Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Lab Rat's Creed

Between work and personal life, I've had a hard time (like most people, so I won't bore you with the details) getting time to Blog. I'm still working on Part 3 of the AF Sales Pitch analysis, and hope to move through the rest of the brief soon.

In the meantime, here is a little something from the archives at work. Advanced military aircraft don't magically fly away when they roll off the assembly line the first time. The planes must be 'proven' before they fly. This is an old (20+ years) rambling called "The Lab Rat's Creed" that is truer than ever. It is making the rounds again on my current program (for, um, some unknown reason) and unless you're a Lab Rat, you've probably never seen it before.

The Lab Rats’ Creed


We are lab rats. We’re proud of it. We support the program by building, maintaining and operating the lab, and that lab needs to be worked on by people that know the equipment. Who’s gonna do it … you? We have greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You have a luxury – the luxury of not knowing what we know. The lab has to perform just like the plane, and then some. And when it doesn’t, no management directive, no memo, or no amount of ranting and raving can fix it.

Other groups have the advantage of being specialists; they may know their system, or their hardware, or their software, or some other little piece of the overall puzzle. We, on the other hand, must know how everything fits together. We are the ones who integrate the pieces together and make it work. Some say that how it all comes together in the lab is proof of how great their original concept was to begin with. Actually, it’s a miracle that it comes together at all. And just remember, THE MIRACLE HAPPENS HERE!

Our very existence, while grotesque, dirty and often incomprehensible to you, is what built this lab and keeps it up and running. We know that you must realize this sometimes, like when you’re answering to your boss. That’s when you WANT us in the lab; that’s when you NEED us in the lab!

We use words like HARD WORK, SWEAT, HOT, COLD, HEAVY, DIRTY, UNDERPAID and #$%! … We use these words as the backbone of a life spent supporting labs; you use them as a punch line! You want the truth about how we put out so much work? How we get by with half the number of people we should have? You don’t want the truth; you couldn’t stand the truth. Deep down you know it can’t be done by armchair management or good old boy politicians.

Don’t try to flatter us by making an occasional token appearance in the lab. We know that you really only want to be in the lab when some VIP is in town. Don’t feel that you need to establish a dialogue with us. We would rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Either way, we don't give a jolly green damn what information or metrics you think you are entitled to; just get out of our way and let us work!

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