February 02, 2005

Why Are They Yelling At Me?

It is summer of 1995. I am working my first "real" job in Crystal City, VA. As a consultant for a software company. We write optimization software that that provides logistical answers, based on parameters you give it...

For example...
parameter 1 - we make 3 products which require parts a, b, c, d
parameter 1a - parts come from locations x, y, z and zz
parameter 2 - all end products must be shipped from port a
parameter 3 - warehouse for storage is in location 1
parameter 4 - we are considering sites 1, 2, and 3. Enter pay rates for employees for various areas, rent/building costs for various areas, etc.
parameter 5 - shipping costs from locations to port a

It was all very complex and the software would tell you the optimal place to put your facility, based on this information. What I found really funny is that most clients just wanted us to PROVE that the site they liked was the best, not really run it for optimization purposes. So for every client, we had to "tweak" the software (billed as "customization") to make it give the answer they wanted.

Anyway...we had a customer in SaoPaulo Brazil. I was on the phone w/them frequently gathering parameters and asking questions. One day, my boss had a trip down there to meet w/them. We had many conversations then too, some where I spoke w/the client while my boss was in the background listening.

When he came back, I thought I would ask him something that was bugging me.

ME: Jeff, why are those guys always yelling? Is the phone connection that bad?
JEFF: No, it's crystal clear.
ME: So, why do they yell? I never hear them yelling at you?
JEFF: because you are yelling at them!

Apparently, I felt like they were "far away" and thus had to yell. Subconsciously of course. I never noticed that I was yelling.

Because it is all about me. Always.


Anonymous said...

In my over forty years experience I have found that onsultants are hired to tell management that what they want to do is the best course of action. In some cases where management's desired action was not known, the consultants would query us lower ranked folks to see if we knew what management wanted. In several cases the consultant asked what I had recommended previously and gave the same recommendation to management, at which time it was accepted.

girl from florida said...

LMAO!!! You are too cute :)