Thursday, August 17, 2006

Managing Management

Today, I rested. I've needed it for some reason. I think I'm not getting enough sleep in general, and it built up today.

This is what I worked on today:
Not the computer, but the sticker on it. I saw some on the Ubuntuforums site, and decided to make my own. It came out better than I thought it would. I need some practice at cutting them out, but it's good enough.
I started with this image:
Then I:
  1. Printed out a sheet of them on photo paper. I printed lines of ten, three different versions, just in case.
  2. Covered the image on the paper with clear packing tape.
  3. Cut out the image with scissors (need to get better at that, or get better glasses)
  4. Use the XYRON Create-a-sticker maker, and that put the sticky backing on to make it a sticker.
It came out okay. Nancy's came out better, but the flash was so bright on the picture, it drowned it out. I know this wasn't anything technical, but it was craft-like, and it was fun. I could have sent a return envelop to System76 and asked for the free stickers, but I decided to try it myself.

Nevermind that the computer in the picture is actually using Xubuntu, the XFCE version of Ubuntu. The computer is a 400 Mhz, 360 Meg memory, 8 gig harddrive I bought in 1998. It was super fast back then. It's old enough that Compaq doesn't keep specific information about it on it's website. It's super fast again. Xubuntu gave it new life, and hopefully, someone will get use from it.

In Other News
I've done pretty well at managing management. I should; I've studied Dilbert long enough. I use three main principles I learned from Wally:
  1. Strategic Incompetence
  2. Procedural Insistence
  3. And do avoid actual work, random OCD focus
With Strategic Incompetence, you randomly portray yourself as incompetent at specific activities. Some of these may actually be honest incompetencies, but consider this: Is management ever actually honest with you?? For instance, I don't see colors well, especially in florescent light. In sunlight, I'm fine. The strategic incompentence part here is that I'm not able to do some work because of the handcap. I could never really work well in the clothing department. A customer comes up to me and asked, "Does this come in red?" My reply is, "You mean, does it come in darker grey?" After the strange look they give me I say, "What color is that? I can't see colors well." The hyperfocused customer usually says, "Nevermind", and walks away. To be completely honest, it seems that my color problem applies mostly to dies in clothing, and some cheap dies on cardboard. I can see most colors on plastics and metals. I have no idea why is works like that. It does seem to get worse as I get older.

I also have a condition called "Dysnomia". It's kind of like dyslexia, except it's specific to numbers. When I try to write a 6, I might write a six or a nine. I struggle greatly to tell the difference, but only when I'm writing it by hand. The transfer of the image from my eyes to my brain works fine. I know the difference from 6 and 9 when I see it. But, when I try to write it, the motorskill gets confused somehow. This is how it was explained to me at the learning center at University of Georgia. It's caused by anxiety.

Now, can you get how to turn this honest condition into a strategic incompetence?

That's right; Anything to do with numbers. Nevermind that I do just fine on a keyboard, or a tenkey pad. The positions of 6 and 9 are easy to remember (hope I got it right that time). But, after pricing things at $66.66, when they should have been $99.99, do you think they make you do any more tedious pricing of merchandise? Especially when you insist it actually is $99.99, and they are being mean by making fun of you!

The key to Strategic Incompetence is that is has to be based somewhat on an honest problem. But, since management tends to overemphasis the importance of things, you can too.

Procedural Insistence can only be applied for specific jobs, or low paying jobs. The basic idea here is that You're getting paid to follow procedure, not to think. You may have actually been told that at one time. Or, if you're like me, you arrange for them to say that at one time, and continously remind them of that.
The key to making procedural insistence pay off is; If you do something wrong, it's management's fault, not yours! THEY didn't teach you the correct procedure, or their procedural teaching methods where faulty or incomplete.
Chain and/or franchise stores depend on systems and procedures. As a worker, USE THAT FACT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! Be careful, though. They might decide to make you part of management.

Anonther way to use procedural insistence is when a boss, foreman, or the like says something like, "What are/were you thinking?"
You should reply: "Hold on there! My payrate is for following procedures, not to think. If you want me to think, we can negotiate my payrate. If I've done something wrong here, it's because YOU didn't teach me the correct procedure."

Actually, it's not a good idea to blame the boss for the problem. It's always better to blame the procedure. Its an inanimate thing. It has no feelings. When the procedure is wrong, no one is to blame -except the person who designed the procedure, and they probably don't work there anymore. If anyone at present is to blame, it's the person who was suppose to teach you the procedure. In that case, use the government-speak, passive voice version: I wasn't taught the correct procedure. Blame is never placed.

Random OCD Focus is a difficult one, and can sometimes take more work than actual work. The payoff is that it's much more fun that real work.
The strategy here is to randomly focus on something pecular to the exclusion of anything else, even being able to hear your boss. For instance, if you work in clothing merchandise, you would obsess on making sure items were folded correctly. To make it really effective, focus on the same item, over and over. If the management attempts to get you to do something else, you insist on getting it right. At some point, they may actually ask you what wrong. You could simply say that your stressed, or you could say nothings wrong.

This strategy has to be one very infrequently. Once every three months is even a risk. The risk? Being marked by the management for 'encouragement to quit'. If your normally a hard worker, they'll overlook it a few times.

It amazes me how people actually let management manage them. The best employees know how to manage management.

No comments: