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This is a question Worst Person for the Job

In a week where it emerges that the new Health Secretary is a fan of the hocus-pocus that is homeopathy, tell us about people who are spectacularly out of their depth in a job. Have you ever found yourself wallowing in your own incompetence? Tell us. (Note: "Name of football manager/politician - nuff said" does not constitute an answer)

(, Thu 6 Sep 2012, 12:48)
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Getting glassed
I used to work for a company that made industrial process control equipment. That is, all the instruments and controllers that make oil refineries, chemical processes and other industries work, controlling the temperatures, pressures, sequencing and so on. One particular customer made glass for spectacles. They replaced all the controllers for the glass ovens in a large factory with our kit.

Now, the documentation for the programmable controllers went into some detail about how to set them up to "fail safe". So, for example, if there was a power cut or other major problem, valves would close, fires would go out and so on. But the chief engineer decided that He Knew Better, and tried to set them up to ensure that the production line kept going whatever the circumstances.

And so it came to pass that, late one night, there was a shutdown. Thanks to the "original" way that the engineer had set things up, all the valves in the plant immediately opened. With the result that when the workforce arrived the next day, they found the entire plant ten centimetres deep in solidified glass. Apparently it all had to be chipped out by hand...
(, Tue 11 Sep 2012, 9:30, closed)
That would be fantastic for sliding about on in your socks, however.
And they clearly ruined it. I agree - worst person for the job.
(, Tue 11 Sep 2012, 9:39, closed)
That reminds me...
I used to work for an Industrial Control System company too.
Our racks allowed for two processor modules to be in at the same time.
If processor #1 went down, #2 would take over.

We hadn't got this functionality working yet (but were still demonstrating it in a soon-to-go-live plant in China). So what did our director do?

Put an empty processor box in slot #1, with just LED's to glow green. Then programmed processor #2 (which was actually running and doing all the work) to turn its lights from red to green when it detected the empty processor box in slot #1 being removed.

Therfore the Chinese were most impressed that removing processor #1 had absolutely no adverse affect to the running of the system.

It was just as well they didn't try it with processor #2...
(, Tue 11 Sep 2012, 11:54, closed)

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