melting and melting down

It’s been warm, well warm-ish.  Some warm days, then some frigidly cold ones.  Always fun for the thermostat wars at work.  “The students say it’s cold in here,” my step-boss says.

    “step-boss” is my term for the person who used to have part of my boss’ job and who now holds some nebulous position which I guess is best summed up as “cronie of boss”.  In this relation, they cover for each other when they are out – which in the case of step-boss is frequently.  She arrives late and leaves early every day she is in, and I’ve not known a week when she’s been in every day yet.  Because of this coverage, when my boss is out, her cronie is my boss.  Hence “step-boss”.

Step boss really has it in for the thermostat in my work area.  She’s snuck in on several occasions to turn it up to 76, 78, or 80.  Our last “discussion” of it came when she walked through my office, told me she turned the heat up earlier because it was cold, and then proceeded to argue with me when I said “yes, and I turned it down a touch because when it’s up that high, it does get too hot in here.”  The truly perplexing thing about this, and as I write this I realize this is in fact the truly perplexing thing about my entire workplace culture, is that so many of these shall we say “sticking points” erupt in arguments which consist entirely of observables – and how those are measured, and the weight given to them.  I.e. “I observe it to be too hot and so we will do this”  “Well I observe it to be too cold and so we will do that.”  Sure, you could say this about most arguments.  But here’s the rub.  For many of the, let’s call them agents, in my workplace, strength of supporting factors in these arguments is seen as being legitimately gained by adding that others think or have observed what you think or have observed.  It is not, and here’s the exceptionally hard to swallow point for me, NOT gained by undertaking methodical observation which includes observing under controlled conditions or observing under perturbation of one condition at a time.   That’s hard to do in the real world, but what helps is observation of conditions and their context (e.g. “8:30 AM Monday – cold.  Heat at 72 degrees”, “2:00 PM Monday – hot.  Heat at 64 degrees”).  So let’s just say that the approach I favor and inherently gravitate to is undertaking careful observation and recording of the observables using multiple objective measurements (e.g. a thermometer) as well as subjective measurements “I’m hot, he’s hot, she’s comfortable, she’s cold”, all sampled multiple times over multiple days.  And that the approach most people in my workplace favor is one time sampling using subjective measures.

While this is at the moment about the temperature in my work area, the whole distinction between approaches to problem recognition and solving is one that permeates the entire work environment – social as well as physical.

So this is how the weeks back at full time started.  “We were cold when we came in this morning so we went ahead and  cranked your heat….enjoy when it gets up to 80 degrees by 10:00 AM and you can’t cool off the room because none of the windows open!”  And my boss just being an all around…um, word that rhymes with “bundt cake” minus the cake.

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