Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Strike two.

Today was tough to get into--even though I thinned a lot of my work email inbox last night, I still had a pile of items for both Wheatlands and Pomme de Terre this morning. I decided to prioritize and do the Wheatlands stuff first because that building's actually getting built right now. I had questions on what's going to be involved in the new ambulance garage, how can we terminate the metal panels against the aluminum windows, and so on. Suddenly, my job superintendent, Mark, asked me about a change I was going to be issuing soon.
"Hey, Pixie, about this PR where you're putting a drywall ceiling in the two storage rooms in the clinic," Mark said. "Two different guys from our code consulting company came out here and signed off on the storage rooms as they were. What's your change about?"
I was bumfuzzled. My mechanical engineer and I discovered that the walls around two storage rooms had the wrong kind of walls around them. In an attempt to make a long story short, the walls won't stop smoke from passing out of them into the rest of the clinic and administrative offices in the event that a fire were to start in these rooms. When my engineer and I called the code guys, they agreed that we should put a hard lid in the rooms as a ceiling instead of putting those acoustical tiles in the ceilings and put small air grilles in the hard ceiling with dampers on them to stop smoke if any is detected. But in the field, these same guys are telling my super that it's all good in da hood. I put in a call to the head code guy; if I don't hear from him by 9am tomorrow, I'm opening a can of whoop-ass.

It was a quiet morning, overall. Sarge was teaching a Revit class and half the office was out at a meeting in the snowy, nasty Denver weather. I noticed, with some disgust, that Wanda was still in the office. But alas, she was quiet. As I finished up lunch, Sarge walked by my desk to see if I wanted to go for a quick stroll to get out of the office for a bit. I agreed, slurped down the rest of my soup, and threw on my coat.

"So?" I asked. "What's the word, bird?"
"Okay," said Sarge. "You saw that Liz and I went into a conference room with Howie on Thursday, right?"
"Yeah, but I didn't see y'all leave. What happened?"

"Well, we described Wanda's hissy fit and subsequent leaving of the meeting and the office," Sarge said as he tucked his chin into his coat. "I explained my concerns about Wanda's behavior from a CAD manager's standpoint, and Liz described her concerns from a project manager's standpoint."
"Right, then what?" I asked, shaking fat snowflakes out of my hair like frosty dandruff.
"Well, Howie asked us to take him through our concerns and through what was said, step by step. We had to fully explain the attack she unleashed at Elliot in the CAD meeting." He shook his head. "God, poor Elliot. He's just helping out part time on Pomme de Terre, and she was pissed about something, and she just jumped on him. He asked a simple question, and she acted like it was character assassination."
"So what did Howie say?" I asked.

Sarge had to pull his hands out of his pockets to gesture suddenly. "Oh man, we were explaining everything, and Howie kept saying 'You gotta be kidding me!' over and over," he replied.
"Really?" I was actually shocked. "So he was truly blown away by all this? He's clued in finally on how ridiculous and disturbing this is?"
"Completely," Sarge finished. He stopped on the corner and raised his eyebrows. "When we finished, Howie looked at us and said 'This is Strike Two.' I'm tempted to make it Strike Three, but I'm gonna call it Strike Two and talk to her again."
I could do nothing but high-five Sarge.

So it seems that Wanda is On Notice. On Serious Notice. Howie is pretty distant and tends to let his projects run themselves because he's worked hard to gather highly competent people around him, but he's just as fierce, evidently, about thinning the herd when they threaten the efficacy and efficiency of his team. A few months ago before Jacqueline left, Howie fired a gal after only a month when it became very clear that she had way oversold her abilities and was unable to actually work on a project. Not only that, but the gal was unfriendly and sullen. DA is a pretty buddy-buddy place, and antisocial behavior is not rewarded. Quite the opposite, really. So, I take this to be a good sign. If she can chew a 'lude, we'll get a lot done and she'll be great to work with. If not, Howie will kick her hissy-fit-having ass to the curb. I think this is what's known as a win-win situation.


BaxterWatch said...


you are so damn lucky.


you work at a great place. Where team work isn't just a word on a picture in the conference room.

It may take time, but it does come through.

wow. I think I envy you.

poor Wanda. she must feel the buzzards circling.

faded said...

Good for Howie! It is nice to see a boss who protects his good employees. MHP, your boss is a real gift to you. Most boses I have known would have let the problem run on until all the good people were driven out of the office.

Mile High Pixie said...

I know, Bax. It takes a while sometiems for it to kick in, but Howie does stand up for us in the clutch. He went to bat for me to get two raises last year, and he's protecting his team now. Wanna move to Denver? We always need good engineers....

And Faded, I've seen good people leave. My hubby, Mile High Guy, left our office when his boss took advantage of him for far too long. Several other good staff members whoe worked for Guy's old boss have also left in the past four months; his management style is running off talent. Likewise, I too have seen one bad apple run off all the good ones. It takes a while for Howie to get cranked up, but when he does, he's The Man.