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.

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.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

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.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me