Archive for the Work Category

Pie Man’s Work Lexicon #2 – Jealous manager

Posted in Work with tags on April 8, 2009 by pieman70

A Jealous manager is a manager who is hit by massive pangs of jealousy every time he sees any member of staff of equal or low standing with something that he doesn’t have. Employee X has a company Laptop, Manager must have a laptop, Blackberry, same, branded tie, got to have one of those.

Where does this come from. Well, its usually stems from a manager who is deeply insecure in his or her ability and indeed may feel like they’re in over their head. However, this is normal in starting a promoted position, and most people will admit this and ask for help. Not the jealous Manager, no. Instead to them they must disguise their lack of experience with the trappings of position, as if owning all the paraphernalia of a manager will somehow stop people questioning their suitability for the job. effectively “I look like a manager therefore…” The ultimate nightmare of this sort is for someone below them to be mistaken for the guy in charge through something silly like speaking authoritatively or better knowledge.

This sort of manager is mostly harmless, provided you’re not too bothered about how much of your budget goes onto their stuff, and then its more of an annoyance as they e-mail you from a blackberry to tell you that you can’t have any stationary due to budget constraints. Down side is that if you have something that really helps, and they can’t get hold of one, you will stand to loose said item.

Best way of dealing with this sort is to keep anything useful you have hidden, or better yet, claim its actually yours. They don’t know the requisition system that well and you should be able to get away with that. You also look good because you’re buying your own kit.

Pie Man’s Work Lexicon #1 – Short Range Accounting

Posted in Accountants, Petty Beurocracy, Work with tags , , on October 6, 2008 by pieman70

A little idea, given an optimistic number so as, like flora and fauna of roads I may continue it beyond #1.

Short Range Accounting – Where huge costs and inconvenience are incurred for short term savings.

An example of this comes from when my work was more clerical based. Our department clearly had too few staff for the volume of work. Sometimes this was covered by Temps and sometimes by Overtime. However how this happened was absurd. So we’d be working a few OT shifts here and there and the call would come from on high “Your overtime bill is too High, all OT is banned” very well, says my boss, how does the work get done “Hire a Temp” replies boss. A few months down the line “Our temps costs are too high, dismiss all temps” comes from on high, once again my boss asks how work will be done, “Overtime” replies boss. A few months pass and once again “Your overtime bill is too high….”

There is an obvious solution to this problem that was mooted by my boss of the time, Hire more full time staff. This was dismissed on grounds of cost.

Short range accountancy is practiced by poor managers and over-zealous accountants who are too focused on the costs of their specific sphere of influence or costs over the short term to worry about such things as long term costs, other people’s budgets or practicality. Its a practice that people should be stamping out, but in the world of performance statistics and “Goals” these figures mean more than actual useful work. In short by people who have no interest in the Big picture unless it means they can sack someone or not hire someone by referring to “The Big Picture”

This can also extend to equipment. Most companies will use the cheapest kit available, because it looks good. “Why yes, we are paying 80 pence less per widget using these new ones.” Of course these new widgets are 3 times less effective and wear out 4 times as fast, meaning your yearly widget costs are higher and costs of widget installation and failure are increased as well, but it can’t be the cheap widgets. I’d penalise the staff, they’re doing something wrong.

Spare a thought for Admin

Posted in Wife, Work with tags , on September 11, 2008 by pieman70

My company has recently re-organised. Aside from my usual gripes about this one of the actions involved in this re-org was seemingly to chop a whole load of admin staff, including our admin person.

I seriously feel like an 18 year old on my first day away from home at uni and I think others feel the same. Suddenly there’s a whole load of small, almost minor looking tasks that won’t get done.

Now, my wife works in admin, and she does complain about how under-appreciated admin staff are and how little people know what they actually do. But basically, your admin staff keep things running, they file stuff so engineers can get on with engineering, they organise things, they process data and well, like their name suggests, they administer. However in the usual short sighted way managers with their own PAs think, they don’t understand what admin do, so therefore it must be unimportant.

So, Admin staff out there, I salute you.

Back on the Air

Posted in Engineering, Work with tags , on July 10, 2007 by pieman70

I’m back, well on air at any rate, never really was away sadly.It occurred to me that I haven’t said much about what I actually do for a living. This is deliberate, as I have read too many horror stories about people being sacked for mouthing off in their blogs. So keeping it vague I am a civil engineer (in training) and I was out these last few weeks digging holes.

When I say digging holes I of course don’t mean myself personally. I had people to do that, I just had to look in them and describe what I saw (Mud) and take a photo (Of Mud). All peppered by discussions on how deep the holes should actually be. While this was compounded by the specification having 3 different figures it also wasn’t helped by older supervisors arguing in inches while I’m arguing in millimetres, and this leads me in a roundabout way to my point.

In short, why the hells do we still use imperial measurements. I’ve never heard a convincing argument beyond “Its what we’re used to” well newsflash old timer, in school since at least the early 80s imperial hasn’t been taught, there is an entire generation, now in their late 20s/early 30s who have been taught metric and have to learn imperial when old fools who refuse to move on won’t change.

An argument someone once tried to make was that all the imperial measurements were based on real things, that why people liked them, a foot was the length of a foot for example, well, who’d foot, my Size 11 or my mum’s size 4? An inch is a thumb width, again whose thumb, my pudgy digit or my beloved’s elegant slender thumb? And some are worse, chains, for example, are 22yards, as this was the standard length of surveyors chains, an antique piece of surveying equipment used before someone came up with the revolutionary idea of cloth tape with numbers at regular intervals.

SO, imperial uses vague measurements based on such things as the length of someone’s foot (We still don’t know who this foot belongs to) the temperature of the inside of a cow and the length of an obsolete piece of equipment. These also make for some interesting calculation if they need to be added to anything like a spreadsheet for calculation and tabulation. 1760 yards to the mile. Nice easy figure there, so much less confusing than 1000 millimetres to a metre, or indeed 1000 millilitres to a litre, gods forbid we work everything in base 10 for easy calculation.

And it’s not just this standard calculation based in easy to work with 10s that helps the metric system. Oh no, While some measurements are based on odd things (the metre is based on the distance travelled by light in an absolute vacuum during 1/299,792,458 of a second) ok not something I can measure in my living room but its not something that changes person to person. The original basis however were to use basic relationships between volumes of water, weights of water and the size of meridians. So for example a metric tonne of water is equal to 1000 litres or 1 cubic metre of water. 1 kilogram is the same weight as 1 litre of water.So why hasn’t the world adapted to this wonder system. America claims it too confusing. Proving that no one there has actually considered it seeing as its more intuitive and logical than the old imperial system (and what the hell is a quart anyway)

The UK is arguably worse, in that we have a bunch of sentimental oldsters combined with some rabid petty little Englanders who insist that our entire culture and way of life would be destroyed if you couldn’t buy oranges by the pound and that the metric system is “Soulless” well, That’s fair, we should indeed stick with a complex and confusing system because it has “Soul” as for the first point, our culture is far more about personal behaviour, attitudes etc than whether we use pounds or Kilograms, or pay in Euros, Pounds or Trigantic Ningis.

Lets ditch the misplaced sentimentality and adopt the metric system, them most it will cost is changing road signs.

Just Rewards

Posted in Work with tags on June 22, 2007 by pieman70

Been out on site and really busy so the blog got left alone, which is a shame as I had something to mention. Our company gives rewards for time spent in the company, it has madated stuff for this, for example after 25 years you get a meal with collegues and friends and a free gift. There may also be a certificate. WHen you retired you also got a meal paid for by teh company with colleagues. However this has changed.

Now there are meals spaced throught the Year for retiring staff, so your meal is now with anyone else who retired in the last 3 months and the head of our area. Needless to say with some of the opinions of management from front line staff (Particularly as they’re mates are no longer eating with them and the very well paid manager is getting 4 big meals extra a year) the number who will attend is very small.

This was obviously changed due to costs, however what cost morale. I remember when I was still a temp and we had one of the 25 year meals. At that time our managers could be a little more generous with company cards. well staff morale was at a bit of a low ebb as we were swamped and an unpopular department. However a meal and free booze up actually relaxed everyone and really perked up staff morale and cohesion. In fact so did most company bought drinking sessions. These were obviously stopped as the costs coudln’t be justifed, but for a small bar bill I think you get better, happier and more productive staff.

Long Weekend

Posted in City of Heroes, Games, Movies, Neds, Weddings, Work with tags , , , , , on May 8, 2007 by pieman70

Hard to believe its already tuesday. Visited my wedding venu and started allcoating who we’re going to offer rooms to. Seems like we’re being nice, and we are, all these people we want to see in the morning after. At the same time for the most part we’re really saying “Hello, We’ve picked you from everyone to pay for a room at the Venue.” Also saw SPider-man 3 and my only gripe is I’d really like to see what Raimi coudl ahev done with no studio interfearence and a guarantee that McGuire and Dunst would be available for Spider-Man 4.On Sundya had a day to myself, and since there’s a free badge for any character who logs on during May, I made an effort to complete 1 mission with all of my alts on both servers. Nice to play a bit of CoV and to have outings with some lesser used alts like Sergent Jackson and Frozen Bolt.Had to call the police on our Neighbours again on sat. I think I do the woman living tehre a disservice as when she’s in with just her friends we don’t have noise troubles, they don’t pester Mr. Dog and make him bark and when she takes aformentioend dog on a walk she at least knows that due to inadequate trining he can’t be let off a leash, the bloke however is very lucky a situation wher ethe dog was harassing a small child didn’t escalate or he would have found himself, quite correctly with a dead dog and hopefully would never be allowed to own another animal or have children (Well come on, you can’t keep a dog under control how the hell can you cope with a human) and it is him and his friends who play the loud music.Will have to call the council again now.

What Burns my Toast

Posted in Europe, Politics, Toast, US, Work with tags , , , , on April 23, 2007 by pieman70

Is indeed our often malfunctioning toaster which seems to either warm up bread or turn it to carbonised remains.However I got bugged by something last week and its taken literally days of making guttaral sounds and fist shaking, not to mention being distracted by shiny objects and falling asleep, to properly articulate it.A recent survey foudn that Denmark was the place which had teh happyest residents. The Danes site a well maintained, intergated and reliable public transport, a very good national health service, a good welfare state, clean streets and politicians who are apparently free from corruption and seem to have the interests of the people be the reasons. Naturally this was recieved by those in other countries looking at what denmark does well, such as high taxation but with tangiable, visible results as opposed to politicians trying to make “Legacys” like the dome and the london Olympics. Well actually they didn’t. Instead they decided that Danes have Lower expectations of life.This sort of thing is a real bugbear for me. From where I’m sitting (in an office, sometimes on a chair at home, on select occasions sitting on my balcony sipping an expresso) we shoudl be taking most of our policy and lifesyle queues from Europe, particulalry scandinavian countries, and not from the US. Take drinking, there are talks to stop underage drinking by increasing the drinking age to 21 as it is in the US. Lets compare, we do have a drinking culture, but if the 12 and unders can get alcohol with a leagal age of 18 I fail to see how an increase to 21 will improve matters. Also, take france, the legal age is 12 and wine is generally served to all ages at meals. France has very few alcohol related health problems and low rates of alcoholism and alcohol related violence. The US has a legal age of 21 and has high rates of all three. So who do we emulate, the US. The same for sex education (Just take whatever they do in scandinavian countries and o it here because it works) and forign policy.In personal matters, due to my university graduate skils being once again called on to set up a projector and press the “Next” button on powerPoint, and with our weekly meeting becoming a vast gargantuan all day affair, college and a friday in a meeting looking at holes, I have 1 usable day of work this week. My approach to this, work is already late, it can’t get later.Oh.