We had an executive manager one time who, about 8:00 noted the cars in
the parking lot and commented that these same cars would be there at
6:00 (and past). ...and that it was amazing that the parking lots
filled from front to back and emptied the opposite direction.
TJ Watson Jr., when asked how many people worked at IBM, is famously
quoted as answering "about half".
OK, I see your true story and raise you two true stories.
I had a good friend who was a radio engineer. He was responsible for all
things technical for a number of radio stations. Everything from the
transmission towers, the transmitters themselves and anything electronic in
the place. And he was very good at his job. He was some kinda electronic
genius from an early age. He had it in his genes.
A moron, managerial type was hired at a radio station he was working at. He
noted that Marty was spending a lot of time drinking coffee and playing
cards in the conference room. Which he immediately interpered as some form
of laziness. So he set out to find all kinds of stupid grunt tasks for
Marty to perform so "he could earn his money". Marty tried to explain to
him that he followed a strict routine to keep the station on the air and
insure uninterupted service. But drone manager was not impressed with facts
Soon, the predicted disaster struck. Marty was out running errands for the
drone manager when the radio station went down. It took almost an hour to
contact Marty because the drone manager wanted to save money by taking away
his car phone. This was pre cellular phone days. And it took another hour
or two for Marty to drive to the transmission tower and replace a huge tube
in the transmitter.
And this is precisely the kind of thing he did on a regular basis before
drone manager showed up and tried to "save money" and make Marty "earn his
money". He got called on the carpet and elequently explained his procedures
that were gutted by said drone manager. Drone manager was not fired, but he
was stripped of all powers over Marty. Marty returned to his usual routine
and the station never went down again as long as he worked there.
Story number two.
Had a friend named Mike. He was a radio operator in the navy aboard an
aircraft carrier. He worked the evening shift. He brought a pillow to work.
He slept most of the night. Every so often he would get a call on the radio.
It was a routine thing to insure that all communications were working well
in case operations needed to be started up. So Mike would just sleep untill
that call came in. He would wake up, take care of biz and promptly go back
Well, it had to happen. He got a young, fresh out of school officer in, who
objected to his "unmilitary" approach to his job. Mike was very good at his
job and tried to explain to young, brash officer why he did what he did. But
young brash officer just had to assert himself and gave Mike the oldest
grunt job in the Navy, scrubbing floors.
Sooooo....., Mke scrubbed the floors and ignored the call coming in. Which
was easy to do, since Mike scrubbed the floor in the radio room and was sent
out into the hall way to scrub those floors. He probably would have ended up
scrubbing the whole ship down if this idiot officer would have been allowed
to continue this lunacy.
Mike got called into the CO's office the next day to explain why he did not
answer his radio calls. He explained what happened. The CO was shocked that
this idiot thought scrubbing floors was more important and "more military"
than insuring the readiness of the carrier battle group to conduct
Idiot officer got reprimanded and Mike went back to his regular routine the
next night. He brought his pillow to work each night after that. And nobody
gave him any trouble after that.
Also posted from work.
And I have to make a personal call now to see about a present for my honey.
Ain't nobody here but us "unethical" folks...
An actual true story
At a big blue widget factory, there was a software type who'd been
criticized steadily by his boss for his un-engineering approach to
writing software, for working on an erratic schedule, for showing a
strong preference for /little/ computers, and for his unstructured
approach to problem-solving...
On the way out of the widget factory one Friday evening, the guy was
stopped by his boss' boss' BOSS and asked how the current project
(scheduled for completion six months down the road) was going because it
was crucial that he be able to use at least a draft version of the
package under development to produce a division budget early the next
week. After about two minutes of increasingly stressed conversation, the
two parted - the 4th level manager to his car, and the software type
back into the factory.
The rest of his department had already left, and the computer room was
locked up tight, but there was a lab with a minicomputer open. The geek
called his wife, told her the situation, and sat down at the keypunch.
By six o'clock Monday morning the code was complete, test data had been
generated to exercise every part of the package, the package had been
verified bug-free, and was ready to crunch real numbers to produce a
real budget. Each program's card deck was rubber-banded and laid out on
a work table. The cards would have made a stack between five and six
feet high. It was time for a coffee break.
On the way to his desk from the coffee machine, he left a note on the
4th level manager's desk that, as far as he could tell, the software was
ready for a live data test. Back in his own office he got a yellow pad,
put his feet up on his desk, and sipped coffee while he made notes about
some possible ways to improve the existing package - until his boss
stopped by to confirm information that he'd completed the package over
the weekend. He was visibly upset and asked the software type to come to
...where he chewed the guy out for screwing up the development schedule
and "trashing" the department's mission. Even with the door closed,
everyone within fifty feet could hear him shout: "You SOB - if I thought
I could make it stick, I'd fire your ass! Now get outa my office!"
Very tired and very pissed, he went back to the minicomputer lab where
he returned the rubber bands to the box they'd come from and tossed the
decks of loose cards into the waste basket. That done, he returned to
his desk and consigned his wadded notes to the trash basket and was
wondering how he was going to make it through the day when the 4th level
manager appeared and offered coffee and an invitation for an immediate
one-on-one in /his/ office.
It turned out he already knew the whole story (presumably that's one of
the reasons one is promoted to that level at that factory) and he
managed sufficient gentle persuasion to convince the geek to dig the
cards out of the trash and put the (unsequenced) decks back in order
before reporting back to him.
When the geek reported back, he was told that the loud-mouthed manager
had already been replaced, and that he would never manage another
project at that widget company. His last words on the matter were:
"Thanks for all your work. Now go home and get some rest - you look like
Later that day (while the programmer slept) the package turned out what
was submitted to widget headquarters as the division's annual budget.
This particular widget company's top management didn't like the idea of
major applications being run on little 32K minicomputers, so they spent
to have three (other) departments spend two years re-implementing that
same software to run on "real" computers. When they were done, the only
noticeable difference was that the runtime had increased from four hours
to eighteen hours.
Gotta just love that big iron. :)
On Mon, 30 Nov 2009 12:37:33 -0600, Morris Dovey wrote:
Great story Morris. I think I knew one or two big blue employees like
Many years ago at a small blue plotter maker, my boss used to go out to
the roach coach, buy my lunch, and quietly place it on my desk. He spent
a great deal of time ensuring that no one disturbed me :-).
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
On Sun, 29 Nov 2009 21:28:29 -0600, Larry Blanchard
Computers at work should never be used for personal effects, not
email, not shopping, U-tube, music, dating or anything else that is
not work related. Those who do are subject to termination. Frequent
flyer miles can be used to upgrade a future business flight, but never
for personal off-job use. These are strict morals and I know there
are many companies that are very relaxed--but that can hurt more than
help. Always best to keep business and personal as separate as
As someone else posted, computers at work should be used within the
policies established by the employer--some allow the casual use as they
recognize draconian policies can be counterproductive to morale. Most
recent employers I've been at have even allowed browsing on the internet
during lunch and or other break time as acceptable usage within obvious
I'd say the "as separate as possible" is that it's almost impossible in
a practical sense to not answer the phone and talk to the wife about the
sick kid, schedule appointments, etc., etc., etc., entirely away from
On the ff miles, what do propose when these miles have accumulated in an
individual's name on trips for a specific employer and now they are
working somewhere else? Are they to never be used? (As someone else
also noted, "just askin' :) )
When I was working as a mechanical engineer, if there had been an Internet
then, I'd have likely sometimes spent days on it doing work-related
stuff--mostly looking for off-the-shelf components to do a job and not have
to reinvent the wheel.
If the employer treats them as a perk then there's no reason not to use them
any more than there's a reason not to use the employer-paid medical
insurance when you're sick.
I'd not be quite so strict about music--if listening to music while you work
makes you more productive, and it does for some people (I'm not one of
them), then it's in the company's interest for them to listen to it.
On Tue, 01 Dec 2009 10:37:12 -0500, J. Clarke wrote:
As long as other people don't have to listen :-).
I almost feel I should apologize for what's turning into a never ending
But as long as I'm curmudgeon for the day, the above brings up another
puzzler. Seems like everyone under 50, and a goodly number over that,
are either listening to music or using a cell phone almost every waking
minute. What gives?
Do they need constant mental stimulation? Is perpetual social contact
required to keep them sane? Are they afraid that in quiet and solitude
they'll find their brain has no worthwhile thoughts?
BTW, I love music. Mostly classical. But I don't use it as silence
filler. I won't run the radio in the car unless I'm on a deserted
highway because I find my attention gets too engrossed in the music.
When I want music, I lean back in my recliner, close my eyes, and
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
I can't go to baseball games, anymore.
The subtle sounds used to be part of the experience. Hearing the
infielders punch the pockets of their gloves. Hearing them chatter to
one another. Hearing *nothing* until there was something to hear, like
the crack of the bat or a fastball smacking into the catcher's mit,
followed by the grunt from the ump.
Now, there isn't a single, solitary second that is allowed to pass at a
ballgame. They are constantly playing music... even *in between*
pitches. Drives me nuts. Started with the organ thing years ago, which
was ok, because it seemed to be dictated by the tempo and status of the
But now, I don't know what they're thinking. What, if I'm not under a
constant barrage of stimulation, I might forget why I'm there and walk
out without buying another $5 beer or $15 program?
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
Yep, that's a big-time annoyance for this baseball fan too. All is not lost,
though: there's still high school and college ball. Certainly not the quality
of ML or AAA professional ball... but it's still enjoyable to watch. And
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