My Personal Soap Box; Work

It has been said by whom I do not know that reorganizations are like creating the illusion of wind (and therefore progress) by moving the sailors around on deck. Where I work has taken that one step further and we have cut down the masts, cut them in two and we are having the sailors carry them around the deck to create the illusion of wind and therefore progress. However, we have destroyed the ability to make actual progress.

Have you ever noticed that when an organization talks about something, it is usually because they ain't got it. For example, where I work:

We didn't have a mission statement, until we had no mission.

When we shared a vision, we didn't try to invent a vision statement.

When we produced a quality product, we didn't have quality assurance.

Quality assurance people talk about quality, because quality assurance has little to do with actual quality. Instead it provides a paper trail for the product.

When my organization announced that they are going to become "kinder and gentler," we, the employees, got pounded.

When the government announced that they were going to bid the management contract to provide the best possible management team for the taxpayer, the taxpayer paid millions more for less product.

When it was announced that our compensation package was substantially equivalent to the current package, it wasn't.

When an experiment was essentially identical, it was identical to only the blind and deaf without the benefit of tactile senses.

It has taken me years to figure out what the word "Professional" means. The definition is: "Just like your boss." After all, your boss would never dare not be professional.

Teamwork is no longer understood in the work environment. In the olden days, a team was only interested in getting the tast accomplished. Sure there were trust issues and the inevitable bickering. However, they all understood that they were all working toward the same goal. And work together they did. They would share ideas no matter their status. No matter what their status was, the other team members would actually think about the idea. The skills of the team members were valued, no matter the social standing of that member. There was not the clammering of the individuals to get above the others. People were not trampeled so that the individual could advance. The team worked together for the successful conclusion of the project.

Today, team seems to mean a group of people with some relationship. A team of engineers have engineering in common and therefore are a team. Today, the individual seems to be far more important than the team. Success of the individual is all that counts. It is encouraged to torpedo other team members to advance one's self. Yatch.

Recently, I have witnessed the degredation of Los Alamos National Laboratory. I am not sure which characteristic are attributable to corporate america and which are attributable to our changing society.

The problems seem to have started when the Laboratory lost misson and then vision and then respect and then funding. Since there was no product, process became very important. The individual became important.

The Laboratory used to place National Security at the top of the priority list. Today the top of the priority list is simple, personal survival. Who gives a damn about our great nation.

I have found the change of priorities frightening. I have found the fibs told to employees, DOE/NNSA and congress to be horrifying. I have found the emphasis on finding something that looks wrong and attacking with a vengence to be disgusting. I have found the changing of word definitions to be irritating.

Personally, I have not been able to learn to lie, cheat and steal. Therefore, I am poorly equiped to survive in today's Laboratory. I also have a medical problem and some irritating personality traits, all of which are no longer tolerated. So, with me, the "wrong" has been identified and I have been attacked in every concievable way. Sadly, my distruction, while not complete, is well along.

The things that I have learned are very interesting

If you have a disabling condition such as epilepsy, get it officially registered or acknowleged by your organization when you are having problems. Don't just ask for accomodations from your managment. Anything that they might do to accomodate you can and most likey will be denyed by the organization's legal folks. You see, if you have a disability-of-record, then you fall into a "protected catagory." No corporate entity wants an employee "protected."

Consider if you really want your condition well controlled. For example, striving to control epilepsy with the latest drug, providing the least number of side effets is a poor thing to do if at some point you desire to get recognized as disabled. If you might want to claim a disability, having a periodic seizure and medication side effects that are well documented goes a long way in supporting your claim.

Did you realize that in New Mexico, there is no penalty for not self reporting a seizure. You don't have to tell the motor vehicle department that anything has happened. Furthermore, your doctor has no requirement to share with anyone and information about you having a seizure. It is curious that should you be an idiot and inform DMV, the one year without a driver's license is not a law. It is a recommendation by a medical panel. As is the decision to give you your licese back or not. So don't tell!

Never, never, never, never hire a lawyer simply to get the idiots at the organization to start talking to one another. This is because the idiots will start talking to the organization's lawyer and he/she is NOT your friend. The organizations lawyer will quickly advise courses of action that will minimize the amount of supporting information concerning any disability. For example, someone with epilepsy whose has come to expect and live with the work restrictions such as no working at heights and no operating heavy machinery will have those restrictions lifted. It is more difficult to prove a disability if the organization does not need to restrict your activities. Can you say "lawyer practicing occupation medicine." Then to find the doctor (yes, an MD sworn to do no harm) chaning his/her opinion from "that does seem strange that the restrictions were lifted," to "I would find no reason to place any restrictions on you." If you hire a lawyer, immediately go for the jugular, before the organization's lawyer can erase information.

Never, never, never, never, never share anything with your managment about how your illness effects your work. He/she can't ask and you have no business telling. Just state that you have a medical condition and occupational medicine has placed these restrictions on you. Even if you think your boss is a good person, there is a high probability these days that any shared information will be used against you. You would be suprised how creative managment can become. Give them the additional task of trying to figure out how to best make you fail