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Unread 04-23-2010, 09:31 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

I don't really like to get involved in controversial topics such as this that involve politics and social status and what not. I try to educate myself about topics like this as much as possible, but it's hard to stay on top of it and to really know what is going on in the world.

I can't say I disagree with some of the criticism/disappointment with Dean's comments, but seriously I think we are taking it out of perspective. It's one thing that one guy said once. Everyone says things that they may regret saying later; everyone makes mistakes. Hearing people say things like "I can't support this any more" is really insulting to FIRST as an organization. After all the great things FIRST has done as an organization are people really willing to turn their backs on it after one comment? I understand words can hurt, but I think this is being taken a little out of perspective. I mean no offense to anyone that may have been offended by Dean's speech, this just my opinion.

Disclaimer: My working experience is minimal, I've never been a laborer and at 17 years old the only thing I've done for work is CAD modeling for an industrial vacuum pump company as a summer job. So my opinion may be off track seeing as I have only been a part of the workforce for a little over a year.
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Unread 04-23-2010, 10:52 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Originally Posted by sgreco View Post
Hearing people say things like "I can't support this any more" is really insulting to FIRST as an organization. After all the great things FIRST has done as an organization are people really willing to turn their backs on it after one comment?
Over the years, it hasn't been only one comment, though this was the most egregious that I have seen.

That said, I am sure that with a little imagination you could imagine all sorts of individual comments that would cause any given group of people to turn their back on an organization and its founder.

I believe very strongly in FIRST. I have founded three teams thus far, and am working on more. I can't imagine a better bang for your buck as far as education dollars -- and minutes -- spent.

...but that doesn't change the fact that this has caused me some difficulties, and that it was completely unnecessary, and completely avoidable. To inspire toward one career, one does not need to cut down another.
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Unread 04-23-2010, 10:54 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Originally Posted by pfreivald View Post

'nobody wants a manual labor job'

I'm worried that I've lost one of those mentors (who said to me, "I'm sorry, but I don't think I can support this anymore"), and at least one -- if not both -- of those sponsors, who were deeply offended by Dean's callous and elitist comment.
I was sitting 45 feet from that podium, and the message that I got from "people don't want those jobs back" was very different than "screw manual labor", especially in context, considering dean was talking about the recent economic downturn. But hey, context is everything, and the internet doesn't need context to make controversy.

Besides, when people only listen to 6 words from a 27 minute speech, and take their toys and go home ... It doesn't seem like you're losing much, really.

People don't walk out of group meetings and empty out their desks because their CEO makes a misstatement, but it seems like that's what your folks are doing. Validating that sort of behavior is counterproductive, no matter how much money or time they give to the organization. Maturity and professionalism are venerated at FIRST - try and remember that. Walking because your pride is hurt by an unscripted oops is neither mature nor professional.
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Unread 04-23-2010, 11:00 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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I was sitting 45 feet from that podium, and the message that I got from "people don't want those jobs back" was very different than "screw manual labor", especially in context, considering dean was talking about the recent economic downturn.
Indeed, that was part of the issue. People who have lost their manual-labor jobs and desperately want them back don't respond well to a guy who brags about his own island and helicopter saying that we don't want those jobs back.

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But hey, context is everything, and the internet doesn't need context to make controversy.
I'm sorry, but if you think I'm using the internet to manufacture some kind of controversy, you have everything all wrong.

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It doesn't seem like you're losing much, really.
A full-time mentor for three years, in a tiny town, who has given thousands of dollars to the team. Your philosophical "not losing much, really" pales in comparison to what our team is actually losing in real life.

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People don't walk out of group meetings and empty out their desks because their CEO makes a misstatement,
Yes, they do. People abandon businesses and causes all the time because of statements seen to be belittling, elitist, discriminatory, or some mixture of the three. All the time. To say otherwise is to be in ignorance of the facts.

Calling my mentors immature and unprofessional is not helping, Isaac.
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Unread 04-23-2010, 11:23 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Originally Posted by pfreivald View Post
Indeed, that was part of the issue. People who have lost their manual-labor jobs and desperately want them back don't respond well to a guy who brags about his own island and helicopter saying that we don't want those jobs back.
That would be relevant if he were only referring to those manual labor jobs, and specifically berating them. He wasn't. He was referring to everyone who's lost a job recently (myself included), to get something better, to find something more exciting, more relevant to today's challenges.. And for me to say that I want my old job back now, I'd have to lie.

Big picture, he was trying to inspire, even those of us who are out of work, to find something better than what we had. So he blooped up. Seriously, big frackin deal.



Quote:
Calling my mentors immature and unprofessional is not helping, Isaac.
You want help? Help yourself.

How about this, a novel idea, try and talk to these three guys who are clearly aren't "getting it" right now, and make them get it. You have nothing to lose, and their support to gain. Sitting here on CD is not going to get your mentors back.

There have been some excellent posts earlier in this thread about things you could say, but you just came back and make it sound hopeless. Try Again. The words of your team should be more important to those mentors than the six words from the speech, period.

Quite frankly, nothing Dean has ever said (and I've heard him speak for going on 20 years) would ever make me walk away from the ideals of FIRST and/or the students on my team. I'm sorry those three feel differently.
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Unread 04-23-2010, 11:31 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Originally Posted by Isaac501 View Post
You want help? Help yourself.

How about this, a novel idea, try and talk to these three guys who are clearly aren't "getting it" right now, and make them get it. You have nothing to lose, and their support to gain. Sitting here on CD is not going to get your mentors back.
You're making a great deal of assumptions about what I am and am not doing, and about my mentors. I don't understand your blatantly antagonistic tone ("novel idea"), nor what you are trying to accomplish with it.

To even state that I am "sitting here on CD" is stunningly accusatory, and I can't really relate to where you are coming from to say such things.

I don't know where this vitriol came from, Isaac, but I want nothing to do with it. I will not be responding to you further.
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Unread 04-24-2010, 12:01 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Unread 04-24-2010, 12:36 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

Isaac, it may help you to hear it from someone who hasn't taken part in this discussion yet, and won't take a side, because both have valid points.

If you can't say something in a nice way, ask yourself if it's worth the trouble to say it.

Whether or not Dean meant any harm or not is irrelevant. A number of people have thought themselves insulted due to the wording used. They have chosen to walk. If they saw your comments about them being immature and unprofessional, that's all they'd need to keep walking.

This conversation was serious. There was good discussion happening. But when someone comes in and says this is "light-hearted conversation", after delivering a number of insults, intentional or not, to both the people involved and some that were not, I think it's a good time to lock the thread for a weekend to let the insulted have time to cool off. (I might also suggest a number of other things, but most of them would just feed the trolls.)
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Unread 04-24-2010, 06:58 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Given FIRST's mission to change culture and inspire youth to pursue careers and education in science and technology, I assume team sponsors intend to help with that mission and agree that it's desirable to change culture in that direction.
Many of us make the same assumption Rick -- nicely stated.
I would take it beyond assumption though and go so far as to say we expect it.
If we expect less, we are prostituting ourselves.
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But is that our goal?
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Unread 04-24-2010, 07:21 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

this popped as a spotlight and seemed ironically connected...

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...59&postcount=6

note the date....
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Unread 04-24-2010, 07:18 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

I have sat back and read what everyone has to say on the subject and now it's my turn.
When I heard the words, I was on Einstein looking out at at all the students and mentors in the audience. The words stung for a moment as I realized I was not the only one that fit the description. I have known manual labor in my life and I know a lot of people today that want a job and can't get one.
Patrick, I would be happy to talk to your sponsors and try to convince them to stay with the program. We need them, desperately and I want a hard working sponsor behind me. PM me and we can set something up. Everyone of us are hard working volunteers who put in long hours at no pay to further a great cause. It doesn't get more manual than that.
Most of the engineers I know work hard at what they do and sometimes that means working with their hands for long hours and little pay.
I am a Broadcast Engineer for a TV station. Friday was a typical day for me, sitting at a computer running Autocad for system design. However, I had to break away and run outside and test the microwave truck, by climbing on the roof and opening the 2 GHz power amp to check for correct operation because that is also my responsibility. I am on 24 hour call and on occasion will work past 24 hours in a day. Yes I do manual labor, because it goes with the job. When I heard Dean's words, I immediately flew back to a conversation with my father. He told me he didn't much care what I wanted to do in life as long as I was good at it and enjoyed what I was doing. Well, I am good at it and I do enjoy it. I know a lot of electricians, assembly line workers, postal employees and camera operators that are exactly the same. Am I shocked at Dean's speech? Not anymore. I know that even Dean can make a mistake, flub his intended message, or get excited in front of 30,000 people. I know a lot of students that need to hear this message from their mentors. Even our greatest idols make mistakes. The good ones, move on and continue to do great things. Let's move on.
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Unread 04-25-2010, 04:02 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

I wish Dean Kamen would have read over his speech and thought about it a little more. It is his biggest speech of the year at FIRST. And lets be real, he isn't the worlds best orator. In 7 years, I have yet to stay awake for an entire speech (no offense Dean). I know a few mentors in my area that bet on how long his speech will last. I suppose it is a privilege to hear him speak but if you follow every word of another man, who do you become. It is our own responsibility to take what positive things we want from speeches to help us grow as people individually. What I am trying to say is that I don't think many of the kids took that idea away from the speech (if any were awake to begin with - jk).

One of the biggest helpers to my team in HS outside of the actual teachers was is a manual laborer and I am sure a lot of other teams have stories like this about mentors. Hell, I work as a janitor in a research facility every summer. I love it. And, I'm sure a lot of these other mentors, like mine, wanted to give Dean a piece of their mind.

Again, I just wish he read over his speech a little and would have chosen his words more carefully as to not upset manual laborers because they play a very very role in helping FIRST function, and a very very very large role why the World turns (believe it or not, its not the Segway that does this. or any other scientific reason). And also because in most people eyes', he represents to the rest of the world, the collection of people that make up FIRST
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