Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2010.11.16 — Not Far from the Madding Pole — a fushigi

I got to work several hours late this morning. It was a surprisingly beautiful — cool, almost cold — day with clean air and brilliant colour on the trees and in the sky making it a perfect day to be getting to work late. I was late because I had taken my wife and I to a medical lab for blood works. That was extended because, after that, I waited in the car reading Made in America by Bill Bryson while my wife visited her medical specialist.

But, once at work, the perverse fushigi gods got together to mess with me. This very weird work one began in the year 2004. As such, unfortunately, a bit of boring background is needed in order for the fushigi to mean anything. The following events, while real, have been paraphrased and shortened to minimize the reader's pain.

Back in CW, a very green tech, was directed by our mutual and also relatively green, design manager, to fix a 'discovered-while-doing-something-else' — not reported — aerial utility trespass. Once the design manager was out of earshot, I looked at the job as her trainer/mentor and recommended that she not do the work. 'This is an extremely difficult trespass to fix,' I said. 'And given that the utility trespass is in an industrial area and that no one is complaining about it, I recommend that you don't fix it at this time. Wait until there is an actual complaint.'

CW, wanting to accommodate her directive, consulted another tech who, unfortunately for her, concurred with my recommendation.

'But,' CW argued, 'my manager has told me that I have to fix it.'

'Okay. Just put it into the 'work-to-done-when-I've-got-nothing-else-to-do pile. Since you will always have work to do that is more pressing, you will be able to not do the work without saying you won't do the work.'

CW refused to do that because it was a bit too underhanded for her comfort.

So, abiding her manager's directive she proceeded to begin the design by first creating the work order.

She struggled to get the job designed, as well as co-ordinating the different companies required to fix the non-problem problem. I helped her for a while, and then, as time passed, I forgot about it. Eventually the entire department was re-organized and we reported to different managers. More time passed during which there was another re-organization, a lockout, and a return to work in 2006. Once again we reported to the same manager, although not the one we did in 2004.

In 2006 CW had been put on a special assignment before the now old trespass job rose up from the nearly dead jobs with a phone call I got from the city engineers. GB asked me when the work on this job would be completed. He was concerned because the 'new' pole hole that had been dug by the other utility company in 2004 was still a hole and the pole that was supposed to be in it was laying on the ground. Both constituted a public safety hazard.

When I looked at the job, parts of it had been done, but parts needed redesigning before it would be ready to recommence.
(The reason the pole wasn't in the hole was because doing that without the construction crews present would 'trap' the cables on the wrong side of the pole.) I finished the changes, (see clip from construction drawing showing date), and then arranged for the various parties to co-ordinate their efforts and gave it to logistics to book the various groups needed to get the work completed.

Since then I have received about two calls per year from either the city or my logistics people about getting the work completed. Each time I received a call arranged with the various parties and their crew chiefs to get themselves together on the job site. When in 2009 I received yet another call that the work was still outstanding I threw up my hands, blew a gasket, and gave responsibility for its completion to the design manager for the area. He agreed to take it on and subsequently I was notified by him that the work had been done shortly before he retired. Oddly enough, I learned on February 2nd, 2010 (I checked my work notes) that once again, I was told that the work was not completed. (I passed off the work to the retired manages tech to deal with and, more less, forgot about it.)

Now for the fushigi. This morning, CW, OS and myself were talking about challenging pole designs. The discussion got started because OS was in the middle of a somewhat difficult one, made more difficult by the city's odd demands about the guying. So, of course, CW's now notorious challenge became a topic of discussion. 'Is that job completed yet?' CW asked me. 'Perhaps," I said, 'but I doubt. I seem to remember taking a call about it this spring.'

After a bit more discussion about how his job haunts me, it was time to get back to work. We all turned to our computers. When I looked at my e.mail I could not believe my eyes.
By its time stamp, there had been dropped into my e.mail in-box during our discussion a notification that this job had been once again re-approved (financially) to proceed. I was incredulous, and so called CW and OS to show them how weird life is.

So, just coincidence? Or a synchronicity-petite?

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