Friday, April 15, 2005

By golly, I do believe it is time for the periodic admonishment

By golly, I do believe it is time for the periodic admonishment to a few (a very few; a small minority, in fact) of the posters on this blog. It can't be that hard to be professional, can it? I'll help ya'll out with a little list of things to avoid doing here:

* backstabbing is not professional, don't do it
* name calling is not professional; ditto
* ad hominem (look it up) attacks are not professional
* bad spelling is not professional [s p e l l c h e c k e r]
* religious (and anti-religious) tirades are not professional
* whining is not only non-professional, it is immature and irritating as hell

We can expand this list later, as indicated.

Now admittedly, we presently have more than our share of problems here at LANL. No need to make it worse by introducing ourselves to the rest of the world as (wait for it) a bunch of whiny non-professionals.

There, now go have a nice weekend, be wild and crazy all weekend long if that's what rolls your socks, but a few of you (you know who we are talking about) should try to put on a better showing when you come back.


This is a message from a friend.

Here's the deal. Like it or not, the government pays you to do the stuff they want. Nukes, quantum whatevers, the geek meal ticket is issued by We, the People, in Congress Assembled. Looks like they might be changing their minds. Time to deal with it. So what if they've blown the budgets on this or that...LANL and all the rest have gotten way more than their fair share of pork
over the years, and still do.
I've heard talks by eminent LANL folks...and a lot of their work can easily be done in a university.
Maybe a lot of LANL folks might be going that way soon. Is that so bad? Where is it written in stone that nothing shall ever change?
What entitlement was established that the govt should fund any endeavour, ad infinitum?
Maybe they are shortsighted, maybe they are wrong...but they make the rules. And whatever some managers do, Nanos etc...they really can't come into your office or lab and interfere with what you are doing (shutdown excepted) if what you are doing is important,
enjoyable, critical for national security...get to work! If not, find other work, or retire, or if your personal circumstances limit your ability to leave, "Suck it up", and get a hobby for after work.
Life is short. All this stuff is not going to matter one iota inside of 5 years. The world changes too
quickly. Pick your battles, fight them honorably, blow the whistle when it really matters, sue the management when they break the law, put in an honest day's work, and call it even all around.
There are allegations that many are impressed with themselves at LANL.
My experience in the national security field is different. The people making the difference not only aren't always honored or acclaimed, they are equally likely to be ignored or pilloried. That's the way of the world,
in all human endeavours. So if you find yourself gainfully employed at LANL, give thanks, or heave a sigh
of relief at the dice that rolled your way. So very many people in the world are cold, hungry, and sick,
and would weep in joy at the chance to sleep in the lobby and check the dumpster after lunch. Get a grip, people. Take a deep breath, or two. Get a good night's sleep. Laugh at all the puffed up execs. Remember we are all a little hollow, a little stuffed, "our headpieces filled with straw." If you are doing some good at LANL, to the best of your lights, do it. We return you now to our normal programming...
Yes, we should be greatful for what we have, but what's wrong with trying to improve the environment in which we work. Why not say the emperor has no clothes when in fact he doesn't. Is that an ad hominem attack? Yes. So what do you mean, Doug? This whole thing started with a petition to get rid of Nanos. How ad hominem can you get?
Professional behavior is something one does at work. Whereas, I see no room for profanity, I do think a bit of ranting should be fine on this blog. Yes, LANL is pork, pork to New Mexico, but do you think any other state (except Nevada, which is getting testy as well) would accept all this radioactive debris? Well, maybe Mississippi or Alabama but probably not even Georgia.
People at LANL have had wonderful benefits and a lot of academic freedom for many years. So did a lot of other places. When I was a kid, my father was an engineer for an oil company and we were allowed to fly on the company plane to go visit my grandparents 1200 miles away. That company terminated that opportunity before I hit 12 which was many years ago.
Something has been lost in the US and that is the idea that companies are made up of people and that taking care of people is the way to take care of the company. We liked that. LANL is one of the last places to lose it. Now workers -- up to and including most scientists and engineers are simply interchangable parts. It is a terrible loss and we have a right to whine.
As for religious attacks, that guy from Lockheed Martin at Sandia started that. No it wasn't kind to Mormons, but on the other hand, there was an element of truth to it. There was a time when LANL management was heavily populated with Mormons and some of them weren't very nice. Others were -- I really liked some of them very much. I especially remember Charlie Miller,now deceased ( where is the spell checker on this blog when I need it?), who was an excellent manager. Nevertheless, women in particular have some legitimate gripes against some of the Mormon managers of the past. Religion does enter into workplace politics. Let's be honest. Is that an ad religium attack? ( I don't know the Latin word for religion, so I made one up.) Well, yes, kind-of sort-of. But didn't this blog get started so we can tell the truth? I do not believe the truth should be considered an attack. I know some Mormon women who don't much care for the way they are treated by their Mormon husbands, as well. Why can't non-Mormons mention the problems that have occurred in their workplace due to people of different faiths. Some women at LANL have had problem with men of various ethnicities and other religions as well. Some religions direct their males to dominate women and to keep them in low level positions.
We should be able to say that we don't like that. Yet it sounds racist and nasty to certain religions. The problem with stereotyping comes not from the fact that it is based on fact, but from blaming all members of a group for being identical. There is always enormous variation within any group, religious, ethnic or racial.
I guess you have figured out that this is coming from a woman.
Anyhow, I am not especially interested in being professional on a blog. I think whiners are where it's at. If it weren't for whiners nothing would ever change. The problem is that action has to follow. Sometimes there is a long gap between the whining and the action. Nevertheless if one cannot even whine, how does one begin?
I do think arrogant posts, should not be deleted but should be ignored.
I got a lot of interesting info from that LM guy from Sandia. I am sorry if he hurt some feelings, but he had a point.
If you want to know what this blog was like before the mean-spirited hateful comments began, just look at the archive (sidebar) for the months up to February 28.
Wow, that was a stream of consciousness if ever I've seen one. I have to agree that there has been lots of good stuff posted to the blog this week. Most of it, in fact. It's just the few disruptive posts that have caused minor problems. Religion is always a hot button, and really does not belong on the blog, although I am aware of the remnants of the "Mormon Mafia" that used to occupy a significant number of seats on the forth floor.

All said, the blog is mostly a pretty effective self-regulating device, and that speaks well of the contributors. I suspect the blog is even beginning to make a difference. How could it not, given that every decision, every action taken by LANL management, UC management (ok, I concede that UC has not taken any action) is now examined under a very public magnifying lens.

Heisenberg had something to say about this phenomenon.
This thread is a drink and be merry rant better suited for a bar in England at the wee hours of the morning. Pavemment pizza to follow.
Thank you, I think I _will_ have another drink, with a side of verbiage, lightly tossed with balsamic vinegarette.

Hold the pavement pizza.
I do not believe the previous blogger (4:26 AM) works at Los Alamos. If he did he would know that the time has already past. Moreover, somehow converting the simple and eloquent message of redemption into the equivalent of a bumper sticker never has appealed to me personally.
Good points of edikit to follow except "spell check." To do that -- since my ghost writer is on vacation -- I have to compose in MS WORD and then paste over.
"Here's the deal. Like it or not,...." . Now here is some good common sense.

It is time to get real -- we have had several months of getting the frustration off our collective chests, and that has been useful, but now it's time to start using all those brilliant minds we are all supposed to have, and begin to come up with some positive, workable plans on how to turn this place into the kind of place we would like to work in. I don't buy the argument that we all have to wait until the director changes -- yes, that may make things easier (and it may not), but there are a lot of things we can do ourselves, in our own little workplaces, with our own little groups we work with every day, to begin to make things better -- and constantly complaining isn't one of them....
Okay, If you know so many things that can be done name them. Where are these shining examples of things we can do without the direct approval of management. With the current level of micromanagement anyone who goes off on his or her own is placing themselves in serious jeopardy. The rules on safety and security are so ambiguous and conflicting that they can essentially be interpreted by management in any manner they choose. This is something they did with extreme prejudice in the CREM incident. If you're willing to place your neck on that chopping block with the current set of unethical managers at this laboratory then more power to you. Unless you're in the good old boys club, or are an aspiring member, then you'll be drummed out of here so fast your head will spin. Like we have said, Nanos and his gulag style management team has to go before anyone can afford to pose solutions or take action. It just isn't worth the risk to most people here.
I'll name one thing: we can all petition DOE, NNSA, UC, and our congresscritters to get rid of Nanos. The critters in particular _hate_ negative limelight, and could likely (finally) be convinced to get Nanos out of their hair. UC, DOE, and NNSA of course will do what they do best; nothing, but there will be some pleasure in causing them additional unease at rubbing their noses in Nanos again.

"Get over it Pete!" Nanos has to go.
This from someone who works in the “soulless corporate world” so many of you have been reviling –

Try “de-Grinching” the people around you once in a while. Works like this in our “soulless” corporation. In the morning when you go into work you look around and find someone who seems overworked and/or underappreciated, and you do something nice for them – bring them some donuts or flowers or a nice poster for their wall or take them to lunch or …. (get creative here…) and tell them how much you appreciate the work they do and explain (in detail, not in vague generalities) how you understand that what they do makes your own job easier or possible or bearable or whatever. Then you hand them a sheet of paper that says “I’ve been de-Grinched” (people get creative here, too – Xerox a copy of the Grinch from your kid’s books and put it on the sheet), and they tape it to their door. Rules are, if you have been de-Grinched, you must within the next hour (or next morning, if it is late) pass it on and de-Grinch someone else (who hasn’t recently been de-Grinched).

After doing this for a while, people just get into the habit of telling those they work with that they appreciate their work, and they get into the habit of committing “random acts of kindness” just to make the place more fun to work in. Sure beats a lot of gloom and bitching….

If the concept of telling someone you appreciate their work, or doing something nice for someone at work for no reason at all, seems beneath you, or unprofessional, or is too hokey for your tastes, or is uncomfortably unfamiliar, then you are part of LANL’s problem just as much as the upper managers you seem to despise. Think about it………

In the end, what makes an organization "souless" are not souless managers but souless workers. It's always easy to blame management for problems (everybody does it everywhere all the time), but in fact there are more of you than of them, and if you don't turn the attitudes around, they certainly wont' be able to, even if they want to.
I like the previous post very much.
I would like to thank the hundreds of people who have said to me, "Thanks for sticking up for us in Physics Today."

It sure as hell made my day--many a day, I might add.

Thanks to all of you out there; you know who you are.

-Brad Lee Holian
While we are passing out kudos, let's thank the editorial staff at Aviation Week for their "Raspberry Jam" article. I believe it was the first national publication to get it right. The article is still side posted on this blog and it came at a particular bleak period in our "recent troubles" as the Irish are wont to call such episodes.
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