Friday, August 3, 2007

Oh, This Work Culture

Nowadays, when asked to solve a problem, they get a bunch of guys into a room and draw a nice fish bone on the board.  I thought that's a good guideline for students to learn the basics.  But what the heck, this is far from classroom basics.  These are real life issues we're dealing with. 

Then, with all the guys doing the talking, only one guy is doing the thinking and with only half his brain.  The other half is trying to decipher what the other guys are blabbering about.  And all that waste of time is money down the drain.  They call that 'brain-storming'.  I call it bad excuse.  Sometimes the poor chap leaves the meeting looking shell-shocked and with arrows and knives sticking out his back.

That seems to be the standard way to work nowadays.  If you don't do that, they think your job is too easy.  Your products don’t have problems.  You are open to more work-load, more stress and pressure.  They don't see problems because they don't want to know. 

Therefore, if you solve your problems too quietly and efficiently and nobody knows about it, it's bad for your corporate future.

That's what I call the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' position.  Only consolation is, the home, tranportation and the kids' education is getting paid for.  And one has to grow old gracefully.

Just can't get over it. 

Me, I'll start looking for a nice horse that will take me off into the sunset.  There's that empty rocking chair on a verandah somewhere waiting.


  1. I used to attend training and learnt about this 'fish-bone' concept..believe me, I never applied it to my work ever..

  2. It's like the multiplication, or calculation formula tables. It should be 2nd nature. You just use it.

  3. try having a meeting with an engineer who's eager to overcompensate for low esteem. you not only get the fishbone, you get the pies and bars thrown in with a lot of multi-tentacled diamonds and boxes - arrows looping everywhere. two walls of white boards won't be enough for this mess.

    that's when the mental screen saver of 90% of the people in the room starts playing cartoons and we go off to tra-la-la land.

    Remember the Pareto Principle, people!! 80% are useless and only 20% are essential.

  4. I like that statement Teh.

    This is a concrete situation where we have to redefine what is a corporate work is all about. Is it being seen busy doing something or is it achieving it in silence? In like manner, corporate problem can become real when it is seen; if it is not seen, there is no problem. In reality, most corporate problems are solved in silence (depending on the gravity of issues) by one or two persons rather than with the group.

    In a participative style of management, it would take longer before the decision is being made. I think, in my own opinion, it is important to see the hierarchy of issues and act what is urgent or not during the corporate meeting or brainstorming.

  5. yeah, pie charts, bar charts, etc.. and the mind goes 'chatchat' (Malay word for cripple)
    that's the kind of meeting I would attend armed with a sketch pad (not note pad, mind you) and some chewing gum...

  6. Alas, it's the 'bad guys' with all sound and fury who normally get noticed...

  7. well a rocking horse adds a moment of pleasure but the work remains :)

  8. The problem is the rocking chair is still far out of reach for most of them. Not for me though. The problem these people will have to face is; how to stop the move towards higher costs when we don't have the sales volumes to justify automation. Already FDIs are moving out to low-cost labor intensive production locations. We will soon price ourselves out of work. And they are not helping to think of more practical solutions. They simply push the sh*t to Engineers. Everyone talks about zero defects, but they look to technical solutions instead of putting the responsibility on themselves. Note the following:

    "Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) executive director Dr Mohd Ariff said the country is now experiencing what he termed as a “jobless growth,” in which the economic growth is at 5.9% during the last five to six years, but 200,000 fewer jobs were created last year.

    He added one of the factors was because various sectors were moving from unskilled labour-intensive into more knowledge and technology-skilled intensive activities"

  9. Oh yay! Finally i know how to quote!! Anyway, that is a nice retirement plan. I think my dad thinks the same too! XD a nice horse!