Re: Coworker who won't take no for an answer

Subject: Re: Coworker who won't take no for an answer
From: "Edgar D' Souza" <edgar -dot- b -dot- dsouza -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Jan Cohen" <najnehoc -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 18:33:01 +0530

On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 5:27 AM, Jan Cohen <najnehoc -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> Now-a-days I lurk more than anything else, but the situation in question reminds me of an expression I was introduced to way back when: don't sh*t where you eat.

Very sound advice, and a truism that I have learnt to respect the hard
way (what other way is there? :-) )

> Unfortunately, there are sometimes those who can't quite grasp that concept and Patricia's situation may be indicative of one of those instances. Without being directly privy to the context though, it's difficult to make an objective analysis, let alone recommend a truly effective course of action.


> Furthermore, this being a list geared toward technical writing, I'll hazard a guess that a relatively small (if any) percentage of this list's subscribers have the professional qualifications to recommend the kind of sound advice Patricia may need (short of the relatively sparse training many of us get by way of our employers). Advice being what it often is, good or bad, this probably isn't the kind of list (or place) where Patricia ought to be seeking it.

Perhaps not, but a few of the respondents have cited their *personal*
experiences in this kind of situation. Others may have a far deeper
knowledge of pertinent workplace conditions and regulations than most
of us, having made a study of them - for whatever reasons.

I might tend to question the original poster's observations if they
were only expressed by her, but then she says that other people in the
office have noticed this "geek crush" as well. Given that those other
people have the OP's best interests at heart, I would say this lends
significant weight to the observation.

> Anyway, my recommendation would be say a resounding NO to such advances and if that doesn't work, let your manager and HR deal with it. Like it or not, they're the ones that are supposed to be professionally equipped to deal with such things. In the meantime, document anything that happens.

I agree. After reading the initial post, my immediate reaction was to
post saying that some geeks don't just need to be beaten with a
two-by-four to get a hint about personal/social situations, some of
them even need to be hit by a 4x4 before they realize they're doing
something wrong. The problem with geeks is that they get unequivocal
feedback from the tools they work with for 8 to 12 hours a day (or
more) when they do something wrong... compiler errors, critical error
dialogs... However, verbal hints and polite refusals often fail to
make a dent in their skulls. As others have said, if this person is
truly a geek, he needs to get a fatal error message before he
understands "no go"... so yes, I agree with everyone that says the OP
needs to provide the geek with an explicit and unequivocal "NO, I am
not interested, stop it!" - in whatever intonation or inflection is
appropriate in the situation (I've never worked in the US, and freely
admit I have no idea of the social mores in effect there). I have
interacted with geeks, though (and am more or less one myself) so I
know what it sometimes takes to get a message home to one.

It is remotely possible that the geek still views himself as of the
same age group as the OP's sons (or so I would have suggested before
the revelation that OP's co-workers too share the observation that he
has a crush on her) - and is simply trying to enlarge his social
circle (geeks usually have highly limited social circles).
Recommending, urging, coaxing, berating, and even harassing someone to
follow a course of action that the geek thinks is right is not,
unfortunately, an infrequent occurrence. I (despite being a guy!) have
suffered enough irritation from a geek to just flatly tell him that no
further SMSs or calls would be tolerated, in support of his pet cause,
his argument, or ANYTHING - or I would complain to his employer about
his harassing me. That is what I call a fatal error message - it
stopped my being harassed with pleas to come around to his way of
thinking and to re-join the inner circle etc etc.

So.... one more vote for the loud and unambiguous "NO!!!".

Hope the situation is resolved soon... such stress should not have to
be borne by anyone.


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