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Sherlock Ohms

The Subcontractor Zapped the Network

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GTOlover
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Platinum
Re: Ian Fleming's words apply
GTOlover   2/21/2013 9:24:53 AM
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It maybe cultural, but it maybe governmental. Isn't this a government department? Or at least overseen by the government? How many times, even in American culture, that government workers tend to follow the beuracracies unfettered by thought or common sense?

And before you government workers bombard me with, "I do not do that!" I am only telling my experience. You may actually be smart and use common sense.

a.saji
User Rank
Silver
Re: Lessons learned
a.saji   2/21/2013 9:27:14 AM
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"Double checking sub-contractors is good advice"

@ Tim: Very true. You need to check the work and what sort of a quality level has been matched. They always try to finish stuff early as possible since they can take advantage of that and do someone else's work as well plus they also know that they do not get paid for time but for the work.

mrmikel
User Rank
Iron
Re: Lessons learned
mrmikel   2/21/2013 9:27:43 AM
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It doesn't even have to be an electrical contractor.  One of my customers had the parking lot repaved and the PAVING contractor broke the ground connection for the electrical system.  On a 480 volt system they were blowing uip items left and right.

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: Lessons learned
sensor pro   2/21/2013 10:55:25 AM
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I wish only subcontractors made these errors. About a month ago Verizon crew cut all the coper wires in the back of my house. When asked why the cut my phone, fax, DSL, etc...   hey responded hat in a month or so we will get wired for FIOS.

GREAT SCHEDULING !!!!!

 

I'm sill fighing with Verizon to restore my phone and fax.

As you see, we do not need to go to Kenya.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Lessons learned
Ann R. Thryft   2/21/2013 2:20:53 PM
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Oh could I tell tales of construction foulups. I live in a California county where building contractors and construction workers form the main industry--or did before the economic collapse. They still form a major industry, but at least many of the worst crummy ones have left the business and the county, because of stiff competition after the downturn. Before that, though, I went through 5 or 6 different idiots working on my house until I found a contractor that was honest, thorough, fair, competent and even highly creative. Then he moved back home to the Midwest. He fixed many of the problems caused by the other guys. But the one that takes the cake he couldn't fix without a major rebuild: one of the dummies cut a doorway about 6 inches too short. I discovered this when it came time to buy a new door. After that, I started checking their work more often, although that doesn't save me from highly specialized potential mistakes I can't see and/or am not specialized enough to supervise. Isn't that the point, anyway, of hiring specialists? To hire someone who either knows what you do but saves you time, or knows what you don't?

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Job Performance Drop Near a Holiday
William K.   2/21/2013 8:01:47 PM
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Nancy, you have certainly described the deffect in a few cultures. Of course there are thoise that will defend them as "just diufferent, not deffective", but demanding that nobody think is what that culture is all about. Sort of a different kind of slavery, the slavery to ignorance, instead of some other kind. JUst as bad as the slavery that we know about, but a bit different.

The typical beurocrat is not willing to think, but only to follow a script. That is a terrible fault, capable of destroying a whole nation if it is allowed to go unheeded and uncorrected.

akili
User Rank
Iron
Re: Job Performance Drop Near a Holiday
akili   2/22/2013 9:48:18 AM
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This story has touched on some deep matters, Nancy.  You are correct that there were cultural and even political attitudes at work.  At the time it was just seven years since Kenya had gained independence and I was one of a younger generation of engineers working with and training the "locals", backed by British aid.  We got along fine with most of the younger well educated trainee engineers but some of the older operators had experienced decades of colonial government and the scars of the struggle for independence were still raw.  You must also realise that many of the local staff might work with modern technology during the day but would go back home to a single room shack with an oil lamp for lighting and a charcoal stove for cooking.  So when things went wrong some of them tended to adopt a sullen attitude and assume that we, the wazungu (white men), would blame them or ridicule them anyway, so why bother to think at all.  It wasn't all bad and I enjoyed the work, even switching to teaching and staying on in Kenya for several more years,  but you needed to be aware of the cultural differences and work very tactfully to cultivate good work attitudes.  The old colonial method of abusing and shouting loudly at the wananchi (locals) just fuelled the resentment.  Similar attitudes were explored very powerfully in the 1967 film "In the Heat of the Night".  Hopefully we have ALL moved on since those days.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Job Performance Drop Near a Holiday
Nancy Golden   2/22/2013 10:28:37 AM
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Thank you for the additional insights, akili. It seems much was at work below the surface insofar as how problem-solving was approached. I think we often make unfair assumptions when interacting with other cultures or even within our own - I admire how you sought to look beyond the surface and tried to understand where these attitudes came from. You just can't expect folks to want to have initiative and go the extra mile when they are struggling to survive and have been treated poorly...I think one thing is universal and you hit it right on the head. No one wants to be physically or verbally abused - kindness goes a long way. When I worked at a major semiconductor company, I would often have some type of assembly task that we would give to the ladies that worked on the line. Whenever I asked one of the ladies to do some work, I would first inquire as to how she and her family were doing. I would then explain why we needed this particular job done (engineers typically never explained why, just what) and I acknowledged how busy she must be and how much I appreciated her work. My work typically got done very quickly and correctly...a little kindness goes a long way.

akili
User Rank
Iron
Re: Job Performance Drop Near a Holiday
akili   2/22/2013 2:00:11 PM
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If I can just add one more thought - the one cultural attitude I found hard to accept was the tendency for some of the more ambitious Kenyans to work hard until they had an office and a secretary.  Suddenly they would begin treating their own staff far worse than any colonial official ever did and they would never be willing to get stuck in to real work any more.  All they wanted to do was tell other people what to do and go for long lunch breaks...  But it was all a long time ago and Kenya has moved on, though the recent electoral upsets and violence don't bode well for the future.

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Ian Fleming's words apply
Battar   2/25/2013 8:16:57 AM
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I've worked for a government organization. It's full of managers writing requirements telling how things should be done, with no option for initiative. Two thirds of the time it works, the rest of the time either the instructions are insufficient or common sense provides the better solution. The more open minded question authority, the rest are "pot-plants" and follow the rules.

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