Sunday, February 16, 2014

Run a Trucking Company and Buy into Pop Psychology

Have you ever found yourself in the wrong pew and knew it? Perhaps waited a bit too long to make a change? What about not fitting in with a particular firms "corporate culture?" That seems to be where I find myself at "this juncture" (no offense intended toward George I) of my working career.

As previously noted in earlier postings, I am currently in "management" with a, if not major, certainly a chemical carrier of note. Forty eight states and Canada baby with shipments also into the badlands south of the border hauling everything from Gasoline to Phenol with a little food grade to boot. One of the last type outfits one would find upper "management' buying into (and buying) some sort of pseudo scientific pop psychology program I would think. Guess not and read on.......

For the last few weeks any and all "management" types along with a select few others have been shipped off to our corporate office for a one day seminar (or something) in personality types. You know - the type thing where everybody takes some kind of test, gets a score of sorts, and everybody compares and contrasts each others' personalities or some such. In addition to this type of thing being quite ridiculous, the cost is astronomical. These programs don't come free. The well meaning "instructors" that are shipped in to put these little soirees on make a pretty penny I would imagine. Think also of employee plane, rental car, hotel, per diem, etc. etc. costs.
When all is said and done the price of such nonsense is very well into the middle six figures I would guess. If costs alone are discounted, what purpose does some sort of pseudo psychology program really have? It gets the company folk together to "put faces with names" I suppose. Nothing wrong there I guess although in one years time a large number of those faces and names will be with competing firms and a new crop will be in. Seems like an utter ridiculous waste of time.....

Of course this is the same firm that subscribes to a program name of "Afterburner" which is a deal where a committee is set up to "get to the bottom of" things such as accidents, spills, etc. etc. Not really a bad thing at all but not something that is not already in place at every major carrier in existence without the fancy name, posters, training sessions by ex military pilots. etc.  I would imagine this "Afterburner" thing costs a great deal also. Of course it is another program where folks are shipped all over the place to attend a one day training session along with all the assorted costs. Did I mention that this particular deal is the brainchild of an ex military general officer? Perhaps I didn't -gotta find some way to make a living after a career in service I suppose. I know I did not mention that our COO allegedly showed up to one of the meetings wearing a flight suit. Good Lord!

I also near forgot to mention that some of the (really select) get to head up to a well known Midwestern public university for a week long session of sorts. Pretty nice gig if you can get it I guess. Most just go and have a little something else pretty to add to their resume, but there are a few who come back from their week wearing their hard won "education" credentials on their lapel like they have just earned a Masters Degree from Rice University. Or something.

I do believe I mentioned we are a trucking company. A trucking company that has a good deal of unrest in the labor force due to fair compensation at best. A trucking company that has equipment issues (ie trailers that can't load due to just being flat worn out). A trucking company where a substantial portion of the tractor fleet is just about ready for the salvage yard. A trucking company where it is exceptionally hard to find qualified drivers (in most areas) due to the word being out in the trucking community (yes they talk) due mainly to the aforementioned compensation levels....and we are wasting money on nonsense.

Oh well.

I certainly do not begrudge anyone who is smart enough to come up with some sort of silly pseudo scientific personality assessment program or some sort of (common sense) crisis investigation program and can find folk who are willing to pony up big bucks for same. This is America after all and if that is what makes one achieve the (now) very elusive American dream, well go for it. More power too you and hats off.

What is odd is that a company in what is normally a no nonsense, bottom line, type business has those behind large mahogany desks that are silly enough to buy into tripe.

Yep. Time for a change I do believe. Trucking ain't a business in which it is hard to find a different color hat to wear.


Jayhawk said...

Brings to my mind when I was manager of a steel plant in Atlanta. I was a "hands on" kind of guy and I dropped a 2.5 ton sttl plate which landed on my legs. Three fractures in my left leg called for a walking cast, and and nine in my right meant a full cast up to my hip, so I could use crutches but not very well.

I was still in that condition when the annual meeting of plant managers was held in Houston. The VP running it had a wonderful time on the podium using me as an example of plant safety; inviting me to come up and give a talk on proper steel plate handling and such. He was a real riot.

That was back in my drinking days, I was drunk when the accident happened, so I just stayed drunk and laughed with everyone else. I also fell down a flight of stairs at one point and broke the cast on my right leg.

Bartender Cabbie said...

Oh my God. Now that is a story to tell. I once saw a supervisor pass out and start snoring in his chair after a few to many at lunch. A female co worker tried to put some make up on him but he woke up and was not pleased.