Wednesday, April 30, 2008

discipline is un-fun

One of the least pleasant things about being a pseudo-manager is disciplining employees. It's better than actually laying people off, but still unpleasant. I like the people I work with. They're good people, have lives, but sometimes under-deliver when it comes to expectations. And while a good talk to clarify expectations is pleasant enough, much more than that becomes less fun.

What likely bothers me the most about employee discipline is that it usually presages something worse. Formal verbal warnings and write-ups are almost always precursors to termination. It may not happen tomorrow, but if someone has slipped up enough to actually warrant formal action, then it's usually just a matter of time until the final straw. But of course, we need documentation and progressive discipline to cover our corporate hides when the ax finally falls. Most people actually on boards with the program will not reach the point where formal discipline is required.

If we're into true and formal discipline, it means I'm already assuming we'll be out an employee in the not-too-distant future. Which means interviews and hiring, uncertainty, training costs, etc. Good people are great to have. As long as they're not complaining all the time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Deep down, I really dislike conflict. For whatever people think they know about me now or think they knew about my in high school, college or whenever, I find conflict incredibly unappetizing. I like a good debate, lively discussion, a passionate deployment of contrary ideals. But conflict is something else. Something darker.

I've seen plenty of conflict. Not strictly in my own life, but I've seen lots that was tangential (or possibly perpendicular) to my existence. Conflict gets very little done. It's this leech upon peoples' attitude and morale. Unfortunately, there's perpetually a lot of conflict at work.

This is not solely the fault of people here at work. Admittedly, this is a difficult working environment. The hours, labor, and clients all put strains on otherwise sane and normal people. (Though I must question if any normal person could hold a job here.) Thus, my desire to not be a part of the creation of any additional conflict. I have a take on the whole situation that amounts to this: There's so much bullshit that we have to put up with because of the nature of the business that we don't need to go around manufacturing more aggravation. It's basically a corollary to The No Asshole Rule .

Monday, April 21, 2008

so lots of people are paired up now

Not that this is a startling revelation, but getting around our vaunted internet has made me realize that several of my friends (and myself) are currently in long-term relationships. Long-term, serious, committed relationships. And there's a good chance many of them will likely marry the person they are now with. Just saying.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

just really busy

Work is strange. It always has been. This is a peculiar place to work in a great sort of way. At a field district, it's pleasantly casual in terms of dress and speech, but ultimately very serious in terms of getting the job done that needs to be done. People tell a lot of jokes, have a good time, but we all know what we need to do and will work as long as necessary to get it done.

I should never pretend that I have a lot of work to do. Well, I do, but its spread out. Work is tied to when clients want our work. So hours and phone calls are erratic. It's not like I'm still in the field, but I'm still responsible for what happens in the field. So I sleep in my own bed nearly every night (no more pick-ups for me) but the phone has a tendency to ring. Sometimes the questions are good, sometimes not so good.

That is one of the things I have been trying to push. It's something I've discussed at our last two meetings. I like to think I make myself accessible to those around me and can help them with their questions and problems. However, don't come to me with a problem you haven't tried to solve. Come to me with a solution. Or at least show a demonstrable effort that you tried to solve the problem. The joys, the frustrations of people.

Friday, April 04, 2008

weak dollar --> wii shortage?

Has the weak U.S. dollar led to a Wii shortage? One analysts says yes. If you do not wish to register for The Dallas Morning News, here are the relevant passages:

With a weak dollar, foreign companies that sell their goods in the U.S. for dollars and then convert those dollars to their native currencies get a smaller profit than if they sell their products in countries with strong currencies of their own (such as Europe with the euro). In other words, Nintendo makes a bigger profit on Wiis sold in Europe than on Wiis sold in the U.S.

So Nintendo, Mr. Pachter said, has been behaving perfectly rationally by sending excess Wii consoles to Europe to satisfy the more profitable consumers there.

This may actually be a good thing. Our lazainess, which is the root of our endless desire to print money, has finally prevented people from engaging in more lazy behavior. Though, since this is the Wii, people might get some sort of workout from it playing some of the games.