F-Troop Rides Again

Having served in management for over a decade, it strikes me as somewhat odd that i am only now being hit with my first official “grievance”.  Strangely enough, it’s in the form of an “Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) complaint, leveled against not only me, but my boss, who is a unicorn*.

Despite the fact that the informal grievance process is well underway, and we’ve all had to give depositions to a mediator, we still have to work with the complainant** – let’s call him “Scientist X” – on a daily basis. 

This can lead to the occasional awkward moment.

Today’s moment?  It happened during a round of frustrating budget discussions, where The Unicorn, the Deputy Chief, and i were trying to extract something – in fact, ANYTHING – vaguely representing a financial plan*** for the on-going research project of “Scientist X”. 

Now, The Unicorn and i have been up to our ovaries with the idiosyncrasies of Scientist X, and have gotten used to his sudden temperament swings, often leading to spittle flying, arms flailing and inanities spewing from his mouth at warpspeed.  But Deputy Chief?  He hadn’t really seen it yet…

After Scientist X finally stormed out of the room, leaving a trail of bad cologne and saliva globules settling onto the carpet, Deputy Chief was speechless.  He was impressed with our composure and patience.  We explained to him that we are now hardened to the tantrums. 

When Deputy Chief asked about the potential for violent retaliation?  We assured him that we’d considered that… and that we’re both pretty sure we could kick his ass if he decides to start swinging.

Deputy Chief is my favorite “Personnel Success Story” during my time in F-Troop.  He was sort of a castaway when i got there because he’s not aggressive, and sometimes needs a few rounds of explanation before he finally “gets it”.  But i found him to be pleasant to work with – and over the past few months, i’ve discovered a dry, snarky and occasionally twisted sense of humor buried in there…

It took about an hour after the meeting, but Deputy Chief wandered by my office and whispered “Ya know, if Scientist X comes in sporting a big bulge in his pants?  It’s probably not because he’s glad to see you…”

Hand Cannon photo found here

* Term coined by a friend of mine.  She is a black female engineer.  Just a teensy-tiny bit rare in my world.  But she’s damn good at what she does…

** It’s not this guy.  We have a few more special folks, who keep us on a first name basis with the human resources department, the security office and even the people who manage the facility.

*** For a guy with a PhD in Physics?  He REALLY sux at the maths…

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37 thoughts on “F-Troop Rides Again

  1. Having worked in an extremely junior position in Physics more decades ago than I care to disclose, I seem to remember that there are two types of physicists. Those other-worldly geeks who have ideas and the equally other-worldly mathematical physicists who use maths to prove (or disprove) those ideas. The key is that physicists of both types are separated from humanity and should be reclassified as at least a new species, if not a new genus. There is a Zoo of basic particles. We also need a Zoo for those who postulate and discover those basic particles.

    • you’ve pretty much nailed the categorization of ‘experimental’ vs ‘theoretical’ physicists. but within each realm, there is still a bell curve of goodness… and this guy may be bright? but he’s so dysfunctional, we really can’t tell. i want the zoo. oh, yes, we could partially fill a rather large zoo…

    • sadly, he’s become quite adept at kicking his own. he has been given opportunities to pull himself out of a pretty serious mess, but he continues to dig deeper… he’s got plenty of rope, and is building a noose.

    • 2,648 days between now and 31 Dec 2017. after a retirement planning seminar, i decided to stick around til the end of the year that i turn 55… but who’s counting?

  2. It is for reasons like this that I never clawed my way up the corporate ladder. The natural progression for what I do would take me into management but I can’t stand the thought of it. I like people unless I have to work with them. Then they get on my nerves. Hence, I’m not management material.

    • i hadn’t planned on it. the worst part is that i spend MOST of my time dealing with the whiners, whackjobs and gooniebirds. i rarely get to spend time working with folks who have the potential to grow… that’s why i’m enjoying working with Deputy Chief – he’s in his early 50’s, was pretty sure he’d be looking out a window for the rest of his career. but there’s a shot we’ll be able to get him a promotion this year, or next! he’s doing a great job!

  3. This raises serious questions in the reader: What is the definition of a “unicorn?” How can this guy be making a complaint about EEO if he has a job? How do you manage to work and stay sane at the same time? Why hasn’t someone already tampered with the brakes on his vehicle? How is it that someone who is prone to throwing temper tantrums has a job at all?

    This, and other ponderings fill my head. You have my deepest sympathy, and am envisioning your Friday night libations as being particularly felicitous and necessary this week. . .

    • “Rare”. Because that’s what the office is there for… i don’t. He’s going to hang himself shortly – no need. He’s milked a personal situation for all it’s worth and we’ve finally drawn the line. And yes, there was a little beer tonight – outdoor “GearFest”, complete with beer garden! Very necessary!

  4. This is simple. This man desperately needs to get laid. In fact sounds like the next time might be his first time and then you have you and another female in close proximity, he’s flustered. He might know physics but he doesn’t know women. I’m not saying you should do him the favor but if you all pitch in a decent hooker isn’t all that much. As for me i know neither physics or women.

    • you are, in fact, correct. that is one of the fundamental problems. guy is so spastic – and backed up – that no right-thinking woman would go anywhere near him. and i wouldn’t subject any sex worker to this dude… he’s freaky.

  5. The Spastic Nerd – I should add this to my list of stereotypes. I’ve completely missed that one. Damn. Yeah, I’ve worked with people like this before. Usually, I quite enjoy the rants, so long as they’re not directed against me – and then I have problems keeping myself from laughing in their face. Sorry, I can’t help it. Spastic ranting people who care THAT much about minutia always leave me in stitches. Every workplace should have one. We’re sort of lacking in one right now. The closest I could get would be a grumpy Russian or maybe an overworked Irishman. Oh, we do have a ranting bald guy, but he doesn’t spit and his rants are pretty temperate.

    • if this guy were a good scientist? we’d be far more willing to tolerate his bullshit. but he isn’t. so we don’t. it’s not the minutia he rants about – it’s straight up toddler temper tantrums when he doesn’t get things to go his way. if you’re going to categorize him? try “Spastic Incompetent Physics Dork with an Over-Developed Sense of Self”

  6. I had a very old professor one time who had bounced back and forth from industry to academia for about forty years. He told us, “When you get out in the world, you will find two tracks: the technical track and the management track.” He went on to tell a long story about the highs and lows of the technical track, and ended by saying, “The management track is about dealing with personnel problems. So if you like personnel problems, choose that one.”

    I think of the wisdom of those words almost daily.

  7. Scientist X doesn’t sound like he has the arm strength to hold a gun, let alone fire one with any sense of accuracy. Plus he doesn’t sound like a person of stealthy means either.

  8. Ah, the joys of middle management!

    Black (and hispanic) female engineers – female engineers in general – are actually quite plentiful in the company I labour for. The ones that don’t get bogged down in maternity leaves are typically fast tracked up the leadership ladder. Not many make it to the executive level though.

    • the sad truth is that when any female (or minority) gets a promotion in my world, the assumption is always that it’s ‘fast tracked’. despite the fact that i out-worked my colleagues through the middle portion of my career, there will always be those who assume i got there because of my ovaries. i stopped worrying about it, and just bank the check…

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