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Non-value added Wed, Dec 19, 2018
Related to support staff, I'd like to take a moment to talk about systems engineers.  These are the people who generally keep track of things in a project and have a decent understanding of the technical specifics.  At my job, every project apparently needs a systems engineer, and systems engineers are like rabbits in that they tend to multiply.  You start off with one, but before you know it, you have a whole team of them. 

My firm opinion on systems engineering is that it's thoroughly and completely non-value added.  I've worked with systems engineers many times, and the most common sentence I tend to utter is, "You want me to do whatWhy?"  On the one hand, it's good to have a person to keep track of things.  But on the other hand, we all already do that ourselves, and generally the project manager does it as well.  Systems engineering is just this unnecessary add-on that requires additional time and energy and provides no realizable benefit to anyone.  I've never been a part of a systems engineering thing and thought afterwards, "Wow, that was totally worth it." 

Systems engineers seem to really enjoy interacting with other systems engineers, and they tend to talk to each other in big words and meaningless acronyms while filling out useless spreadsheets that no one looks at.  At the end of the day, they produce nothing.  Their work makes no money, provides no value.  We should banish these foul people to the far reaches of the earth. #business

Support staff Wed, Dec 19, 2018
Workers can be broadly divided into two groups:  (1) the do-ers and makers who directly create or produce the thing that makes money, and (2) the support staff who makes sure everything runs smoothly.  One isn't better than the other; without one, there wouldn't be an other.  An engineer might design the thing, but it requires a machinist to make the thing, and an electrician and plumber to make sure the thing can get made, and a custodian to make sure the facility is kept clean. 

I'm in the former group, and I'm a little egotistical about it.  I don't rub it in people's faces, but I win a lot of arguments in my head.  One group of support staff that always bothers me is the computer and networking people.  Their job is to make my computer run smoothly and make sure I can access the information I need.  But when there's this strict, authoritarian stranglehold on the use of USB devices, unapproved software, and internet use (one time they blocked Wikipedia and I legitimately needed it), it feels like the groups are switched.  This sounds pompous, but I'm literally the person in this conversation who does the work that earns our organization money.  Computer people are not. #business

Solvable problems (3) Wed, Dec 19, 2018
I keep running into these issues where some minuscule problem gets in the way of something, and all progress stops and everyone gives up.  I tried to plug my computer into a different division's network at work, and I wasn't allowed.  I needed to plug in to do my job, and this roadblock prevented me from working.  This is a solvable problem.  I didn't need a new computer; I didn't need someone to run wiring to a new location; I didn't need someone to invent the concept of computer networking to allow me to accomplish my task.  I just needed someone to modify their network security to allow me to plug in.  Obviously this didn't happen because I work for a bloated, bureaucratic behemoth.  So instead of doing work, I just didn't do work.  That's fine.  But this could've been easily prevented if people could comprehend the scale of the problems they routinely encounter, and simply realize that many of them are inherently and readily solvable. #technology