Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The Gorse Fox is renowned for his patience and ability to maintain his equanimity. Today he was teetering on the edge. One of the internal Starfleet reviews was looking at one small part of the bid that we will submit next Monday. The reviewers were a bunch of stokers in the engine room - absolutely critical to the operation but set in their ways and limited in the views.

The task they were being asked to do was to stoke the metaphorical boilers with coal that we will deliver to them. However, we will deliver it to the right side of the boilers and they want it on the left. (Metaphorically). Where we deliver it is constrained by the supplier of the coal - we have no choice. They then proceeded to bleat on about how can they possibly estimate the effort involved when they have never shovelled coal from the right. It's too difficult. It can't be done.

By this point the Gorse Fox was teetering on the edge, and a red mist was rising. He interrupted the call
"Excuse me. Starfleet is the greatest technology company on the planet. You are using boilers that Starfleet designed, on Starfleet premises. You are stoking them with coal that Starfleet produced using the tools that Starfleet built for the job. Stop making excuses."
There was a brief silence, and one of them (probably the shop-steward) had the temerity to ask "On what do you base that assertion?"

"Forty-two years of experience working with and designing these boilers! Any more questions?"

It went very quiet... and normality was restored. The stokers decided they might be able to shovel the other way round, or even move the coal to where they wanted it.

There are times when the thought of retirement becomes overwhelming.

1 comment:

The Gray Monk said...

You have my sympathies, my own retirement became a necessity the day I had to explain, yet again, to the same numbnuts of a manager, why her 'innovation' had been done in the past, but was no longer either the right way or the best way to achieve what we were contracted to deliver. Like you, I eventually played the "because we've been developing better ways to get things done ..." card.

It was definitely time to retire before I physically assaulted someone.