One more day to go!!! Am I counting?

OKay, okay. I know for most, their work consumes most of their daily lives and eats up a sizable portion of your week, month, year and so on. Heck, for just about all of us, work is a part of us from the day we are born to the last breath we take on this great blue planet we call Earth. So it would only to make sens that I spend at least some of that time writing about it….. as I’m about to do right now.

I would like tell a little story of three people whom I have the pleasure to work with. Not because they are great or famous but rather they are a huge source of my inspiration when studying the psychological understanding of the human condition.

The experiment is not a controlled one. It is a field observation in a controlled environment in which each of the subjects are given a task, a time limit and various tools to complete the job. Also, they are getting a reward for their effort.

The task is simple. A trailer that is 90percent full of pallets: each 40 X 48 X 4.75 in. and the trailer has the maximum width to tightly place two columns of pallets at there widest point, end to end, with just enough room to allow a forklift to lift them in place.

The trailer is almost completely full. The length of the trailer is 45 feet and we know that 24 stacks will fit, however, all the pallets have being place straight in. Another words, 22 columns have being lined up with the narrowest side towards the walls. Thus allowing the greatest amount of space between the walls and pallets. Are you getting the point yet?

Now, there is enough room to add two more columns. However, all the palettes have being placed straight in, so therefore, the last two columns will need to placed in sideways, allowing the least amount of room between the trailer walls and pallets.

Under normal circumstances, the last four columns would be placed in what is called a Chimney-Block pattern. SO the second to the last row would have one column placed sideways while the other was straight in, and the last row would be the opposite configuration.

Subject #1. He never completed the job. Using a forklift, and clamp machine, tried unsuccessfully for 32 minutes before handing it over to subject #2. However in the process of the placing the last column, he almost injured himself. It never occurred to him to take the last two columns out and commence with the chimney-block pattern at all. His determination to put the last two columns in the trailer via end to end was matched by Subject #3 in the end. Anger, humiliation and guilt added to defeat was all that remained to subject #1.

Subject #2. A little brighter than #1, but not by much. He tried for about 12 minutes and never completed the task. However, his encouragement towards subject #1 was quickly silenced when the 3rd, 4th and 5th attempts ended with some structural damage to the trailer. Then he passed the torch over to subject #3.

Subject #3 was the eldest of the three, not only in age but in seniority. His years of experience and know-how in the business should of earned him the best bet on completion of this task. However, this was not the case. Damage of property, 7 attempts and 23 minutes of trying yielded him a close certificate of completion. He almost completed the task, but gave up when both subject #1 and #2 started offering tips, pointers and physically lending a hand of help. He sharply rejected all offers.

In the end, the trailer was completed and all 3 subjects watched. The chimney-block pattern was never used and the total time to completion was 2 hours and 43 minutes at a cost of $600.00. 5 employees, damage to both pallets and trailer and equipment usage.

Only had they listen?

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