Thursday, June 02, 2005

What, if anything has changed since Nanos left

Doug:

Could you please make this comment from the http://lanl-the-real-story.blogspot.com/2005/05/i-feel-timing-is-at-best-questionable.html thread a top level post? I've been wondering what, if anything has changed since Nanos left. With Marquez' recent post I am pretty much convinced that the answer is "Almost nothing".

Anon


LANL has always had the means of catching people who misuse the internet. Maybe they got a new, better tool, but LANL has caught and appropriately disciplined numerous employees over the years.

I don't know what Marquez was trying to do with his email if not to scare people. There are people who misuse their computers, but LANL rarely does anything to them. It would jam up the already jammed up Staff Relations beyond hope. Of course one could say Staff Relations is beyond hope for lots of other reasons as well. And, Lord knows, Rich Marquez is the last person in the world who should be pointing fingers. The skeletons in his closet -- and office, would fill the Physics Auditorium.

The real reason not to misuse your computer is that, if LANL, wants to fire you, they can audit your computer and fire you for dirty jokes you emailed or any number of other minor offences. Normally they only do this if they want to get rid of you for something else that is not necessarily against the rules. As for people sitting and surfing the web, during my worklife at LANL, I saw many students who were given no work to do but who hoped to look busy so they surfed the web all day for the summer. They would have much preferred to do some real work but their "mentors" did not do their jobs. This is really hard on ambitious students who are hoping to learn something and make new career connections at LANL. Instead, they have to fight to stay awake.

It is also true that LANL managers frequently try to harass people out of their jobs by assigning them no work. These people are usually at their wits end due to boredom and humiliation. Of course, if they are caught surfing the internet -- this could give managers a chance to fire them. These people are really between the devil and the deep blue sea. Do they hope for a change of management or do they quit and move the family to a different job? If they are scientists and haven't published in years, as is customary at LANL, they will have a really tough time finding a new job.

There are also people who have work who surf the web all day. I onced worked with a guy who spent his time buying model railroad parts on ebay, managing and imaginary stock portfolio, and buying accessories for his truck/camper from his office computer. It wasn't very hard to detect that he was doing so. His stuff flew off the printer all day long. No high tech detective work required. He still works at LANL and, as far as I know, still does nothing. But he didn't get fired in spite of all the he did. A contributing factor to his remaining at LANL, he claimed, was that every time a member of S-Division sent him a dirty joke he saved it, just in case they were inclined to try to fire him. I also noticed that he was acutely away of who had power and who didn't and was very cozy with those who did.

Comments:
Re: "As for people sitting and surfing the web, during my worklife at LANL, I saw many students who were given no work to do but who hoped to look busy so they surfed the web all day for the summer. They would have much preferred to do some real work but their "mentors" did not do their jobs." Its a two way street. Most students seem to have a lack of initative. I have mentored plenty and that seems to be the common thread. If they need a babysitter they need to go somewhere else.
 
Too bad that 2:10 has had that experience. In our group, on the other hand, a number of the students we have invited to work with us over the years have been better than many TSMs at the lab.
 
There are students and there are students. I saw one bright young man, a junior in Computer Science at Stanford sit an entire summer at his computer from 8 to 5. I know he had no assignment and no opportunity to work with his mentor who was, to be honest, working 50% time in DC. His mentor would have been a good one, had he had the time and interest to take on the job. He didn't. Who was responsible for this horrible waste of human skill I cannot say for sure, but I found it very troubling. The young man sat at his computer all day every day for the proper number of hours. I hope he cooked up some project of his own to work on, but I certainly think web surfing under the circumstances would have been totally forgivable. He didn't come back the next year.
Then there were two students who misbehaved horribly. They had no mentors at all other than the admins. One of these young men was a computer science major, but I don't know about the other. They were rowdy and unruly in their cubes and heaven knows what they were doing. They did drive all of us trying to do our jobs nuts. The admins tried to give them admin duties, but the two students kept slipping out. These two students came back for at least one more year.
What I have learned from this is that few take student mentorship very seriously. I have known one LANL TSM, in the same group, who did.
In addition, I know of students who have been mistreated including sexual harassment.
I believe having students come to LANL is very important, but STB does not oversee the students very well, probably due to lack of staff.
I note that we have had several severe accidents involving students over the years. These students were not accused of doing anything wrong, they simply did what they were told and were seriously injured.
LANL's student programs offer great opportunities, but the lack of oversight of those programs puts students in various kinds of hazardous situations. I know current first class TSMs who first came to LANL as students and now, many years later, are doing important work. Unfortunately, many other students are simply abandoned and/or abused. They do not help LANL's reputation.
Frankly, I think it would be better not to have students than to have them injured, abused, and bored.
 
It is kind of like getting a puppy- it takes way more time and attention than you think... I give LANL a C- on students.
 
The original poster was trying to make the point that this memo was an indication that nothing has changed under Kuckuck. Certainly Marquez is still firmly entrenched. And there have been no postings about replacing others on the 3rd and 4th floors. Possibly the only real change has been the removal of the director's notebook from the main LANL web page.
 
Isn't it interesting how so many Lab organizations these days appear to lack any semblance of integrity? Consider the horrible reputations of HR, OMBUDS, Legal, Public Affairs, Audits/Assessments, Procurement. So what's the common denominator with all of these orgs?--Rich Marquez. Nanos is gone but Rich Marquez, his hatchet man, stays? How brilliant can Kuckuck be, really?
 
Marquez and many of his staff will be removed when Lockheed Martin takes over.
 
I began to write a comment about my Division Leader, a Nuke Navy Nanos Clone (N3C), and decided to delete it. I've come to the point where I don't want to burn any more emotional energy lamenting having to work for this N3C. I'm moving beyond worrying about something I can't change. So I work for an idiot. So he is an abuser. I'm over it. I win. Monday will be a beautiful day!
 
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