Monday, July 26, 2021

Work Life: Why do I seem like an enemy when providing fyi? (no answer)


A colleague (Bob) who does not report to me became extremely defensive. I suspected that the topic I wanted to share would could be misinterpreted so I had prefaced my call that this is purely informational. I explained that I am not blaming him or blaming anyone. Yet, he really took offense and told me that the process was broken and he will continue to do as he sees fit.

I do know one of the problems was that I am sharing this information because of an issue that came up which was not directly him fault. There is some fault because he made the change directly in production and due to unforeseeable issue, the db team had to restore him db object with one from another environment. Essentially, him change was overwritten. To make matters worse was that he was just on vacation. Him manager had to contact me to get a backup because I audit the promotions. I did not know the origin, and I told him that there has never been a request for that object so I do not have backup. DB did not have a backup because the issue was that it was corrupted... also the DB team did not want to restore an entire enterprise core database just for a single object.

Initially, I called him to let him know what happened since he was not here at the time. The DB team is also implementing processes to audit and log user access which was very loose before. I shared this information, the he started to explain why he had to do what he did. I listened to what he said then I explained that I am not saying that he did anything wrong in the past. Everyone understands people did what they had to before. To address him concern about process, I just shared that we have a process to promote changes. He retorts that the process is too slow so he has to make the changes in production to appease the business. I tried to explain that is not him problem. He continues to reiterate then added that someone needs to define a process (I interpreted that as he is not taking that from me). After a while he continued to repeat herself, and I tried to interrupt because he was addressing poor process. I wanted to share that he will get into policy issues if he continues and that he should take proactive actions. He would not listen and said so directly with "I will not escalate anything" which to me was ironic because he is personally escalating him fixes. So eventually I just let him finish, doesn't ask me any questions,  basically gives me an empty thanks, and hung up on me. 

Since he will not stop doing what he does, I called his manager (Joe). I did not share most of the details from my last conversation. I did tell him that Bob is under the impression that he has to make changes in production to fix the issues. I asked Joe to speak with Bob that he does not need to be concerned with escalating the fix. Bob's focus is to come up with a solution. If my process is too slow for the customer, then that is between the customer, me, and the executive management because my process is dictated from them. My process is typically slow because it requires their approvals. Joe was already on board with my process, probably unaware that Bob did this, and exemplified by these recent issue that he had to support during Bob's absence. I also told him that I am not looking for anyone to get in trouble. I am just trying to keep them from getting in trouble. Joe agrees and will speak with Bob. 

My Thoughts on Above Scenario

First, I felt bad that he thought I was attacking him. Second, I felt a little angry because I am trying to help him by sharing some changes maybe he was not aware of. If anything, he can just ignore my advice and continue as he had before. Third, I felt guilty for being angry.

Then my thoughts turned to an article I read recently about why geniuses have "poor" social skills. I remember my reaction was that geniuses are not the only ones with poor social skills. Every level of intelligence have examples of poor social skills. Back to the topic, one of the comments was that geniuses just don't want to deal with low iq conversations.

Initially I thought that made some sense because the topic is not important to them. Either because they know the answer already (fastest route from A to B) or the topic is inconsequential to their beliefs or values (why did A cheat on B on a scripted show). But after this transaction, I am starting to think the main reasons is that it is just a waste of time.

Either they have to figure it out on their own or they will never understand it. Adding myself to the variable made no difference to the outcome, so why add myself to the problem. So, why do I even bother? I want to see them do well but they do not listen. Even if they listen, they do not do because either they didn't understand or they do not understand the consequence. So if anything, I seem to have made matters worse.

I don't know. I really do feel that I waste more of most people's time. There have definitely been some that it helps. But honestly, it is just tiring to think if I am being more helpful than hurtful.

My Thoughts in General

Then I started thinking of others that have became angry, pissed, upset, or defensive when I was just trying to give some information small or large. In my personal life, I am very sarcastic so I can see some personal relations strained because it seems that I am not very good at explaining what sarcasm is.

So is it maybe me that is the problem? If I could redo my conversation with Bob, what could I have done better? If I didn't have the conversation, then at least Bob wouldn't have gotten unhappy.

I really cannot think of anything to change. Give more apologies? Give more prefaces? The only thing I can think of is to not have brought it up... but then I wouldn't have learned that he was pressured to deliver a fix (as much as I tried to relay that it was not his role to escalate or to resolve the issue).

Another thing that I have trouble explaining to people is that I very rarely get frustrated at people, but I do get frustrated with inefficiencies. For example, people who leave trash near the trash can. Is it really that hard to push it a couple more inches into the trash can? I have to schedule time every week just to clean the pile of trash into the trash, then they complain why I have no time. I explain if they just put in the last 1% effort after they already did 99% of the effort (ie trash, laundry, cling cabinets, turning off the light, locking door, care for things only they care about like garden, plants, etc), they could save me a lot of time. Somehow that conversation always ends up with everyone being upset even though I was only sharing that if they did their part, they would save "me" a lot of time... mind you, I do not bring up this conversation nor have I complained that I do this for them.

I am starting to think transparency is such a farce. Unless people start to be more self-aware, all these things is such a waste of my time. Sometimes I feel like a complete idiot whenever I try. Am I losing hope in people?

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