Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Phrustrated Pharisee

I have to move that brass fitting, or I can't fix the heater.
First, some housecleaning. "Hey Greg, I'm at HOME, if you really wanted to SERVE me...." On to what really "phrustrates" me.
Living out of a suitcase has it's severe limitations. Right now the Pharisee (when he is not on the road in a small bunk area or drivers seat), is in an RV. It's cold, and water leaks and failed water heaters don't mix well with cold. They demand replacement. Not today, not this week, but RIGHT NOW.

All of this got me to thinking, because I have limited access to everything because everything doesn't fit here.

First, what got me to thinking:

Every time I make a move to fix the water heater problem, I run into designs of other people who didn't want me to fix it. They might not have a preference for sending me to the service center to replace the water heater, but there's no motivation to keep me out of one either. RV's are like submarines and helicopters. (Why didn't I mention Space Capsules you say? They don't fix at all.) One system is overlaid on top of another system, or crammed into a small space, or made of miniaturized parts or all of the above. To repair a furnace, sometimes you have to remove a water heater.

Fortunately for me, I only have to repair the water heater, but that's the extent of my good fortune. To adequately diagnose the problem I have to remove the water heater, and that's where I am stalled. I thought that my tools were in the truck, but they are in the storage unit instead. My wife isn't answering her phone. She has the keys. I can't get them. Normally I could bully a fitting with a monkey wrench and a pair of pliers, but brass tends to shred. I need something more specific to the application at hand and I can't get it.

Which got me to thinking, but didn't get me all the way to the end of my thought process. The first part of my thinking is along the lines of how my wife does things. She sets up all systems in the house so that if I want to find something, I have to talk to her. Namely, there's a roadblock, you stop, she advises, you go on. Please understand that in this case I probably chose to leave the tools in the storage shed so it's not her fault, it's mine, but I first started grumbling about her not having the right tools at hand, and then started blaming myself. And the people who design propane fittings NOT to be worked on. Nevertheless, my wife took the keys with her, and I am at "all stop."

Then I moved to the next part of the equation. My partner is coming back to pick me up but I don't know when. He is at least 2 days away at the moment, but I'm not exactly sure where we are meeting, so I don't know where he is two days away from. That could mean I have a day essentially, so I tried to get a hold of him, he answered, said he'd get back to me, and then apparently went to sleep.

Why did I try to get a hold of him? Because I can't determine where he is going from the company website. Normally I can look up my duty assignment based on the truck number and know where I'm going.

So I digress again, but I'm going somewhere. Trust me.

There are two types of systems when it comes to managing people. At least in this case. There are management systems that track employee movement and activity. Essentially I don't have a problem with those since I am prepared to explain what I am doing. That's a "Tracking" or "Monitoring" system. It's based on "management by exception" and it largely trusts the employees in question, it just wants to know what's going on and occasionally someone monitoring a tracking system, asks questions.

Then there are security systems. Security systems treat virtually everyone like criminals. Your movement is monitored, or maybe not even monitored so much, but in a security system, there are roadblocks. When you encounter a roadblock, you stop and wait until the gatekeeper gets to you.

This is where I am going. I often find that my wife sets up security systems that alert her to everything going on in the house and you have to go through her to get something done in the home. Usually she is there so that's not a problem, but you find yourself explaining why you are doing something, before you can do it. This prompts discussion if she does not like what you're doing. I point to the fact that she has the keys and I don't. Instead of working on the water heater, I'm writing this.

Meanwhile the truck is barreling towards an eventual reunion with me, and I don't know where it's going. Before I cut a giant hole in the wall of my residence and compromise the propane system that operates the stove, I need to know how much time I have. I don't.

So we have the next security system.

Up until sometime Monday, I could look up the dispatches my truck was under, and know where it was going. Then someone noticed that I wasn't signing into the driving system and wordlessly I was cut off from that information. My employer uses a "Security" oriented people management system. If I want to know what's going on, I have to call a busy person, annoy them, and explain why I need to know something instead of just looking it up.

Management by exception monitoring systems trust people and use course correction and inquiry to stay on top of things.

Security management systems don't trust people and make them stop and explain themselves to security personnel before they can proceed.

My wife has a deep need to know what's going on, so she sets up security systems.

The manufacturer of my RV wants to keep me from working on it (I suspect) because they want to have one of their service centers do it for $1000.00 instead of $99.00 in parts and frustrated labor from yours truly.

My employer doesn't trust anyone and wants to know what they're doing so they can tell them not to.

Thus all employ security systems.

I tend to employ monitoring systems because I manage by knowledge, exception and course correction, not prevention and permission as security systems tend to do. I grant as much permission as I can, and advise.

So me and Security? Oil and water, and I'm Phrustrated. And my water heater isn't getting fixed. And time is running out. And I don't know how much I had, to begin with.

PS:  The RV dealership locally was very helpful.  It was suggested that a "frozen" pipe fitting might eventually be persuaded to move if "WD-40" (the second most indispensable thing compared to Duct Tape) were sprayed on the fitting.  It was said the WD-40 would "work it's way into the threads, and loosen them."  Guess what?  It did.

Problem Solved!

Sphere: Related Content


cheese said...

PB Blaster works better than WD. You can find it at your local Wally World.

The Pharisee said...

The "phunny" thing is that it seems that the most accessible fixture on the water heater, from the inside of the RV, was the offending item when it came to the leak.