Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Yeah... (sucks air through teeth)... yeah...
In one of the projects I'm involved in a little on the fringe, our R&D team is working with a Japanese partner company on developing a new type of machine which will "revolutionize" how a certain laboratory procedure is done and the sights are set on making it go global at some stage in the future. Significant focus has been on this project and hopes are set very high and so has investment in money, time and manpower been as it would see us entering a possibly lucrative niche area.
As I come back to the office yesterday, refreshed after the New Year's holiday, I noticed how some communication had gone warm on some technical part not really working as it should (don't ask me what, I don't know the difference between a fuse, hydraulic pump or main switch), since I knew that this has been a reoccurring problem and that several different types had been tested but none shown the result that we needed, it made me a little worried. So, as I had the chance to meet up with the R&D Manager, Mr. Pot-Belly, (who usually hides away in our R&D facility outside of Tokyo), a very friendly man with quite a huge belly which he usually accentuates by sitting slouching down when having a casual conversation. We get along fine and I at least hope that there's a mutual respect since I've helped him out on several occasions.
The conversation went something like this;
Salaryman: (Casually) So I saw some of the problems you've had with the mechanical parts, I know that our technical guys in head office are eager to help out and I know that they have some suggestions for you, what do you think?
Mr. Pot-Belly: (similarly casually) Sure, why not, there's still a few more out there we can try... (ominous silence)
Salaryman: (A bit concerned) Just a few more? This isn't a big problem, is it?
Mr. Pot-Belly: (Sighs and sucks all air out of the room through his teeth) yeah... (sits silent a while longer, sucking more air through his teeth), yeah... we'll fix this somehow I think...
Salaryman: (feeling a bit confused) Ok, but then this should be ok then, we can deal with alternatives if we have to then (getting ready to stand up and do bigger better things)
Mr. Pot-Belly: (sighs loudly) yeah... you know what...?
Salaryman: (more confused) eh? What?
Mr. Pot-Belly: (sucks even more air through the teeth) I think that the whole design might be f**ked up (sighs again) I have the feeling it won't work anyway...
Salaryman: (slightly shocked) What? But it's your design and you were so confident before that it'd work?!
Mr. Pot-Belly: (another deep sigh) Yeah... I know... huh?(ominous silence)
Salaryman: (given up for the day) Ok, tell you what, take another look at it and let me know how it all pans out
Mr. Pot-Belly: (sucks more air through his teeth and sips on his tea) yeah... I guess...
Sometimes you get a little more information that you need on the first day of work... I shouldn't have asked in the first place...