Written Word Aplomb

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Frank Sanoica, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Everyone here writes with such aplomb, self-assurance, accuracy, grammatical correctness, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by it, doubtful of my own expertise. I just wonder how you all came to be so proficient with the written word!

    Me, I write with as much technical correctness as possible. Writers of operational manuals for complex equipment are trained to do that; I was told that was why we studied "Technical English" in Electronics School.

    Trouble is, and those last two words give it away, technical English sounds stilted, excessive in wording, when the intent is informal conversation. I just wonder from time to time whether too much of that training interferes with my being able to convey thought without sometimes sounding as though I am wanting to inflict hurt.

    OTOH, managing a gang of Maintenance Men, (no women present), I quickly learned during my first foray into being an actual Manager, a Plant Engineer, that skilled trades-people had disdain for "Managers", because they felt their Supervisors had no clue about technical problems, actual safety issues, or why, exactly, it took so long to reassemble a punch press machine, for example.

    Returned to Dana Corp. in IN, where I had left as Project Engineer building this:
    [​IMG]

    as the new Plant Engineer, after 6 years absence, a few of the guys remembered me, especially Tom Burns, who had been critically injured in a boiler-room blast a year before my return. Coincidence had it planned: he returned after months off from work with very serious burns over his body, the same day I started my new Management job. We remembered each other: he had been a Molder, who spent his breaks with Bruce and I over by the machine we were building, instead of buddying in the coffee shop. He obviously was a very seriously interested kid, then, maybe 21. Now, years later, he worked for me, as a Maintenance Technician, his job when the accident occurred. I had had no prior knowledge of that incident, and was shocked. He wore a silk body suit under his clothing, his face was scarred, that hidden by a thick beard. How I felt for him! Could that explosion, which killed the two other Maintenance guys in front of him, have been averted?

    I learned from Bruce, yes, it could have been. Bruce had been up in his 2nd. floor office, my new wife-to-be (this of course before I knew her) at home half a mile from the plant, when he felt the building shake, as she felt her house shake. On the boiler room scene, the Personnel Manager, a REGISTERED NURSE, was wailing helplessly. Bruce shook her, demanding ambulances be called. The worst of the 3 injured men, Carl Addis, had been Bruce's friend since he had moved from Chicago to complete the machine of ours. Bruce rode in the ambulance with Carl, giving him encouragement. Carl declared he could not make it. He was conscious and coherent all the way. Bruce firmly believed his friend would live.

    At the hospital, Bruce was infuriated by the seeming nonchalance of the doctors, demanding Carl get immediate treatment. One doc quietly informed him, Carl could not be saved; he was a deadman. This event turned Bruce against his employer, emotionally. I learned of all this when I returned as Plant Engineer, almost a year after the accident.

    The point of all this? The previous Plant Engineer, was a Chemical Engineer who didn't know diddely-squat about the technicalities of Plant Equipment. Subsequent to the accident, he had suffered a stroke, thus providing the position opportunity for me. By that time in my life, I was a welder, machinist, pipe-fitter, electrician, knew and understood hydraulics from years of automatic transmission work, and understood the reason why skilled workers universally despised "G.D. Engineers". It only took one incident to win their favor: a broken high-pressure fluid line in a pit submerged below the floor. My welder, Chip, proclaimed he believed the repair was not possible. I asked his permission, Union grievance free, to take a stab at welding up the leak. Not really sure I could do it, I crawled in the hole, worked away at the pipe, satisfied it was OK, crawled out, looking like the Monster from the Black Lagoon! It held.

    My thinking was not then to prove anything. The very operation of the Plant depended on that pipe. If it could be fixed, that was all that mattered. The aftermath was gravy. I had earned the respect of men who had all but refused to work for their predecessor. The incident supported my lifelong belief that all supervisors of skilled people should also have qualified earlier at that skill. I qualified by chance, the need arising from my work on building fast cars. Throughout my lifetime, I have never earned wages related to skilled trades.

    I learned it all, and did it all, for fun!
    Frank
     
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  2. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    I prefer 'informal' speech Frank, but then I would wouldn't I, being the informal person that I am :p
     
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  3. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    Not everyone @Frank Sanoica but we all are learning alot! I can't tell you how many words I have had to look up the meaning of from someone's post, or how many times I have to check the spelling of a word I want to use, etc. Grammatical correctness...heavens I'd have to go back to school for that.

    I'm with @Patsy Faye on this. Informal. Or in my case simple and straight to the point. ;)
     
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  4. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    Gosh Frank, I think we all wonder if the way we express our thoughts may be taken the wrong way and hurt someone's feelings. I believe it is just about impossible to not have that happen sometimes. It is as we get to know each other here and our different "styles" of putting forth our thoughts that we begin to understand whether the thoughts conveyed are intentionally or unintentionally put there to inflict hurt.
     
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  5. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    Sounds like the Plant Engineer had alot of "Book Knowledge" but not "Hands on Knowledge". You spoke English to the employees, while the Plant Engineer spoke a "foreign language" to them.

    I enjoyed your post Frank. :)
     
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  6. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I also enjoyed your post, Frank. Knowledge, skill and luck all work together! Sometimes luck is the biggest player.;)
     
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  7. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    a·plomb
    əˈpläm,əˈpləm/
    noun
    1. self-confidence or assurance, especially when in a demanding situation.
      "Diana passed the test with aplomb"
      synonyms: poise, self-assurance, self-confidence, calmness, composure, collectedness, levelheadedness, sangfroid, equilibrium, equanimity;
      informalunflappability
      "the judges were especially impressed by her aplomb"
    I had to google that :rolleyes:.

    "I had earned the respect of men who had all but refused to work for their predecessor. The incident supported my lifelong belief that all supervisors of skilled people should also have qualified earlier at that skill."

    I agree with you @Frank Sanoica. I've worked under the supervision of a manager that didn't know as much as I did and was offended when I nonintentionally demonstrated so. After a while I resigned because it became difficult to work with them.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  8. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  9. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Von Jones

    I heard this as a young man just starting out: "The boss may be stupid, a heartless S.O.B., but whatever he is, he is STILL the boss!"
    Frank
     
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  10. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    A-plomb... a fruit that grows on aplomb tree; sometimes used to make Christmas pies.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    A plomb ............ I thought it was a posh way of saying - a plum :p
     
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