Friday, May 06, 2005

The smarter managers will read blogs, looking for real problems that need to be fixed

The Unbearable Rightness of Nick Denton
By Glenn Harlan Reynolds

[...] Denton noted, "Asymmetric warfare has come to the workplace: managers may sometimes have the power to hire and fire, but the peasants have the internet now." He also suggested that this might be a bigger burden for larger organizations than for small ones.

That seems to be the case, with regard to the ultimate large organization, the United States government. According to a report by Bill Broad in the New York Times, employee-bloggers are giving the Los Alamos National Lab, and the Department of Energy, fits:

"A blog rebellion among scientists and engineers at Los Alamos, the federal government's premier nuclear weapons laboratory, is threatening to end the tenure of its director, G. Peter Nanos.

Full Story

I guess that leaves us out.
ONCE MORE TIME: The Lab is NOT NOT NOT made up exclusively of SCIENTISTS and ENGINEERS. There are THOUSANDS of professionals in other fields. There are more than a thousand people who work at the Lab who are NOT even UC employees. GET IT RIGHT.
I agree with the above response and this is an issue that needs to be tackled next. There are quite a few "Scientists" and "Engineers" that snub there noses at the support staff. They have the attitude that they are better than everyone else and are entitled to "special" treatment.
Regarding the 5/6/2005 11:09:59 AM post, yes it is true that some LANL engineers and scientists do not show proper respect to the support staff. But, the converse is also true.

One more interesting fact: On average, TSMs clock 1740 hours of productive time annually while the support staff (SSM, OS, & GS), only clock 1700 hours annually. What are they doing with that extra 40 hours of time off?
My response was NOT a jibe at scientists and engineers. Just stating that all Lab staff members are NOT engineers and scientists. I work with many and they are almost always good experiences. The news media seem determined to state or imply that all employees are scientists and engineers, forgetting the thousands of employees who are obvioulsy NOT TSMs. They count too, and so do the contractors, who have been shunted aside yet again by the stalled conversion project.
5/6/2005 11:30:06 AM wrote:

"One more interesting fact: On average, TSMs clock 1740 hours of productive time annually while the support staff (SSM, OS, & GS), only clock 1700 hours annually. What are they doing with that extra 40 hours of time off?"

I'd like to see the source for this fact.
To the 5/6/2005 03:03:31 PM poster: the number of net hours by employee types comes from the Standard Labor Rates data provided by CFO. You should be able to get it from the CFO internal website if you are an employee. You may need a crypto card to get the file.
In my humble opinion, this blog would not have even come to existence, were it not for a poor decision by Jim Fallin last summer (whether he was under instruction from Nanos I couldn't tell). There is a lot of good stuff in this blog, along with the dirty laundry and the whining -- not so different from the Newsbulletin (except the spelling and punctuations are better in the Newsbulletin).

I was shocked a few years ago to find that some of our high-level managers were "too busy" to read the Newsbulletin -- but that was how you find out what employees were thinking!

However, should the bloggers take credit for Nanos's departure? I doubt it. His biggest limiting behavior is the lack of discipline: there is no check of his temper, his language, his thoughts; this lack of personal discipline would have gotten him sooner or later.

I expect the wiser managers to find out what employees are thinking. Do not dismiss this blog as the whining of a few malcontents. Many loyal LANL employees have contributed to this blog with good intentions. The biggest lesson here for the wiser managers is this: do not try to take away anyone's freedom of speech. You can't, and you'll lose.

Response to 5/6/2005 11:30:06.

I think you are mixing apples and oranges. The nature of the time and effort system as it applies to exempt (all TSMs) vs. non-exempt employees completely confounds the conclusion you have drawn from "Labor rate" differentials. Exempt time is "fixed", regardless of actual "productive" time.
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