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Author Topic: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74  (Read 4290203 times)

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faithlessone

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3435 on: February 21, 2013, 04:36:44 AM »
I had the pleasure of talking to a Special Snowflake that turned into Professional Darwinism at work yesterday!

I work in the office of a small building company. Very small. There's the boss, his son, three of us office people (one full time, two part time), six builders and three electricians. There were two more builders and another electrician before Christmas, but they had to be laid off because there just wasn't enough work. We also heard yesterday morning that another builder is going into "voluntary" retirement. :(

So, we're not hiring right now. (Obviously). However, the trade is scarce all over the area (probably all over the country), so we do get a lot of "are you hiring" calls, and other companies/independent workers asking to be kept in mind for future work. Which is totally fine. We keep a folder of their details so when the work does pick up (usually when the weather gets better), we can call them.

Yesterday afternoon, the phone rang. On the other end was a man. I won't hazard a guess at his physical age, though he was acting like a petulant 6-year-old, so who knows?

Me: Hello, (name of company), how can I help?
Man: Are you hiring?
Me: I'm afraid we're not at the moment. If you want to send in your details, we could put them on file? We do usually take on extra people during the summer.
Man: THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
Me: I'm sorry, but that's all I can do right now. What sort of work were you looking for?
Man: Building.
Me: Okay, well, I can take your details over the phone if that's easier. Do you have a (card that means you're qualified to be a builder) card?
Man: A what?
Me: A (Full name of the qualification body) card? Some people call it a (colloquial name)?
Man: What's that?
Me: *major alarm bells ringing* I'm afraid all our workers have to have a card. If you don't have one, we won't be able to use you.
Man: THAT'S JUST CRAZY. I'M A BUILDER. I'VE BUILT THINGS. I DON'T NEED A ******* CARD TO BE A BUILDER.

Luckily, at this point, my boss (the owner of the company) walked into the office, and I made crazy hand signals to get him to take over.

Me: Let me pass you over to the boss.
Man: FINALLY.

The boss repeated the need for this qualification card, then asked him for his details, and the details of where he learnt his trade. The man abruptly hung up without telling him anything.

His phone number has now been placed on our "DO NOT ANSWER" list. :)

Roodabega

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3436 on: March 01, 2013, 02:13:23 PM »
All the computer talk reminded of something that happened many years ago at my first job.  The company I worked for was consumer oriented, and downtime was a major, the CEO is going to get notified issue.  This was the IBM mainframe days and we had a large room full of equipment.  All of the equipment was managed from a central console. 

We had been in the CR working on resolving an issue that had caused an outage, which idled several thousand people.  We had just resolved the problem and were standing around shooting the breeze.  My boss was always flirting with one specific data entry girl, and was doing so again that day.  She really had no business being in the CR other than she wanted to be near the boss.

She says to my boss "What does this grey button labeled 'EPO' do?"  He then replies "Why don't you just push it and find out?"  Kind of like in slow motion, the system admins and the operations staff watch as she reaches down and pushes the Emergengy Power-Off button.  As soon as we realized what she was doing, a bunch of us yelled "NOOOOOoooo", but it was of course too late.  The silence in the room with all of the equipment shut down was deafening.

It only took us a full 45 minutes to get the system back up and running again.  My boss explained it off to his boss as another system glitch.   I really don't know how he talked his way out of that one.

After that day, the button was covered by a cardboard cover held down with duct tape.  A big "NO" was written on the cardboard.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3437 on: March 01, 2013, 02:33:33 PM »
I worked with someone years ago, when I was the service contract biller for a company that sold phone systems.  Bea had been hired to help all of us billers, and it was a struggle.  She was one of the laziest persons I have ever met, and a slow learner as well (mostly because she never shut up to listen).  Our supervisor went on vacation when Bea had been with us two months, and her instructions were: Bea is to do one small batch of invoices on Monday, and the rest of the week, she could file and shred.  Some of the billers kept saying that when she finished the 2 hours of work that the invoices would take, Bea would spend the rest of the week talking our ears off.

I only wish.  Everything that could be done wrong was done wrong.  She didn't balance; she fed the invoices backwards through the printer; she messed up customer numbers and billed the wrong customer and had to void it out.  This was not rocket science!  A straightforward task that we had been showing her how to do for two months.

Finally, on Friday afternoon, she is printing the invoices.  While she waited for the printing to finish, Bea decided to lean her hand up on the big red button level with the top of her head.  It had to be an uncomfortable way to stand, but Bea did it.

It was the emergency computer shut down.  Bea tried to giggle and "Oopsie!" her way out of it, but we were all furious with her, and she knew it.  They got rid of her shortly after, although I never understood why they let her go more than 2 weeks with her incompetence.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

hjaye

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3438 on: March 02, 2013, 11:37:13 AM »
This did not turn into PD, but it sure came close. 

Years ago I worked for a small IT consulting firm.  It had one major client so naturally the owner of the company wanted to make sure we gave top notch service to the customer.

We were responsible for the email infrastructure for the client which was based on a Microsoft platform, at that time it was Microsoft Exchange version5.5 (this was back in the late 90's)  Microsoft had come out with a new service pack for the Exchange5.5 platform.  A service pack is basically a bunch fixes and upgrades to remedy problems that had been identified with the application. 

Wanting to make sure we did our due diligence, a time was scheduled to apply the service pack to the email servers.  My boss decided that to make sure the email environment was clean, he was going to run some utilities on the email servers.  One of the utilities is something called eseutil, which defragments the database.  The idea is that a fragmented database slows things down since the information is not easily readable since the information is not in consecutive order.  Defragmenting the database will clean things up and increase performance.

However, if my boss had actually done real due diligence, he would have found out, that one of the problems that the new service pack was going to fix, was a problem with running eseutil against an email database that was larger than 16 GB.  If you tried to defrag a database that was 16GB, it basically destroyed the database which would take down the entire email infrastructure and all of the email for all of the employees would be lost.

the email database on the clients email servers was just over 16GB, my boss was the one who ran the utility, and he crashed their email system.  There were backups, but there were problems being able to read the backups to rebuild the email environment.  It took over a week, but eventually, with the help of Microsoft, they were able to rebuild and restore most of the mail.

My boss was literally in the bathroom getting sick the first few days of trying to fix things.  The quirk in all this, is that the client never really knew what happened, they didn't know why the system crashed, and there was no post mortem to find out exactly what went wrong.  My boss actually made a lot of money since he had over 12 employees working practically around the clock for a week to fix the problem, and he charged the client for all the time spent fixing the problem.

the client not only paid the invoice for all the time, they actually thanked my boss for all the hard work and diligence at working at fixing the problem, and he came out of it smelling like a rose

artk2002

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3439 on: March 02, 2013, 11:51:48 AM »
She says to my boss "What does this grey button labeled 'EPO' do?"  He then replies "Why don't you just push it and find out?"  Kind of like in slow motion, the system admins and the operations staff watch as she reaches down and pushes the Emergengy Power-Off button.  As soon as we realized what she was doing, a bunch of us yelled "NOOOOOoooo", but it was of course too late.  The silence in the room with all of the equipment shut down was deafening.

It only took us a full 45 minutes to get the system back up and running again.  My boss explained it off to his boss as another system glitch.   I really don't know how he talked his way out of that one.

After that day, the button was covered by a cardboard cover held down with duct tape.  A big "NO" was written on the cardboard.

My pulse went up and I got a knot in my stomach as soon as I read "EPO." About the only thing worse would be triggering a halon dump in the computer room.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Acadianna

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3440 on: March 02, 2013, 12:19:35 PM »
My pulse went up and I got a knot in my stomach as soon as I read "EPO." About the only thing worse would be triggering a halon dump in the computer room.

Another one that would be close.  40 years ago, when computer machinery filled a fairly large room, my then-boyfriend was one of the sysops for the computer center at the university we both attended.  I happened to be in the machine room, not long after the new disk drives were installed.  I also happened to look into the disk drives, and then asked my BF:

"Why are the new disk drives smoking like mad?"

Cue Panic.

ETA:  Fortunately, it didn't trigger the Halon system!

Cami

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3441 on: April 04, 2013, 11:28:13 AM »
I am watching a vendor commit Professional Darwinism in front of me nearly as I type.

Background: We provide services A & B to clients. We have a contract with Vendor to provide A with our clients. This relationship has been in effect since mid-January. We've been in regular communication since then. No problems. All went well until last week, when clients called and told us that Vendor insisted they pay Vendor for B.  I thought, "No big deal. I'll call them up and straighten it out."

Beginning of big deal:  I called them up and told our rep, "Susie" of the problem. Susie's response, "Well, we checked your website and the way we read it, we should have been charging them for B all along."
Me: "No. In fact, it's quite clear that we are charging them for B." I read the verbiage to her.
Susie: "Oh, guess I read it wrong." [note the lack of apology here]
Me: "Okay. So let's just confirm the names of the people you've charged and I'll just refund them from here to make it easy."
Susie: "Oh, I can't give you the names."
Me: "Why?"

Big deal #1:
Them: "It's too much trouble."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Them: "We won't give you the names. It's too much trouble. Are you hard of hearing or what?"

Big deal #2:
Client calls me today to warn me that she called there to make sure her credit card had been refunded and the tells me that Susie was not only snippy and abrasive with her, but also badmouthed us and told her that, "The only reason we've had this problem is that Cami is incompetent." Shortly thereafter, second client calls and tells me the same thing.

Darwinism moment: Guess whose contract is going to be terminated at the end of the month?
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 11:35:57 AM by Cami »

LazyDaisy

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3442 on: April 04, 2013, 11:47:33 AM »
I am watching a vendor commit Professional Darwinism in front of me nearly as I type.

Background: We provide services A & B to clients. We have a contract with Vendor to provide A with our clients. This relationship has been in effect since mid-January. We've been in regular communication since then. No problems. All went well until last week, when clients called and told us that Vendor insisted they pay Vendor for B.  I thought, "No big deal. I'll call them up and straighten it out."

Beginning of big deal:  I called them up and told our rep, "Susie" of the problem. Susie's response, "Well, we checked your website and the way we read it, we should have been charging them for B all along."
Me: "No. In fact, it's quite clear that we are charging them for B." I read the verbiage to her.
Susie: "Oh, guess I read it wrong." [note the lack of apology here]
Me: "Okay. So let's just confirm the names of the people you've charged and I'll just refund them from here to make it easy."
Susie: "Oh, I can't give you the names."
Me: "Why?"

Big deal #1:
Them: "It's too much trouble."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Them: "We won't give you the names. It's too much trouble. Are you hard of hearing or what?"

Big deal #2:
Client calls me today to warn me that she called there to make sure her credit card had been refunded and the tells me that Susie was not only snippy and abrasive with her, but also badmouthed us and told her that, "The only reason we've had this problem is that Cami is incompetent." Shortly thereafter, second client calls and tells me the same thing.

Darwinism moment: Guess whose contract is going to be terminated at the end of the month?
End of the month!?! Why not immediately?
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." Douglas Adams

wheeitsme

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3443 on: April 04, 2013, 11:50:40 AM »
I am watching a vendor commit Professional Darwinism in front of me nearly as I type.

Background: We provide services A & B to clients. We have a contract with Vendor to provide A with our clients. This relationship has been in effect since mid-January. We've been in regular communication since then. No problems. All went well until last week, when clients called and told us that Vendor insisted they pay Vendor for B.  I thought, "No big deal. I'll call them up and straighten it out."

Beginning of big deal:  I called them up and told our rep, "Susie" of the problem. Susie's response, "Well, we checked your website and the way we read it, we should have been charging them for B all along."
Me: "No. In fact, it's quite clear that we are charging them for B." I read the verbiage to her.
Susie: "Oh, guess I read it wrong." [note the lack of apology here]
Me: "Okay. So let's just confirm the names of the people you've charged and I'll just refund them from here to make it easy."
Susie: "Oh, I can't give you the names."
Me: "Why?"

Big deal #1:
Them: "It's too much trouble."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Them: "We won't give you the names. It's too much trouble. Are you hard of hearing or what?"

Big deal #2:
Client calls me today to warn me that she called there to make sure her credit card had been refunded and the tells me that Susie was not only snippy and abrasive with her, but also badmouthed us and told her that, "The only reason we've had this problem is that Cami is incompetent." Shortly thereafter, second client calls and tells me the same thing.

Darwinism moment: Guess whose contract is going to be terminated at the end of the month?

And guess who probably won't have a job at the end of the month?

Cami

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3444 on: April 04, 2013, 12:07:05 PM »
I am watching a vendor commit Professional Darwinism in front of me nearly as I type.

Background: We provide services A & B to clients. We have a contract with Vendor to provide A with our clients. This relationship has been in effect since mid-January. We've been in regular communication since then. No problems. All went well until last week, when clients called and told us that Vendor insisted they pay Vendor for B.  I thought, "No big deal. I'll call them up and straighten it out."

Beginning of big deal:  I called them up and told our rep, "Susie" of the problem. Susie's response, "Well, we checked your website and the way we read it, we should have been charging them for B all along."
Me: "No. In fact, it's quite clear that we are charging them for B." I read the verbiage to her.
Susie: "Oh, guess I read it wrong." [note the lack of apology here]
Me: "Okay. So let's just confirm the names of the people you've charged and I'll just refund them from here to make it easy."
Susie: "Oh, I can't give you the names."
Me: "Why?"

Big deal #1:
Them: "It's too much trouble."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Them: "We won't give you the names. It's too much trouble. Are you hard of hearing or what?"

Big deal #2:
Client calls me today to warn me that she called there to make sure her credit card had been refunded and the tells me that Susie was not only snippy and abrasive with her, but also badmouthed us and told her that, "The only reason we've had this problem is that Cami is incompetent." Shortly thereafter, second client calls and tells me the same thing.

Darwinism moment: Guess whose contract is going to be terminated at the end of the month?
End of the month!?! Why not immediately?
Because we have to give 21 days notice of intent to vacate the contract. So while Vendor was told today that the contract would be vacated, the actual termination won't happen until the end of the month.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3445 on: April 04, 2013, 12:38:58 PM »
I would think that they are the ones in violation of the contract thereby nullifying it.

Only thing I can think is to put a big notice on your company website alerting customers not to fall for the scam and report directly to your company of any payments they've made.
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." Douglas Adams

Midnight Kitty

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3446 on: April 04, 2013, 03:31:50 PM »
Background: We provide services A & B to clients. We have a contract with Vendor to provide A with our clients. <snip> All went well until last week, when clients called and told us that Vendor insisted they pay Vendor for B.  I thought, "No big deal. I'll call them up and straighten it out."

Beginning of big deal:  I called them up and told our rep, "Susie" of the problem. Susie's response, "Well, we checked your website and the way we read it, we should have been charging them for B all along."
Why would Vendor have the right to charge for service B?  They only provide service A as a sub to Your Company.  I assume that Your Company provides service B either directly or through another vendor.

If Your Company is contracted to provide A & B, why don't they bill for both, then pay Vendor for providing service A?  I don't know the specifics of this situation, but usually the prime contractor gets paid by the client and then, in turn, pay their subcontractors after collecting a service or management fee.  When I was a consulting civil engineer, we often contracted with surveyors.  We billed the client for the surveyors' work and added a 10% "management fee" for our effort in coordinating the work.

Big deal #1:
Them: "It's too much trouble."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Them: "We won't give you the names. It's too much trouble. Are you hard of hearing or what?"
This comment would have set me off like fireworks.  I would have been in my manager's/supervisor's office in 1 minute, telling her what happened and escalating it to Susie's boss within an hour.  It might take 21 days to terminate the contract, but it shouldn't take more than a couple hours to have Susie pulled off your account.  This statement is completely, totally over the line.  Susie's not even in the same galaxy as the line.

Be sure to post the fall out.  Inquiring minds want need to know.  (passing around virtual popcorn with plenty of virtual butter) >:D
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.  The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

Marcus Aurelius

TeamBhakta

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3447 on: April 09, 2013, 03:23:14 PM »
Our local news often runs a segment about restaurants passing or failing health inspections. One restaurant was immediately shut down this week by the health department for violations, including rat droppings under their fridge  :P The restaurant owner told the news "it's not a big deal, because you wouldn't even know the rat droppings were there unless someone got down on the floor and looked under the fridge...we look forward to reopening very soon." Good luck with that, buddy  :o
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 03:24:58 PM by TeamBhakta »

blue2000

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3448 on: April 09, 2013, 03:56:23 PM »
The problem with rat droppings under their fridge is that it means a rat (or several rats) are living there. Probably running on the counters and tables, too, and getting into the leftover food.

Rats doing Swan Lake moves through the soup may be amusing on YouTube, but not when it is my soup! :-X
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

Cami

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Re: Professional Darwinism: Update to OP on p.74
« Reply #3449 on: April 09, 2013, 04:02:01 PM »
Background: We provide services A & B to clients. We have a contract with Vendor to provide A with our clients. <snip> All went well until last week, when clients called and told us that Vendor insisted they pay Vendor for B.  I thought, "No big deal. I'll call them up and straighten it out."

Beginning of big deal:  I called them up and told our rep, "Susie" of the problem. Susie's response, "Well, we checked your website and the way we read it, we should have been charging them for B all along."
Why would Vendor have the right to charge for service B?  They only provide service A as a sub to Your Company.  I assume that Your Company provides service B either directly or through another vendor.

If Your Company is contracted to provide A & B, why don't they bill for both, then pay Vendor for providing service A?  I don't know the specifics of this situation, but usually the prime contractor gets paid by the client and then, in turn, pay their subcontractors after collecting a service or management fee.  When I was a consulting civil engineer, we often contracted with surveyors.  We billed the client for the surveyors' work and added a 10% "management fee" for our effort in coordinating the work.

I wrote the scenario in a very generic way. To explain why our system does not work the way yours does would be to provide too much information. You'll just have to take my word for it that our system works the way it works.