Wouldn't let me on the cardiac ward
That was genuinely funny... now everyone is looking at me...
BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns So I get into the office and immediately I sense a disturbance in the natural order of things – mainly the jarring combination of too much aftershave and an overdose of enthusiasm. It gets worse when I get upstairs and see a large wooden tabletop with the word TEAMWORK inserted into it …
Funnily enough our local radio club had a Zoom club meeting in the middle of Covid lockdown. One of our members was taken ill so joined the meeting from the casualty ward of the local hospital with the nurses waving at us in the background.
It's a fun memory although the poor guy did end up dying.
It is the early 90s. The scene is a common work space, with the boss esconced in a goldfish bowl office
He seems to spend an inordinate time on the phone and, suspicions aroused, a colleague approaches the door while he is away at lunch.
<Jiggle> in the lock
The door opens. A quick scout around, followed by <jiggle> in the desk lock.
Cutting after cutting after cutting of black-and-white line drawings and photos accompanied by 0898 numbers promising exchanges on almost any subject.
Powder is kept dry until a few months later, when itemised billing by extension number is introduced...
At one point, I was working in a ground floor office, which had full height glass "walls" directly by the pavement running alongside the building.
Thankfully, said glass was silvered, so people generally couldn't see into the office during the day.
Which meant that one day, attention was called to a young lady, who'd clearly had quite an enjoyable afternoon in the pub, and had decided to use the corner of our building to relieve herself. While clearly being completely unaware that said silvered glass was effectively a one-way mirror, and there was a load of tekkie types staring at her...
I worked at a factory in a holiday resort in East Devon, we also had windows like that along one side of the building. To the amusement of the entire factory floor who got to watch a couple enjoying the isolation the countryside brings with the chap enthusiastically bouncing on his lady love on a hilly field a short distance away.
We gave them a round of applause as they passed by the factory on the walk back to town.
I remember one 'icebreaker'.
Each member of a team of four had to lay on the floor on a flipchart sheet, and the others painted their outline with kiddie paints.
Each 'portrait' - grossly enlarged and deformed, of course - then hung on the walls around the room for the entire week (yes, those bloody courses were that long) for reasons I have never been able to fathom.
I have been forced once to attend such a course. I've flatly refused something similar on the grounds of "No, thanks. I'm 24 years old, not 4, and I think my contributions to my team do not depend on me dipping my hands in paint of dubious origin". Chief Twits "exercise" fell rather flat after that...
On another course - and this one was part of the initial introduction of 'Teamworking' - we were on a residential thing at a country resort.
It was my (and everyone else's) first encounter with people who wear sandals and cargo shorts to deliver courses (and who would probably have preferred to go naked if it had been allowed).
Once we were through running around the woodland on 'treasure hunts', and building bridges spanning large gaps using A4 copier paper and Lego (I'm not making any of that up), the course people announced that there would be a 'forfeit' where teams had to put on a performance on stage to the hotel staff. It quickly became apparent that 'dressing up' would be involved, and then even clearer that one of my group (a manager of my level) was EXTREMELY eager to cross-dress if the opportunity arose.
I pointed out that I would not be getting on stage. I truthfully pointed out I have a virtual phobia about it. I would happily present a serious topic to a room full of 200 people (and have done many times), but not acting and dressing up. I said I would be more than happy to work backstage, but I would not appear on it.
It then became clear another team member - of staff level, who reported to me - also had a phobia about it, and he was less restrained. He became upset, actually in tears, to the point of threatening to punch anyone who tried to make him do it. At one stage, he was nearly ejected from the course until I calmed him down. He thanked me later for standing up the original idea.
Takes me back 30 years...
"Welcome to your teambuilding course, for this is YOUR course..."
Hearts sank, morale instantly deflated.
After a morning of team games he corners me during lunch... "I couldn't help noticing how well you got on with your team mates."
"We've all met before", I reply.
"But the teams were made up from different departments."
"Yes, but we all go to the same pub at lunchtime", say I, with the clear subtext that the pub is where real teambuilding gets done.
And where I'd rather be.
The motivational-bollocks industry loves to borrow terms from industry and the military to try to make itself sound all technical. After the icebreaker, they'll introduce you to the nuts and bolts of the matter and brief you on the toolkit which will be used in this workshop...
"Whatever happened to,
he got an ice pick,
that made his ears burn...
No more trainers anymore,
No more trainers anymore"
Shortened for brevity. I'm so glad I've retired from all this bovine excreta in the guise of corporate team building.
Icon because bs has no relevance to IT!
"But the teams were made up from different departments."
Which then begs the question, what type of team are we trying to build with people from different departments who don't actually work together and, for work purposes at least, never actually meet? Is there a point to team building with people you are unlikely to ever meet again?
"Is there a point to team building with people you are unlikely to ever meet again?"
Yes. It pays good money to the snake-oil salesmen who run the events and the hotels or whatever that host them. A point for the company you work for? Why would you expect that?
As a variant of that, vary occasionally I would have to visit crime scenes in extremely dodgy areas. I would have an armed escort, sometimes RUC, sometimes army, sometimes both. I've never worked with them before. Woah! I'm trusting my life to the protection these guys are providing, I've never met them before and I can do this without even a team building exercise? Im Possible!
Well, actually I expect them to look after my safety, they expect me to do my job efficiently so we can remove ourselves from the dodgy neighbourhood ASAP. We're all professionals at our respective tasks. What more do we need?
(OK, let's gloss over the fact that a combined operation once took me to the wrong address in Twinbrook.)
Wait I know this. It's because when you're faffing about at the teapoint/kitchen/water cooler yacking with the other wage slaves you'll have all these eureka moments when you realise that two teams are working on exactly the same thing...not that you can fertilise each others workstreams...unless that's your bag...
> A company having two teams working on the same thing without being aware of each other's existence?
Indeed - this happened to me when I was part of the Network Team of $Fred'sLargeBankPLC, which team covered mainly the southern and middle part of England. Quite by chance, we suddenly became aware of a parallel team which covered the more northern part of the UK, and of whom we had never previously heard!
Perhaps we should have been more inquisitive, but we had a lot of work to do, and thinking outside the job was frowned upon...
Yes, as well as what kind of team,in what way they should work together, how different roles are fulfilled and interchanged,and so forth. i.e. all the real team building nitty gritty that these twat courses never actually touch upon ( but which organisational psychology covered in some detail when I was learning about that stuff).
Most enlightening "teambuilding" I've ever had was in a training course for "deep in the weeds" mechatronics stuff that had some "non-tech" elements. Basic concept was one of those 4-color personality types but unsurprisingly most of us there were deep in the "blue corner" of being engineers and nerds. It became interesting however when the focus wasn't on what that would mean for us but how that related to all the other personalities and why we can't stand certain other people and how they act. Plus how to deal with them without things escalating. That was more valuable to me than all the other "teambuilding" idiocy that I've ever had to attend that was focused on other personality types that left me feeling at best annoyed.
We had one of these a couple of years ago (pre-Covid) and they are actually worth doing (Yup, surprised the heck out of me too). A lot of this I think had to do with the presenter actually REALLY knowing his stuff (and having a good bag of funny stories to tell along the way).
Other than that most of the rest of the events we took part in the rest of the week were pretty lame by comparisson.
I think the idea being that the team members will stop calling the people in other departments for simpering idiots or neanderthals, and actually start cooperating with them...
The only thing a Teambuilding dofus manage to get them to agree on is that the dofus needs to be taken out back and playfully rolled through a few cow patties.
Other than that, what everyone wants to do is forget everything that happened, and hope that the simpering neanderthals in the same group also does, otherwise they might have blackmail material on you.
NO ONE has yet managed to prove that Teambuilding exercises actually work!
"suddenly WFH is a beautiful thing"
As is retirement.
One IT managert seemed to believe in murder mystery evenings for team-building (obviously a lack of judgement on her part). I think she shied away from trying to involve me. I was looking forward to being asked so I could refuse on the basis that I don't do amateur nights*.
*Ex-forensic scientist here.
Buggrit. I meant cats.
It was a somewhat misguided ad. The intent was to sell some kind of snake oil vaporiser to calm cats with a propensity for fighting.
What the ad actually said implied something quite different, along the lines of a BOFH strategem:
"Are your cats fighting? Just plug into an electrical socket in your cat's favourite room. Recommended by vets."
Many years ago site management had done an 'improve your skills' type course with mind mapping and all that jazz and decided that us peons should also do it.
I was feeling rather unhappy since I had a ton of work on which nobody else could do and deadline wasn't being shifted for my attendance at this thing.
His first statement was along the lines of "let's not see problems as problems let's see them as.."
I didn't let him finish "I work in IT support, a problem is a problem is a problem 99% of the time", 'umm, yes, we'll get back to that'
Next thing from him was, "when you come back from break please all sit at different seats so you get a different perspective"
I just sat at the same seat all day glaring at him and pointing out where his pearls of wisdom might apply to management but not to us peons who actually did stuff for a living on a manufacturing site.
I don't think he was my best friend by the end of the day but it was of course him who was laughing all the way to the bank.
"His first statement was along the lines of "let's not see problems as problems let's see them as.."
I once had a manager who had that as his favourite phrase. Clearly he'd read that one management skills book cover to cover, but skipped all the bits between the covers.
We had one of these a few years back, the prof taking it was trying to emphasise the fantastic rate of change in the technology world, and as an example asked us to compare the car we drove to the meeting today with the one we had 5 years ago. At which point everyone turned and looked at me, and my boss piped up that I still drove the same car then as I do now. Ok, he says, there's always one, so think about the the car you drove 10 years ago, at which point there was deadly silence. Realising what was about to be said, he quickly changed it to 15 years ago, at which point the entire meeting descended into fits of laughter and the prof walked out. My car was then 17 years old and I'd had it from virtually new (but it DID have a digital speedo, and a crap voice synthesis box...).
team building exercises.......
Or as we like to phrase them
"finding out everyone hates the accountant and would cheerfully set the &%^$*&%*%&*% on fire using nothing but 2 sticks, a magnifying glass, some kindling and Bear Grylls"
Eg. We make bits for a tier 1 automotive supplier, lots of bits... lots and lots in fact , however depending where the tool are in the magazine, the part can take 52 or 53 seconds.. maybe 54 sometimes..... accountant makes a note in his tour of the factory floor that it takes 52 seconds.... and at the next meeting decides to berate me on the basis its currently logged at 53 seconds and costing the company $xx.xx profit.
I will have my revenge at the next team building exercise....oh make must make a note to take matches and plenty of newspaper this time
And another note that in the case of heart failure , my PFY is banned from bringing me gifts while I'm in hospital... and I'm owed another one of these >>>
That's where the twin arm tool changers on the more modern Mazak's are nice, they get pretty consistent on change times.
Random pocket return, staging of next tool or two, etc.
Just make sure your 100mm shell mill is set as "wide" in the tool data to nab the center of three consecutive holders, lest it tries to occupy the same position as a drill chuck and a hog mill.
Also a good idea to set it as and "heavy", so it doesn't go full MLB pitcher and throw it across the machine when it stops at the spindle...
And you can also pin the tools to a specific holder, which is what we did with the probes.
Just never manually swap tools in the mag without using the tool request interface, or you're in for living hell of reorganizing every pocket.
Yeah I know the tricks.... in fact thats a big part of what I'm actually supposed to be doing, taking pre-production code and changing tool paths from "as programmed by the CAM system" into "as programmed for shortest most efficent path using the smallest number of tool changes"
Which is'nt exactly easy especially when the multi-axis decides to clamp after every move(takes 1.5 seconds for the clamp to clamp/release) which can add a lot of time to a job if you're making 180 holes in a steel ring.
Oh and never be tempted to speed things up by changing the air pressure regulators on the tool changer.
that really does result in 10 lbs of tool being fired through the machine/guard/safety cage/ nearest operator/office wall.
Wheres the icon for 'the voice of experience' oh and 'duck!"
"If you really want to get the best view of the process, just stand here and wait while I adjust some things..."
CAM processors do some really wacky things.
Instead of following the logical "this pocket is next to this one" they do a bazillion rapid moves that are faster on paper, but shake the machine like a maraca and look like someone traced the path of ten coked up ferrets, causing surface finish issues...
They also seem to never be at the goldilocks zone of feeds/speeds, or the proper finishing rate to keep a good surface...
Mastercam is pretty good though, but the fees keep me from entertaining it for my business.
Inventor HSM is acceptable, but the subscription makes me clench a bit.
"Eg. We make bits for a tier 1 automotive supplier, lots of bits... lots and lots in fact , however depending where the tool are in the magazine, the part can take 52 or 53 seconds.. maybe 54 sometimes..... accountant makes a note in his tour of the factory floor that it takes 52 seconds.... and at the next meeting decides to berate me on the basis its currently logged at 53 seconds and costing the company $xx.xx profit."
I worked for a company that would watch the time cards like a hawk. The owner was the one that typically opened the doors in the morning and he was not known for being early by more than 2 minutes and sometimes a few minutes late. At a review, I was confronted with being a total of some amount of minutes late (morning and back from lunch). I asked if they had a total for how many minutes I was early and was told they don't keep track of that. I don't believe there were any instances where I was egregiously late and the total late worked out to about 2-3 minutes/day. Never mind that we were paid based on the hours on our time cards with no OT authorized.
In the case of the machine, time per part isn't valid for a single part or even a day's production in some cases. I've owned a manufacturing company and that sort of thinking can get you in big trouble. It doesn't take into account maintenance time, bobbles, and backlogs from previous operations. Sometimes an operation can be squeezed a bit but it might lead to more rejected work that swamps out any gains in cycle time.
There was a nice example from the early days of British Railways soon after nationalisation. Factory A was expensive for casting, and cheap for machining a component. Factory B was cheap for casting and expensive for machining. Let's, said the time and motion man, get Factory B to do the casting and Factory A to do the machining. And the end result: the job was now more expensive than either factory...
If you work for a company that's into this sort of nonsense, have a way to get a call/page/ping/summons that gets you out of the room. If you are in IT, you should be spoiled for choices on the excuse. If you have anything customer facing, an urgent need to interface with a customer should get you out of the room. Prep a friend to call-in pretending to be from a large account and have somebody sent to track you down with a message to call "Edward" at "Big Customer, inc" right away. Make up a name that lets you know it's your dodge and a company/client that is important. The amount of time it takes you to "resolve the issue" depends on how long you need to be through with that team exercise crap. In the mean time, you can get the work done that needs to be done by the deadline, rain or shine, or else.
I bypassed that. It was obvious from the start that the presenter had OD'd on his pep pills. The usual "introduce the person sitting next to your" had become "introduce the two people sitting next to you".
"Will this help me with $CurrentWobblySystemIsThrowing"
One Teambuilding course I was on was intended to improve problem-solving skills within the company.
It was actually an insult, since problem-solving was my job in the first place, and being told how to do it by 'consultants' who didn't understand the technical aspects of what we did rankled.
One day, they gave us (all six teams) a siege catapult. It was about the size of a tea crate. The idea was that by the end of the day each team would have three shots with a ping-pong ball as the projectile, with the aim of getting it in a coffee cup 20 feet/6 metres away.
It was all to do with removing degrees of variation. When you started playing with it, shots covered a wide range of landing points, but by fixing the base to a hard surface, arranging a constant spring tension, building a trigger mechanism, and so on, you could obviously fine-tune the landing point. For our team, it was bloody obvious, because it was what we did every day. The problem company-wide was that no one else listened and just did their usual guesswork.
By the time we'd set up our system, we could guarantee where the ball would land to within a few centimetres every shot.
Late that afternoon, came 'the Tournament'. And we went first.
We fired our first shot, and it landed directly in the coffee cup.
No one else got anywhere near.
All we did was waste a bloody week identifying what the problem in the company was, without fixing it. And most of us KNEW the problem in the first place.
But sometimes people in a company will actually listen if it's someone from outside telling them the bleedin' obvious. So you probe these consultants early on on why they are ACTUALLY there (pointless "exercises" or proper consulting with reports, feedback and follow up and such) and then see if you can guide them on what actually requires reporting.
I was on a week's team building exercise. One morning we were split into teams and asked to discuss a topic and present on it.
Four people including a guy called John were given the title "working as teams".
When this lot came to present, there were two presentations. One from 3 people, and one from John both called "Working as teams". John could not see the irony of the situation.
It was ODD that Jamie got a note asking him to be in the gym later that night. He was met with two of the employees that wanted to work out a problem with the exercises. They discussed the problem at point with Jamie and left a few hours later.
Next morning the BOSS found a note from Jamie on his door saying he had to leave for an emergency, but had left an exercise set up in the hotel gym, and left instructions on how to do the exercise and how it was to help the "teamwork" of those participating.
After a suitable breakfast everyone gathered in the gym. They found a punching bag suspended from the ceiling, four baseball bats, two sets of latex gloves, and a partial roll of duct tape.
The instructions were to put on the gloves, stand on opposing sides of the punching bag, and hit the bag in a rhythmic pace so that the bag would swing back and forth in an ever increasing arc.
For some reason the PFY picked up the partial roll of duct tape at this time and asked if anyone knew what it was for. No one responded, so he threw it in the trash with his best basketball throw, making sure everyone watched as it flew in the air to the nearest trash can. Everybody watched and sighed when he didn't make throw.
The reason given for the exercise was to help those who felt under appreciated to work out their frustrations on the bag, while being urged on by co-workers to "hit harder."
After all the teams had finished, the PFY and BOFH decided they needed another go at it.
Nobody really noticed that as the day went on, the weight in the bag settled to the bottom.
I've got a digestive intolerance to both tomato, cheese and pork. Just to add to the difficulties ;) ( I usually just bring something from home for myself if I know there's going to be that sort of stuff going down. Generally more tasty than the factory made pizzas from chain-stores anyway)