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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Post # 78 - MDOT Scarlet Letter Nonsense - 5/20/2009

Dear Michigan Department of Transportation,

I appreciate all road workers, and the peril involved in their jobs. Temperature extremes. Monotony. People driving through construction zones way too fast. Frustrated drivers expressing anger to the very workers who are fixing our roads. We all complain about construction. We all dislike long delays. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with those feelings. What I saw the other day was downright inappropriate. I am infuriated.

My tax dollars are paying those workers to pave roads--not to express their personal views. As I was passing through a construction zone, I saw a man wearing the orange vest and helmet, presumably a road worker, staging a protest. He was posting a bright orange sign that read "END CONSTRUCTION". I could not believe it.

End construction? Just because that particular worker (let's call him “Frank”) is frustrated with his job? What if we followed through with his request? How soon before our roadways would be undriveable? Trucks would be unable to deliver products. The local and national economies would shut down. All because Frank is chapped about something.

If Frank's wife packs him a turkey sandwich, with the cheese-with-the-holes instead of the white-cheese-with-the-orange-outside, is he going to stage an "END LUNCH" protest?

If Frank pulls a hammy at the gym, is he going to stage an "END NAUTILUS" protest?

If Frank's coworkers play the warm water trick while he's napping at lunch, is he going to stage an "END THE SUMMER CAMP TRICK" protest?

Where does it end with Frank? I started thinking about it, what could make this guy so downtrodden? What could make him take on a project that, if successful, would render him and his coworkers unemployed? Then I remembered, not two days earlier, he was holding up a sign that read "SLOW".

I'm assuming Frank did something dumb--maybe two or three dumb things-- triggering the foreman to order Frank to hold up the sign for all to see. Didn't corporal punishment and scarlet lettering go out of style a hundred years ago? What's wrong with a private discussion? Maybe some training. Progress reports? Dock him an hour. Please rewrite the procedures to contain a more positive discipline program--something other than make Frank hold up that demeaning sign.

Maybe as punishment, you should have all of the “Franks” go around and swap out the “Bridge May Be Icy” signs in the warmer months,

In the meantime, maybe the new construction project should be "Rebuilding Frank's Esteem," so that his problems don't one day become our problems. What do you think?


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