Meet My Supervisor: Pete Puma

Okay, I’m a machinist and I work with two other guys in the machine shop at a small foundry. There’s myself, the die maker and the shop boss (hereafter referred to as Pete Puma). Now, Pete has already earned my dislike for saying such things as, “The people who jumped from the Towers on 9/11 are in Hell.” and “I don’t think they pay me enough, so I’m not going to work hard until they pay me more.” among others, and today I nearly killed the rat bastard for what he did.

Today, I’m running the CNC machine and I finish one process on the series of parts I’m running, so I pull up the program for the next process. Now, these programs are written in G-Code, which is similar to BASIC, but not nearly as complex. I haven’t really tried to learn G-Code because any time I come up with a better way of doing something in the shop, Pete Puma starts ranting and raving about how I “can’t do it that way!” Nevermind that the company is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and that there’s a backlog of work in the shop which needs to be done, he doesn’t want me to do anything different than what he does. (He leaves the die maker alone, since the boss has said that the die maker’s work is a priority.) So, if I learn G-Code, I’ll have to suffer through twice as many instances of Pete bitching me out for doing what any halfway decent employee would do.

In pulling up the program, I first run it through the simulator on the machine (while teaching myself how to do this in the process) to make sure that Pete hasn’t done his usual job of giving the wrong name to the program. Amazingly enough, it’s the right program, so I pull it up in the editor to take a look at the settings I need to run it. Like I said, I don’t know G-Code, but I’ve done some BASIC programming back in high school (nearly 20 years ago, Pete, BTW doesn’t remember when he graduated from high school), so I can scan the program (which is about 30 lines) and figure out what settings I need to use before running the program. None of it makes any sense.

I look around to see where Pete is, to ask him what the hell’s going on with the program. Pete’s on the phone, talking to one of his friends. I can either wait for Pete to get off the phone, or I can do some dry runs of the machine and see if I can’t figure out what the settings are supposed to be. Given that Pete’s generally on the phone for a long time, I figure that I’m better off doing the dry runs. That way if the owner stops in, at least one of us will look productive. Normally, I’d ask the die maker when I had a question, but he’d gone home for the day already, so that was out.

I do the dry run, and discover that while it looks like the machine’s doing the right operations, there’s no way to set the parts up there and have them come out right without having to make constant adjustments to the machine. Okay, so I’ll have a go at rewriting the program, it’s fairly simple, and I can’t do worse than what Pete’s done.

To give you an idea of how simple G-Code is, the PC we’re using is running Windows 3.0. :::Waits for Dopers to clean splorted beverages off their PCs before continuing.::: The PC itself is a low end 486 machine, definately not big league stuff. You could grab any random person off the street and in an hour or so teach them how to do the kind of stuff Pete does with the machine.

I get the program rewritten, do a dry run test to make sure that it’s going to work the way it’s supposed to (it does), chuck a part up into the machine, and just as I’m getting ready to make the final adjustment needed before I can start running the parts, one of the guys from the foundry comes in and tells me they need me to pour a heat of steel. I glance over at Pete to see if he’s still on the phone (he is), because I know that if he gets to the machine before I get back, he’ll fuck everything up. I go slap on my gear and spend the next twenty minutes pouring steel.

When I get back, I find Pete staring at the monitor on the machine. “Oh, shit,” I think. “Please tell me he’s just walked over here and he hasn’t fucked with anything. Please, please, please.” I spend the next five minutes standing silently behind Pete, not wanting to say anything, because I’m terrified that if I do, Pete will confirm my worst fears. Then I see him stabbing at the keyboard with his fingers, and I clear my throat, hoping that will stop him before he does too much damage to the program. Pete continues jabbing away at the keys for a few minutes, and then turns to me, his face beaming with moronic pride.

“Man,” he says. “I don’t know what happened, but this program was all jacked up. I had to rewrite it from scratch.” :smack:

“Pete,” somehow I manage to keep a calm tone to my voice. “I fixed what was wrong with that program and was just about to start running it when I had to go pour.”

“You couldn’t have.” He then begins a rambling story about what he did and how what I did wouldn’t have worked. Surpressing the urge to beat the shit out of him (not a good idea without the die maker there, since he’s promised to help me hide the body should I ever finally kill Pete), I listen, waiting for him to finish. I then, calmly explain to Pete exactly what I did, how it would have worked, and how I knew it would have worked because I’d tested it. Again, Pete insisted that I didn’t know what I was talking about, so I repeated myself. Pete pauses and appears to think.

“Oh!” He says. “You’re right! That would work! Now, how do I do it?” So I tell him (it only takes me four times before he starts doing what I tell him to). He punches the keyboard and then wanders off. Naturally, I don’t just fire the machine up and start running parts. That would be stupid of me. I do another dry run.

Sure enough, he’s screwed something up. I stop the machine and think, for a second, about calling him back over and getting him to figure out what’s gone wrong, but I know what that will get me. So I go into the editor, spot what looks to be his most likely mistake, change it, and do another dry run. Whaddya know? I fixed it!

At the end of this year, I get my certification from school. When I get that, the first thing I’m going to do is start mailing out copies of my resume to all the machine shops in the area. I realize it’s a long shot that any of them will hire me with the local economy being so bad, but I have got to get away from this moron before my brains rot out.

Didn’t you glue this guy’s coffee cup to his desk a little while ago? How’d that turn out?

Yeah, I did. He’s made no mention of it, but I’ve noticed that he hasn’t had his head up my ass quite as much he used to. Maybe I need to start randomly gluing his things to the tables. (I’ve no idea how he managed to get the thing loose without breaking anything, but he did.)

Priceless, Tuckerfan. I almost didn’t click the links, but am happy I did!

Huh. I assumed he was just going to start bringing drinking straws to work with him.

Anyway, great rant. Loved the sound effects! And good luck with the job hunt.

You’re going to need it.

Nah, if he were going to do something like that, he’d just disconnect the coolant tubing on the lathe and use that.


Just want to mention that after seeing just the title of this thread last night, I wound up having a dream about Pete Puma’s “brother” Paul Puma…

Be strong.

Nice. My husband works at a Tool and Die shop and a few weeks ago completed his classes to become a Diemaker as well. Congrats on being almost done!

He thinks about checking out other places now that he has his card too. Unfortunately I think there is a guy or 2 like yours in every shop based on the stories I have heard. You could well be trading your moron in for a new model. The way most shops are struggling right now you’d think they would get rid of people like this, but I think it’s a requirement to have one.

I’ll have to tell him about gluing the coffee mug to his desk, I think that’s one he hasn’t tried.

Excellent rant, Tuckerfan. Good subject matter, well written, and entertaining! We even have an evil villain we all can love to hate. If you ever do have to kill Pete Puma and run away and assume a new identity, you should try a career in writing!

Excellent rant. I hate the guy now, and I’ve never even met him. Maybe it’s time to “play dumb”. Don’t fix his errors in the code. Follow all instructions, no matter how stupid, to the letter. Then when a bigger boss wants to know what happened, point at Petey and proclaim “He did it”, or “He told me to”. In short, give him all the rope he needs. Just be sure to CYA at the same time.

Velma, while I realize that there’s no shortage of inept bosses out there, and I’ve certainly had my share of them, I have literally never met one as bad as this cognitive abortion is. I haven’t told a tenth of the mind-boggingly stupid things he’s done (He’s puzzled as to why he doesn’t have a sex drive. Okay, we’ll ignore the evidence I have that he might very well be a repressed homosexual [and yeah, I know, you guys don’t want him, and I don’t blame you] and I’ll just point out that when I met his wife, I was instantly struck by the fact that she had all the “charm” of decaying whale left in Death Valley.). Add to that his efforts to deliberately sabotage my work and you’ve got a recipe for justifiable homicide.

Ponder, thanks, but I’ll just point out that I know how to operate the furnace in the foundry and that it can easily reach 4000F. Not that I’m saying anything, mind you, I’m just saying…

SteveG1, the problem with that (and believe me, it’s crossed my mind) is that his coding mistakes, if left uncorrected, will result in some very expensive damage to either the equipment or myself. I’m at enough risk of bodily injury when I pour steel, I don’t need the added risk of having holes put in me by flying debris.

Too bad, I bet it would be fun to fire up the machine, while using him as a shield.

Well, the end result of that would just make Pete uglier. :smiley:

Man, I’ve worked with people like this, but minus the “Your right” part. Instead, I got the “That won’t work! End of discussion!” followed by said person not just having done it but taken credit for it.

You have my sympathies. Your boss doesn’t happen to look like this guy does he?

Close, but Pete’s a lot skinnier, and wear’s a baseball cap to cover up his bad comb-over.

I thoroughly enjoyed the rant, Tuck…and thanks for getting me back in touch with a part of my childhood…That Bugs Bunny cartoon with Pete Puma was one of the best that Warner Bros. has ever made back in the days. And using the sound bites of that for your rant was …!!!

This is where I made wet-wet on myself. Just a little.

If you’re able to touch type and he isn’t, you might try switching around some of the key covers on the keyboard.

“Oh, better give me a lotta lumps. A whooooooole lotta lumps.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! :slight_smile: