Cost



  • As many of you know, I consult at a WTF of a company that follows worst-practices. I put up with it mostly because they let me work whatever hours I please, the work is fairly painless as Wall Street goes, and they are willing to pay me a mountain of cash to keep doing the same work over and over because they can't and won't plan ahead, and won't let us consultants show them the way.

    Ok, if they insist on not being cost-effective, I'm perfectly happy to part a fool from his money.

    A few months ago, we got bought out be a bigger WTF of a company that got caught up in a bidding war, and wound up paying WAY too much for our company. Today, we had a meeting with our new overlord; the CIO of the purchasing entity.

    This guy went on, and on, and on about cutting costs, at all costs (presumably to make up for them paying ten times our actual value).

    After about 30 minutes of this tirade, I turned on the light from my Blackberry and placed it on the conference table, then walked over to the switch plate and turned off all the lights in the room, plunging it into complete darkness (there were no windows), save my Blackberry light.

    He asked me what (tf) I was doing? I told him that I was saving the company money by reducing electricity costs. Our eyes would adjust in a moment, and I would gladly foot the bill for the extra charging of my Blackberry at home, if it would help save the company money.

    He pointed out that this was ridiculous.

    In my best Dilbert-esque poise, I mentioned that he suddenly seemed to feel that not all cost cutting was warranted, and proceeded to point the conversation in a more constructive direction.

    Why do upper managers always feel they need to order people to do things without first asking the line-workers how they can make things better?

     



  • HAHAHA. Simply. Awesome.



  • Pretty cool thing to do. I'm sure your co-workers must have chuckled. And a reasonable, if slightly intimidating, action too.

    Anyway, if you want an answer to your last question, consider the kind of people that rise to those ranks: they're either lucky, or have more ambition and political skills than anything else. Common sense doesn't get you anywhere.



  • Is this a real story?

    Or are you... embellishing?



  • @dhromed said:

    Is this a real story?

    Or are you... embellishing?

    He briefly flicked on and off the light on his blackberry (perhaps only considered it), then sheepishly nodded his head at everything the CIO said. 

    Later, he posted an inflamatory comment on the internet.



  • (ignoring Dhromed's remark who's just jealous he didn't think of it, snoofle you're my hero)

    @snoofle said:

    cutting costs, at all costs (presumably to make up for them paying ten times our actual value).

    A well known business anti-pattern.



  • @HighlyPaidContractor said:

    @dhromed said:

    Is this a real story?

    Or are you... embellishing?

    He briefly flicked on and off the light on his blackberry (perhaps only considered it), then sheepishly nodded his head at everything the CIO said. 

    Later, he posted an inflamatory comment on the internet.

    When he went to order the guy's coffee (at his own expense, of course), he asked for a double shot, even though he only wanted a single! Revenge!

    Seriously, though, that's an awesome story.



  • @dhromed said:

    Is this a real story?

    Or are you... embellishing?

    Not only did it happen exactly as I said, I left out some stuff....

    The guy was also ranting on about standards; everything has to be perfect; there will be zero tolerance for anything that causes any delay in deliveries, or failures in production. Figuring that I was going to be fired, and I wouldn't mind some time off, I pointed out that this means that all feature creep requests would have to stop immediately as those are the biggest cost in terms of delays and lack of testing. No! We must have the features to be competitive! Then deadlines will slip and testing will be diminished if you eat up the scheduled time with additional fatures. We went around on this for a few minutes. Then he got on the cost tirade. That's when I just flipped out the lights to shut him up.

    When dealing with a bully, you go straight at him, spit in his face and kick him in the balls. You may take a beat down, but he'll never forget messing with you.

    I don't know if I'll get fired for it, and at this point, I don't care. The job market (at least on Wall Street) is much better than it was, and I should be able to find something in short order; certainly come mid January when the 2011 budgets and headcount become available.

     



  • You sir, are a hero!



  • @snoofle said:

    I don't know if I'll get fired for it, and at this point, I don't care. The job market (at least on Wall Street) is much better than it was, and I should be able to find something in short order; certainly come mid January when the 2011 budgets and headcount become available.
    But what about your great stories?  What about us??



  • @Xyro said:

    ...  What about us??

    I'll still be working on Wall Street. In 25 years, I've yet to encounter a company (and for the most part, a boss) that didn't produce a non-stop onslaught of WTFery. The stories SHALL continue! This, I vow!

     



  • @Daid said:

    You sir, are a hero!

    Ditto.

    For me, it's not often a question of balls but more about presence of mind.  I don't think of the great comeback until later.



  • @snoofle said:

    Not only did it happen exactly as I said, I left out some stuff....
     

    *tips hat



  • @dhromed said:

    @snoofle said:

    Not only did it happen exactly as I said, I left out some stuff....
     

    *tips hat

    Tipping your hat at a man is an insult equivalent to calling him a woman.



  • @snoofle said:

    I don't know if I'll get fired for it, and at this point, I don't care. The job market (at least on Wall Street) is much better than it was, and I should be able to find something in short order; certainly come mid January when the 2011 budgets and headcount become available.
     

     I thought this is the pattern on Wall Street:

    Year A) Take huge losses by writing enormous "loan loss reserves," book that as a huge loss, take little or no bonus.

    Year B) Reduce loan loss reserves, book that as an enormous profit, and executives take enormous bonuses.

    Rinse, repeat.

    By my count, 2011 should be an (A) year, so they might not do as much hiring...



  • @snoofle said:

    Why do upper managers always feel they need to order people to do things without first asking the line-workers how they can make things better?

    Because, if the line-workers could run the company...

    What I find funny about these stories is it always goes the same way. Company A looks and Company B and says "They look nice, I like them, I think I want to buy them" - and then as soon as the purchase is done, they want to change everything. Kinda like getting married.



  • @jasmine2501 said:

    as soon as the purchase is done, they want to change everything. Kinda like getting married.

    (mumbles something about "women")



  • @snoofle said:

    ...they are willing to pay me a mountain of cash to keep doing the same work over and over because they can't and won't plan ahead, and won't let us consultants show them the way.

     

    Appearances to the contrary, they're not complete idiots.  They know better than to put much stock in the advice of someone who in effect is volunteering to show them how they can give him less money.



  • @da Doctah said:

    @snoofle said:

    ...they are willing to pay me a mountain of cash to keep doing the same work over and over because they can't and won't plan ahead, and won't let us consultants show them the way.

     

    Appearances to the contrary, they're not complete idiots.  They know better than to put much stock in the advice of someone who in effect is volunteering to show them how they can give him less money.

     

     

    Oh yes they are, because (like any consultant worth his oxygen) what he's really volunteering to show them is how they can give him the same or greater amount of money for more interesting work.

     



  • Besides, any half-decent consultant shouldn't be afraid of helping the organisation reach the point where they don't need him or her any more - because either they'll retain the consultant for something bigger and better, or the consultant can move on to another opportunity, with their reputation suitably enhanced.

     

    The consultants who carve out a niche deisgned for them to fill on an ongoing basis are the ones you should be watching out for.

    TL;DR version - don't make yourself irreplacable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

     



  • @HighlyPaidContractor said:

    Tipping your hat at a man is an insult equivalent to calling him a woman.

    How's that an insult?



  • @snoofle said:

    <complete and utter lack of respect for pompous management weenie>
     




  • @DOA said:

    @snoofle said:

    <complete and utter lack of respect for pompous management weenie>
     


    The only thing in the world better than Yotsuba is the Amazon box robot.



  • @derula said:

    @HighlyPaidContractor said:
    Tipping your hat at a man is an insult equivalent to calling him a woman.
    How's that an insult?

    Most men do not appreciate being called a woman.

    Also



  •  

    @snoofle said:

    When dealing with a bully, you go straight at him, spit in his face and kick him in the balls. You may take a beat down, but he'll never forget messing with you.

    <bows_deeply> You sir are a
    giant. I am humbled by your presence. </bows_deeply>

     

     



  • @HighlyPaidContractor said:

    @derula said:

    @HighlyPaidContractor said:
    Tipping your hat at a man is an insult equivalent to calling him a woman.
    How's that an insult?

    Most men do not appreciate being called a woman.

    Also

    I hit backspace and it posted?  That's a new one.



  • @b-redeker said:

    well known business anti-pattern.

    Wow--I think I need that book. In one of the reviews, I see my previous employer is amongst those whose mistakes are being analyzed as a warning to others.

    It's amazing what executives can overlook from inside their cocoons. When I was about to be laid off from there in one of several rounds of downsizing, my manager (who had slithered off to a division that [i]wasn't[/i] being shut down) called me & said he was sure he could find me a spot in his new area. I pondered for approximately 1.5 milliseconds before telling him that I was planning to just accept the severance package, but thanks anyway. The death spiral was plainly obvious, and I really didn't want to prolong the inevitable. (Didn't hurt that this was ~7 years ago, when the job market was much better.)

     



  • @SteamBoat said:

    @Daid said:

    You sir, are a hero!

    Ditto.

    For me, it's not often a question of balls but more about presence of mind.  I don't think of the great comeback until later.

    "The jerk store called, they're running out of you!"



  • @snoofle said:

    Why do upper managers always feel they need to order people to do things without first asking the line-workers how they can make things better?
    The Peter Principle.


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