Once You Finish, You Can Take The Rest of The Day Off

John McCumber

John McCumber is a cybersecurity executive, retired US Air Force officer, and former Cryptologic Fellow of the National Security Agency. In addition to his professional activities, John is a former Professorial Lecturer in Information Security at The George Washington University in Washington, DC and is currently a technical editor and columnist for Security Technology Executive magazine. John is the author of the textbook Assessing and Managing Security Risk in IT Systems: a Structured Methodology

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3 Responses

  1. Rufus F.

    I’ve waxed enough floors to enjoy this story. I recall a staff meeting in which a highly paid cleaning expert explained to us the new gadget they had bought to apply the wax in the “European style”. You had to clean this thing and load the wax and then it was a bit like a bug sprayer that you sprayed over the floor, and then mopped.

    Finally, someone raised their hand and asked “Isn’t it easier to just pour it on the floor from the bottle and spread it with a mop?” The expert got upset and stammered, “No, of course not! This is the easier way to do it correctly and efficiently!” Naturally, none of us ever do it the “European” way and never will.

    I always wonder about the delivery guys. I expect the USPS to go the speed limit. But then you hear about the other delivery companies keeping their drivers to insane schedules where they’re run ragged anyway, and I tend to give them a little leeway for how they drive and park. Not that that’s an ideal attitude to take.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon

    Don’t leave me hanging, what happened on Monday!?Report

  3. Marchmaine

    Growing up I used to work in the field for the family business … we were painting contractors of the industrial/professional sort: office buildings, commercial properties, warehouses, etc. (i.e. no houses) … one thing that really impressed me was the genius (it can’t really be described as anything else) of our long-time German foreman.

    Everything back then had an ethnic component… most of the union guys were Poles, Germans, Greeks, Irish and in the later years, Hispanic… we had a run where a couple Romanian brothers joined from the local… and for a few years had an all Romanian team… and then there was Jimmy – he was an American from Tennessee, but he was the unusual one. I have more Jimmy stories than anyone else because he was fearless and painted the parts no-one thought was possible. One time, painting some facia on the peak of a sloped roof he slipped, slid down the roof – we all thought he was gonna die – and caught himself jamming his boots into the gutter; the slightest panic would have sent him over the edge, but fearless Jimmy figured he’d stick the gutter. Anyhow, back to the German Foreman.

    Conrad, that was his name naturally, had an eye for estimating exactly how long it would take for any given job based on the talent on hand, like a coach selecting line match-ups in hockey. He managed to keep the family business solvent with little tricks like this: he’d know that the work he needed accomplished to keep the job on schedule would take about 9-10 hrs with the crew on site – going at the usual rate – BUT, if everyone focused, cut-out the ordinary time-wasters and each watched over the other we could get it done in about 7 hrs… or worst case 8… but 8 is what he needed. So he’d make the devil’s bargain that we could all go home when this section/task was finished … and darned if it didn’t always work. Sometimes we won by finishing in 6.5 hrs … sometimes he won with us needing 7.5 hrs… but always we got ‘some’ time back for free. If he tried to run the field that way everyday it would have led to mutiny, but used judiciously for the greater good of the project and with a fair bet for all involved? It made him a virtuoso leader of men.Report

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