"The Prometheus' River" by Sha Ka Zu Lu Warrior, January 2012
Disclaimer: All the characters are the product of fiction. Any resemblance to the real characters are of a pure coincidence. No intention was made to insult anyone for any reason.
AN: This story is an act of fiction. No one is should attempt to act in the same manner as described.
Summary: Mark Graban was investigating why Professor Waldman comitted suicide. He was intrigued as to what he could have found out through the "Time & Motion studies".
The Prometheus' River
In the noisy cafeteria, Mark Graban was chewin on an apple, admiring those calm and calculated movements of Dr. Tebbetts.
- Hercules freed Prometheus ..., Mark snorted, wishing he could slam Dr. Tebbetts head with some heavy object. It irritated him to see a composed man amidst the nervous, financially stricken addicts that were splattering around like cockroaches. Tebbetts nodded, apologizing with his facial grimace of having his mouth full.
After, as they strolled along the path, enjoying warm sunshine, birds singing, Dr. Tebbetts initiated the conversation himself.
- Time & Motion studies have their roots in the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor who in 1911 published his famous article The Principles of Scientific Management. Mark acknowledged, still feeling some revulsion at those undisturbed movements of his much older colleague. Essentially ..., some girls in mini skirts passed them by, ... this involved getting the best person for each job and training them to do it the best way possible. He exhaled slowly. Although Taylor believed in cooperation between management and workers, or "Taylorism" ... it can be seen as formalising the management and "worker" divide. Management would be responsible for deciding how things were done with workers simply doing what they were told. He eyed Mark, grinning slightly. It was seen as dehumanising, reducing skilled workers to the status of mechanical parts and resources.
- It still doesn't tell me much why Professor Waldman comitted suicide? Dr. Tebbetts smiled slowly and Mark felt like smashing his head with the fallen branch even if it would not kill doctor straight away.
- The Gilbreths developed a categorisation system for the different basic activities which went to make up a task. Doctor continued, unaltered. These were called "Therbligs".
- Therbligs ... therbligs ..., Mark placed a finger on his mouth, pondering aloud. Wonder if it has any "hidden" meaning?
- It is actually an anagram of "Gilbreths".
- But of course! Mark hated doctor even more.
- The basic Therbligs numbered around 15 ... ah ..., he stopped, admiring birds above, ... even the system developed over time ..., noticing Mark was anxious to continue with the stroll, he continued politely, ... and included such actions as "find", "select" and "rest". Each of these was represented by an icon, for example an eye for "find".
Mark noticed that despite his age, Dr. Tebbetts did not have any "aging spots" on his skin.
- One problem for Time and Motion studies is what is known as the "Hawthorne Effect". Mark knew that one had to be patient with those aging professors in order to squeeze out any possibly valuable information. He bit his mouth in secret. This "effect" was named after a factory, ... not a person. He looked at Mark and Mark smiled back artificially. This, in essence, says that employees change their behaviour when they know that they are being measured ..., three Asian girls in short skirts passed them by, ... the mere act of performing a study can improve performance. Dr. Tebbetts smacked his lips. It's a form of "observer effect" akin to a productivity placebo.
- Ah! NOW I rememeber! Mark faked he was an avid student. The Hawthorne Effect also showed that productivity ... that it ... Mark felt like biting the ear off the professor Tebbitts.
- ... tends to improve whatever changes are made, ..., professor smiled with his small, beady eyes that resembled those of the rat to Mark, ... then return to normal, over time that is ... Doctor exhaled slowly, enjoying the weather. This recognises that workers are human beings and that knowing they are valued can in itself inspire better performance.
Mark stood his ground suddenly wishing he could inflict some pain to the humanoid in front of him, just in order to get the neccessary information.
- I ..., he smiled at the brink of a nervous breakdown, ... I still don't see why would ...
- Patience, my dear fellow, patience ...
They sat on the bench and Mark, unable to hide his eagerness anymore, grinned nervously at Dr. Tebbetts. Professor nodded affirmatively and then took a deep breath.
- After WW II ended ..., certain "luxuries" could not be afforded. At least not immediately ..., he eyed Mark in secret. The deceased Professor Waldman discovered that.
- Discovered WHAT? Dr. Tebbetts widened his eyes slightly.
- Well ..., he cleared his throat, sneering at Mark's impatience, ... he discovered that one could not "think" of the criminal activity ..., that is ... engage brain functions, ... and then move into motion WITHOUT feeling pain in the "ilium" bone ... You see my point? "Thinking" of crime and actually ... "doing" it ...?
- My God! Mark was suddenly breathless. Do you know what it means? I mean ... He watched as Dr. Tebbetts was grinning knowledgably at him. My God ..., Mark stared at children crossing the street with the help of their teachers. Other cars were waiting patiently for them. Jesus! He was still in shock, almost as if the aliens landed with their UFO on the green grass next to their bench. Jesus Christ! He was still in shock, cold realization stunning him motionless. Someone shouted something resembling "time" and Mark swung around, feeling under pressure. Almost as if he was suddenly targetted by some hidden hunter ...