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 19 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 19 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 19 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. Jeffrey J. Hoover 19 years ago

    Oh Rands. Thank you for that!