To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I'm seeing some things in the plant that fortunately I and my direct reports are not immediately involved in. All I do is observe, and judiciously offer advice in mostly an indirect, non-judgemental or pushy way. To you, my readers, I will spell a few things out.

When you're a 25-year-old whippersnapper, there are a few things you should not do.

1 - Don't order your boss around. I PROMISE you that will get on his nerves.

Me: [Boss's name], I need to talk to you when you get a minute, please.
Boss: I'll be right there.

Whippersnapper: [Boss's name], come to the control room.
Boss: [grrr.]

Actually, you should treat everyone with courtesy and respect, from the CEO to the person who sweeps the floor and cleans the toilet. Give it out and you get it back.

2 - When the boss has told other people to do things, don't contradict him and get them all confused about what they're supposed to do. If you think your boss is in error, you can call him at home and discuss the issue. He would actually like that. But don't go behind his back and change stuff he thought was happening after he leaves.

3 - Do not EVER give the impression that you think you are too good to do something. If your boss tells you to go out into the plant and take a sample, don't pick up your radio and call one of the operators or, for pete's sake, the shift supervisor who is twice your age, and tell them to do it, and then continue to stand there. The boss actually does what I do, which is to do those menial things himself when appropriate. He takes samples every day and does a whole lot of other stuff too. This can backfire if people take advantage of it, but then you know you have the wrong people in your group. My peeps know there is nothing I ask them to do that I don't or won't do myself. I have talked to the whippersnapper about this one when he complained to me about being a "glorified sampler" and he is unreceptive. He's going to hit the wall on this one.

4 - Most important: if you have a problem with your boss, and it's not a legal issue or some kind of gross unfairness, work it out with him, seek advice from someone you trust, put out your resume, but for heaven's sake, SHUT UP. Don't complain to the other employees. DO NOT GO OVER HIS HEAD AND COMPLAIN TO HIS BOSS. And if you do, DON'T TELL THE SHIFT WORKERS ABOUT IT because they'll commiserate with you to your face and then run straight and tell your boss about it. Which is how I know. And he is not pleased. This is people-knowledge 101. Anybody who went through middle school ought to know it.

The whipper-snapper will be a fine engineer one day but he has a lot of seasoning to get first.

My advice to the boss in the situation? Be the grownup.


CreoleInDC said...

If the whipper snapper is doing all might be hard for the boss to be the grown up. LOL!


Laura(southernxyl) said...

I know. It's easy for me to say "be the grownup" when I'm not the boss. But I get a bit of that treatment too and I don't like it much either. I think MEN have to lock horns sometimes when women just don't feel the need to. I'll correct the kid when he needs it, have done in fact ("don't argue with me") and I don't take it personal.

I think the best thing the boss could do is cultivate an attitude of amused tolerance. Then he could start knocking off the worst behaviors, one at a time. But complaining to the big boss - that might have been a bridge too far.

Tsiporah said...

You might not be able to correct him because some people like to learn things the hard way. He might have to fall on his azz before he gets it.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I think you're probably right.

But I heard "please" and "thank you" today so that's a good sign.

class factotum said...

Oh yeah. If your boss tells you to do something and it's not illegal, immoral or unethical, it's in your job description. Keep your mouth shut and do it.