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Unreasonable Expectations

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Unreasonable Expectations

knauck
I have a job at a Construction General Contractor in Spring, Texas as an Assistant Project Manager and IT Administrator. I am expected to keep our in-house server and website up and running, all computers maintained, our exchange server managed, our central financial/company/contact/contract databases maintained in addition to all assistant project management roles. I am swamped, and even though my hours are 8-5, I work 7:30am to 6:30 up to 9pm every day. I can barely hold on, and frequently issues spiral out of control due to my lack of time requisite to focus on them. This means long hours overtime (except that I'm salaried) and that something else is suffering to give me time to fix the current crisis. It's a never-ending viscious cycle.

Recently my boss has been harassing me to get me to build 'assemblies' in PlanSwift. Basically, assemblies are groups of building blocks used to get very close estimates of material/labor/supervision costs, based on counts, cubic,square, or linear feet that are 'taken off' by our estimators in PlanSwift. So the estimator loads a plan drawing into PlanSwift, sets the scale, then traces the walls, cieling, etc with different markers. Then these markers are assigned to a certain type of assembly, which tell us exactly how much of whatever it is made of we will need.

The issue is that, in addition to the fact I have more than enough to do already, I have only been in construction for 2 years. I know enough to make my way around a set of plans without missing too much. But there is no way I can build these assemblies. I have told my boss so. He insists that I have the time and that I have been here long enough to know all of the material.

Here are my choices, as I see them:
* Do the job, make the assemblies, output crap because I have no idea what I am doing.
* Don't do the job, continue fighting the losing battle against my current workload and face whatever consequences occur due to ignoring this task.
* Quit.

I have had to tell my boss multiple times that I am just one man, not an army of coders. He is laboring under the delusion that somehow I will be single-handedly writing an entire web-based project management system, to all his microscopically precise detail. This is getting old.

What would you do in this situation?

Member Comments

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      BdeJong

      Get some figures in from other firms to show him what the (external) cost Hours and monetary would be. Mark the projects/hours you feel confident in doing yourself and have him decide what should be done (make recommendations!) this will give him a better understanding.

      If he fires you after that he is doomed anyway so you'd be better of in another job regardless.

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      Frenz9

      If your job title is specifically 'Systems Administrator' i would say this is one of those old examples of anything 'Computer' related being directed to the IT guy. If this is the case i would assume this would be the job of the builders or assemblers, a builder knows how to draft his product.

      However you also mentioned Assistant Project Manager which i am not sure what this entitles.

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      0 Votes

      Document your activities for a couple of weeks or longer, then go to your boss with a request that he hire you some help. If he doesn't listen, start looking.

      On the PlanSwift, how hard are these assemblies to build? Can the estimators build them themselves? If not, why not? They are the ones with the experience in construction estimation.

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      knauck

      1) Thanks, I'll do that.

      2) The estimators could theoretically build them, but they'd be very crude and not terribly accurate, as the assemblies are composed of parts, which have a price tag and a unit type associated with them, optionally including sizes, thicknesses, package quantities, weight to count ratios, etc. The software accepts formulas to determine quantities, beyond linear feet etc which are far beyond our estimators' comprehension. For example,

      Total length of 2x4s in a wall could be:
      RoundUp( ( [Linear Total] * 2 ) + ( [..\On Center] * [..\Wall Height] ) + ( [Point Count] * 4 ) )
      which would calculate the top and bottom plates, the studs, and corner bracing. Add fire blocking to that mix and you have a rat's nest of a formula that nobody in this company but me would understand. So as you can see, I have the knowledge to accomplish lumber in a wall. I know some other areas as well, but if I had to put a percentage on it, I'd give myself a solid 7% knowledge of the systems involved in the actual construction of a building.

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      0 Votes

      I've no doubt the estimators don't do any math other than go to the chart, find the line for wall length and the column for ceiling height.

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      0 Votes
      Tony Hopkinson

      You keep meeting them...

      You know your options, take one. Well not the one where you **** his head off eh.

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      knauck

      I keep meeting his expectations by working overtime. I have a wife and a 16 month old girl, with another girl on the way. I need family time and the consumption of my time is entirely unacceptable.

      In addition, no amount of overtime can solve a lack of experience in the field. I need at minimum to actually work with our superintendents for 3 or 4 projects to get a grasp on what these things look like in action.

      Clearly I know my options, which is why I asked for advice in taking one. Thanks for wasting my time.

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      0 Votes
      Tony Hopkinson

      They don't give crap about how much time you get with your family.

      How can any of us help you? We don't know your boss, their boss, the organisation, your chances of employment elsewhere...

      The reason you are in this mess, is because you want other people to make decisions for you. Well I'm not your boss. Which option (aside from continuing to take it up the arse) does not matter. What matters is you clench your cheeks and say NO.

      You can do it. I did, felt f'ing great!

    • +
      0 Votes
      BdeJong

      Get some figures in from other firms to show him what the (external) cost Hours and monetary would be. Mark the projects/hours you feel confident in doing yourself and have him decide what should be done (make recommendations!) this will give him a better understanding.

      If he fires you after that he is doomed anyway so you'd be better of in another job regardless.

      +
      0 Votes
      Frenz9

      If your job title is specifically 'Systems Administrator' i would say this is one of those old examples of anything 'Computer' related being directed to the IT guy. If this is the case i would assume this would be the job of the builders or assemblers, a builder knows how to draft his product.

      However you also mentioned Assistant Project Manager which i am not sure what this entitles.

      +
      0 Votes

      Document your activities for a couple of weeks or longer, then go to your boss with a request that he hire you some help. If he doesn't listen, start looking.

      On the PlanSwift, how hard are these assemblies to build? Can the estimators build them themselves? If not, why not? They are the ones with the experience in construction estimation.

      +
      0 Votes
      knauck

      1) Thanks, I'll do that.

      2) The estimators could theoretically build them, but they'd be very crude and not terribly accurate, as the assemblies are composed of parts, which have a price tag and a unit type associated with them, optionally including sizes, thicknesses, package quantities, weight to count ratios, etc. The software accepts formulas to determine quantities, beyond linear feet etc which are far beyond our estimators' comprehension. For example,

      Total length of 2x4s in a wall could be:
      RoundUp( ( [Linear Total] * 2 ) + ( [..\On Center] * [..\Wall Height] ) + ( [Point Count] * 4 ) )
      which would calculate the top and bottom plates, the studs, and corner bracing. Add fire blocking to that mix and you have a rat's nest of a formula that nobody in this company but me would understand. So as you can see, I have the knowledge to accomplish lumber in a wall. I know some other areas as well, but if I had to put a percentage on it, I'd give myself a solid 7% knowledge of the systems involved in the actual construction of a building.

      +
      0 Votes

      I've no doubt the estimators don't do any math other than go to the chart, find the line for wall length and the column for ceiling height.

      +
      0 Votes
      Tony Hopkinson

      You keep meeting them...

      You know your options, take one. Well not the one where you **** his head off eh.

      +
      0 Votes
      knauck

      I keep meeting his expectations by working overtime. I have a wife and a 16 month old girl, with another girl on the way. I need family time and the consumption of my time is entirely unacceptable.

      In addition, no amount of overtime can solve a lack of experience in the field. I need at minimum to actually work with our superintendents for 3 or 4 projects to get a grasp on what these things look like in action.

      Clearly I know my options, which is why I asked for advice in taking one. Thanks for wasting my time.

      +
      0 Votes
      Tony Hopkinson

      They don't give crap about how much time you get with your family.

      How can any of us help you? We don't know your boss, their boss, the organisation, your chances of employment elsewhere...

      The reason you are in this mess, is because you want other people to make decisions for you. Well I'm not your boss. Which option (aside from continuing to take it up the arse) does not matter. What matters is you clench your cheeks and say NO.

      You can do it. I did, felt f'ing great!