Three Thing Friday

1. Paying Attention – I know studies have been done on this, but it is scary how details can differ from one person to another. What I mean is this, yesterday I blogged about an incident that occurred at the building I work at. Well, when the story was being told, the description of the person involved varied between two coworkers who saw him. One person would say he was bald, and her co-worker would reply “No he wasn’t”. They couldn’t agree on what he was wearing, how tall he was, or any other aspect of how he looked. I’m not even sure they agreed on if he was white or black… ok, I’m exaggerating on that last bit.

But the point is, these two people were not under duress, and they can’t even agree on a description. I can’t even imagine what it would be like if they had to identify someone who was committing a crime and wasn’t already caught. And of course, I am not saying I would be any better. I don’t know how I would react under pressure and on adrenaline. I sometimes have problems remembering why I entered a room.

2. Tuning out – Yesterday, in our PMT, we had someone come in and brief about the Employee Assistance Program, a team of people who are there to “help” the employees. By help, I mean they are there for employees to go and talk to about some if their issues. I tuned her out pretty early in the briefing, but I did pick up on some things that she said. First, this team, while free of charge, cannot actually do anything other than talk and recommend people to go to other people who are professionals, who are not free of charge. Second, if an employee wants the EAP team to act on their behalf, the employee going to them cannot remain anonymous, so if you complain about someone, that person is going to know it was you. Third, this program, while a good idea in theory, is there for supervisors to send you to. Now, why did I tune this person out? Well, besides the fact that she came across as someone I would not want to go to with any issues I have, she also said that if you have a conflict with the supervisor, it is your problem, not the supervisors. Basically, this “Employee Assistance Program” comes across more of a “Support all supervisors regardless of how psychotic they are” program.

So, while I am sure that the idea behind EAP was good, the application is terrible. And honestly, I am not all that surprised.

3. Vice President – This week V.P. Biden came out furiously stating that we will punish ISIS for the deaths of American Citizens. In fact, he speech made him sound even more presidential than President Obama has in the last few weeks. Having said that, I have to admit that up to this week I sort of forgot we even had a Vice President. When Al Gore was our vice president, he was in the spotlight almost as much as President Clinton, and not in bad ways. Gore was actually trying to accomplish things. V.P. Dick Cheney was always hiding in an undisclosed location, except when he was shooting lawyers in the face. Biden, he just seems to not even be there, a lot like Cheney actually.

It was nice to have someone in the Whitehouse sound presidential. Heck, no one in Washington D.C., Congress included, has sounded presidential in a long while.

But really? Biden?

Too Stupid

Apparently after I got into work today, but still early in the morning, some jackass was caught trying to take pictures up a woman’s skirt. I have repeatedly complained about how much sexual harassment training all government workers are required to take. I have said that you cannot train stupid. People who know better don’t need to be trained in common sense, and those who are likely to harass a fellow employee are not going to listen when trained. It should be common sense that you do not take pictures up a woman’s skirt. And how is this guy even going to be able to show his face back at work? And the poor woman, I don’t even think I can comprehend what she is going through right now.

Another statement that I heard, but I admit that I heard it third hand, is that these kind of things happen on post all of the time. Again, this proves that you cannot train stupid. It also shows that the Army’s policy of constant training on sexual harassment prevention is not working.

And this may be shallow of me, but I want to beat the crap out of this guy with a metal baseball bat. I do not want to do this because he deserves it, although I think we can all agree that he does. No, I want to do this because this man is going to cause me to have to take even more training. I have to take harassment prevention training about quarterly already; I expect in the near future to have to take it every other month.

And still, nothing else will change. Idiots will still do stupid stuff. My time will still be wasted.

What a dumbass.

Three Strikes

There is a Tennessee man currently serving life in prison. He was convicted of breaking a law three times, and under Tennessee law, three convictions earn you a life sentence. Now, this man is obviously a pillar of society. Obviously someone who is convicted three times deserves to serve life in prison. Or does one?

This man was convicted of buying pot on three separate occasions. So while you can kill a man and get paroled in Tennessee, you get caught buying pot three times, and you start to live on the taxpayer’s dollar.

Let us think about this. He wasn’t selling pot to children. He wasn’t stealing from anyone. He was buying pot. I never said he was smart; he was caught buying pot three times. But is this really a crime that someone should get life in prison for? Heck, I am not even sure that buying pot should even be a crime.

In fact, I am pretty sure that locking this man up for his life is unconstitutional, shouldn’t the punishment fit the crime? I’m not saying this guy should have just received a slap on the wrist… ok, I am saying that. But come on, life in prison is a little excessive. If Tennessee would have legalized pot, they could have taxed this man, now taxes are paying to feed him.

So, lets have violent criminals get out on parole, but someone who is just buying some recreational drugs, that is a man who deserves to be in prison for life.

Disbelief

Ok, so Last Thursday, leaving from work, I noticed that my car’s “Service Engine Soon” light was on. I did what any self respecting car owner would do, I made a note of it, promised myself that I would take the car to the dealership, and then I proceeded to ignore it.

Sure, it bothered me. And yes, I was trying to hear if the car sounded or handled differently, but I didn’t have the time to go to the dealership, so my life went on.

Well, today I went to go shopping for food to get me through the week, and the light was no longer on. Whatever the problem was, it went away all on its own. And, of course, I didn’t believe it. I was waiting for the light to come back on. This is odd since I trusted the light as soon as it went on, but when it turned off, I would not believe it. I still don’t. I expect it to turn back on any moment now.

But, for now, I am going to continue driving as if nothing is wrong. Which is what I was doing when the light was on.

Three Thing Friday

1. Holiday Weekend – I’ve been on the compressed work schedule since I moved down to Maryland, almost four years ago. I made the schedule change because I end up being out of the house for the same amount of time that I was when I lived in New Jersey. The difference is, in Jersey, most of my time was spent commuting, where now my commute is about 12 minutes. The schedule is eight 9-hour days, an 8-hour day, and one day off every other week.

I was originally afraid that having every other weekend off would ruin the enjoyment of holiday weekends. I was wrong. I am still really happy that I have an extra three-day weekend.

2. Shooting Ranges – So, as some of us probably know, a nine year old was brought to a shooting range by her parents, and while shooting an Uzi, she killed the instructor. Now, some would argue that the Uzi was too powerful and the instructor should not have allowed her to shoot the gun. I say, and this is odd coming from me, that we shouldn’t increase the laws on gun ranges; I think we should institute a parental test. If you fail it, you cannot be a parent. Some people are just stupid to be parents. These parents should have not have allowed their daughter to shoot that powerful of a gun.

And sadly, this nine-year-old will probably be scarred for life…. Or maybe I am overestimating the memory of a nine-year-old.

3. Engine Light – On the way home from work yesterday, the “Service Engine Soon” light came on. So, the MINI looks like it will be returning to the shop again soon. It is a good thing that I still like this car. I have no idea what is wrong with it, but it is an 11-year old car (the car is older than that girl in the second thing this Friday), and old cars have issues.

So, will the evil woman who is doing her voodoo on my car, I ask you to please stop. The car has taken enough abuse this year.

Briefing Thursday

Today, being Thursday, we had another one of our weekly meetings. I went into this meeting with a different attitude. I went to the meeting with a more positive attitude. I didn’t immediately complain that it was Pointless Meeting Thursday.

Now, why did I have the sudden change of attitude? Well, none of the staff had to brief today. So, while I could have spent the time getting some of the FY15 work done, the meeting didn’t take the hour it usually does. It actually only took less than half of that.

So, while the briefing probably wasn’t necessary, it was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. We got the standard holiday weekend safety briefing, which wasn’t all that bad considering that no one was prepared to give it. We also went over a few other changes in the office, and that was it.

So, for our standard weekly meeting, it wasn’t all that bad. Sure, I would have preferred to get some PWS documents reviewed. Sure, I would have like to talk to some of my customers. Sure, I would have preferred to use my time to actually get stuff done. But overall, the meeting wasn’t a total waste of time, just a partial waste of time.

Overreaction

Today when I arrived early at work, I decided to read some news on CNN.com in order to get my day started. This is something I usually do unless I do not show up my usual fifteen minutes early. Anyway, I saw this article about a beach closing in Massachusetts. Having grown up in Seaside Park, NJ beach are nothing new to me.

One of the surprises about this beach closure is that it was due to a great white shark being spotted yards off the shore. I get it; it’s better to be safe than sorry. Getting the vacationers out of the water and out of harms way was the only prudent action that could be taken, as long as they were closed without causing an even bigger panic. But the local police didn’t stop there. The vacationers were not only pulled out of the water, but they were also pulled off of the beach.

Closing the beach makes no sense to me at all. Last time I checked, sharks don’t hunt on land, except in old SNL skits. It just seemed to be a massive overreaction from people who watch too much shark week on discovery. Again, getting the people out of the water makes sense, but why not allow the people to sit on the beach, read a book, make a sandcastle, or just enjoy themselves.

And if the people are dumb enough to return to the water right after being warned about a fourteen-foot great white shark, they’ll probably still be ok. It’s not like sharks normally hunt humans. But even if someone walked back into the water, and was killed by the shark, then the average IQ of the world would have went up a few points.

But alas, people are always going to overreact. So, leading up to the holiday weekend, Massachusetts closed on of their beaches, all in fear of a shark. And you know that the shark just loved his power.

Multiverse

This morning a co-worker of mine mentioned the multiverse theory, and I have been thinking about it ever since. He was saying that, according to the theory, there is a version of him that actually wants to come into work every day. The same theory says the same thing about me, in theory there is a version of myself that wants to come into work every day. That version of me needs to die a very horrible and painful death.

Of course, the multiverse theory also says there may be a version of me that wears a clown costume to work every day. Now that would actually fit the circus environment that I have to work in. That image, of every one in the office wearing clown costumes, that is a thought that makes me laugh.

So, that’s my thought for the day. There must be a version of me happy with work, there must be a version of me who rides a dinosaur, and there must be a version of me who lives in a clean house with no cats.

Heck, according to theory, there is a version of me who can actually write interesting blogs.

Trust Issues

I had an interesting conversation at work the other day about trust. According to the recent survey we took, trust in leadership is extremely low. And the conversation went to what exactly trust is.

The one argument is that if you do not lie or intentionally mislead, you have done nothing to lose one’s trust. Since we are pretty sure that leadership never lied to us, we should obviously trust our leadership. And while that may be part of it, telling the truth and acting truthfully is only part of the equation. There is much more to trust than just not lying.

If your leadership does not inspire trust, that leadership is not going to be trusted. Seems obvious, but some people do not get that. If I do not think that you are going to do what is the best for the organization, I am not going to trust you. If I do not think that you are going to have my back when the cards are down, why would I trust you? It’s not just truth and lies, there is so much more to trust in leadership than that.

You also need to show trust. Coming back to work to make sure that I am at my desk because I didn’t want to go to the holiday party shows that you do not trust me. So why should I trust you.

While I believe that leadership in our office never lied to us, I do believe that they relay information with their own slant on it. I am also sure that they would not act in the best interest of personnel or in the best interest of out customers. I believe that they would act in their own best interest, and that does not inspire me to trust them.

Three Thing Friday

1. A First – Yesterday my first speeding ticket arrived in the mail. That’s right; in nearly twenty years of driving, I got my first speeding ticket. The good news is that since it was a speeding photo trap, there are no points involved. Now, I believe that I am supposed to have a right to confront my accuser, and since my accuser is a camera that would be very difficult.

However, since it was only $40, and since it may actually cause more problems if I do fight it, I just paid it. With my luck, I’d fight it, lose, and end up with the points and a higher fine. And a $40 speeding ticket every 20 years or so, I can live with that. I’ll see you when I am in my 50’s.

2. The Simpsons – The FXX channel has started their 12-day marathon of the Simpsons. That will be 25 years and one movie worth of the Simpsons crammed into 12 days.

And when you think about it, Maggie should be drinking and driving. Homer should be retired. Grandpa should be dead and buried. Mr. Burns should have bought the presidency and would probably still be alive.

25-years and the show is still going. Over 500 episodes. Years and years of yellow entertainment.

And I am already sick of the marathon.

3. Meaningless Numbers – Yesterday I was briefed again on the results of the climate survey. And it was not like this was a new briefing with numbers that more directly reflect the results of my office; it was the exact same briefing that was given a week ago. I hope people above me realize that giving the exact same briefing multiple times is not increasing communication.

And when you are giving the results of a survey, you should know what those results mean. I am not blaming the director on this one, it seems that nobody knows what the numbers mean. For example, two numbers would be given, CECOM’s results and the Army’s results. And say CECOM’s result for a question was 2.9 and the Army’s was 3.0, we were given a good rating because we were close to the Army’s result. But what does that 2.9 mean? Is it 2.9 out of 4? Out of 5? Out of 100? And if the Army’s 3.0 was a terrible result, does it matter that we are .1 away from terrible?

And to top it off, the questions themselves were flawed. Everyone interpreted the questions differently. The questions were not clear. A question may have asked, “Do you trust your leadership?” What is my leadership? My team leader? The Director? The Commanding General?

So, what we learned from this whole flawed process is that CECOM scored worse than the average Army score in almost every category and that the Army needs to rework its survey.