"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Danger, Will Robinson!
prog-nos-ti-cate Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -catÂ·ed; -catÂ·ing
1 : to foretell from signs or symptoms : PREDICT
2 : PRESAGE
3 : figuring out next week at work
I'm almost certain there's a land mine up there, and I'm almost certain that when someone steps on it it's going to blow up with a huge ear shattering blast.
I just hope that I'm not the one that steps on it.
Or the one who gets hit by the shrapnel.
OK, enough metaphor. Lets see if I can explain all of this without letting any secret cats escape from the bag.
First, the setting. I work for a tire recycling company that has had continuous management problems since it was founded in 1991. They burned through millions and millions of dollars in investment capital and by the time 2002 rolled around, they were pretty much insolvent. They had also stockpiled maybe 700,000 tires on their plant site, which is a huge violation of their permits. That's what a bad plant manager does for you.
All of that is public knowledge, so we're safe saying those things.
It was about that time that I decided to not sit in the back room any more, to try to fix this company and make it into what all the stockholders had wanted it to be. Through a chain of events that I have already related elsewhere in this blog, I was the catalyst for massive company change, resulting in our corporate office (where I was) being consolidated into our plant facility thirty miles away.
The day I walked into that site for the first time, I felt refreshed. We could do it, I'd run the numbers. We would survive and overcome this. We would clear up that stockpile. The game plan was all laid out.
Within fifteen minutes, that game plan had gone all to pot. The plant manager (who had been the sales manager before in corporate) decided that the place was his personal kingdom. And the Vice President, who should have controlled this, just sat back and let it happen. Problem was, the plant manager was just lazy with an overdose of testosterone.
Now we had a plant that had to operate fourteen hours a day to survive, had to, and it was only operating five hours a day, if that.
I screamed. I squawked. I hollered. I'd been with this company for twelve years and I didn't want to see it crash.
No one listened.
Not only that, but the plant manager now decided to become my personal nemesis, since he was now apparently blaming me for his inadequacy.
Not a week went by without him trying to humiliate me or worse. Insults, foul language, the whole works. And this is while I kept track of the company books and computer systems while he spent his days looking at pornography at his desk and allowed his brother (maintenance supervisor) to do the same.
The company went down in a staggering spiral.
The plant manager now became very concerned with making sure that whatever happened was not his fault, or at least didn't look like it.
Instead of running equipment overtime to increase production (and thereby money) he came to the conclusion that running them hardly at all was the wise move, because that cut on maintenance costs.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
And the worse the situation gets, the more he blames me for putting him in it by initiating that consolidation. And the worse the harassment gets. Although it hasn't happened yet, physical violence is a real possibility. It has been threatened.
After a year and a half, the plant manager has only succeeded in removing a net total of 1,500 tires from that 700,000 tire pile. The state had to bring in our biggest competitor to clean up the mess on our plant site.
OK, that's the scenario.
Here's where I have to be careful about cats and bags and stuff.
There's this other company. They want to go into business with us. They would have a controlling interest in that partnership, and I would actually work for that partnership.
The man who is president of the other company is someone I really like, who has a good head on his shoulders. We see eye to eye on almost everything.
We have a personal agreement between us that when everything is settled, things are going to change, in a happy way for Cliff. Problem is, this was all supposed to happen last October, and the money has been very slow in becoming available for the transaction.
It looks like next week might actually be the day. Then again last week did too, so take that with a grain of salt.
The plant manager has been on site maybe seven times in the last month and a half. Fine with me, of course.
We have not made payroll of any sort since April.
The electric is supposed to be turned off any day now, and I back up all of the corporate records onto my laptop every night just in case.
"Bleak" really does describe where the company is.
I am scheduled to meet with the president of the other company next week for what might be an all day private meeting. I will be presenting him with an "action plan" on how best to get our company back on its feet. He thought that was a wonderful idea.
He does not want to use his money unwisely. I intend to do everything in my power to make sure that he doesn't.
Part of that, of course, is going to have to be addressing the problems at hand, particularly the plant manager. This won't be terribly hard, since the plant manager has exploded in the presence of several of this man's staff in the past.
But now you can see what I mean.
Up ahead, there's a land mine. I just hope that I'm not the one that steps on it. Or the one who gets hit by the shrapnel.
In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
Tao Te Ching