Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Introduction to Impairment and or Stupidity

I have oft wondered if the Managers I have worked for over the years were under the influence of chemicals, or organically mentally defective. Most of us have heard this asked as: "Are you stoned, or just stupid?"

I have never been completely comfortable with the "Black or White" premise of the question as posed to the person exhibiting odd behavior or blithering such nonsense as to prompt the query. Having been in the company of Infantry Soldiers, I know full well that there is no such restriction as Stoned or Stupid, merely an interesting blend of both, as well as some genetically defective components, and other as yet unknown contributors to the mix.

I work for a Fortune 5 company in the energy industry. I (and a team of talented craftsfolk) build things. I have been building things for about 25 years, and it has become increasingly difficult to prod, cajole and threaten the various engineers to produce the information necessary to actually construct our projects. We hire junior engineers right out of The Polytechnikal Engineering School Of Dolts and Dullards in Central California. We just received our latest batch of the pretentious little turds a couple of months ago, and they are still wandering around trying to figure out how to get the suspension systems into their company provided hard hats.

I'll tell you right now that I never really graduated high school. Fact is, I never got past the 5th grade. Tragedy that it is, my 5th grade education (and subsequent years of construction industry experience) have provided me with more ability to engineer (or more accurately re-engineer) electrical generation systems and technologies, as well as the mechanical systems that support them, than the little turds with pedigrees from institutions of higher learning.

The entire lineage of management above me on the org chart have at one time or another in their vertical career trajectory worked with me as peers. My lack of ascension within the organization is wholly my own fault, if fault need be found. I told them all as we parted ways and they were promoted far beyond their level of greatest incompetence that I had no desire to leave my area of expertise for the luxury of having to deal with people just like me who were just looking for opportunities to make life miserable for those ambitious imbeciles who thought that they were so much smarter and better equipped to manage others that they sucked all the anus they could just to get themselves promoted to the level of managerial pond scum.

I realize without regret that that places me in the part of the organization occupied by the stuff that pond scum excretes as a by-product of whatever biological process it is that affords pond scum to live, stink, and eventually become food for whatever it is on the power curve that thinks that pond scum is a consumable. The fact that everyone in the organization has the word Engineer, Project, and/or Manager (or any permutation thereof) in their job title should tell you that there are a whole lot of chiefs, and very few indians. It's what we in the construction industry call a "Paper Contractor". These are firms that consist of consulting engineers, architects, construction managers and other disciplines who never get their hands dirty and don't actually use tools for a living. What they do is sell work and contract other firms to actually do it. All they tend to add to the equation is overhead and delays, ie: cost.

Our organization, in an effort to convince the Professional Construction Manager I and Construction Manager II positions that they had reason to suspend their disbelief and think that they actually had a career track, created the job called "Construction Project Manager". They also created the Construction Manager III position, but that was just to get some of us off of the parent company incentive plan that was actually paying out some serious money every April. Had to put a stop to that in a hurry.

The "Construction Project Manager" is on the same pay scale grade as a "Senior Project Manager" but there's no hope of going anywhere above that unless they create the "Senior Construction Project Manager" position, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Scary Mary is a "Construction Project Manager". I really don't have the same enmity for her that I do for Diamond Jim (Project Manager), but it's close. You'd have to see Scary Mary in person to get the full effect, but suffice it to say that we consulted the Mary Kay Cosmetics home page to determine if any for their products had an MSDS (material safety data sheet) for the volume of product that she applies to the crags and fissures of loose flesh hanging from the front of her skull. Don't even ask about the bota bags, or if the tattoo is an octopus or some mutant kind of strangling vine. For safety sake, we extinguish all open flames on those rare occassions that Scary Mary actually shows up on the job.

Diamond Jim led a tour of the project today, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the customer asked him about the technical aspects of the installation. Must have been a whole lot of stuttering and stammering, since this is about the third time that Diamond Jim has actually seen the project. I know that Diamond Jim is a liar, I just assume that he's a thief.

I asked the Little Yellow Peril (again) for one of the space savers in the engineer pool to help with RFI's but he said that it would cost the job too much, and since all of his other projects are upside down, he won't allocate the resources necessary to finish this one either. Anyone else have a pattern recognition thing happening here, or is it just me? That was before the "Project Closeout Meeting" in which he sat like a potted plant and tried to look interested while Scary Mary accosted the last remaining contractor about the engineered details that still weren't stamped by HER consulting engineers. Uh, Mary, if you can't get it designed, we can't build it. What are you, stoned or just stupid?