Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Managerial Posting Introduction

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It gets very dark on Mars. The sun is small on the horizon. Human presence is thin on the ground. If you are used to living in an urban area, you are going to feel it deep. Dark. Thin. Assignment to a mars base earns hazard pay, the psychological challenges are serious. Ten percent “attrition” rates during a first mars tour are normative. No one can be sent home early due to obvious travel logistics and idle time increases an employee’s hazard to him or herself, so even employees in crisis must be left on functioning teams. Most employees rotate out as soon as possible. Some don't. Some stay. Weird employees thrive here. Discipline is relaxed. A mild form of organizational anarchy is the only management style that can keep the bases even minimally staffed. The strange get stranger, or more themselves as they are apt to assure us.

Every team has their own billeting area, motto, mascot and flag; small group identity is encouraged. Downtime is abundant and ways to spend it are scarce. There are numerous gymnasiums and recreation areas but primarily the small groups compete to entertain themselves. The line between work hours and off hours is thin and teams often use work assignments as competitive exercises. Teams often reproduce the work of other teams in off hours to publically exhibit their prowess. Management has often used these off hour reproductions in place of the original deliverables when they exceed testing metrics. Metrics must be public and defined with extreme clarity. Subjectivity in this is highly dangerous to the manager’s person and to team moral.

Substance abuse\use is the norm, although usage is usually kept to off hours. Experiments with complete restriction of mind altering substances have all led to severe team failure rates. Attrition rates exceeded 25% in the first quarter of the trial, at which point it was terminated due to ethical concerns and resultant personnel shortages.

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1 comment:

ds said...

I live a little of this on earth