OT:...sort of. Productivity in retirement.

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Fri, Dec 22, 2006, 1:40pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.com (Dusty) doth claimeth: snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote in 3332.bay.webtv.net: 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.
JOAT Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer
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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.
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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 values are.
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!!!
RonB

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... 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 higher.
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 +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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"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 flexible.
Same thing for oldsters.
RonB
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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 escapades.
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 be set.
Allen

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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.
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You are a lucky duck!
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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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.
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On 14 Dec 2006 06:10:17 -0800, Robatoy wrote:

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 passed. Unless the voter age profile shifts, expect more to come.
Pete (age 50)
--
..........................................................................
. never trust a man who, when left alone ...... Pete Lynch .
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<<< Snip >>>

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.
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Prometheus (in snipped-for-privacy@4ax.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 another's loss.
My dream is that every younger person I've ever worked with will have accomplishments that far outshine any/all of mine.
(dos centavos)
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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"Morris Dovey" wrote in message

But worth a million ... well put and noble sentiments, sir. You are a true gentleman!
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/29/06
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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!
--
Best regards
Han
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Han (in Xns989B9410DFA1Fikkezelf@199.45.49.11) 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 connected. <vbg>
| 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.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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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.
r
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Robatoy (in snipped-for-privacy@t46g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:
|| 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,
True.
| 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 behind. <g>
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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wrote:

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 direction.

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.

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 place.
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Prometheus (in snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com) said:
| On Sat, 16 Dec 2006 16:27:56 -0600, "Morris Dovey"
| || Robatoy (in snipped-for-privacy@t46g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) || said: ||
|| |||| 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 | direction.
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 the fact.
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 comfortable course.
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 below. :-?
|| 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 | method.
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.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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wrote:

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 wayside.)
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 practice.

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 forward.
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