Sunday, December 21, 2008


On the Kappos bit, however - granted that the past behavior is that of a quisling, could there not be a scintilla of benefit to bringing in the management style of IBM? Regardless of IBM's manipulating the (Patent) system to their own ends, IBM has had one of the most ruthless, effective and fair management styles. At least it did have, in earlier times (which was pre-PC and women executives, when it was mandatory to wear dark suits, ties and laundered shirts - professionally laundered, not in the home washer). This discipline, which surpassed the military of then (and assuredly the military of now, that permits work clothes and tiger suits off-base and battle-rank is worn openly) was the epitome of equality in the one most important aspect: The higher one rose in IBM, the tougher it got. A single grievance by client or employee resulted in immediate reallocation of your resources until a hearing was held. If you were exonerated, the employee was terminated and you were free to pick up the pieces. At the PTO, the situation is ack-basswards: The main pressure is put on the lower ranks, with the incentive to rise being exponential increases in pay and bonuses with far, far less responsibilities - not to mention the relief from escaping the production system used as a cattle-prod on examiners. A common refrain of managers is that they are "constrained" by HR and OPM (from doing their jobs). On more than one occasion, I have been told that an examiner cannot be reassigned because the person is of a protected persuasion and a) the manager/supervisor/director fears scrutiny, or b) the manager/supervisor/director is being already scrutinized or c) the employee has a civil rights appeal pending. In short, the unprotected lower class is overworked and under-supervised, the "protected" lower class is under-worked and under-supervised, the middle management is overpaid, underworked and inexperienced. While the customers - the US Citizens and the Country - are abused and neglected. So, bring in a lackey of IBM. Perhaps some of the discipline from the old school will rub off. It might sound tough, but it was a hell of a lot easier to work in a system where your supervisor was paid twice your salary - because they worked twice as hard - rather than the upside-down world of today's PTO.