Re: Lumberg! (was Ruffled Feathers)

Subject: Re: Lumberg! (was Ruffled Feathers)
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- jci -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2001 11:45:36 -0600

>Last I checked, it was still legal to question authority.....

Yes, Andrew. But, to paraphrase many from the Apostle Paul to Dostoyevsky:
"Not everything which is legal is beneficial."

I'm with Geoff on this one, to a limited extent, anyway. Begin with a
simple quick apology (it doesn't have to include a promise never to offend
in this manner again, and in fact it's probably best if it doesn't). It
diffuses and de-fuses everything. Then, after the PHB involved calms down,
ask a simple question. Lay out the scenario as it went down (request to the
SME, request from the SME for more context, emailing the context) and ask
how you should have handled it. If the boss responds with anything totally
dissimilar to the way in which you handled it, get nervous and look for a
handy exit. Odds are, however, the response will be similar, if not
identical, to what you did. If so, do *not* point that out. He may
acknowledge on his own that you did it right (the odds of this are
increased by the fact that he is no longer in the position of Defending The
Rules Against An Infidel, but rather Dispensing Sage Wisdom To A
Supplicant) which is Good, but if he doesn't, don't call it to his
attention. He'll only resent it, and it won't gain anything else.

The issue here is workplace politics. They exist nearly everywhere. Yes, it
would be wonderful to work in an environment where they don't exist, or
where they at least don't impinge upon you, but we don't all have that
luxury, and even if we determine we *will* find such a haven, we still need
some basic skills to Get Along until we can find such a place.

And that's what this is. Andrew doesn't like having to get along with all
*those* people. That's OK. Some of us have to, because we can't all work
for Andrew (and don't all want to, but that's another discussion). And
that's equally OK. We all have our own thresholds beyond which we will not
pass. Once you know where yours is, align your job accordingly.

"Ask forgiveness, not permission" is a powerful piece of advice. If your
ego is all wrapped up in how your boss treats you, however, it won't work
for you. Nothing will, except quitting and hunting for the haven defined
above. Me? Well, let's just say I am *not* my job and let it go at that.

Here's another, which may fit better: "Placate the people you can't avoid,
and avoid the people you can't placate." He's your boss, the odds of
avoiding him are low. So toss him a bone now and then to keep the growling
down so you can concentrate and get on with the *real* work. Cynical?
Perhaps, but I prefer "pragmatic." (And a tip of the hat to Guy Kawasaki's
"The Macintosh Way" for those two aphorisms.)

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.


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