Reader Forum

Firing worker over cartoon too harshThis is in response to the Human Side of Engineering, the June 2001 issue in the special supplement. I was shocked at the answer to the first scenario with Bill Lapper, the cartoon-drawing mechanic. There is a bigger issue here, and that is the aftermath of firing someone for hanging a cartoon.


Firing worker over cartoon too harsh

This is in response to the Human Side of Engineering , the June 2001 issue in the special supplement. I was shocked at the answer to the first scenario with Bill Lapper, the cartoon-drawing mechanic. There is a bigger issue here, and that is the aftermath of firing someone for hanging a cartoon. Even if the guy was hated by each coworker, people would want him fired for something else than hanging a cartoon.

You can't be living in my world, where nearly everyone has a Dilbert pinned somewhere. There's the accounting department with its spike-shaped chairs ("take a seat"), and let's not even get into Dogbert, the human resources manager. Every guy I know has a bank of 4-8 Dilberts and others posted.

The difference that he drew it himself instead of cutting it out of the paper is a minute distinction. Is a traced cartoon worse than the original? Did he really invent anything he couldn't have found with an hour search in the library? Is using the copier to make copies of something one wants to post at work (car for sale) a firing offense?

This firing would become an apochryphal story of this company and its treatment of employees. What you don't realize is the freedom to complain is the only true freedom. A medium level of complaining is the sign of a healthy company. It's where everyone parrots, "this is a great place to work, I love it here" that the atmosphere is the most oppressive.

The story will be told in hushed whispers throughout this company. Will everyone get it right that it wasn't a cartoon, it wasn't the use of the copier? Nope. The story will be, don't post jokes and don't complain. Look at what happened to Bill.

Do you know how many people saw that cartoon and snorted or smiled to themselves in momentary sympathy? They will feel awful when they find out he was fired for that. They will ask themselves how something that provided a mild smile…well, the sledgehammer killing the fly.

Better would be to have him do penance like scrub down garbage cans or something else. — Lynnette Hartwig, Cooper Power Systems, Milwaukee, WI.


In the Suggestions and Solutions section of the August PLANT ENGINEERING, the pricing information for the TripleGuard extended warranty was inaccurate. It should have read as follows: Costs for eligible products range from $16.95-$495.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me