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Engineering A Problem

| Working | December 18, 2014

(I’m part of an engineering team for a small aerospace firm that is currently tasked with fixing airfoil defects in wing design. A company wide ‘reshuffling’ has seen us get a new supervisor from corporate, whose first order of business is one-on-one interviews to determine who is ‘expendable.’ This happens during a team meeting held a week later with him, me, and three other coworkers. We immediately notice our only female coworker, a thin Asian woman in her mid-twenties, is not present.)

Supervisor: “All right, everyone, if you can just sit down we’ll get this meeting done with.”

Coworker #1: “Wait, we’re missing someone. Where’s [Coworker #4]?”

Supervisor: *waving his hand dismissively* “Oh, that, it was decided that with the new cost-cutting measures it wasn’t worth the cost to keep a secretary on hand for you guys, especially such an overpaid one.”

Me: “Wait, what are you talking about?”

Supervisor: “Oh, don’t try and fool me. I noticed that little b**** didn’t even have an engineering degree, and she made up all sorts of excuses about not needing one when I confronted her on it. I don’t care how good she was at getting coffee or whatever her ‘other services’ were. After reviewing her file I saw she barely does any work in the department and I won’t have my department filled with useless employees. There’s no point protecting a deadweight liar just because she’s a pretty face.”

(He finishes this speech with his arms crossed, looking very smugly at us, as if he’s just uncovered some grand secret. Eventually Coworker #2 finally breaks the silence.)

Coworker #2: “You f****** moron.”

Supervisor: *stunned* “What did you say to me?! I will have you reported for this kind of language.”

Coworker #3: “Go right ahead, and while you’re at it explain how you just crippled our department for the next couple of months.”

Supervisor: *frustrated* “Oh, don’t be so overly dramatic. Just because you won’t have a pretty girl to ogle…”

Coworker #2: “That ‘pretty girl’ you fired had a PhD in applied mathematics. She was the only person in our department who could actually figure out the Joukowsky transform on the new designs we’re working on. She clocks so few hours with us because she’s asked to help out the other departments practically every other day.”

Supervisor: *unimpressed* “Well, finnneeeee, if it’s so important we’ll just get another one of these ‘applied’ math people. It shouldn’t take long. H***, with all these new college graduates we can probably just use two unpaid interns and get twice the work for less than half the pay!”

(He once again looked around like he just solved the greatest puzzle in the world. Ignoring our protests he attempted to go ahead with his plans, even creating an ad listing for an UNPAID internship for someone with at least a master’s degree in applied mathematics. Unsurprisingly it turned out to be incredibly difficult to find another PhD in applied mathematics with a specialty in airfoil design, especially one willing to work for free. Our former coworker is now at a much higher paid job at a larger company, and four months later we still haven’t found a replacement. After months of stalled projects, it was very satisfying watching the CEO of the company tear into my now ex-supervisor for his stupidity.)

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