Thursday, October 28, 2004

Backhoe Operators—Dime A Dozen

Bosses Are Poor Excuses For Human Beings

More than ten years ago, we had a relatively new assistant director of Physical Plant named Phil Bobcat who was turning out to be something of a jerk. Dick Cheney reminds me of him! Mr. Calm and Cool Cobra. Bobcat was very cool and calm, or had been so far—when he started putting together an emergency plumbing repair late one Friday afternoon for the next day.

I had just lately gotten a lecture from another boss with more tenure than Bobcat about getting OT (overtime) approved in writing before hauling off and making my own schedule for the work. That boss didn't care if the job just had to be done. When I mentioned this to Bobcat, he seemed to think that I was fucking with him or anyway that no one should thwart his will if they knew what was good for them. His response?

Bobcat's Appraisal Of His Minions

"Hell, it don't matter, backhoe operators are a dime a dozen. I'll get somebody else out here."

I didn't ask what he meant, though I assumed that was Bureaucratese that meant he knew where to steal money from some other part of the budget for his project while the other boss was about to pee his pants trying to find ways to cut down on expenditures. Contract operators were going to cost multiples of what they paid me, and I was on salary! I love the way big shots show their power; they piss away money in front of you.

Where did they get that fucking asshole, Bobcat, I always wondered, and where did he get his people skills? I've met plenty like him, both before and in the years since. And as with this miserable fart, any time there were multiple bosses involved, one of them frequently didn't know what the other ones knew or else refused to know it!

Jeeter Jetson

People like Jeeter Jetson, who didn't believe in incentives or Employee of the Month awards or any sort of encouragement at all among Grounds and Custodial staff because "that sort" of people would resent it when somebody else won it. It wouldn't impress anyone among that class of people , he said. According to Jeeter, even if it were prize money (which it would never be), they'd just resent it for not being more! Great guy, that Jetson, but the other bosses were very little better.

McScrooge's Largesse

McScrooge, the Physical Plant director, did have a quarterly contest for a short while with a pizza lunch prize awarded to departments with the best safety records. However, after the second time he let the contest be presumed to be still in effect, but reneged on paying off, saying he didn't have the money. His daughter had gotten married, he said. Affected his budget; can just barely pay for golf at the club now! You sleazy shit, I thought, what difference does that make? What about your word as a man? I hate people who can't keep their word, especially in this case, where it let so many people at once know how little he thought of them. If they were to be treated as crap, they'd do about that level of work for him. Then McScrooge and Jetson and Good Ole Bobcat could continue to think that everybody was worth a dime a dozen.

I thought then that the French revolution had occurred in response to just such snotty attitudes among the ruling class and all the fidgety middle management monarchs. Now these incidents are about ten years old and no semblance of revolution has occurred here yet—not at that University, not in the Texas legislature, not in Washington D.C. Feudal lords set the price of everything and everyone still and I'm now worth somewhat less than a dime a dozen according to any governmental agency you could name. It makes me wonder why CAN'T the world blow up and the whole of civilization get it's head chopped off and we can all just be done with the stupidity of it!

"Who do you hate?" said Tweedledee.

"Who do I don't?" said Tweedledum.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim." — George Santayana

No comments:

Post a Comment

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)