The last laugh

Sometimes an installer can carry out every instruction to the letter and still not achieve an established goal. The cabling industry, like everything else, is not perfect. But sometimes an installer`s inability to carry out a directive is not attributable to an imperfect world, but rather to a supervisor who decided it was time to have a little fun.

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Patrick McLaughlin

Sometimes an installer can carry out every instruction to the letter and still not achieve an established goal. The cabling industry, like everything else, is not perfect. But sometimes an installer`s inability to carry out a directive is not attributable to an imperfect world, but rather to a supervisor who decided it was time to have a little fun.

We heard this story from just such a supervisor, who says he wants his crews to enjoy their work, so he tries to lighten the atmosphere when appropriate. Read the story and judge for yourself whether his motive is for his crew to enjoy itself or for him to get a laugh at his crew`s expense.

The task was to remove four cables from a 20-foot length of conduit. The cables were not going to be reused, so the installers did not have to worry about excessive pulling tension, bend radius, or any other handling techniques that can affect performance.

The supervisor selected his two burliest men for this job because, as he told them, the cables were lodged inside the conduit pretty tightly. Several attempts had been made already, he said, without success.

When the installers entered the computer room in which the conduit was located, their supervisor immediately ushered them to the end of the conduit at which they should pull. He told them to stand with their backs toward him and pull the cables that draped down from the conduit while he was at the conduit`s other end (inside an adjacent room) monitoring their progress. He didn`t tell them that at his end of the conduit, he had wrapped several feet of slack from each cable around a beam that was about two feet in diameter.

"There was no way that those cables were going anywhere," the sadistic supervisor says. "They tried and tried. And I kept yelling at them: `Pull! Pull!` "

The supervisor reports that his installers worked up a pretty good sweat before he finally unraveled the cables from the beam. "And when I did that, they were pulling so hard they both fell to the floor."

"No harm done," the supervisor tells us. He filled them in on the joke and they took it well. "Besides, this practical joke game is a give-and-take thing," he says. "They`ve pulled just as many jokes on me as I have on them." However, he wasn`t very forthcoming with tales about incidents in which he looked less than dignified.

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We hope these lighthearted tales have made you smile. They have certainly reminded us that in the technical and sometimes gritty cabling industry, fun and humor are just as appropriate as test instruments and patch cords.

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