August 21, 2008

changing a lightbulb

How many executives does it take to change a lightbulb? For Company X, approximately 28. At least that was the case a few weeks ago.

Let’s do some analogy here, to make the explanation easier. Just imagine Company X produces rooms, each with a lightbulb. A few weeks ago, a checking station discovered a batch of rooms’ lightbulbs not working. They’re all dead. And here’s the chronology of events that followed (unlike many you’ve read across the internet, this is an actual event that happened at my workplace…)

1.) The manager of that checking station sends a technician to check on the bulbs [manager plus technician – 2 heads]

2.) The technician suspects bulb problem, replaces the bulbs and summons the bulb quality engineer over to investigate on the allegedly defective bulbs. [bulb quality engineer – 1 head]

3.) Bulb quality engineer knows no shit about no motherfucking bulbs because he has been only a coordinator most of the time, so he summons for the bulb supplier to take a look. [bulb supplier – 1 head]

4.) Bulb supplier verifies the allegedly defective bulbs, declares that they’re all functional and aren’t defective, and subsequently have them sent back to the checking station manager. But the bulbs still won’t light up when fitted back to the rooms. Checking station manager panics and calls for an emergency meeting with 2 quality managers, 1 product engineering technician and a few other strangers [quality managers + product engineering tech + strangers = 4 -5 heads]

5.) Before the meeting, one of the quality managers invites a good looking technical investigator to the meeting to provide the necessary assistance. [technical investigator – 1 head]

6.) In the meeting, technical investigator takes a brief look at the case, and points out that the problem lies in the pull switch wiring, which is grossly out of specs, and even provides an official report of his findings. Once he gets the findings report, checking station manager calls for another meeting to discuss the next course of action, which involves another product engineering engineer + manager, switch quality engineer, and another quality manager [engineering engineer/manager, quality manager/engineer – 4 heads]

7.) In the meeting, the team calls for actions to check on the wiring specs of the switch, mechanical specs of the bulb and somebody to check with other manufacturing regions if they’re aware of such failures. The actions would involve another 2 quality engineers to liaise with their foreign counterparts [2 quality engineers and their respective counterparts – 4 heads]

8.) One of the engineers got the specs and determine that indeed the switch wiring is not compliant. About the same time, a nincompoop engineer comes up with a rather preposterous finding that the problem was due to a defective driver chip that controls the intensity of the bulb… whereas, a bulb runs on electricity and doesn’t depend on any electronics (a case of blunder and a good laugh). [nincompoop engineer – 1 hollow head]

9.) Just when the issue is about to be solved, somehow, out of sheer confusion and miscommunication, the team in the second meeting decides to instead change all the bulbs to another brand, which the team alleged (based on gut feel) is due to the non-conforming mechanical specs of the lightbulbs. A test run is then conducted by a team of production control folks. [number of heads of production control undetermined but estimated not less than 4 – assume 4 heads]

10.) Room fails to light up again with the alternative brand bulbs. Checking station manager, with the quality manager(s), escalate issue to world wide attention, and calling for solutions. More meetings follow… and I lost track of the heads since then…[another few heads got privy of the issue before I stopped tracking – not less than 4 heads.]

And the rooms are still dark today… what the fuck. This is called red tapes, bureaucracy and corporate idiocy. If you have yet to see such things, don’t worry, you’ll probably see it very soon… (higher chance if you’re employed in an MNC, of course…)

Oh, by the way, that good looking and smart technical investigator who nailed the issue with only one look, wasn’t me. Really.

michaelooi  | work shit  | 

8 Comments to “changing a lightbulb”

  1. moo_t says:

    Wow, I only know the divide and conquer way to solve the light bulb problem. Let me see.
    1. Change the bulb
    2. If not lights up, take the bulb to another room where bulb light and fix it.
    3. If the bulb lights up, the original site switch are bad
    4. fix the switch

    Total head count : 1

    Perhaps some booby female technicians assistant will increase the head count ;)

  2. Je5sie says:

    It’s so so normal, even in the small company I’m working with, it simply takes at least 3/4 of the workforce (5-6 heads) to get 1 or 2 pipe fittings which cost, maybe rm0.30?

  3. YK says:


    Do all large companies operate this way?

  4. michaelooi says:

    moo_t – Despite being the easiest way, it’s still impossible to change a lightbulb just like that. There are bound to be procedures or red tapes that hinder your intention… *sigh*

    Je5sie – Typical. We even have directors who report to directors, who also report to directors. And they are all doing the same thing, but each draw a hefty sum of paycheck. Pundek…

    YK – Most of them do. Large companies.

  5. skyfire says:

    You guys are lucky they don’t call Global Meeting and ask the CEO or CIO of the light bulb company just to find a tiny solution on this. Then i think until the day you sniff on the coffin smell also you can’t see the room birght up again. LoL

  6. happytony says:

    call a repair guy at tel:007
    then say u gao dim. 1 head. not female technicians assistant .

    if included my head. then 2 head lo.

  7. xTr3me says:

    I wonder how much would they quote me if I hire them to replace a burnt out light bulb in my kitchen?

  8. michaelooi says:

    skyfire – They would if they could. But they simply couldn’t muster enough intelligence to do something like this…

    happytony – You don’t understand dude. If the repair guy is suppose to be able to solve everything, then why would you need so many people (engineers + managers + directors) working at the same place? They’d be out of job! We’d be out of job! (get my point?)

    xTr3me – You’d still pay the same. But your bulb might not be as durable – since the cost has all been taken to pay for them delinquents to hold meetings and waste oxygen.

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