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« Humor in the Workplace: To a hungry man ... | Main | Humor in the Workplace: "... but it is the supervisors" »

August 02, 2007


Bhasker Patel

How true it is

Bhasker Patel

How true it is


Knowing where to tap... is certainly something to aspire toward. Until I am good enough to be the best at what I do, I am not worth much to too many customers.

It takes courage, persistence, discipline to get there. Maybe courage to believe in one's own potential and abilities is the most important of these.


Sadly, this is a made up story based on an actual incident that occurred to Charles Steinmetz. You can do fact checking yourself, of course, but in the actual incident, he was called in to fix a large electronic generator on dry land, and after a long careful analysis, placed a chalk mark on the generator and explained to the staff very carefully what to do within the generator just after the chalk mark. When asked for an itemized receipt for the large bill General Electric (his employer) sent them, he itemized it as 'drawing chalk mark, $1.00, knowing where to put the chalk mark, $(the rest of the money).

Jason B

I'm retired now but I appreciated this story. In my industry, youth is king - people joke that if you're over 30, and you're not in management already, your career is over.

Reasons are said to be "we are too stuck in our ways" and "we are unfamiliar with the latest technologies". But everyone knows the real reason: older people are unwilling to work insane hours!

This story got me to thinking: an experienced engineer who has been in the guts of many different types of "engine" (which essentially are all the same, on a fundamental level) can solve, "in the tap of a hammer", problems that would send teams of inexperienced engineers into a tizzy of re-inventing wheels.

In my company I was lucky enough to be recognized as the go-to guy in my field. I do wish I could have been paid $9998.00 per hour though.


Some companies tap backwards. In the obsession for short term cost cutting, they tap (out) valuable experience. They fail to see the overall Return on Invstments in right expereince people.


Whether this story is true or not is irrelevent, it is what we learn from it.
What I get from it is that paying for quality to the source is just as important as the source knowing the importance of their quality!

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