Management, Tech Life The art involved is sometimes subtle

Ode to a Chain Saw

Everyone at work chuckles when I, once again, tell them I was out with the chain saw this weekend. They’re laughing because they’re trying to picture their nerd boss act like a mountain man. Fact of the matter is, I am a nerd. I do call Verizon every month or so to see when they’ll be lowering my DSL price and increasing the speed. I like futzing with my Tivo and I can program in C++. I also love my chain saw. Deal with it.

I have fond memories of the smell of a chain saw. My Dad has been using them for forty years, so I grew up with the stench of burning gas and fresh cut wood. Still, The Dad was bright enough to keep me away from the chain saw until I was ready. I’m the guy who killed an orchard with a Volvo when I was eighteen… we called it “vehicular orchardcide”. So, probably not a good idea to let me near lethal weapons until I turned twenty. He waited until I was thirty.

The previous home owner left me a chain saw, so I’ve been busy. Fire wood, you see. Oh yeah, kindling, too. What’s that? Need those bushes trimmed? Be right there. Waitwaitwait, let me clean-up that Christmas tree for you. I HAVE JUST THE THING.

Since this piece is really going no where, I leave you with this — it’s a list of how your many skills as a manager are like a chain saw.

  • Both require constant attention
  • You need to be standing flat on both feet before you get started
  • Getting in the way of either when they’re doing their job well is a bad idea
  • When used correctly, it’s always surprising how well they work
  • The art involved is sometimes subtle
  • A poor split second decision can have instant and, sometimes, lasting consequences
  • Sometimes just starting the damned thing is a bitch
  • Both appear intimidating at first, but are actually quite easy
  • When you stop respecting it, you get burned
  • If your blade is dull then you are wasting your time (Thanks Matt)

8 Responses

    • When the chain comes off, yell and kick up dust for a few minutes before heading back into the shed to grab your screwdriver.
  1. Joe Pellerin 13 years ago

    Wow – the weakest Rands in Repose since I’ve been following. Funny, but not the impressive bit of writing I’m used to. Usually I’m humbled by your stuff, but this time I feel more like a peer. HA!

    For the record, tho – I totally identify. I was the nerdly brother who did *not* use the chainsaw with my dad (well, I used it more than you did – but not much). It *is* kind of nostalgic to smell the burning oil and gas, and freshly cut wood.

  2. Yeah, well, I wrestled whether to post this ditty since it’s basically a writing doodle, but the OTHER STUFF TAKES A HUGE AMOUNT OF TIME and I’d like to be able to throw other random crap here.


    Also, I’m waiting for someone to post a chain saw + management analogy that rips on managers….

  3. “If your blade is dull then you are wasting your time”

  4. Mike Purvis 13 years ago

    I thought it was terrific. I’ve enjoyed just about every piece I’ve read here, and this one was no exception. 🙂

  5. Joe Pellerin 13 years ago

    Well, Mikey Brownnose, I’m glad you thought it was terrific. HA! J/K…

    For the record, however – I’m totally hip to what my man Rands is laying down – I fully dig his scribbles. I’m just saying, and Rands has validated my thought, that this was not among the “Rands Top 10”.

    Yeah – the longer pieces do take a poopload of time, Rands – which is one reason I admire the consistency with which you post long *and* good entries.

    Chainsaw and management analogy ripping on management? I have no thoughts – except that one clear use that the Lord intended for chainsaws (didn’t know His plan extended to small-engine blade tools, eh?) was *for* ripping on management. Doom 4, here we come (mixing elements of Office Space, Doom, and Little Bunny Foo Foo).

  6. Oh Rands. Thank you for that!