Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Human Resources Management - The Odd Couple

After graduating from Chemical Engineering, I started my first job with a mining company in northern Manitoba. Even tho I was green, the Company assigned me a technician to "supervise". His name was Bob and he was over six-foot four.

So imagine this odd couple walking around the metallurgical complex, one short, young looking oriental who was still "wet behind the ear"; and the other a tall, mature looking man who knew everybody.

"Hey Bob, I see you've got yourself a little helper there!" one of the shift-boss yelled.

"Mmm, he is actually my boss," replied Bob, a bit embarrassed.

I was even more embarrassed than Bob because I was feeling bad for both of us. But that was the way the Company was structured: In the process-technology department, engineers, no matter how inexperienced, would always be "senior" in rank over lab technicians. At least that was what the engineers claimed.

As time went by, Bob taught me a lot abt process engineering and shared with me without reservation his years of experience gained from working around the zinc plant and copper smelter. While in title he remained "my" technician, there was no doubt he was the one who did the mentoring and taught me the rope.

Up to this date, I still have my utmost respect for Bob and for his patience to put up with me, a green fresh-out-of-school engineer who knew nothing and yet was supposed to be the "senior" of that odd couple.


After I left the Company, Bob continued to move up the corporate ladder thru the non-R&D branch of the organisation. The last I heard, he was promoted to the position of Mill Superintendent of the Snow Lake Mine operation.

Sent from BlackBerry


the inner space said...

Yes I have had faced similar situation!

My mentor and I both after years of services in the same organization, once had to receive a direct order from me no matter how I rephrase the order as a request I felt very bad!

Haricot 微豆 said...


Yeah, it must have been a very awkward situation.

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