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Meet My Supervisor: Pete Puma

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  • Meet My Supervisor: Pete Puma

    Okay, I work with two other guys in the machine shop at a small foundry. There's myself, the die maker and the shop boss (hereafter referred to as Pete Puma). Now, Pete has already earned my dislike for saying such things as, "The people who jumped from the Towers on 9/11 are in Hell." and "I don't think they pay me enough, so I'm not going to work hard until they pay me more." among others, and today I nearly killed the rat b#@$%d for what he did.

    Today, I'm running the CNC machine and I finish one process on the series of parts I'm running, so I pull up the program for the next process. I haven't really tried to learn G-Code because any time I come up with a better way of doing something in the shop, Pete Puma starts ranting and raving about how I "can't do it that way!" Nevermind that the company is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and that there's a backlog of work in the shop which needs to be done, he doesn't want me to do anything different than what he does. (He leaves the die maker alone, since the boss has said that the die maker's work is a priority.) So, if I learn G-Code, I'll have to suffer through twice as many instances of Pete bitching me out for doing what any halfway decent employee would do.

    In pulling up the program, I first run it through the simulator on the machine (while teaching myself how to do this in the process) to make sure that Pete hasn't done his usual job of giving the wrong name to the program. Amazingly enough, it's the right program, so I pull it up in the editor to take a look at the settings I need to run it. Like I said, I don't know G-Code, but I've done some BASIC programming back in high school (nearly 20 years ago, Pete, BTW doesn't remember when he graduated from high school), so I can scan the program (which is about 30 lines) and figure out what settings I need to use before running the program. None of it makes any sense.

    I look around to see where Pete is, to ask him what the hell's going on with the program. Pete's on the phone, talking to one of his friends. I can either wait for Pete to get off the phone, or I can do some dry runs of the machine and see if I can't figure out what the settings are supposed to be. Given that Pete's generally on the phone for a long time, I figure that I'm better off doing the dry runs. That way if the owner stops in, at least one of us will look productive. Normally, I'd ask the die maker when I had a question, but he'd gone home for the day already, so that was out.

    I do the dry run, and discover that while it looks like the machine's doing the right operations, there's no way to set the parts up there and have them come out right without having to make constant adjustments to the machine. Okay, so I'll have a go at rewriting the program, it's fairly simple, and I can't do worse than what Pete's done. You could grab any random person off the street and in an hour or so teach them how to do the kind of stuff Pete does with the machine.

    I get the program rewritten, do a dry run test to make sure that it's going to work the way it's supposed to (it does), chuck a part up into the machine, and just as I'm getting ready to make the final adjustment needed before I can start running the parts, one of the guys from the foundry comes in and tells me they need me to pour a heat of steel. I glance over at Pete to see if he's still on the phone (he is), because I know that if he gets to the machine before I get back, he'll foul everything up. I go slap on my gear and spend the next twenty minutes pouring steel.

    When I get back, I find Pete staring at the monitor on the machine. "Oh, sh!t," I think. "Please tell me he's just walked over here and he hasn't messed with anything. Please, please, please." I spend the next five minutes standing silently behind Pete, not wanting to say anything, because I'm terrified that if I do, Pete will confirm my worst fears. Then I see him stabbing at the keyboard with his fingers, and I clear my throat, hoping that will stop him before he does too much damage to the program. Pete continues jabbing away at the keys for a few minutes, and then turns to me, his face beaming with moronic pride.

    "Man," he says. "I don't know what happened, but this program was all jacked up. I had to rewrite it from scratch."

    "Pete," somehow I manage to keep a calm tone to my voice. "I fixed what was wrong with that program and was just about to start running it when I had to go pour."

    "You couldn't have." He then begins a rambling story about what he did and how what I did wouldn't have worked. Surpressing the urge to beat the sh!t out of him (not a good idea without the die maker there, since he's promised to help me hide the body should I ever finally kill Pete), I listen, waiting for him to finish. I then, calmly explain to Pete exactly what I did, how it would have worked, and how I knew it would have worked because I'd tested it. Again, Pete insisted that I didn't know what I was talking about, so I repeated myself. Pete pauses and appears to think.

    "Oh!" He says. "You're right! That would work! Now, how do I do it?" So I tell him (it only takes me four times before he starts doing what I tell him to). He punches the keyboard and then wanders off. Naturally, I don't just fire the machine up and start running parts. That would be stupid of me. I do another dry run.

    Sure enough, he's screwed something up. I stop the machine and think, for a second, about calling him back over and getting him to figure out what's gone wrong, but I know what that will get me. So I go into the editor, spot what looks to be his most likely mistake, change it, and do another dry run. Whaddya know? I fixed it!

    At the end of this year, I get my certification from school. When I get that, the first thing I'm going to do is start mailing out copies of my resume to all the machine shops in the area. I realize it's a long shot that any of them will hire me with the local economy being so bad, but I have got to get away from this moron before my brains rot out.
    Last edited by Tuckerfan; 05-19-2008, 05:14 AM.

  • #2
    Harlan Ellison, the man who wrote the Bladerunner story, once said "The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and Stupidity."

    HTRN
    EGO partum , proinde EGO sum

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    • #3
      LMAO! Great story with even greater sound effects.

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      • #4
        Yeah, great story. You could make a movie with that. Say Hi to Pete.

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        • #5
          You have my deepest sympathies. Just about everywhere I've worked there have been "Petes"

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          • #6
            Does sound to me like a reduction in the gene pool is warranted.

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            • #7
              <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and Stupidity."</font>
              There was a seller on eBay a few months back that had an old Hauser jig borer for sale...sitting outside, rusty, etc His minimum bid was something insane...like $15,000 as I recall. Would have been worth perhaps $4,000 tops if absolutely pristine like new, but outside and rusty worth zero.

              Anyway, he represented both elements as his eBay moniker was Hydrogenguy


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              • #8
                Harlan Ellison wrote a lot of great stuff.
                I particularly liked "I have no mouth and I must scream".
                But he did not write the Bladerunner story.
                That movie is based on "Do androids dream of electric sheep" by Phillip K. Dick.
                Other adaptations of his stories have given us Total Recall, Minority Report, Screamers, Paycheck, Imposter, and Barjo.
                Not bad for a guy who died broke, and most of whose books were out of print for years after he died. And most of whose stories are much better than the movies made from them, except Bladerunner.

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                • #9
                  Every few years I find a stash of H.Beam Piper stories and immerse myself in them for several weeks. He died young, but left a treasure of great sf writing. I am blessed (??) with erasing memory, so they always strike me a new and different no matter that I've read them several times before. That explains also why I can't name a one of them at the moment.
                  Craig

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                  • #10
                    I had a shop teacher in High School that must of been "Petes" brother, "Petes" dumber brother. I hope for the students sake and the other good shop teacher that he is not there anymore.

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                    • #11
                      <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Rustybolt:
                      You have my deepest sympathies. Just about everywhere I've worked there have been "Petes"</font>
                      I think Rustybolt has made a good point here. We can't always like who we have to work with. Sometimes it is hard to earn respect and get along with some people. Funny enough sometimes the ones who seemed least likely to start with, end up being the best. They might just be testing your resolve, once you show you have stickability they will open up. Others are just pathetic little people who have a whole lot of problems themselves probably feel threatened by any one else doing good. I think the main thing is to show them that you wont be pushed around.
                      Now I wouldn't advise this aproach but I had a situation at work were a guy was needling me, pushing my work aside and generally being difficult. I'm usually pretty easy going and usually ignored it,I think he thought I was weak and it was good sport to push me around. Well one day I snapped and I thumped him, we had a good go at each other. Fortunately we managed not to attract atention to ourselves or we both would probably have been sacked. We avoided each other the rest of the day. The next morning I apologised to him and he too said he was sorry that it had happened. We worked together for several years after that and actually got on really well. I haven't seen him for many years now but if we met in the street i'd have no problems shaking his hand and saying hello.

                      Main thing is don't moove on because of Pete, because as surea as eggs there will be another Pete waiting at the next job.

                      Cheers John.

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                      • #12
                        zl1byz, thanks for the advice, but "Pete's" not the only reason I'll be leaving. Currently I make $9.90/hr, and even though I've probably saved the company close to $80,000 in the past year, the prospects of me getting a raise are pretty slim.

                        And while beating Pete to within an inch of his life (not that I'd be able to stop at that point ) would be immensely satisfying, all it would accomplish would be bruised knuckles for me and an even greater reason to recommend Pete get plastic surgery.

                        Pete's most definately jealous of the fact that I'm a better machinist than he could ever hope to be. I've got less experience, less education as a machinist (though more education over all), and from the moment I walked into the shop, I was able to run circles around him. Mind you, I wasn't even attempting to show off when I started in the shop, I was just trying to do a good job. How was I supposed to know that he'd be threatened by me doing a job using only the mill-vise and a mill stop, when it took him that, a jig, and about twenty toe-clamps (he seems to have a fetish for those, for some reason)?

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                        • #13
                          At the Vickers omaha plant his name was Bitchin Bob.

                          Nuff said?

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                          • #14
                            Yea oh well, life was never ment to be easy, and there are plenty of Pete's out there. One thing for sure if you both Sabotage each others efforts, youll both be looking for a job. Hopefully if you can avoid getting dragged into any stupidness (thumping anyone) and keep learning and improving. When you are looking for that better job, your present boss while not being able to provide you with the opertunities you want. He hsould be able to recomend you to others. One thing I have learned is that there is no better way to learn peoples true charactor than when they are leaving. This goes both ways, bosses and workers.

                            Cheers, John.

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                            • #15
                              The world is full of "petes".. Some work as union electricians. WHen they blow up expensive transformers they get promoted to supervisor.

                              Most times there is a older guy with a corn cob pipe that keeps everything working in a company. He is underpaid and overworked and usually has a bad attitude. The rest are window dressing cousins of people and brother in laws.

                              I'd put all the gcode on a Necklace like I have been wearing. Especially the stuff you are writing. It is a good refrence in addition to making you "extremly valuable" If the OS on the cnc is Xp or linux you are a shoe in.. Just plug it in and it sees it as a removeable hard drive. I got mine here next to me.

                              If you key in gcode and are getting paid less than $10 a hour someone is making a serious mistake. Companies purchase people by the hour for "as little as the market will bear". Just like buying commodities like apples and oranges. Remember you are bought by the hour.


                              ------------------
                              David Cofer, Of:
                              Tunnel Hill, North Georgia

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