Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Political Power Vs Mechanical Power


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Farming guy

Farming guy

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 962 posts

Posted 14 September 2017 - 02:01 PM

I think we would be better off if our leaders had some experience with mechanics before entering politics, or any leadership position.

 

Those of us who work with machinery, I think, have a better understanding of the damage power can do as well as it's benefits.  We understand the purpose of things like shear pins and slip clutches that protect systems from too much power going to the wrong places.  It is not unlike the way our legislative process is supposed to work.

 

I remember an engineering professor at the university commenting that the faculty senate ran best when they had a majority of engineering professors running things.

 

Any comments or thoughts about this?  How would you feel if we could recruit a bunch of engineers to take over  our major political parties?


  • Buffy likes this

#2 Buffy

Buffy

    Resident Slayer

  • Administrators
  • 8946 posts

Posted 14 September 2017 - 02:48 PM

As someone who hires and manages engineers, and have hired and managed marketing and finance people too, I'll have to say, I don't think that engineers have a special advantage here. You don't really need to be an engineer to know about cause and effect, you just need to be in a position where the decisions you make have consequences you experience. Approving a software release that ends up trashing people's data is as horrifying as approving publishing 100,000 brochures where your top customer's name is spelled wrong, or publishing your quarterly income statement with an error that shows you made a profit when you made a loss.

 

I think that gets at what you're trying to imply here. More useful in the political context, people who are elected to legislative positions really ought to have to "retire" to executive branch positions where they have to deal with implementing the legislation they voted for.

 

Not sure how that would work, and in fact the best Cabinet Secretaries are former legislators who approached that job *as if* they would have to deal with how their laws were implemented.

 

There's a lot of legislating being attempted right now that does seem to be completely divorced from the reality of the consequences of the laws being written. It's painful.

 

 

The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly, :phones:
Buffy

  • Farming guy likes this

#3 Farming guy

Farming guy

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 962 posts

Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:36 PM

 

 

 

I think that gets at what you're trying to imply here. More useful in the political context, people who are elected to legislative positions really ought to have to "retire" to executive branch positions where they have to deal with implementing the legislation they voted for.

 

 

 

When I was in college, I knew quite a few Political Science students, and I always felt that it was not healthy for our future to be producing our politicians in such a manor.  People in those majors sure did party a lot, and they spent most of their time trying to impress people rather than do something useful.  I know some of them managed to get elected to local offices, and I have read about some rather stupid things that they thought were good ideas.  One in particular has faced a lot of problems understanding ethics.

 

I think we could eventually see great improvements if we removed political science as a major from our colleges and universities.


  • Buffy likes this

#4 sanctus

sanctus

    Resident Diabolist

  • Administrators
  • 4231 posts

Posted 15 September 2017 - 02:09 AM

I more think everyone should have worked a month or so on a construction site, unless your job is manual work. In Switzerland there was a vote called "40 years is enough" about 40 years on construction allows you to retire. And there were all these economics people in suites saying how bad it woud be for the economy etc. Every summer I was working on construction sites and seeing the 60+ workers who also do it in winter, I just thought "respect!" because I saw how it destroyed me in 1 month. Am pretty sure, if the people in ties ever lived the reality, they would not have said such bullshit.
Eventually it was accepted anyway :-)


  • Buffy and scherado like this

#5 Farming guy

Farming guy

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 962 posts

Posted 15 September 2017 - 04:09 AM

I more think everyone should have worked a month or so on a construction site, unless your job is manual work. In Switzerland there was a vote called "40 years is enough" about 40 years on construction allows you to retire. And there were all these economics people in suites saying how bad it woud be for the economy etc. Every summer I was working on construction sites and seeing the 60+ workers who also do it in winter, I just thought "respect!" because I saw how it destroyed me in 1 month. Am pretty sure, if the people in ties ever lived the reality, they would not have said such bullshit.
Eventually it was accepted anyway :-)

I'm not sure a month is enough time for people to become acclimated to hard physical labor.  I've been at it most all of my life, and the last thing I want to do is retire.  Slowing down would be nice, but I couldn't just stop doing it for fear of the shock to my body.  The closest I get to a day off is an 8 hour work day, and on those infrequent days I start to get a little restless.  And if I quit the physical labor, I might have to be careful what I eat. :shocked: 

 

The thing is, I watch all of these people in government who have no idea about how stuff works, or how we keep it working, and they think they know better how we should be doing our jobs.  I would prefer our government spend at least a year in some other trade before seeking office.  The more work experience the better.


  • Buffy likes this

#6 Buffy

Buffy

    Resident Slayer

  • Administrators
  • 8946 posts

Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:35 AM

When I was in college, I knew quite a few Political Science students, and I always felt that it was not healthy for our future to be producing our politicians in such a manor.  People in those majors sure did party a lot, and they spent most of their time trying to impress people rather than do something useful.  I know some of them managed to get elected to local offices, and I have read about some rather stupid things that they thought were good ideas.  One in particular has faced a lot of problems understanding ethics.
 
I think we could eventually see great improvements if we removed political science as a major from our colleges and universities.

 

When I was at Berkeley, PoliSci was the number one major among fraternity members, much to the consternation of the professors in the department. But the vast majority of people in the major were pretty normal people and the ones I knew personally went on to jobs in public policy or international relations. The Frat Boys did seem to want to go directly into running for office because they were "entitled," but the rest were there to learn "how the system works" to be able to work with it, or in the case of the folks taking it for general ed requirements, how to be good citizens.

 

Like Economics and Business departments, a lot of people think that political science is useless as a major because, as I think you're saying and I agree with, you need to know what you're actually affecting in order to do it well. But methodology and process is an important thing: how you go about accomplishing something is as important as what you accomplish, and these disciplines focus on that. If you don't have people who know how to do things, every organization has to reinvent the wheel.

 

I've seen the logical extreme of this problem really explode in the last 20 years in the software industry where the disdain for both older more experienced workers as well as MBAs has killed endless startups because they literally have to reinvent "how to run a profitable company" from scratch. It's pretty scary.

 

Now this issue of not having experience as an "expert in process," has been well understood for some time: when I got my MBA, less than 10% of the people in my class were undergrad business majors and the same percentage had no work experience. UCLA wanted to turn out "well rounded managers" and they've gotten a great reputation because of this approach. I've seen the same thing in PoliSci and Public Policy grad schools too.

 

I also think that PoliSci and Economics should be required general ed classes for all majors simply because our uninformed citizenry is all too bamboozled by their lack of understanding of how our political system works. That alone is a justification for maintaining PoliSci departments (Econ is arguably more useful as an undergrad major, but that's a different discussion).

 

I would tell people it might be a good idea though to think twice before voting for a candidate who was a PoliSci major as an undergrad.

 

 

In my brief sojourn in college, my favorite classes were political science because I loved the idea of systems we can set up that benefit society - rules we can put in place that sometimes you run against, sometimes they're painful, but ultimately they benefit the world, :phones:
Buffy

  • Farming guy likes this

#7 Deepwater6

Deepwater6

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 902 posts

Posted 15 September 2017 - 01:11 PM

I do the interviews for the entry level positions on up to plant supervisors at the 6 water plants I'm responsible for. Having a college degree or state water license is now needed for every position. It was not like that 10yrs ago. So I end up forced to hire a recent college grad who is very intelligent, but doesn't know anything about plant operations, and he's trying to tell 30 guys who have been at the plant for twenty or thirty years what to do?  They just can't garner the respect and the guys take advantage of that when they can.

 

Then there is the other side of the coin with some 30yr employees, who know operations inside and out, who also have great people skills and all they lack is the degree. I can't put them in a supervisory role because they lack the paper. Our company pays the bills if they choose to go to college so long as it is somewhat relative to some part of our business. After working 8-9 hours most don't feel like going to sit at the community college for 4 hours 3 nights a week. They may be old-school and not very good or intimidated with computers so it dissuades them online courses too.

 

I do understand the need for higher education, but I've seen it too many times where my company has a person with 30 to 40 years of knowledge and experience on the sidelines doing something menial because of a rule. especially when you know they are capable of so much more.

 

As far as hiring I usually have 5-6 college kids come in for summer help while they go to school. They can cut grass and help operators, mechanics and technicians with their tasks. From this I get a good sense of what their work habits are and I have hired a few who showed promise. People will tell you anything you want to hear in an interview, it's best to see them in action. 


  • sanctus, Buffy, Farming guy and 1 other like this

#8 Buffy

Buffy

    Resident Slayer

  • Administrators
  • 8946 posts

Posted 15 September 2017 - 02:07 PM

Having a college degree or state water license is now needed for every position. It was not like that 10yrs ago. So I end up forced to hire a recent college grad who is very intelligent, but doesn't know anything...


I have been in heated arguments on executive teams I've been in where the Finance guy insists that he run Administration, which includes HR. In high-tech it's become common to split off Administration or at least HR into a separate group with a VP reporting to the CEO/COO, and it's precisely because of these stupid rules that only make sense to the "bean-counters." Unfortunately this has not spread widely throughout other industries, but it should.
 

As far as hiring I usually have 5-6 college kids come in for summer help while they go to school. They can cut grass and help operators, mechanics and technicians with their tasks. From this I get a good sense of what their work habits are and I have hired a few who showed promise. People will tell you anything you want to hear in an interview, it's best to see them in action.


And this is another Finance/HR issue, where the "cheapest" thing is to insist on always hiring "experienced" people, usually at entry level pay. Quite often you don't find out how "experienced" they are until you've hired them and then you're stuck. Finance does not want the company to pay for training "green" people, but I've yet to see a company where anybody hired in for a reasonably complex job does not take 6 months to be productive no matter how "experienced" they are, and sometimes they're just deadweight until then. It's much better to hire someone at a more junior level and train them!


Bureaucratization offers above all the optimum possibility for carrying through the principle of specializing administrative functions according to purely objective considerations, :phones:
Buffy



#9 Deepwater6

Deepwater6

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 902 posts

Posted 15 September 2017 - 04:32 PM

I agree Buffy, very few if any can hit the ground running in a new job and it usually takes weeks for them to get oriented and realize the proper contacts in the company they can and need to utilize.

 

My occupation is a little different than yours in a sense. I get people who are looking for a job that plan to stay there until retirement. where you seem to have dealt with higher placement upward chasing executives. You would know better than I, but in the few public water company's(Aqua)(American water) many of the executives will leap back and forth each time trying to get another level up.

 

Our entry level jobs have very good benefits and are at the top end of salary for the area and the national average. This makes the jobs very valuable to the blue collar job seekers around here. When I started (as entry level) the old director told me that the job will never make me a millionaire, but I should always have a job. The only reason I was there was because I had just bought my first house and got laid off from my previous job two month's after closing. This was 25yrs ago or so, but I was sweating it and job security sounded like a very attractive benefit to me.. 


  • Buffy likes this

#10 Farming guy

Farming guy

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 962 posts

Posted 15 September 2017 - 05:03 PM

I do the interviews for the entry level positions on up to plant supervisors at the 6 water plants I'm responsible for. Having a college degree or state water license is now needed for every position. 

My local public water department is having trouble getting new applicants because the one's with the degrees don't seem to want to do the manual labor part of the job, or so I was told last year by an employee who is now retired.

 

 


And this is another Finance/HR issue, where the "cheapest" thing is to insist on always hiring "experienced" people, usually at entry level pay. Quite often you don't find out how "experienced" they are until you've hired them and then you're stuck. 

I have been told that there are farmers who won't hire anyone new who has too much farming experience because they don't want to have to break them of any bad habits they may have picked up from another farmer.

 

 

When I was at Berkeley, PoliSci was the number one major among fraternity members, much to the consternation of the professors in the department. But the vast majority of people in the major were pretty normal people and the ones I knew personally went on to jobs in public policy or international relations. The Frat Boys did seem to want to go directly into running for office because they were "entitled," but the rest were there to learn "how the system works" to be able to work with it, or in the case of the folks taking it for general ed requirements, how to be good citizens.

 

An advantage to politicians getting some non - public work experience is they can learn to stand up for themselves.  I see too many young politicians getting led around by their party bosses.  


  • Buffy likes this

#11 Deepwater6

Deepwater6

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 902 posts

Posted 15 September 2017 - 07:18 PM

My local public water department is having trouble getting new applicants because the one's with the degrees don't seem to want to do the manual labor part of the job, or so I was told last year by an employee who is now retired.

 

I have been told that there are farmers who won't hire anyone new who has too much farming experience because they don't want to have to break them of any bad habits they may have picked up from another farmer.

 

 

I can see that being a legitimate concern. I have a lot of farms around me, but my farming knowledge is limited. I do recognize a big difference of how some farmers treat their cattle and fields though. Sometimes I see some cows in the same area and they have mud up to their ankles and the cows look sick. others look clean and are moved around to green fields often.

 

The only other concern I have with taking on a guy who has 15=20yrs in the business is why are they available? Did they have a fight with their previous supervisor? Did he come in late or not at all too many times? I have a complete slug I had to hire due to him being related to a VP. He's lazy to the point that other employees take it as a punishment when I send them out together on an assignment. So I'm sure all his previous employers were happy he left their place.


  • Buffy likes this

#12 sanctus

sanctus

    Resident Diabolist

  • Administrators
  • 4231 posts

Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:51 AM

IF you did not hear it yet, the story here in the midlle shows well why there is practical experience needed, more than a degree in something (or at least they should be complementary on same level):
http://workforcesolu...ion-dollar-fan/

 

This is an example in corporation politics, but same idea can be applied to politics.


  • Buffy and Deepwater6 like this

#13 Deepwater6

Deepwater6

    Explaining

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 902 posts

Posted 18 September 2017 - 08:30 AM

Great article Sanctus, I would describe my position as middle management. This gives me a birds eye view of what our corporate leaders are doing. I over see a large budget and I get to see the whole budget since my share is in there too. Over the years I've seen millions paid out to consultants by the company.

 

I have a good relationship with roughly 90% of my employees because I'm not too proud to ask for their advice. It makes them feel valued and take ownership of the problem or solution they are dealing with. There are those though, no matter how many times I've given them a chance to manifest their idea's they just do not care. The eight and hit gate crowd, but the majority of my employees do care and feel personally responsible for their work.

 

It's a very thin line to walk between keeping them involved and keeping your appearance of command. It's inevitable and human nature to try and do things your own way, and some attempt to become the alpha-dog if they have too much freedom. There are times I must snap people back into the correct hierarchy, but not make them feel they're undervalued or getting smacked down in the process.

 

The corporate side is still a little bit of a mystery to me. When I started 20+ years ago there were two people in HR and 1 company lawyer. Now each department has it's own floor at our main office with 50+ or more people and assistants in them. As the company grew so did the size of our corporation which is fine, but it has now taken on a life of it's own.

 

When I started there were 3- 4 people at the main office who made decisions. When they made them, they made them, If they told everyone we were going left, we were all going left. Left wasn't always the best move, but right or wrong we went left. Now it's meeting after meeting after meeting and committee after committee. Now (for the most part) no one person can or wants to make a decision for several reasons.

 

The first being nobody wants to take responsibility if it goes wrong, so they have these meetings and committees. In doing so liability gets spread amongst many people and no single person can be put to blame for a huge mistake. Since the main office has taken on this life of it's own no one wants to go there and do all they can to avoid having any of their problems be kicked up to them. This corporate entity is nothing more than a sea of red-tape, useless rules, and failed idea's drawing synergy from the company daily, and this corporate entity just keeps getting larger with the growth of the company.

 

Since I have worked here my entire career I have not seen inside other companies intimately, but from the conversations I've had with my peers at conferences etc. this corporate entity is something they have to deal with too. Knowing this, It leads me to believe that the size of the corporate entity in larger companies must be unimaginable. IMHO, That's why you see things go wrong on an epic scale such as Enron or Wells Fargo recently finding all those fake accounts.


Edited by Deepwater6, 18 September 2017 - 08:36 AM.

  • Buffy likes this