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Fwiffo

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It's written by a practising Roman Catholic who as a group have a propensity towards self flagellation.

With my extremely limited attention span....

What goes up must come down. Professional arcs aren't straight lines to heaven or hell. I never thought differently since reading Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy. People in any position especially top of corporate pyramids need to change every three years or it becomes stagnant. Plus the little ones don't get a chance to move up.

Life moves in phases, or as my father says moves like chapters in a book - social circles, beliefs, paradigms, values. Don't spend an extraordinary amount of effort trying against the laws of physics to keep something from one chapter to another. Luckily I didn't have to go to Timbuktu India to ask a homeless guy to tell me or burn down my family as the black gymnast said she almost did to learn the lesson.

50s is your natural end. Unfortunately for us, unlike our ancestors, the miracles of medical science and modern society means we're living another lifetime after 50.

I remember being at a dinner with a bunch of late 20s crowd. None of them had kids and I would say most were single or dating and there was maximum one married couple. When the subject of entering your 40s came up one of them said, "40s? Don't you just get cancer and die after 40?"

Perspectives.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Interesting piece, if you're in the right profession based on ''crystallized intelligence'' or one weighted towards experience and wisdom you're earning capacity tends to increase up until retirement, or plateau late in career and so long as you stay on top of the latest technologies. But you should be under no illusions if you're late fifties, in a big corporate organisation and you're position goes because of takeover or equivalent you're likely not to get back on top. That's the way it is.

You have to put the time in and realise change is inevitable good and bad, and in both cases it's temporary.

And I take wisdom from the Liverpool comedian, Ken Dodd, who worked right on up to his death aged 90 at the top of his game. On being asked why don't you retire, he retorted, that's what you do when you have a job you don't like. The secret is to do something that overall is interesting, gives you authority to act and isn't based on youthful elan.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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What goes up must come down. Professional arcs aren't straight lines to heaven or hell. I never thought differently since reading Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy. People in any position especially top of corporate pyramids need to change every three years or it becomes stagnant. Plus the little ones don't get a chance to move up.

Life moves in phases, or as my father says moves like chapters in a book - social circles, beliefs, paradigms, values. Don't spend an extraordinary amount of effort trying against the laws of physics to keep something from one chapter to another. Luckily I didn't have to go to Timbuktu India to ask a homeless guy to tell me or burn down my family as the black gymnast said she almost did to learn the lesson.
Your father is clearly a wise sage.

The top of the pyramids in my niche sector, generally last 3 years as they're expected to come up with 30% profits after that which is completely impossible. It's incestuous and almost comical the same managers/operational directors moving from one organisation to the next over the last decade after they've been made redundant. At least I'm consistent and if the work is there, I can deliver you some mighty fine profits in the good times. But now you're lucky to make a small loss or 1-3% profit and dreading each quarterly EBTIDA.

In some of our clients you're on a 6 year top of your game career, you've got all the status, babes in the office and profit shares. But you're only as good as the last reorganisation or merger. And then you're out on your arse. They're all double paranoid and aggressive knowing this isn't a long term gig.

Never lose sight that you should work to live, not live to work.
'Tis true, but any career will involve some work/life balance sacrifices at times.
 

Journeyman

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Never lose sight that you should work to live, not live to work.

Absolutely.

My dad disliked his job - he was a metalworker, and a highly skilled one, too. However, he never liked working with metal and always preferred wood. He won a scholarship to grammar school in the UK but his family couldn't afford to buy a uniform and, in any case, he had to starting working to help support the family. So he left school at the age of 12 and learned to be a fitter and turner and later a welder.

To him, work was simply a means to an end. It simply gave him money to support his family, buy a nice house on acreage, and practice his hobbies of growing fruit trees and making wooden furniture and other bits and pieces.

Nowadays, though, people often seem to be told that they need to find a job that they love, that they should be passionate about their work, and that something is wrong if they are not.
 

formby002

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Absolutely.

My dad disliked his job - he was a metalworker, and a highly skilled one, too. However, he never liked working with metal and always preferred wood. He won a scholarship to grammar school in the UK but his family couldn't afford to buy a uniform and, in any case, he had to starting working to help support the family. So he left school at the age of 12 and learned to be a fitter and turner and later a welder.

To him, work was simply a means to an end. It simply gave him money to support his family, buy a nice house on acreage, and practice his hobbies of growing fruit trees and making wooden furniture and other bits and pieces.

Nowadays, though, people often seem to be told that they need to find a job that they love, that they should be passionate about their work, and that something is wrong if they are not.
I've worked with several careerists over the years and every one of them has been duller than ditchwater. Just imagine surrendering your soul to a company/organisation. It's an insult to the idea of the Faustian Pact.

I think having hobbies, especially ones where you make things are very rewarding and mentally satisfying.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Absolutely.

My dad disliked his job - he was a metalworker, and a highly skilled one, too. However, he never liked working with metal and always preferred wood. He won a scholarship to grammar school in the UK but his family couldn't afford to buy a uniform and, in any case, he had to starting working to help support the family. So he left school at the age of 12 and learned to be a fitter and turner and later a welder.

To him, work was simply a means to an end. It simply gave him money to support his family, buy a nice house on acreage, and practice his hobbies of growing fruit trees and making wooden furniture and other bits and pieces.

Nowadays, though, people often seem to be told that they need to find a job that they love, that they should be passionate about their work, and that something is wrong if they are not.
It's better to be in a job and work environment that you like, because those factory jobs have a tendency to kill you in the end. Metalwork, lathes, machine shops and welding is a tough game. And come to think of it, those office jobs can kill you too.

My grandfather loved his job, he had been a riveter in the 30's and then was a steel erector in reserved occupations in the war, he was involved in building the Mulberry Harbours, amongst several key projects, those fire things that burnt the fog away at night at airfields. He even tried to join the Royal Marines, but get black balled on being an essential worker. The family have loads of photos of him walking the steel and he ended up the foreman rigger for one of Shell's refinery's. He loved it being a 100ft up doing manly lifting things that only the brave can do.

Back in the 90s we had a semi-big-lift on in one of our fabrication shops, but all our resources were absorbed and we were desperate for someone who knew how to manage the lift. So I volunteered by grandfather - you couldn't now - and the bosses went for it.

And it was brilliant, he had it all under control, all the hand signals, walkie talkie stuff and then suddenly an engineer from the office who was watching started panicking and shouting to stop. My grandfather just turned around, looked at him and said ''There's only one person who gives command during a lift.'' Turned around and carried on. He still commanded that authority and power to stop someone in their tracks without anger, raising his voice, or getting miffed. Of course, he had seen all of that stuff before.

Growing old you can go two ways: you can lose it, or you can still have it up until the end.

Work is necessary to live and best to make the most of it, if you can.
 

fxh

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Pimpernel Smith

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It is a problem, if you want it to be. I've got my mob back in 2 days a week, as there was a slow slopey shoulder syndrome creeping in. The disdain when one of them walked into the office after nearly 18 months was very palatable. Enough is enough. But we can do it 100% from home. No problem.

As I've already posted, one of the wife's friend's were monitoring the computers of their staff working from home and they brought them back very early in the pandemic and made them work in the office. This was on the basis when audited they were only working 2.5 hours a day from home.

Meanwhile, another round of management and directors moving in my sector. Won't do them any good, until such time that the hydrogen renewable projects start coming on line, it's a revolving door from one body to the next in a desperate attempt to be an overhead they can afford. I've got all the big oil & gas projects in my portfolio thank you very much. Nailed.
 

Fwiffo

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As someone who never worked remotely I've witnessed everything from being the only one on the street a la 'I Am Legend' to the reopening last year, then closures, and now reopening again.

I must admit I am baffled by people who left March 2020 and never returned to the office to the point their key cards stopped working. Yet as offices start encouraging or mandating some kind of return having a 10 person team lunch in business attire is okay. If you don't believe it's a health hazard to share food and drink without your mask with 9 other strangers then I reckon it's no more or less dangerous than working in an office with safety protocols in place.
 

fxh

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As I've already posted, one of the wife's friend's were monitoring the computers of their staff working from home and they brought them back very early in the pandemic and made them work in the office. This was on the basis when audited they were only working 2.5 hours a day from home.
That's seems just bizarre - why would you monitor computers - is tapping the space bar work?

Isn't there any actual output measures? Like getting the job done
 

Rambo

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That's seems just bizarre - why would you monitor computers - is tapping the space bar work?
they monitor everything now. students get the "eyeball time" tracked. employees get tracked under all sorts of byzantine rubrics.

Isn't there any actual output measures? Like getting the job done
totally irrelevant. if they get the job done faster they get more work. if they get the job done slower they get chastised about how poor they are at the job. the quality of work seems to be a thing of the past.
 

Journeyman

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As I've already posted, one of the wife's friend's were monitoring the computers of their staff working from home and they brought them back very early in the pandemic and made them work in the office. This was on the basis when audited they were only working 2.5 hours a day from home.

Were the staff doing the tasks they needed to do?
Did their output decrease once they started working from home? Or were they maintaining the same, or similar, output? If the latter, then what's the problem?

Isn't there any actual output measures? Like getting the job done

+1. I thought that private companies were all about productivity. As long as staff are productive and getting the work done, who cares if they are doing it at home or in the office?

I'm reminded of a friend of mine, now a managing partner in a large law firm. He was a mature age law student and already had two kids and a stepchild by the time he graduated from law and started at the firm. He got to work around 8:30am and left by 5:30pm at the latest, whereas his contemporaries would often get in earlier in the morning and yet still be in the office at 7:30 or 8pm.

He said that, in a performance review at the end of his first year, he was asked how he managed to leave "early" (ie at a reasonable time) but comfortably achieve his billable hours and other performance targets. He answered that he wanted to get home to his kids, rather than spend time in the office and so when he was at work, he worked. He didn't stand around in the tea room chatting, he didn't go downstairs two or three times a day for coffee, he didn't spend time reading the newspaper or online news. Instead, he came to work, he worked, he went home.
 

fxh

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Management has got to justify its existence.
I’ve only NOT been a manager for a very tiny proportion of my long life. I’ve never liked people who do “ busy” work. Or those who demand it. Do your job. Do it well. Help others. Knock off early If needed. Work hard and long if needed. I‘ve never been afraid to pull all nighters if needed. But re examine any job that needs them constantly. The job needs to be done right. Telling me you’re “ doing your best”, might mean your best isn’t good enough.

But I can’t fathom what sort of business needs that crazy obsessive sort of micro monitoring. I’d say there’s some serious problems in the business that has to do that..
 

formby002

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I’ve only NOT been a manager for a very tiny proportion of my long life. I’ve never liked people who do “ busy” work. Or those who demand it. Do your job. Do it well. Help others. Knock off early If needed. Work hard and long if needed. I‘ve never been afraid to pull all nighters if needed. But re examine any job that needs them constantly. The job needs to be done right. Telling me you’re “ doing your best”, might mean your best isn’t good enough.

But I can’t fathom what sort of business needs that crazy obsessive sort of micro monitoring. I’d say there’s some serious problems in the business that has to do that..
Again, micro-managing justifies the manager's job. We have too many chiefs and not enough injuns. Those managers who put up dashboards covered with inane metrics are another example.

I remember many moons ago doing some consulting work for an aerospace components manufacturer, where they had just taken on an engineering manager to run the drawing office. The bloke came from an automotive background and decided to measure how long it took to produce an engineering drawing. His methodology was to take the average time taken to produce a drawing which is an idiotic thing to do because some drawings are as simple as just detailing a tab washer whereas others are very complex, detailing forging and subsequent machining and heat treatment processes, which then have to be checked, go through the stress dept, be back drafted, go through the loop again and then be signed off. There was too much variance to make the measure useful, but he persisted so that he could make his nice colorful charts to show his manager that he was doing something and justify his position. He also tried to push through all drawings to be produced on A3 paper sheet size rather than what the engineer thought appropriate for their drawing. This so the company could save money on paper, ink, and rental of large plotters which were peanuts compared to the cost of rectifying a wrongly made component because the machinist struggled to read a highly detailed drawing correctly.

He had a chronic inability to look at the whole process from raw material coming in, to the finished product going out. Engineers should possess the ability to think systemically. It's one of their great skills. I've come across countless examples of idiots like this over my career.

On the subject of metrics. There was a book written a while back by a Psychologist IIRC called the Tyranny of Metrics.
 

ballmouse

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As I've already posted, one of the wife's friend's were monitoring the computers of their staff working from home and they brought them back very early in the pandemic and made them work in the office. This was on the basis when audited they were only working 2.5 hours a day from home.

The staff could have been working only 2.5 hours a day at work pre-pandemic though.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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That's seems just bizarre - why would you monitor computers - is tapping the space bar work?

Isn't there any actual output measures? Like getting the job done
It's probably not as bizarre and as rare as what we think. Had to get a few iPads for some staff for a clients portal and reporting system and down at the Apple store they were asking what fancy monitoring I wanted to keep an eye on what the staff were up to. Think it's a bit more than how much time they're spending tippity tapping. Think you can fully monitor what they're up to and where they are going on the net, etc, etc.

I remember 20 odd years ago people getting caught spending all day on porn or betting sites. All the big organisations are monitoring everything.

Did their output decrease once they started working from home? Or were they maintaining the same, or similar, output? If the latter, then what's the problem?
I've got no idea.
But I can’t fathom what sort of business needs that crazy obsessive sort of micro monitoring. I’d say there’s some serious problems in the business that has to do that..
That particular business is the growing and exporting of flowers from the Dutch greenhouses. Likely sales and logistics led.

I know it's relatively big money, one greenhouse can churn out 2.5 million Euros of business week in at week out.
 

formby002

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Pimpernel Smith

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For certain office based jobs, in globalized businesses across a number of time zones, it makes sense with the right structure software/hardware/IT security/motivation to have people working from home instead of a 1.5-2 hrs commute each way into the likes of London. There's several hours of productivity available getting rid of the commute.
 

formby002

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For certain office based jobs, in globalized businesses across a number of time zones, it makes sense with the right structure software/hardware/IT security/motivation to have people working from home instead of a 1.5-2 hrs commute each way into the likes of London. There's several hours of productivity available getting rid of the commute.
I like Sutherland. Being resolutely English I love paradoxical thinking.

A while back he made the suggestion that working outside (weather permitting) doesn't feel like work, so I tried it and he's right. I rattled through a load of hand calcs whilst relaxing amongst me topiary, seeking inspiration from an effortlessly elegant Acer Palmatum Ukigumo.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Went down to the coffee-get-together event in the office building yesterday. That was a mistake.

Seen this lady around and got chatting, she striked me as being a bit on the queer presenting side of things, but not in a bad way. She noticed my neck operation scar, we got taking and she has a spinal injury too. We referred to treatment and medication and I mentioned the poor treatment I got fron the NHS in comparison to the Dutch system. Zero to extreme enraged anger in a flash. Lecturing me on countries that didn't have a''free'' health service, blah-de-blah, stuff on Romania under Ceausescu (where she's original from), what was I doing to put back into society as she was volunteering under difficult circumstances, male middle class privilege, the world is burning and what was I doing to alleviate that, etc, etc.

The worse of it, there was a lady nearby that I wanted to chat to, I know her face from somewhere in the past. She's been at a couple of events I've been to. She's South African I think, I was trying to place her, she's either a wife of a former colleague or worked with my wife. Not sure, couldn't quite place her. She recognized me too. Anyway, she was looking on aghast.

It's a freaky world out there. The Woke weirdos need to be kept at arms length and not be engaged with. Certainly not on their terms.
 

Fwiffo

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Zero to extreme enraged anger in a flash. Lecturing me on countries that didn't have a''free'' health service, blah-de-blah, stuff on Romania under Ceausescu (where she's original from), what was I doing to put back into society as she was volunteering under difficult circumstances, male middle class privilege, the world is burning and what was I doing to alleviate that, etc, etc.

One of my former Romanian directs also told me keeps his thermostat at 25c plus in the winter to make up for the lack of heat back under the dictator. A lot of them have a chip on their shoulders. Persians and Romanians definitely don't mix - landlord/tenant, boss/direct.

The world is burning but why is it on you to save it? It's every man for himself.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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One of my former Romanian directs also told me keeps his thermostat at 25c plus in the winter to make up for the lack of heat back under the dictator. A lot of them have a chip on their shoulders. Persians and Romanians definitely don't mix - landlord/tenant, boss/direct.

The world is burning but why is it on you to save it? It's every man for himself.
Back in the mid-2000's there were a lot of Romanian project managers and head of departments in the oil companies and EPC contractors in The Hague and The Netherlands. Lots of lady ones too. The common denominator was that they were all ruthless bullies, unbelievably aggressive and nasty, relentlessly. I realised it was a national character trait and they were best to be avoided.

The Persians I find very professional and easy to get a rapport with. One of my colleagues came over to the Netherlands as his Communist university chums had left a bazooka and their armoury in his lock-up in the early 1990s which had been found by the regime. So he had to get out of Iran pretty quick on the political asylum ticket. He wanted to go to Canada, but because he had been a Commie, they wouldn't take him.

As ever with the terminally woke, it's all grandstanding and part of the stage act. It's William Burroughs vaudeville routine and I see straight through to the poisonous centipede within.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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The worse of it, there was a lady nearby that I wanted to chat to, I know her face from somewhere in the past. She's been at a couple of events I've been to. She's South African I think, I was trying to place her, she's either a wife of a former colleague or worked with my wife. Not sure, couldn't quite place her. She recognized me too. Anyway, she was looking on aghast.
Remembered who that lady was: she's Israeli and does real estate renting for expats and particularly Israeli expats, as you need extra security check-ups on landlords and the neighbours, etc, in these enlightened times. Now I remember I can say hello with impunity. Hope the Romanian isn't working with her.
 

Fwiffo

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Remembered who that lady was: she's Israeli and does real estate renting for expats and particularly Israeli expats, as you need extra security check-ups on landlords and the neighbours, etc, in these enlightened times. Now I remember I can say hello with impunity. Hope the Romanian isn't working with her.

Israeli? Are they attractive?
 

Fwiffo

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I feel bad that I am offered a retention bonus. It pains me to think people only assume I will work because I am a money whore - not because I am motivated to do the work for work itself.
 

Fwiffo

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Thought you were out the door?

My job is still redundant but my sales pitches won 15 percent more of top line on a XXXM book of business with all the airlines in Canada and the bank signing up. I was deemed a bit too high profile and key to the integration/hand over that it would not instill confidence to tell the new clients that we just exited me because of internal reorganisation.

The retention is predicated on a few milestone dates related to the deliver part of signed, sealed and delivered.

Also my executive peers keep thinking I'll accept another role in the global organisation and still be around.
 

Rambo

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I feel bad that I am offered a retention bonus. It pains me to think people only assume I will work because I am a money whore - not because I am motivated to do the work for work itself.
No stupid you do the work because they give you the money. Stop with this self-aggrandizing bullshit about how above it all you are. Unless you’d do the job for free then shut up and take the money.
 

Fwiffo

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No stupid you do the work because they give you the money. Stop with this self-aggrandizing bullshit about how above it all you are. Unless you’d do the job for free then shut up and take the money.

I was going to walk out a week or two ago and say here's my month's notice and I'm happy to work it for free. I have enough money for awhile. I forgot who on this forum suggested I go unplug on some uninhabited island somewhere helping sea turtles or something for six months.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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I was going to walk out a week or two ago and say here's my month's notice and I'm happy to work it for free. I have enough money for awhile. I forgot who on this forum suggested I go unplug on some uninhabited island somewhere helping sea turtles or something for six months.
Depends on the industry, whilst it was always considered cute for a young female professional to take a year off to travel the globe, it was seen as slightly dodgy for a man to take a sabbatical to find themselves and go and count the pink dolphins of the upper reaches the Amazon. When I see a CV where it states ''I took a well deserved year off...'' and then they tell you what they did, in the English vernacular, I reach for my spew bucket. Real men don't do that kind of shit. That's just the way it is. Our adventures our career bound, or real adventures of the gun running sort in the South China or Coral seas. This I went to Pattaya and hung around with the lady boys/took the Yaba-yaba meta-amphetamine doesn't work and won't get you the respect you crave.
 
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