51 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2018 5:10 PM by Frederick Law

    Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?

    Bill Lacey

      ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
          Chris Saller

          There are ways around that. Better quality control of the material. You can purchase quality Birch plywood with better control of thickness, but it will cost. Seems to me your company is trying to keep the cost way down, thus why the thickness is all over the place?

          Your supplier should be able to tell you what the thickness should be. They have a general idea.

          • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
            Richard Ahlgrim

            Good luck with your upcoming argument!

            I don't have a specific instance to relate, but certainly find myself in this situation from time to time.

            Usually it revolves around someone insisting that we don;t have the time or money to do it "right" in the first place.

            Then, later into the project, we spend even more money and take even more time to resolve issues that could have been avoided.

            • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
              S. Casale

              Bill Lacey wrote:

               

               

              So I'm just sitting here, smiling, waiting, eager for the opportunity to get into it with him and upper management about why they need to get out of my way and let me do what I need to do to eliminate this problem. I've never wanted to get into a verbal fight so much prior to this. And I honestly can't wait.

              I read this and laughed out loud - loudly.

              • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                Danny Edwards

                I hear you Bill. We have this argument all the time. I told them we can make it to the thickness that you specify but need to standardized on the thickness so we can have a library of assemblies ready to go. We do good for a few months but they will change supplier because they are cheaper and the thickness changes. Drawers do not line up and the drawer faces have to big of a gap. Our biggest thing right now is slides. They have changed suppliers three different times. They all say they match all the other slide dimensions till we go and assemble. I usually send the e-mail out and give to head of design with my supporting e-mails and sit back and listen till I blow up inside.

                • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                  Frederick Law

                  At one job, everyday I just keep thinking about how to piss off one of the coworker.

                  Had a few yelling and screaming.  That coworker did that to the owner and his sister also.  There is only 4 of us.

                   

                  You need a QC department and it will be ugly.  Since nobody at your place care about what they're doing.

                  Make it ISO9000 and get rid of half the people.

                   

                  You need to sit down with management and get the material sort out.  If they want to listen.

                   

                  If not, just have fun and watch the firework.

                  • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                    Tom Gagnon

                    Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?

                    No.

                    "Winning" is not an option. Losing some or losing more are the available opportunities from a fight at work.

                      • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                        Frederick Law

                        At some point, any result from a fight is a win.

                        I'm not talking about physical fight

                          • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                            Tom Gagnon

                            In practical professional terms, there is progress and lack thereof. If you had to butt heads in the first place, it is because you are not in charge. Convincing others in the context of a fight or argument can win the battle and lose the war. Being a source of office friction can effect performance reviews, raises, and HR issues. Loss of respect from coworkers can also solve this issue today while making future issues larger and more explosive.

                             

                            Winners don't fight. At work, winners generate profit.

                          • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                            Bill Lacey

                            I'm not looking at it as a win or loss. This is more of a "do it the right way or do it the wrong way" kind of thing in my eyes. I know how to do this the right way. We've done it before with a tremendous amount of success. During my hiatus here (2014-2017) they stopped doing it the right way because no one knew how to maintain it. Now that I'm back, I'm trying to get them back on track. It's been a struggle though.

                              • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                Tom Gagnon

                                That's good. I am advising a level head, with clear statements like your reply post here. Have historical evidence, procedures, and proposals, not arguments. Make it clear that your intent is to solve problems, not cause them. Your reply here assures me more that you are interested in solutions, not the engagement.

                                 

                                Work is neither social media nor politics.

                                  • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                    Bill Lacey

                                    Situations like the one I mentioned above are good examples to show them that what I want to do works and saves the company money. They have a hard time seeing the benefit of modeling "the hard way" (i.e. parametric) versus doing it "the easy way" (i.e. static) They (being upper management) see me as being confrontational and difficult to work with only because I don't/won't tell them what they want to hear. I don't automatically side with them because I like to see things from every angle and make the best choice for the company as a whole. My decisions and choices will not usually offer a huge savings or profit up front, but over time we will reap the rewards.

                                     

                                    Another example is when we have to re-use a design by making it wider, or taller, or longer to sell it as an option. I model everything parametrically so when I have to do this it takes me all of 10-15 minutes to have a new model and drawing to go along with it. Everyone else has been building their models statically so they have to manually change every part and feature when a change is needed. It usually takes them about as long as it took for the initial model to be made. It may have taken me a few extra hours to add the parametric abilities up front, but we save hours upon hours every time we made a derivative version. They don't see that and say things like "maybe we don't need everything to be parametric."

                              • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                Barry Morris

                                  Unfortunately, we work for corporate America. It's their ball, their bat and their ball field. We either play by their rules or go find another team to play for. Pick and choose your battles wisely. You may win the battle, but still get fired in the end for ticking off the wrong person. I'm not advocating that you just let someone walk all over you but, you need to CYOA (cover you own a**) in such a fashion that no one in management can point their finger back at you for their poor decisions. With todays technology, emails stating your insight and warnings of pending failures in situations such as you have mentioned is a good way to CYOA. Carbon copy several different people when sending out emails. This way no one can deny that such a warning was sent. Don't ever delete someone's response. Make a folder inside of Outlook and store their responses the folder with their name on it.

                                  There is a principle that exist throughout a majority of corporate America that states, "you don't need to understand the work that someone does to manage them, you just need to understand people". This is a load of bovine fecal matter. As management has become more distanced from manufacturing the problem you discussed has only gotten worse. I believe that every person in a company needs to spend at least two years of hands on experience within his or her specific field of expertise  (manufacturing, engineering, design) before they are ever allowed to step into a office position. Now days more importance is placed on a having a four year degree than the knowledge acquired by someone that has been doing a specific job for thirty plus years and understands every aspect of that job. Over the 40 year span of my career as a tool and die maker and a tooling engineer, I witnessed the very same type of things you have mentioned. Managements inability to listen and heed warnings. If I may offer a word of wisdom to all, "as long as your paycheck clears at the end of the week, let management do their thing, and in the mean time, look for another team to play for." It may just save your sanity!

                                  • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                    Jeff Mowry

                                    Twenty-one years ago, I decided I couldn't stand this sort of thing anymore and plunged into the world of self-employment.  Regained my sanity, but never a steady paycheck since then.  Fat and lean times can be unpredictable, but the constant seems to be their continued existence and my limited ability to conjure them up.  Over the last decade my fat times have become leaner and my lean times more lean---and I figure out how to roll with that (part of this is the ever-increasing cost inputs, of course).  I'm increasingly convinced the best place to be an industrial designer is near manufacturing, but I've chosen to live in a mountain ghost town in Colorado.

                                     

                                    But I wouldn't trade it.  Like the guy in Office Space, I found I was losing the connection between sanity and soul, and after a while this just wasn't acceptable anymore.  There were other similarities, too.  I worked at a tech company in the mid-90s.  I had five bosses.  Two expensive consultants were called in to evaluate not the bosses, but the workers (maybe multiple times).  Though I was never hypnotized nor did I start a fractional-penny-skimming scheme, I did get to the point where I essentially dared one of my five bosses to fire me.  Bad attitude, coming in at 10:30 am, working until I felt like leaving and then leaving, long lunches---all things that really didn't solve the problem.  And I worked with some great people, too---and not all my bosses (or experience there) was bad---there was great stuff, too.  But it wasn't a good match, so I left.

                                     

                                    Since that time I've learned a ton and it's been good for me.  It's not for everyone---many people would go nuts with the very unpredictable income, and I get that.  But I've got my soul and sanity, no commute, and a beautiful environment to work in.

                                  • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                    Jeff Mowry

                                    Sounds to me like your PM has pointy hair.

                                    • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                      Scott Stuart

                                      You sound like you have good ideas, but trouble conveying them and convincing others of their value. Unfortunately that is your problem, not theirs, and getting into an argument over it is not the right approach. May I suggest you read this?

                                        • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                          Bill Lacey

                                          I can read every book available on how to win an argument, but that won't help in this situation. This has been, and probably always will be, a "shoot from the hip" kind of company. They aren't real big on process and procedure and do not like structured environments. They claim that it allows them to be flexible and adjust to the clients needs. SolidWorks, and all things CAD related, are very structured and process driven. There is a lot that we have to go through to make it all work. The two do not mesh very well and ones who make the decisions above my pay grade are not willing to take our word for it that what I'm proposing is better in the long run. They have to see it to believe it.

                                           

                                          So this "argument" will give them a change to b**ch and moan about how CAD screwed up again and it cost them so many dollars, like this is somehow our fault. Then It will be up to me to show them that we did exactly what they asked of us, exactly how they told us to do it, and that they are the ones who are responsible for this mess. They'll eat crow, never admit fault, try and sweep this under the rug, and it will happen again. Then this process will start all over again. Eventually they'll get out of my way and let me do what I was doing before my hiatus, when everything worked and we just made the magic happen. I've been through this process before here and this is just the way it goes.

                                           

                                          They didn't want to believe me that moving from AutoCAN'T to SolidWorks would end up saving us a ton of money and it took me three years to get them to agree to that move. Now, we can't imagine why we didn't do it sooner.

                                            • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                              Frederick Law

                                              Should have dump the computers and go back to drawing board.

                                               

                                              By the way, Inventor would have been a much better choice

                                              More flexible then SWX.

                                              • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                Scott Stuart

                                                Asking them to take your word for it is also not the right approach. If you make them eat crow and not want to admit fault you're going to make them resent you and they won't want to work with you and you'll be out of a job. If you want to convince them you need to be more persuasive.

                                                  • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                    Bill Lacey

                                                    I truly do appreciate what you're saying, Scott, and I know that in a different company your suggestions would be perfect. I'm telling you from experience here, at this company, your suggestions won't make it very far. If I try to persuade anyone, the owner will feel like I'm tying to pull a fast one on him and he will put up a wall that will take years to break down (this has also happened before here). They need to see it in action in order to believe what I'm telling them. I'm even creating videos now that show the differences between what they want us to do and what I'm suggesting to try and speed things up.

                                                  • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                    Shawn Stugard

                                                    Your story of taking them from the "dark days" of AutoCAN'T and away from short sighted procedures reminds me of a company I worked for. They were so backwards they could not find their front side anymore. They would design in SW, create drawings with pretty pictures, build one or many units, make lots of changes BUT ONLY CHANGE THE CNC PROGRAMS, NOT THE SW MODELS/DRAWINGS! So as time went on, the drawings were less and less accurate and no one could understand why the drawings never matched the parts that came off the machines. At some point I earned the trust of the owner and he let me make sweeping changes. I also had a production manager that was on-board and was a hell of a hardass(and about 7 feet tall!). There was bloodshed and extreme amounts of butt-hurt, but in the end they got their damned act together. Defects went from 20% to 3% and profits went the other direction.

                                                     

                                                    The cherry on top of this: When I quit, they gave me a bonus check at my going away party.

                                                     

                                                    Fight the good fight Bill!

                                                      • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                        Bill Lacey

                                                        Did you work here back in 2008 to 2010?

                                                         

                                                        It sounds like you experienced the same thing we did. They never updated our CAD files. Only the CNC files. The real kicker was that they used to build first, THEN have us drawing something that looked like what they built, THEN sent the drawings for approval.

                                                          • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                            Shawn Stugard

                                                            Haha, that was roughly the time frame!

                                                            • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                              Jim Steinmeyer

                                                              I think I must have worked there too. Only I was the manager and the boss would walk the floor and change the designs without ever letting the Eng. department know.

                                                              Then I went to the trailer department one day to ask them why they did not put the lights where I had on the print and I was told that I wasn't going to be there long enough to warm my chair so they didn't have to listen to me. They had 6 managers in 5 years. And it was always because the managers were bad.

                                                                • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                  Rick McDonald

                                                                  Previous company I worked for, I was there 7 years (11 bosses over that time - one of them was my boss 5 times in between the transitions of the other 10.  At one time I was a direct report to the CEO,  another time to the president (but she was the main reason why they went through so many managers).  Surprised that they  kept me so long - but I guess it was because I put up with their / her.  One manager was the worst - total moron who had no business in a manufacturing area (especially where we mad things for planes and space craft)  He was a backstabbing sob.  He set me up to take the full blame of a critical shipment that he screwed up totally and buried the fact it was not going to ship on time.  I "accidentally" found out when I went to ask the operator something and she said she was about to go home and the project would take 2 more days.  I re-arranged people (completely without authority to do so, got people to stay late, offset shifts and come in early the next morning.  We pushed through the night and got the shipment out - before the turkey got in the next morning.  We never said anything and let him go into the morning managers meeting (one of which was aware of the all night run) and when my boss was asked if the product went out on time, he said that he "had left me in charge to get it done" (he was expecting it would not be done since I supposedly didn't know about it at all). The other manager told the president (after the meeting - in private) what transpired and behind my back.  My boss walked right into it - he was gone not long after.

                                                                    • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                      Glenn Schroeder

                                                                      Rick,

                                                                       

                                                                      That reminds me of the guy they had here doing the CAD work back when I was still on the construction crew, and had started learning drafting.  I won't go into details of what he did, but after I was given charge of the drafting department I learned they would have made the move sooner, but when my supervisor on the construction crew learned what they had planned he told them "You better get rid of John first, or Glenn will kill him."

                                                          • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                            David Matula

                                                            give em hell bill.  I found the same problems with threads out in the shop and there was no way I could get consistent results from my model to the actual parts.  all that from a +/- 1 thread tolerance.  I just about gave up on that fight and had to come up with multiple parts to try and meat the welded dims once the threads where fused. 

                                                            • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                              Eric Blankinship

                                                              From my experience it never ends up working out.

                                                               

                                                              Returning to your management with the mindset of "I told you so" never ends up working as it'll just make them hostile towards you.

                                                               

                                                              Re-propose your ideas as solutions to their problem but avoid going in with the mentality of "if you had just done this the first time"

                                                              Now if they are upset with you for not foreseeing this problem then sure CYOA but otherwise try to be non-combative.

                                                                • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                  Bill Lacey

                                                                  Eric Blankinship wrote:

                                                                   

                                                                  Re-propose your ideas as solutions to their problem but avoid going in with the mentality of "if you had just done this the first time"

                                                                  Now if they are upset with you for not foreseeing this problem then sure CYOA but otherwise try to be non-combative.

                                                                  That's the way I presented it to them. Solutions to problems. Ways that we can avoid failure and costly rework. I don't go into these discussions with my guns drawn and ready to fire. It is very much a jocks vs nerds mentality here, and even when I am as succinct as I possibly can be, it's too much for them and they don't want to hear it. I can't even get them to agree on using decimals on the drawings since they only want to see fractions that are rounded to the nearest 1/16" because they can't understand any number that can't be read on a measuring tape.

                                                                • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                  David Matula

                                                                  WOW.

                                                                      Not sure that it is fighting, but I will stick by what I have put together and argue why up to a point. At the end not matter how crazy or how much time it takes I will do what I was told to add two hidden lines, to double dim, or what ever it was that seemed so worth while to put a foot down.  Never had it as bad as Rick, I would not have put up with that,  10 bosses, heck they should have just make Rick the boss..

                                                                  yall have a great night time to hit the books.

                                                                    • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                      Jeff Mowry

                                                                      Be right; lose anyhow.

                                                                      Yeah, that was a tough lesson for me to learn over the years.  Most people aren't quite as rationally-centered as those who create and refine things that have to function properly (engineers, designers).  Many are much more influenced by feelings and other stuff.  Not that those things don't have value (ever had an engineer on a sales/marketing force?)---they do---but each in its own place.

                                                                        • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                          S. Casale

                                                                          Jeff Mowry wrote:

                                                                           

                                                                          Be right; lose anyhow.

                                                                          Yeah, that was a tough lesson for me to learn over the years. Most people aren't quite as rationally-centered as those who create and refine things that have to function properly (engineers, designers). Many are much more influenced by feelings and other stuff. Not that those things don't have value (ever had an engineer on a sales/marketing force?)---they do---but each in its own place.

                                                                          This is a ridiculous statement - my wife who doesn't build, design, isn't creative in anyway, and assuredly doesn't create jack squat (engineering wise) is more "rationally"' sensible in thought than most engineers I have worked with.

                                                                            • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                              Bill Lacey

                                                                              She's right behind you, isn't she....

                                                                              • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                                Eric Blankinship

                                                                                I think you missed the part where he said "Most",

                                                                                 

                                                                                Sure there are rationally minded people out there in any given field but we are simply talking about generalizations here.

                                                                                 

                                                                                It's much more common for engineers to be in the Thinkers category rather than the Feelers category while more people in society generally fall under F rather than T.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Also being an F doesn't preclude common sense, in-fact alot of times common sense dictates to not say things to offend people even if it's what's right to get the job done. Or at least to say things in such a way to be as tactful as possible so as to not create enemies.  Engineers generally will want to get the job done and often be insensitive to others in the process. I know I am extremely guilty of this as I've often just gone full force forward trying to solve problems only to realize I stepped on a bunch of toes in the process.

                                                                                  • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                                    Shawn Stugard

                                                                                    Eric,

                                                                                     

                                                                                    You make some very good points. It got me thinking...sometimes we really need to be both, T&F. I too am certainly guilty of being more of a thinker than a feeler when it comes to communicating in the workplace. I think I have a decent EQ (emotional intelligence), but I'm also a realist. That means that if we need to make omelets, we'll need to break some eggs.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Since I've been working for a contracting agency, it has put me in a few uncomfortable spots in this regard. Not long ago I was working at a client, under their engineering manger whom I know fairly well as we had worked together in the past at another company. He and I agreed on pretty much everything that had to do with workflow/standards/etc, and I definitely learned some things from him over the years. He was in the position of trying to "right the ship" with this company who's practices has been less than stellar for a very long time (more than 50 years). One day I mentioned to him that I was told to fully dimension flat patterns for sheet metal parts. Of course I protested to the person that instructed me to do this, and the reply was "the guys in the shop need this", "just do it". The EM was in agreement that this was terrible practice and needed to be changed. The company had already run into problems when they needed to have an outside vendor make parts. The vendor took one look at the drawings and said "no thanks", just as they should have. So the engineering manager says to me, "we are gonna have a meeting about this tomorrow and I want you to lead it.". The reason he wanted me to lead it(I assume) was because he didn't want to deal with the backlash. He even went so far as to caution me about how I approached the subject. A short time later, the meeting invitation went out from the EM. Several of the engineers stood up from their desks, looked over at me, clearly raised an eyebrow and slowly sat back down(not kidding about this). This meeting is attended by all the shop team-leads and managers as well as all the engineers. Several attendees had been there for more than 30 years. Now, here I am, the "new guy" and most of the people didn't even know I was a contractor. I am there to tell them that they have been doing their jobs wrong for 30+ years and that I, the "new guy", who has been here for 6 months knows better. Angry, would best describe the tone of that meeting. People were so upset they would stand up from their chairs, arms wildly gesticulating, while they were rebutting whatever it was I was trying to explain. In the end, it was not a suggestion, it was an order from the EM that we (they)were going to change our practices. I felt like there was no way I was going to sugar-coat this enough to make any difference. I think knowing that, is also part of the thinker/feeler equation. Sometimes people are going to be mad regardless of how you present the information. The EM knew it and made a calculated decision to have me present it, likely knowing I wouldn't be there much longer.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    I never got to see the light at the end of that tunnel. They cut me loose when they had a bad quarter not long after. I got many an unpleasant glance from the shop staff in my remaining time there, which was kind of disheartening since I knew that the changes would make them better at their jobs(they'd need to learn how to make their own flat patterns!) in the end.

                                                                                      • Re: Ever look forward to a fight or argument at work?
                                                                                        Frederick Law

                                                                                        Been there, done that.

                                                                                        And I love eggs, keep cracking

                                                                                         

                                                                                        Some people you can reason with them.  Show them you want to change, get some suggestion and work together.

                                                                                        Some people will need a hammer .....

                                                                                         

                                                                                        Some time you have time to convince other, some time you just need it done.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        After you've proven correct most of the time with a few 'I told you so', more will listen.

                                                                                        Take down the tough one first, the rest will be easier.