25 June 2007

Monday Rant: People taking stuff and not telling me

I'm in the structural department but right now I'm designing the structural components of a job from the mechanical department. It's pipeline support system and part of my job requires me to put together a specifications document (specs) relating to all the materials that will be used to construct the damn thing. In this case, we have sections for cast-in-place concrete, structural steel, concrete formwork, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary, but still I have to tailor our general specs to fit the job.

So I'm marking up these specs by hand last week and I'm just about done. Friday rolls around and all of a sudden the specs have disappeared from my desk. I search everywhere, bother my supervisor to see if I accidentally left it on his desk, turn my office upside-down and inside-out, completely spazzing looking for it. I finally gave up and went home. This morning I come in and have a meeting with the mechanical department people. They inform me that they've printed up the specs I gave them. Oh? How'd they do that? Some damn mech person pinched the document from my desk without telling me. They didn't so much as leave me a freakin' post-it note. How thoughtful. I spazzed out for two hours plus worried for most of the weekend over this damned thing and all they had to do was leave a note. Nothing much, just "I've taken the spec - mech" would do. Is that too much to ask?

It's not even just the waste of my time (actually, my supervisor wasted a little time searching his desk, too); it's also bad business. Turns out I wasn't even done doing the markups yet. I could have told them that much on Friday if they had informed me they were taking it. Instead, it wastes more time because I have to have them redo it again with the additional changes. Now imagine what happens if they believe this is final copy and ready to send out? If they steal a half-done document off my desk and send it out, then what? We're screwed, that's what.

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At June 25, 2007 4:16 p.m., Blogger Bronze Dog said...

head -> desk -> *thud*


Geeze. That stuff's far worse than the sorts of minor barbarisms that I like to complain about. That sort of mistake could cost a person his job.

At June 25, 2007 5:38 p.m., Blogger TheBrummell said...

That sort of mistake could cost a person his job.

Were it to get out of the building, such a mistake could cost lives in His Majesty's line of work.

Did you AND your supervisor verbally abuse-to-the-point-of-tears the jackass who nicked the specs off your desk?

At June 26, 2007 12:43 a.m., Blogger Necator said...

As much fun as the Chinese contigent in the dept. sharing and exchanging various reagents and apparati between various labs without telling any of the other lab mates. I love coming in the morning on a weekend just to find out that the lab down the hall borowed our SDS-PAGE apparatus the dya before and there's no one in so I can get it back to do my experiment.

At June 26, 2007 8:11 a.m., Blogger Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

Tag. You are it.

At June 26, 2007 12:51 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

I'm not sure it it's as bad as death and jobs in this case. We're only talking about specs here, which would probably just cost us a bunch of extra money from the contractor. Ie. we'll get a call from him saying "Haha, you didn't specify what strength concrete to use. I plan on using 15 MPa (note: this is ridiculously weak, normal is 30) and if you want stronger stuff you have to pay me more money because it's an extra!" Still really sucks though.

The things that would likely cost lives are if they were to send away an incorrect structural drawing. Thankfully, this is much more difficult to do since drawings must be stamped by the engineer taking responsibility for it, so they take much more care ensuring that they are actually stamping the final document. Stamping of specs is a little more loose and easy.

We didn't verbally abuse whoever took it because a) we're too nice, and b) we don't even know who from the mech dept took it.

At June 26, 2007 6:17 p.m., Anonymous Karen said...

"We didn't verbally abuse whoever took it because a) we're too nice, and b) we don't even know who from the mech dept took it."

Being nice is commendable, but how are you going to keep it from happening again?

At June 27, 2007 10:48 a.m., Blogger TheBrummell said...

Being nice is commendable, but how are you going to keep it from happening again?

He's an engineer. I'm imagining elaborate steel traps and cages carefully arranged around his desk, and a really cool-looking electronic keypad / retina scanner for access.

Or a pipe-wrench.

At June 27, 2007 3:16 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

I've only had things disappear without warning twice. Once, someone took my timber design manual out of my bookshelf and never returned it (it's still missing almost a year later), and this time. I can't lock my stuff away every time I leave my desk for 10 minutes, so there's really nothing I can do except be vigilant about tracking missing documents down.

As far as the elaborate traps/retina scanner, that's not going to happen. Civil engineers don't have any money. We're the poor engineers. We also tend to be the worst wrt adopting new technology, so there's no way I'm figuring out how to install a retina scanner. I could make a fortress-like concrete and steel barrier around my cubicle, but that would be inconvenient and bother my neighbours.


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