Monday, July 10, 2006

The "Weekly Thoughtful Reminder" and other hazards of working

Every week at work, we all receive a "weekly thoughtful reminder" email. It has some random philosophical type of quote that is no doubt supposed to be inspirational, along with some cheerfully upbeat instructions to "be positive" and such. I don't think any of us actually read them any more. I'm pretty sure that we are capable of being thoughtful without having to be reminded on a regular basis. And if they want me to be more thoughtful, sending me less unimportant email might be a good place to start. But this got me thinking about how good I have it in the new career. There really isn't very much Dilberty stuff going on at work. The "weekly thoughtful reminder" is pretty much it. Meetings are rare, and the bosses don't have pointy hair. [Hey! That rhymes!] I have a real office with an actual door that can be closed when I need privacy or a quiet work environment.

Back when I was an engineer, things were much different. Life as a cube-dweller rarely made any sense. Upper management making inexplicable decisions, due dates moving up without regard to reality, middle manager fiefdoms being fiercely protected, and the endless parade of meetings just sucked the humanity out of everyone. And don't forget those TPS Reports. "We're putting new cover sheets on the TPS reports before they go out." "Didn't you get the memo?" OK, I didn't do TPS reports, but you get the idea. Engineers have to document the entire design-build-test process and I don't know of any good engineers who enjoy project paperwork. Not to mention the painful process of getting said paperwork signed and approved by every department manager all the way up the food chain.

So next time I get that weekly thoughtful reminder I will use the few seconds I spend deleting it to remember how lucky I am that it is not an invitation to yet another useless meeting. And I might even close my office door... just because I can.


Dave said...

I don't know if you'll actually see this comment, depending on how you've set Blogger up; but, your new tag sent me back to the old posts.

What's this design-build-test process. I do a lot of construction law. In the building field the process is more like kinda design, with a lot of holes and errors-put it out for bid-use the pre-bid RFA (request for information)process to find out what wasn't actually design and what was poorly designed-rebid the project, or more commonly vaguely respond to the RFA's with cryptic comments and hope that there won't be to many requests for change orders-resist all requests for change orders with comments like, you could have seen that was a patently necessary component of the structure thus you had a duty to inquire prior to bidding-it goes on. Happily, it means I get to make an ok living litigating the results of the disfuncional process.

Dave said...

Sorry for the typos, I've GOT to start spell checking comments.

fermicat said...

Dave - not to worry - I have email notification. And lord knows how much I have misspelled on comments.

About design-build-test, at least with medical products, the requirements force the process to be robust. I worry more about industries with no such requirements.

I work in healthcare now. There is always the possibility of me getting sued. That is just one of the reasons that I am as cautious and careful as possible at all times. I really do care about our patients and want the best and safest treatment for them. Ensuring this is one of my job functions.