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

Subject: Re: Coworker who won't take no for an answer
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Techwr-L List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 15:52:31 -0700

Edgar D' Souza wrote:

> 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.

I know a young man who is a stunning intellect with a huge appetite for
information and great recall--I think he probably has eidetic memory.
While he seems very smart, he also has no instinct for social skills or
acceptable behavior. When he first came over to the house, I had to keep
an eye on him, like "Whoa! The time is w-a-y past time to teach you how
to behave. Put that down. Get out of the fridge. Quit messing with the
remote control, I'm watching a program!"

He's a nice, mild-mannered kid, but try as I did, I wasn't able to shape
his behavior at all. The lessons of heavy corrective measures or
discipline (the 2x4 or 4x4 approach) would have been wasted on him. I
eventually learned the true meaning of it was rooted in his neurological
make-up. He is quasi-autistic (Asberger's Syndrome). Apparently, there
are degrees of autism, and in some people it produces not only some
degree of the characteristic self-absorption (I want to use the clinical
term for being unaware of other people here, but can't recall it) but
also sometimes the aforementioned intellectual facility. At the far end
of the scale I think you get eidetic savants, like the differently-abled
characters who don't ever learn to make toast or tie shoes but can play
Chopin the first time they ever touch a piano. You know, someone like
the character portrayed in the movie "Rain Man"

Anyway, I worked with a guy like that--a major software engineering
talent at a major software vendor. He had the full geek complement of
amateur radio equipment in his office. He was dimly aware of others. His
idea of the best way to put a co-worker at ease about his ethnicity was
to use every racial profile, cliche, and epithet when talking to him.
Hearing him spew that way (in the workplace!!) was unbelievable, but his
job was never in jeopardy. It was just understood that the employer
reserved the right to hire capabilities, without conventional regard for
normative social abilities. HR's response to complaints about him was
"Close your office door if he bothers you." I spent three months across
the hall from him. If my door was open he'd sit in his office watching
me, and if he caught my eye, the next half hour was shot--I'd give it to
him to bend my ear about whatever was on his mind at the time--then I'd
close the door. Every single day was like that, he never changed. I
prefer him as a neighbor if the only other option would be to have
someone who jabbers all day, sets their disco ringtones on full volume
and leaves the phone unattended, etc :-)


Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


ComponentOne Doc-To-Help gives you everything you need to author and
publish quality Help, Web, and print content. Perfect for technical
authors, developers, and policy writers. Download a FREE trial.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Re: Coworker who won't take no for an answer: From: Jan Cohen
Re: Coworker who won't take no for an answer: From: Edgar D' Souza

Previous by Author: Re: Information gathering.....
Next by Author: RE: Annoyed with Tech Smith
Previous by Thread: Re: free training resources on the web
Next by Thread: RE: Coworker who won't take no for an answer

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads