[BITList] Shame we can't actually do this

HUGH chakdara at btinternet.com
Fri Mar 19 12:01:57 GMT 2010


In the 90s, when I was with Kvaerner in Govan, a bumptious engineering director was taken on for some reason, and his winning ways quickly won the affection of the workforce.  One morning, while touring the ship on the ways (as directors often do :-)), he came across a group taking their ease on deck.  He glared at them, then strutted back and forth a couple of times.  This amused them, but they didn't jump to attention and start welding/burning/grinding/painting/hammering, etc, and he could see his authority fading by the second, so he confronted them.  "Do you know who I am?" he demanded. "Christ," said one of them, "He doesn't know who he is."  Being sub-contractors, they weren't under his command, and not due to start work till their foreman arrived.  The same idiot committed the same gaffe in the DO.  Being nosey one morning, and having little else to do, he was having a look at how staff responded to the new starting time of 7.30am.  All were (apparently) hard at work, bar one chap who was reading his paper and having a cuppa.  As with the other situation, walking firmly back and forth had no effect, so he made for the section leader, explained the problem to him, and demanded satisfaction.  "Nothing to do with me," said the section leader.  "He doesn't work for me, and he doesn't start till 8.00."  Not content with his record so far, he instituted a "count the keystrokes" campaign after a tour of the offices showed many people "staring at screens" (his words), and hardly touching keyboards.  He got the poor chap who ran the IT side to set up a system for logging the numbers of keystrokes at each work station.  Workstations were communally "owned", ie, first come, first served, so it would be wellnigh impossible to say who logged 1000 strokes a minute and who hadn't managed more than 2.  Nevertheless, everyone at a keyboard rattled in great amounts of keystrokes, mostly to the detriment of actual work.  We had an auxiliary keypad with about 30 functions on it, and one or two were harmless, so we hammered them for minutes at a time.  It didn't last.  I think somebody had a word in his ear, and from then on he kept away from the action.

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