The Office Shape-shifter

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The Office Shape-shifter is the individual who actively tries to reshape their image to management and to other employees.  Sometimes, they have an agenda and will try their best to influence others towards a goal.  It’s ok to influence others, but when you’re a shit bag and you’re trying to convince others that you’re not, you’re a shape-shifter.

Shape-shifters will try their best to influence management that they’re not a bad person.  They may be completely incompetent on completing any task.  They spend more energy making sure everyone thinks they’re great.  One may say, “Don’t worry. I know everything has gone to shit since I was gone.  I’m here.  I’m here to save the day.”  They may not be able to tell you how they plan to save the day, but they may try their  best to shape opinions of those around them.

Their tactics are simple.  They will demonize someone with authority.  “That person has no idea what they’re talking about.  I’m so good at what I do, this program cannot go on without me.”  They will also place blame for their inability to complete a task on their personal schedule.  “I had class…how can I honestly complete my work assignment?”.  They will state that they never had enough hours.  “No way I could complete a 40 hour work week in 40 hours.  I need 80.”  They might even sell you on how smart they are. “You know, I teach at a local college. I’m a big deal.”

There are a few ways to handle the Shape-shifter. First, is a PIP or process improvement plan.  It’s the first step in getting them to straighten up or get fired.  However, if your management refuses to fire these fuck tards and you’re tired of dealing with them, you fight fire with fire.  Since they’re a big deal, you could tell them that their services are needed elsewhere.  You send them to another project and they official become a #JollyRoger.  You could give them a large amount of boring tasks and they quit.  You could fire them, but you then fight the uphill HR battle.  Shape-Shifters are the first to go during lay offs.

Pimp Hand Guide to Work

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How do you determine how hard to slap the shit outta an employee or peer at work?  I recently had the issue where every email, I slapped them hard with my pimp hand.  Of course, this will get you a HR complaint and label you as the passive-aggressive asshole.  Today, I learned the Art of the Pimp Hand.  Here’s an example of my most recent email:

“Hello (removed), when are you shipping the batteries back from the field? – Sincerely, Logistics”

Of course, I responded wayyyy too heavy and replied, “Dear Logistics, why are you asking? Are you dictating maintenance in the field? I want to ensure there is no negative impact on the field people – Sincerely, Me”  Of course, there’s rudeness and sharp-talking is usually hostile.  However, this response was too strong.  Young employees with authority can swing their pimp hand way too hard.  I recommend a friend’s approach to swinging the pimp hand.  Observe the chart below:

pimphandMy buddy kept the chart in a hidden, acronym format.  This allows you to save this, without people knowing its true form.  PH stands for “Pimp Hand”.  The levels of swing are located on the Y axis (up and down for you non-math folks).  Heavy means you come out talking with authority and demanding answers.  Medium is you asking really tough questions and give a stern, heavy opinion, but not biting the individual.  Light is when you give “recommendations”, but you don’t care if they’re followed.  None is one of my favorite tactics.  I decide not to respond at all.  It’s not worth my time and a non-answer speaks for itself.  Sometimes, a non-answer means “fuck you”.  It shows that the event or action is not worth your time.

MB stands for “Make Better”.  ME is “Make Easier” or make it easier for someone.  EF is “Egg on Face”.  How embarrassed with the action be for someone? WO is wheels off the train.  This is when you need to bring your heavy pimp hand and slap a mother fucker.

Let me provide a way to heavily pimp slap someone, “Dear (me), I’d like to crack the panel on that air frame and remove cable J1 – Sincerely FuckTard.” My heavy pimp hand swings, “Dear Fucktard, Stand Down! Your removal of J1 is a safety issue and will destroy the product.  Please, consult with our team prior to any maintenance event.”  Crisis possibly avoided.  There are times when you need to pimp hand heavy someone into not doing anything.  They’re afraid to email.  This is good sometimes.

Practice your office pimp hand carefully, grass hopper.

Junkers

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The Junker – Employee who does not clean up and leaves stuff everywhere

I have OCD.  I cannot allow my desk, car, or home become clutter without a panic attack.  In a government office, a clean desk is considered an employee who has too much free time on their hands, therefore, needs more tasks.  When I had my short-time, working for the Air National Guard, I found that a messy desk gave the impression that I was gainfully employed and that I was taking on more tasks.  This made my boss happy.  In the engineering world, senior engineers with a messy desk, plays the same role.

However, us regular engineers (be that ME, EE, SE, TE, or NW) should not have a messy desk.  When a lab space is cleared, a junker will move in and pollute.  They will drop trash on the desk, unwrapped cables, or even a whole box of junk.  They expect you to clean up after them.

Junkers are hard to motivate and there is no negative consequence to junkers.  You can put the junk on their desk and it holds no embarrassment.  You could send an email and CC their management, no one cares.  There is no corporate policy that says you’ll be fired for a messy desk.  However, there are ants.  Junkers don’t recognize that their mess, invites office ninjas to plant rotting food.  Nothing is unsatisfactory than a hungry-man meal that’s eaten and rotting in their desk.  Because their desk is always messy, it’s assumed that the junker will own any mess.  This is where corporate policy does enforce a clean desk and puts that person on profile.  Who is your junker?

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Management Compliance Carrot

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Good managers know how to keep their employees in check.  The engineering world has its drama and share of bad employees.  It also has talented managers who know how to whisper sweet buzz-phrases and if you’re complaint, a compliance carrot.  These carrots could be anything. A promotion? A bonus? Job stability?

At the end of the day, you must watch out for yourself.  It is tradition that you must give your company two weeks notice.  However, the company has no obligation to give you two weeks notice.  You could receive a pink slip on Friday, 24th December, and there’s not a damn thing you could do about it.

When an employee eyeballs the door and wants to leave, management could lead them on with carrots.  These are promises, but not contractual, that could reward you for completing a project, task, or staying quiet.  A compliance carrot is a phrase or promise that is told to you and its expectation is to keep you quiet.  STFU and color.  You’re out of line!  Management knows what’s best for you, even though they cannot get the job done without your actual action on a task or subject.  Truly, if you have nothing holding you back, can you easily spot these carrots as bullshit.  “We’re grooming you for management”.  STFU.  You’re not grooming shit unless I’m being sent to a PMP class or MBA study course.  This is an example of a carrot that truly has no obligation to deliver.  Management positions are opened, interviewed, and decided subjectively.  It’s a good o’l boy club.  Managers want other managers who can deliver on a task on schedule.

Other carrots may be the promise for promotion.  I was once promised a promotion and the manager didn’t deliver.  What’s the negative consequence? The only authority that you have as an employee is to leave.  I hope you niche so it hurts on the way out.

Watch out for carrots…

Dr. Octopus MEME – #SteaksOnTheGrill

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Dr. Octopus MEME – #SteaksOnTheGrill

Dr. Octopus is an engineering employee or manager who when pressured for an answer or responsibility for a task.  The aggressiver, who threatens this beast, is someone who asks a question that could force the octopus to agree to an ETA, agree with the action item, or promise a deliverable or artifact.  Big words? Those familiar to professional engineer meetings completely understand this beast.

“Mr. BlahBlah, when can we have that draft for peer review?”  This very question forces the octopus to squirt, squirt, and squirt a defense.  “Uhmm..we need to continue…..working this task and ensure that you’re given a deliverable that’s work reading.  The iron is still hot” (or insert some stupid analogy that doesn’t excuse this person).

Once spotted, this slippery octopus will run to the corner and never take responsibility.  Ways to make this type of person accountable is to schedule an end date via the calendar.  You invite their superiors or higher ups that would force them to deliver.  Another method is to invite a higher up to suggest a deadline.  If there is no negative consequence, the Octopus will squirt all day, charging $75/hour until your budget is drained and no real quality work is delivered.

Military Chow Hall – Roy’s Steak Recipe

110219-A-5634G-006: A fire blazes Nov. 4, 2010 on Multi-National Base Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan. The fire consumed six Afghan National Army tents and was stopped by the Tarin Kowt Fire Department just short of consuming a seventh tent filled with mortars and other explosives. The TKFD fought the fire for over an hour with U.S. Army firefighting forces. The U.S. firefighters from TKFD had only been in Afghanistan two weeks when the raging fire broke out. (Courtesy Photo)

Summary: Some of us have had the fortune to eat at a military chow hall.  We bring you the secret for their BBQ success.

Picking the meat:  Any cut of meat will work, but you must pick the cheapest product possible.  Never pay more than 25 cents a pound.

Seasoning: None.

Preparation:  In the spirit of Roy’s Chow Hall, boil your steak in water for approximately 40 minutes.  Put in the freezer for two weeks.

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Grill Day:

Step 1: Take the steak out of the freezer

Step 2: If time is available, thaw it.  If not, proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Grill your steak until you’ve achieved the grill marks.

TBoneSteak3[1]Note: Results may vary and photo does not represent end product.

 

Step 4: Serve to your guests.