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By Fos, the Rat
Every August, I look forward to taking over Mr. Jim's column and providing the insights of the Pulp Rats. This year we've done things a little differently, but here we are, already, at the end of the month. I hope you have enjoyed these interviews as much as I have enjoyed doing them. Let's see what Mr. Jim has to tell us today.
Fos: Well, Mr. Jim, your stories have been very interesting and contained several important lessons. What do you have to wrap up the month?
Mr. Jim: We might call this the case of the language barrier.
Mr. Jim: You will recall last week that the corporation tried to sell the mill out from under us when we got it running well.
Mr. Jim: When the sales process started, I got myself in gear and left. Did not see any reason to hang around.
Fos: Where did you go?
Mr. Jim: I went to a well-known international engineering firm that wanted to establish a business in North America.
Fos: How did that work out?
Mr. Jim: I jumped at the chance. By now, CAD was well established, and as the executive in charge of the office, I thought it was time to build an engineering office without drafting boards. All CAD stations.
Now, these were still very expensive, about $20,000 per station. I put together an organization chart for all the departments and put together a budget for the equipment. It was about $2 million, and this was thirty years ago.
Fos: I'll bet there was a lot of justification work to get that approved.
Mr. Jim: Actually, no. I went to my resident boss, who was an expat from the home office resident in our office and showed him the figures. He told me to order the equipment.
Fos: What did you do?
Mr. Jim: I was stunned. I asked him if there was any paperwork, any justification we had to prepare. He said no, just go ahead. So, I ordered all of it.
Fos: Then what happened?
Mr. Jim: Well, we got the office put together as I envisioned it. Easiest thing I ever did.
Fos: Something tells me this is not the whole story.
Mr. Jim: We even had success in hiring the people and getting the work to run the office--grew that office to over 100 personnel in less than two years. However, there was a "but."
Mr. Jim: We placed that order for all the CAD equipment in the spring of a certain year. The way my expat boss treated me you would think I was his son...up until when he went home for his six-week vacation starting in mid-June.
Fos: Sounds good so far.
Mr. Jim: When he came back that August, I could do nothing right. No matter what I did, it was wrong. Reflecting on all this much later, I decided when he got back to the home office, he got in trouble for buying $2 million worth of equipment without getting approval. I strongly suspect that he blamed me, the one who did not speak or read the home language.
Fos: Mr. Jim, I want to thank you for sharing these stories this month. What amazing stories they are.
Mr. Jim: Oh, I have a lot more, some which still cannot be told. But these are old enough that most of the players are gone now. And, you know, I wouldn't trade any of these, and the unspoken stories, for anything. It has been a great ride. Hope I have another twenty years left. I am having so much fun.
Other interesting stories: