for their vacancy?"
I think I was fortunate to have been able to work as a consultant -
because I never needed to worry about those issues. All I had to do
was help people to see the problem under their nose from a perspective
that made the solution obvious and help them feel good about
discovering it themselves.
I was always working to put myself out of a job. The strange thing was
that the more quickly I could do that, the more quickly the next job
popped up (and usually with at least a small "raise"). I never thought
of it as moving "up", if that's indeed what it was. I always thought
of it as moving "foreward", into ever more interesting projects.
You got me to wondering, how is this essentially different from how
one operates within a single corporation? The people within the
corporate environment should have the advantage of being able to look
around for problems in need of solution and being able to pick the
ones they find most interesting...
| Myself? I'm still stuck between these two proverbs:
| You're never too old to learn,
| You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
So teach the new tricks to young dogs and let the old dogs learn by
example at their own pace - they (the old dogs) won't want to be left
DeSoto, Iowa USA
A noble goal- while we don't *need* to move forward, doing so is
usually an improvement, provided that we're going in the right
Also very true- I've been training one of the shop lackeys in setting
up the mill and running the laser cutter whenever possible. If he can
get to where he can take that over for me, great! I already know that
when that happens, I'll be heading into the engineering department
That's nice, if it can happen that way, but I found that the lessons
that really stuck for me were based on shame. I usually think I know
the right way to do something, but there have been times where someone
walks up and does the same task in 1/10 of the time, with the same or
better result. Then I feel like a jerk for having wasted time my way,
but it's a great spur to learn the other guy's method.
Must be the difference between corporate and production environments-
I usually think "forward" as well, but I hear "up" a lot. To move
"up", I'd have to be doing things I don't think I'd like doing, like
finding ways to push people out of thier jobs and sneak into their
Prometheus (in email@example.com) said:
| On Sat, 16 Dec 2006 16:27:56 -0600, "Morris Dovey"
|| Robatoy (in firstname.lastname@example.org)
|||| My dream is that every younger person I've ever worked with will
|||| have accomplishments that far outshine any/all of mine.
| A noble goal- while we don't *need* to move forward, doing so is
| usually an improvement, provided that we're going in the right
I think we /do/ need to move forward (be more efficient, improve
product quality, make customers more satisfied, etc.) Final judgement
on whether we're going in the right direction necessarily comes after
Choosing not to move forward is making the choice of stagnation and
irrevelence - both at the individual and enterprise levels. It isn't
that the old ways are so bad; but rather that sticking to the old ways
ensures that the old problems will always be with us.
Moving forward calls for wisdom (application of our knowledge of the
consequences for the actions we take) and for courage (determination
to take actions that fit our best principles and ideals even when
those actions don't constitute the easiest, cheapest, or most
I think we criticize the MBA "bean counters" when, in fact, they
aren't the individuals who make decisions resulting in degradation of
tool quality. The bean counters do analysis, brainstorm options, and
report to company management. If that management then fails to
exercise wisdom and courage, the enterprise will not do well; and
neither will its employees nor its customers.
||| During my corporate life, I observed that many of the old timers
||| were afraid to share in fear of their jobs. My old boss pointed
||| out the stupidity of that: "How are these guys ever going to move
||| up if they don't have a replacement for their vacancy?"
| Also very true- I've been training one of the shop lackeys in
| setting up the mill and running the laser cutter whenever possible.
| If he can get to where he can take that over for me, great! I
| already know that when that happens, I'll be heading into the
| engineering department full-time.
Hmm. I'm trying to reconcile this good news with your last paragraph
|| I think I was fortunate to have been able to work as a consultant -
|| because I never needed to worry about those issues. All I had to do
|| was help people to see the problem under their nose from a
|| perspective that made the solution obvious and help them feel good
|| about discovering it themselves.
| That's nice, if it can happen that way, but I found that the lessons
| that really stuck for me were based on shame. I usually think I
| know the right way to do something, but there have been times where
| someone walks up and does the same task in 1/10 of the time, with
| the same or better result. Then I feel like a jerk for having
| wasted time my way, but it's a great spur to learn the other guy's
But there's no call to feel like a jerk. For everything that you (or
I) do, there's likely to be at least one other person who can do one
of those things better. IMO, a better response would be gladness to
have found someone from whom we can learn. The jerks are the people
who resent those who've found a better way and won't learn from them.
"Jerkhood" doesn't fit what I've seen of you here. :-)
|| I was always working to put myself out of a job. The strange thing
|| was that the more quickly I could do that, the more quickly the
|| next job popped up (and usually with at least a small "raise"). I
|| never thought of it as moving "up", if that's indeed what it was.
|| I always thought of it as moving "foreward", into ever more
|| interesting projects.
| Must be the difference between corporate and production
| environments- I usually think "forward" as well, but I hear "up" a
| lot. To move "up", I'd have to be doing things I don't think I'd
| like doing, like finding ways to push people out of thier jobs and
| sneak into their place.
One of my discoveries has been that those people who keep an eye out
for problems and offer good solutions for those they have the ability
to solve (not necesarily all they find) build an in-house reputation
as problem solvers. In healthy operations solutions to problems and
the people who produce those solutions are valued highly.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Too true, unfortunately. I guess my continual mental block is in
wondering if many of the things in modern life that are *new and
improved* are really good for us in as far as we are human beings. To
my mind, there are a lot of pitfalls in things like television and
mobile phones that have GPS trackers in them. All of that stuff is
relatively benign on the surface, even valuable- but add it together,
and those things that were supposed to make us all more connected seem
to act as a barrier to actual interaction with the people right in
front of us. Add to that the continual improvements in the
sophistication of advertising, and these new things become more status
symbols than products.
Sorry if that's a little disjointed- the dogs woke me up early today,
so I'm a little groggy.
New ways mean that there are new problems, of course. The problem
seems to my mind that once we've all been led down one path, the older
method or product is discarded and forgotten- it's not so much that I
would want to turn the clock back, as I would love to see some of
those missed paths not taken explored, rather than being dismissed as
irrelevant. I suppose that might be why it seems we're always
re-inventing the wheel, especially on a long timeline.
It's neat that we can move technology along at such a blazing-fast
pace, but there is absolutely no way that we are learning all the
lessons that could have been gained from each new method or product.
Can't argue with any of that. I can't even really say that the
corporate structure as I understand it is failing- they are producing
and distributing mind-boggling quantities of product and making huge
sums of money, after all. I guess my gripe is that it seems like
every year, we're becoming less human and more consumer. I guess part
of that was being raised in a pretty isolated area that was about
thirty years behind the rest of the US, and getting the crash course
along with everyone else. I watched people that used to get together
and do things drop into shells made from manufactured plastic and
begin communicating from isolated personal command centers and
ignoring the people standing in front of them in favor of the ones
that were filtered through a speaker or a screen. It broke a lot of
families, and scattered a lot of friends.
Then all the latest and greatest medications came to town, and those
same people who couldn't figure out why they felt like crap discovered
the joys of of chemical happiness with things like Prozac and a
variety of other things with oddball names that changed their
personalities even further. All of it happened way too fast, and most
of the people I meet today have a sort of sick desperation about them.
We're not in the business of solving problems any more- just making
more sophisiticated band-aids.
We're getting pasteurized and homoginized, and while that might be
good for the big picture, where there are few sharp divisions left and
anyone can be just exactly the same as everyone else if they choose, I
still miss the cranky old guys that would sit in front of the gas
station and jaw all day, and the kids who actually used a playground-
instead of pretending to kill things on the television.
I know there's no easy answer to any of that- if there were, I'd file
it away and move on. Don't get me wrong, some technology I like a
whole lot (I am talking to you via a computer, after all) I just wish
there were a way to move forward without forgetting all the past that
lies behind us. Every time that happens, empires fall- we are what we
are today because of those that came before us and their values. We
forget those values and ways of life at our own peril. How many
people can make a wagon today- or shoe a horse? What about butcher a
pig- or even just wash their clothes without a machine? How would a
modern family keep one another entertained if the TV, telephones and
internet connection went down? I think about that, and then I wonder
what happens when the gasoline runs out, or our military adventures
isolate us from those cheap foreign suppliers we've handed almost
everything over to. A synthetic life does not teach people how to
cope with the real world and it's challenges. Ancient Rome is a great
example- they were powerful and technologically advanced. They had
cental heat and indoor plumbing, great works of art and amusement for
the masses. If you were there, it would have seemed it couldn't end,
right? But then of course, there were a thousand years of darkness
that followed on it heels- and they didn't have quite so far to fall
as we do.
Getting back to your original statement, it *does* take wisdom- but
where is our wisdom coming from these days? I hate to think that it
is from YouTube and Comedy Central. The same for courage- the only
times I see that word used any more are in the context of killing
foreign people with rediculously advanced weapons or when someone is
dying of cancer. There used to be more opportunities for it (and
there still are- it just seems to be a concept that is going by the
Anyway, another fairly useless rant on my part.
There is something to reconcile? I'm not taking another person's
place, I'm creating a new position to help with an increased workload
(there is *no* full-time engineer on nights). There's a bottleneck in
engineering, and I can help clear it up- but there needs to be someone
who can do my job as well, or it's just moving the bottleneck
elsewhere. Right now, I'm doing double and sometimes triple-duty.
Or was it the difference between "forward" and "up"? I confess, I'm
not even entirely clear on that myself- it's a sort of fuzzy matter of
semantics. I guess the idea of moving forward is just more appealing
to me, without the mental image of climbing up someone else's back and
stepping on their head when I get there, which seems to be a common
Well, thanks! But that doesn't stop me from feeling shame about not
having found the most efficient way of doing something I'm being paid
to do. As noted in the previous post, it's what keeps me hungry to
learn- if I didn't feel anything but positive about being shown up
from time to time, it'd be too easy to assume I've got it figured out
and just coast.
An apt summary of what I try to do- which is why I get to move
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