Thursday, June 26, 2008

argh, the e-mails!

I am finding that I am fighting an incresingly losing battle with e-mail both at work and home which really means I'm fighting an increasingly losing battle with my own time management. (I may also be fighting increasingly losing battles with laundry, errands, and personal grooming.)

Regarding e-mail, I have a rather specific system at work and yet it's not specific enough. I sort all client-related e-mails pretty quickly into their respective folders since I'll always know where to find them. However, most other current business I leave in my in box until I have responded to it or otherwise dealt with whatever the matter is. When done with it, I try to sort them into categories, though there's a great deal that sort of blurs the lines and I have trouble keeping my own system straight. Either way, current busiess becomes past due business becomes I'm running way behind business. This all makes for more and more e-mails that are not fully dealt with in the in box.

Monday, June 23, 2008

i've been around

I suppose I need to say something relevant and witty before I break my old record. However, all I have right now is that Hermione was in town for the last week and a bit more and I decided I had much better things to do than blog with our limited time.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

games in business

My last serious post (as in the one that was neither about corn, airline fees nor frogs) got me thinking about the games people play. Work and various aspects of work is so often referred to as a "game" or "playing the game". It is nothing of the sort. Work is serious and it certainly isn't a game. I would say that it's for keeps, but that would it sound like we're offing people over here. However, it is for peoples' jobs, careers, their very livelihoods. Work is work and it is no game. In the realm of games though, I cannot stand people who act like this is a game with their petty power struggles, ridiculous rules and decrees, and general idiot-mongering.

The thing that I've realized though is that the people who have the time and resources for such games are those who don't have better things to do with their time and resources. Those who fall into this category tend to be involved in non-direct functions of the company. Basically, the people grinding it out in the field where the money is really made are busy making money and not scheming up BS. It seems like it's only at higher levels where ego-stroking is important and support functions where people have a need to create importance for what they do that the BS quotient approaches the most absurd levels.

My realization of this is quite positive. It comes as I'm figuring out more about people as well as understanding that there are ways to circumvent the crap that people put out there. It's not that I didn't believe some people weren't blow hards and generally aggravating self-promoters. I'm much too cynical to believe that people are nothing but inherently good. However, the extent to which people behave in ways that are not really beneficial is a bit disheartening. It's not even that there is a lot of it, but what little there is is still far too much.

we have frogs!

We have frog here. And lots of them. There seem to be two main types. The first are larger, but their not even bigger than a man's palm. These frogs are darker green or mottled in color with browns and move sort of slowly. They also predominantly hop along the ground. Then there are smaller frogs that are shinier and a brighter green. These ones stick to things like walls, picnic tables, portables, and all manner of surfaces that can be found. Anyway, I stepped on one of the larger frogs the other night. I didn't see it since it was dark right outside my apartment and it was right at the base of the door. I felt something squishy beneath my feet and let off before seeing a dark shape hop away.

airline fees

An interesting table of the latest airline fees.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

we have corn!

I was out the other day on a job. I'll say I was there for an audit, but I was available and they phoned in that there was a last minute request for sugar so I went. I shouldn't even call it a last minute request. We had already started pumping cement downhole when the company man asked for sugar. It was a ridiculous request, but we're the service company bitch so we pretty much do whatever our clients ask for no matter how stupid, reckless or generally petty their demands are. Anyway, we were done with the job, sitting on the side of the road just off location have a our pre-convoy meeting. We happened to be in the middle of a corn field so some of the guys helped themselves to some corn. Sigh.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


We're perpetually short-handed at work. Well, it feels like we are now. Now, as in this moment on this day at this hour. I'm staring at an interesting next 24 hours, possibly interesting 48 hours, maybe even 72 hours. It's hard to say when the interest will die down. And by interest, I mean borderline panic. In some ways, this is a better problem than having too many people and then having to make heartbreaking layoffs. (That is still probably the worst work experience I've ever had to go through so far.)

We are hiring and it's a good thing. But there's a long lead time on getting someone to what I'll call field usable. No, that's not strictly accurate. It's a short time until someone is field usable, but a long time until they are standalone field usable. There's no real short-term fix. We're implementing just about every short-term stop-gap measure that we can. I'm not going to be specific, but we're getting our work covered. The longer-term fix is simply going to take time.

While we work through this morass we find ourselves in, I am realizing a great deal about how business works, especially this particular business. I'm figuring out which rules, policies, procedures, standards are truly sacred and which ones are not. The good rank and file front-line manager in me is supposed to pitch the message that all the rules and whatchamabobs are important. Some are very important and truly are the sacred cows of the company. Others tend to wilt under the pressure of the sacred cow of all industry: money. This is not some anti-capitalist screed (duh), but a simple realization. Now, the system in which we operate is changing. And money cannot triumph all, or at least not directly. So, while some people I know and have known within the organization appear to have gotten away with murder in the past, the same tricks may not hold up in the future. A good start to a very interesting line of thought.