Sunday, August 21, 2005

More on anonymous comments

If someone can offer proof that they have suffered retribution as a result of using this blog to express their opinions, then I offer the use of this blog to publicize the details of the retribution. Names, times, dates; factual descriptions of the retribution. Proof is a requirement for those wishing to use this blog for that purpose, as are names and all other pertinent information.

The LANL PA division has stated, in writing, that LANL employees are guaranteed their first amendment rights, to include expressing those views via a blog so long as

1. it is not done during work hours,
2. it is not done using LANL resources, and
3. the employee does not represent oneself as an official LANL spokesperson.

This blog has extremely high visibility, with members of congress, the senate, UCOP, LMCO, numerous news organizations, and not a few legal groups reading it daily. UC does not want to be reading about any more management mistakes at LANL on this blog, in The New York Times, or anywhere else.

Again, a purported fear of retribution or retaliation for using this blog as a forum of discussion does not carry much weight with me as a rationale for anonymous posting. In fact, I was, and continue to be somewhat ashamed at the timidity of LANL staff in general when it came to speaking out against the "egregious" mismanagement at LANL, that was clearly demonstrated on July 16 of last year, and which continues today.

--Doug

Comments:
Doug is apparently too polite to say so directly, but I (under the veil of anonymity) am not: LANL staff have demonstrated that they are predominately cowards, afraid to speak out against incompetent management. There have been exceptions, but the LANL populace at large has demonstrated cowardice in their collective "fear of retaliation". They (LANL staff) deserve what UC has dished out to them, since they did not have the spine to stand up to UC, Nanos, Cobb, and the other 4th floor cronies.
 
Doug, managers at LANL are well versed in retaliation. They would not fire anybody for simply posting to this blog, unless the offense were gross (using lab time, lab computers, etc...). It would be to easy to prove retaliation.

However, it is Performance Appraisal time again. In that process, retaliation takes the form of a slightly-less-glowing assessment, or a missed or innocuous word. Sometimes successful work is not even mentioned because of some secret desire to keep the written assessment "compact." In the "Forward Looking" IPOs (next year's assignment), one's assignments are slightly modified in such a way as to reduce the contribution that you can make next year, setting you up for a lower ORC score this time next year. And the cycle repeats... a perfect setup for a Performance Action Track.

Then there is the bigger future... What new contractor (Bechtel/UC or Lockheed/UT) would not want to know the names of people who will be watching and judging them? People who might publicize the successes, or more importantly, the failures of their management? Of course this assumes a purpose to this blog that carries far beyond its original intent.

Pseudonyms are a compromise - ones that cannot be traced.
 
Finknottle, 8/21/2005 10:59:08 AM said:
"Doug is apparently too polite to say so directly, but I (under the veil of anonymity) am not: LANL staff have demonstrated that they are predominately cowards, afraid to speak out against incompetent management."

This is not cowardice. It is common sense. If you honestly believe that what you say is going to negatively effect your career, you should keep your mouth shut. The blog gives you the opportunity to make your claim anonymously, in hopes that you and others who have the same concerns can put all the facts together to present to management from a strong position.

During the last eight months, I have heard a lot of complaints that sound similar, but the people who make these complaints seem not to have been able to get together. I'm sure Doug will be happy to help you get together off-line.

If you don't have the facts to prove your complaint, it will carry no weight into court, and will have little value to the blog other that that someone else who has facts may hear that they are not alone.

Larry Creamer, DX-1 Retired
 
Then there is the bigger future... What new contractor (Bechtel/UC or Lockheed/UT) would not want to know the names of people who will be watching and judging them? People who might publicize the successes, or more importantly, the failures of their management? Of course this assumes a purpose to this blog that carries far beyond its original intent.

Pseudonyms are a compromise - ones that cannot be traced.
_________________________

I don't think the new contractor is going to give a damn what you think of them or their management style. They are not there to appease you in any shape form or fashion. They are there to make damn sure you do you job correctly and if you don't to dump your ass as soon as possible. Bosses are not your friend and academia is gone. So you can take that college mentality and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. You will be there to work not socialize. Welcome to corporate America.

I have been a lab employee for many years. From what I have seen I will tell you that they are the most non productive people I have ever seen short of civil service employee and I left that BS organization decades ago. I was hoping to find people who applied themselves when I made that move.

In the 70's and 80's this was true but in the past decade or so they have become slum lords who reveive large glorified welfare checks. It is time to clean the house.

If you want academia become a professional student and do the nation a favor.
 
Thanks, but I believe that you are a bit naive regarding how us managers retaliate against employees in perfectly legal fashions. For instance:

For engineers and physicists, the real way of dealing with it is career obstruction. This includes:

limiting professional development such as conference attendance

low grade resources such as offices and computers

giving the individual assignments that are doomed to failure (assignment to projects with incompent project managers, inadequate funding, unrealistic schedules, etc.)

assignment to projects that require frequent travel to not very nice places (e.g., the test site)

assignment to "penal colony" project teams that include incompetent coworkers and subordinates

regularly showing up at close of business with emergency tasks. This is best done on Friday afternoon

These things can be defended as business decisions yet have a very negative effect on the recipient.
 
The last post points out one of the biggest misconceptions are retaliation: ALL actions that management takes are motivated by retaliation and promoting "friends". This may be true in some cases, but it is mostly the perfect myth of disgruntled employees. For a significant fraction of disgruntled, there is a strong feeling of victimhood. "Since I said that the GL was stupid for hiring that idiot COS, he has not let me go to professional meetings, and now my career is ruined". I simply do not believe this is true in the vast majority of cases.

Anonymous comments allow people to feel free to say what they *really* want to say. Sometimes this is positive, but most often if it is ugly. These real thoughts are often things that are not socially acceptable (for example, all the posts that say "it is not only who you know, but who you blow"), and that is the real reason that anonymous signatures is involked.

Doug is completely correct on the retaliation. It is no more, no less than any work place. It is not oaky that say hurtful and destructive slogans, and without some moderation the Blog gets dismissed as a place of whinners.
 
This is a fact:

These real thoughts are often things that are not socially acceptable (for example, all the posts that say "it is not only who you know, but who you blow"), and that is the real reason that anonymous signatures is invoked

I have seen this for over twenty years at LLNL. They take the most incompetent people they have and promote them to a level where they can do no harm. Then they increase their salary well beyond anyone who actually works for a living. I have had to actually work for one that was rated a senior supervisor. He was a good politician but not much good for anything else.

So the statement is true. Period.
 
Poster 5:28 Are there any good managers at LLNL? You say that "they" take the most incompetent people and promote them to manger positions. This sounds very much like "a disgruntled employee" -- it is hard to believe that the statement is globally true. Do you think LLNL Director is incompetent? Bruce Goodwin? Charles McMillian?

There are no doubt specific cases at LLNL where the manager is not qualified. But the blanket statement that all are incompetent loses all credibility that the poster is thoughtful and honest.
 
Not all of them but the ones that are as worthless as tits on a bore hog make the rest look like carp.

I can say that in twenty or so years I have worked for two that carried their own weight. The rest are slouches in comparison.

I give credit to one for being honest and up front and the other for doing such a good job that he makes the rest look like there is no need for their existence and that one is way under paid. So to me that does not say much for the quality of supervisors we have at LLNL.

The labs make the same mistake over and over again. They take very good scientist and later in their career no matter how good of an experimentalist they are, someone in their infinite wisdom claims that they can not give them any more money unless they become managers. The problem is, most good experimentalist do not make good managers. I know one senior scientist that covers the entire gamut and I will not disclose his name, but I will tell you that he has set the bar that the other few thousand Phd's to meet. To date they are a country mile from doing so. I expect that most of them will retire and never to be able to make a pimple on his ass.

So I have worked with and for the finest this country has to offer and I would challenge any of you out there to come up to par.

Your chances are zilch
 
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Thank you for your posts, 1:29 and 4:11. What you write is the truth, and also supports my points. If you thought that I would disagree with, or be surprised by anything that you wrote, then you did not have the correct perspective.

In fact, 1:29, I am counting on the new contractor having exactly the mindset that you describe.
 
"Do you think LLNL Director is incompetent? Bruce Goodwin? Charles McMillian? "


The latter certainly is not Allen McMillan who was once the ES&H Director at LANL? I wondered where he would pop up. This man is a liar and thief. Claiming to have MS degree he never had. Using LANL fund to attend "meetings" on the Gulf Coast where his expensive boat just happened to be moored. Blatantly abusive. He was fired..thank God!!
 
Poster 10:33...you have a surprise coming. Allen McMillan is now the President of the National Safety Council in Chicago. That boat is now in Lake Michigan.
 
I remember him. He went after then Radiation Protection Program Manager, Joe Graf, with a vengeance. But much to McMillan's chagrin, Joe Graf was very well connected at LANL. McMillan was a political appointee in DC who was washed out during the Clinton Administration. He brought his lackeys to Los Alamos with him. Anyone remember Edgar?
 
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