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Dead wood II

This is a sequel to my previous post about a web site I converted from HTML to XML. I want to get some opinions on how to deal with this, because I foresee more trouble on Monday.
My Perl script did an ok job, I think, of getting the content out of the HTML, but a lot of manual work had to be done anyway. The HTML spanned 5 years and there was no consistency about how it was formatted.
Betsy, a help desk person, was supposed to do the manual work but didn't. My manager argued with Betsy's manager and finally he lost, and I had to do the work, which took about 2 months. I hated every minute of it, but wanted to seem helpful and cooperative.
I have about 7 years of programming experience so I consider myself average, not great (yet). Anyway, I'm concerned that being cooperative and helpful may have lowered my status in this office, and I wonder if it will ever be possible to recover.
The XML web site is live now. The author (in another state) never had much chance to look at it until after it opened, and he has been e-mailing lists of things that need correcting. I have informed everyone that I am only making changes or corrections to the programs, and all clerical work from now on should be directed to Betsy. Of course, since Betsy only spends about 2 hours a week working, almost none of the corrections on his lists have been made.
I don't know what my manager will do. The author will get angry if the corrections aren't made, but it seems that no one has any control over Betsy (she's been there 15 years and has lots of friends). My manager has been even more irritable than usual lately, and maybe this is why. Maybe on Monday he'll ask me to go ahead and do the corrections, rather than keep waiting for Betsy.
I have 2 reasons for refusing to cooperate -- one, I already did far more than I ever should have of mindless repetitive work (I'm smart and have a Ph.D., although not in CS). Two, being nice might have lowered my status and prospects for success in this organization. I'm not naturally assertive but I love interesting work and hate boring work, so I do not want to be stereotyped as nice but not too smart.
If my manager tries to make me do the corrections should I:
a) Just say no.
b) Quit.
c) Say I want to speak to the director.
d) Have a long conversation with my manager about how I feel about all this.
e) Shoot myself.
f) Other.

Why Me
Saturday, November 16, 2002

The only winner in this seems to be Betty. So do what she does, don't give a fuck!

frankman
Saturday, November 16, 2002

Beats the hell out of me.  There's no clear answer to this one.  I'd suggest looking around for a better job.

J. D. Trollinger
Saturday, November 16, 2002

It sounds like your manager should be the one to do this, and what he should do is go screaming to the Big Honcho's office and say: "Look this is really f--ed and we need to sort it out."

Of course it takes balls to do this. From your point of view, go and support your manager and encourage him to see the Big Honcho with yourself.

Because you're there
Saturday, November 16, 2002

Ask to hire a temp to do Betsys job.

Whatever you do don't do it yourself. Take a nonchalant and casual attitute towards Betsys job, expect it to be done ASAP, offer to help if she has problems understanding just what she needs to do, draw the line at physically doing it.

Stand back. Only provide written progress reports, make then a weekly occurance, be totally unemotive, make sure whatever Betsy has been assigned is in black and white.
After about 3weeks management should get sick of seeing 0% next to her assigned tasks. The key to this is that you are busy yourself, you must have NO spare time to do Betsys job.

Otherwise, start looking for something else.

Alberto
Saturday, November 16, 2002

Personally, I would just make the corrections myself.  You're in there anyway, just do it, get it over with and try to get onto something else ASAP.

Its a very difficult time to be looking for work.  But that doesn't mean impossible.  Until you find an exit strategy, I would do the best work possible in my 8 hours per day.

Nat Ersoz
Saturday, November 16, 2002

People who fall back on their degrees as an excuse for not doing certain tasks are anoying to everyone.  Don't play that card. 

Perhaps you should work this out b/w you and Betty?  Appeal to her rationale,  everyone likes to learn new stuff.  Tell her she'll be more marketable, etc

Bella
Sunday, November 17, 2002

I would second Alberto... provide a weekly progress report and task lists.

cc to Betty, your manager, and senior management.

In the meantime, when you assign tasks, get Betty to agree to do them... Ask her for a timeline as well. I would do it via email, instead of verbal.

You can then turn around to Betty and say "Look where is that XYZ you promised me by today/last week?? I can't do my job otherwise."

If she commits to a delivery schedule, and she does not deliver, then it will be her doing the explaining, and not you. If she refuses to commit, then you can tell mgmt that you are doing all the grunt work, and that if they are happy to pay you PHD money to parse text files, then fine. Either that or they hire a temp?

Mgmt will either say, "Yes, it's your job." In which case, staying or leaving is your call. They could say "Bring in a temp." in which case problem solved. This would naturally lead to ... "why is Betty not doing this??". Problem still solved.

tapiwa
Sunday, November 17, 2002

[People who fall back on their degrees as an excuse for not doing certain tasks are
anoying to everyone.]

No one there knows I have a PhD unless they saw my resume, or heard from someone other than me. I keep it a deep dark secret unless someone specifically asks what my degree is.
But I would NOT have taken this job if I had any idea I would be given such a large amount of clerical work. I hate to be mistaken for a secretary. There is nothing wrong with being a secretary but if you're female like me you get sick of people always assuming you are not educated. They don't assume that about men. The male programmers (and almost all are male in this office) do not have this kind of problem. The ones with PhDs are treated with respect. Do you think anyone ever dreamed of saying "Oh Dr. Smith, my secretary is on maternity leave could you please do my typing for a few months."
No, it would never happen.
Therefore I have to wonder, Why Me?

Why Me
Sunday, November 17, 2002

We recently had one of our HR people leave because she wouldn't play the role of receptionist.  My respect for her was only enhanced by her actions, because I tell ya what, I'm not answering the damn phone - neither would the people she was fighting with over the subject.

So, you do have some pretty good feedback here.  The status reporting, tasking, scheduling idea - well that's something everyone should be doing anyhow.  My manager never asked for a status report - I send him one each friday anyway.  Its good for me and good for him.

It is definitely time to move on.  Always keep your integrity and do your best.  No one can argue with results. 

Why you?  This is not unique to you as you saw in Dead Wood I.  Unfortunately its rather widespread.  We still have some minor player Betsies hanging on. (one male, one female)  Their time is short.

Nat Ersoz
Sunday, November 17, 2002

Do you have a written job description? Does it say "Senior Software architect, plus Secretarial and Janitorial duties as assigned"?

I would argue that the work is outside the scope of my employment.

If they insist you do it anyway tell them they will have to add it to your description and increase your pay by $50k/year so that YOU can hire a secretary to handle the clerical work.

If you don't have a written job description this is just the sort of situation where you realize that it is critical to have one. Also, NEVER let anyone put 'other duties as assigned' on a description - refuse to accept that when considering on offer. Just say "Hey, that's not defined? Would it include having to kill people? No, how about having to wash the bosses car? No? Well lets go ahead and try to make that more defined for both our benefits."

Ed the Millwright
Sunday, November 17, 2002

Some suggestions:

1) Just do it until you can get another job. Nat's original advice and mine too.

2) Arrange for someone else to do certain specified actions - who it is is not your business - and either give the writer their e=mail or arrange for them to report to you and you to write the status reports as Alberto suggested.

It's looking to me as if something has gone seriously wrong here. Why for example wasn't the writer kept very much within the loop? I suspect you were presuming your manager was in charge of the project and he was presuming you were, or that it would run itself.

And I'm still puzzled as to what are the "clerical" tasks Betsy can't do. Are you sure that they are in fact not much more difficult than you think?

Also, in my experience it is actually quicker to type a letter myself than to have to explain to somebody how to do it. You should certainly expect up to 30% of your work to be low grade clerical work, simply because explaining how to do these kind of things to somebody else will take up pretty well the same proportion of your time, and you will actually have less control over your time management.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, November 17, 2002

I'm a programmer/analyst. I forget the exact wording of the job description but I have a copy at the office.
I specifically asked my manager about this at the interview. I get bored very easiy and I would never have taken a job that requires a lot of data entry or clerical work. He assured me there would be very little of what he called "unglamourous" work.

Why Me
Sunday, November 17, 2002

"He assured me there would be very little of what he called "unglamourous" work. "

And you believed him!

Every job carries a large proportion of grunt work. College lecturers spend vast chunks of their time entering marks, attendances, and marking stuff that makes their eyes glaze over.

And as somebody else pointed out in the first thread, if there is a lot of routine work look for a way to automate it

If you "get bored easily" you have a severe personality disorder that will handicap you in any type of work you do. The reason is that you will reach a degree of proficiency in any task that make large parts of it routine, whilst they still remain much too difficult to be palmed off on anybody else.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, November 17, 2002

[Every job carries a large proportion of grunt work. College lecturers spend vast chunks of their time entering marks, attendances, and marking stuff that makes their eyes glaze over.]

Ok, you are  misunderstanding. I have had various different careers and all involved some boring work. However, it was not day after day for months. The repetitive mindless jobs I had when I was young, before and during college, made me realize I had to get an education and qualify myself for something better.


[If you "get bored easily" you have a severe personality disorder that will handicap you in any type of work you do.]

I meant that I am intelligent and need to feel there is some overall challenge in my job. Many aspects of programming would bore most people to death, but I happen to find any kind of programming challenging in some way.
I don't have a personality disorder and have done various kinds of work very successfully.

Why Me
Sunday, November 17, 2002

[And as somebody else pointed out in the first thread, if there is a lot of routine work look for a way to automate it]

That is a ridiculous statement. If all work could be automated, there would be no data entry jobs.
I spend my life trying to find ways to automate repetitive work, so why wouldn't it have occurred to me to automate this, if it were possible?

I knew I'd be attacked this way as soon as I let it slip that I'm female. Dumb woman doesn't even know that computers can do repetitive work.

Why Me
Sunday, November 17, 2002


I'm amused by the fact that I would have screamed "Ph. D." out loud followed by a large string of obscenities, but that's just me.

Leonardo Herrera
Sunday, November 17, 2002

OK so you have a job description and it says 'programmer/analyst' not 'secretary'.

That's it - bingo, you are all set. I had missed that you are female before but why bemoan it and accuse people HERE of being sexist?? That is clearly not the case -- you should put the blame for being sexist right where it belongs -- on your boss who thinks since you are a woman who won't 'put out' like Betsy obviously has, that you are gonnaa have to do clerical work. THey don't respect you as an analyst? Why should they when you keep avoiding doing your programming duties to do clerical secretaries work just 'to be helpful' and 'not offend anyone'. That is viewed as weak. You need to start kicking ass and learn those b*stards what it's like to deal with a hard-core b*! (I know you are not a b* -- it's just that you are going to have to learn when to stand your ground 'like a man'. When you do that, pansy men who feel threatened by your take-charge attitude will call you a b*. I know it sucks and it's unfair but you have to be prepared to deal with this sh*t so I am letting you know what is going to happen in advance once you take these M*f*s by the balls and let them know you ain't gonna take no more sexist sh*t off of their puny pansy asses.

"I have completed my tasks and am waiting for Betsy to finish the clerical work assigned to her months ago."

"Well Betsy isn't going to do it, why don't you?"

"I consider that a sexist statement, Mr. Big Boss."

"Er, what do you mean?"

"My written job description clearly says I am a programmer/analyst and not your damn secretary. I don't do clerical work and I don't do dishes. I am a professional. I notice that none of the other analysts in the company have to do this sort of work. That is because they are men and I am a mowen is it not? You can be assured that I have retained a lawyer and am exploring my options at this point because you are clearly in violation of USC 75.43.111."

Go to it! Let em have it and let us know how you kiked their butts. Those b*stard m*f*s really piss me off.

Ed the Millwright
Sunday, November 17, 2002

When you first posted your problem a while back, I suggested that you have a project post-mortem with your boss, asking for advice on how things could be done better next time.  Did you do this?  How did it go?

Hardware Guy
Sunday, November 17, 2002

[Also, in my experience it is actually quicker to type a letter myself than to have to explain to somebody how to do it. You should certainly expect up to 30% of your work to be low grade clerical work, simply because explaining how to do these kind of things to somebody else will take up pretty well the same proportion of your time, and you will actually have less control over your time management.]

I feel exactly the same way. I consider clerical work to be a normal part of life, and it can even be relaxing to do something mindless. But you didn't read carefully -- I said it had taken up ALL of my time EVERY day for 2 months.
I don't think many men there, or here, or anywhere, have experienced anything like it.

Not only am I female, I am a very small female. Even if I wore pants to work it would not help, because everyone can see I'm harmless.

Why Me
Sunday, November 17, 2002

Dear Why me,
                      What you are saying simply doesn't add up. First of all you complain that Betsy doesn't do a small amount of work and then you go along  and say that actually what you are talking about is months of mind-numbing tedium.

                    What  kind of "clerical work" ia it anyway? You've been talking about a web site used by one writer. How on earth can that provide months of  routine work? And are you sure that Betsy is not stallng on it because she doesn't know how to do it, routine though it may appear to you. The fact that it can't be automated suggests that there is a minimum amount of skill involved.

                      Go back to your manager and point out to him that you are a highly paid programmer and doesn't it seem a waste of the company's money to use you on routine tasks when you could be producing much more value for the company?

                        And next time you get a project of your own inisist on having direct contact with the customer from day one. Apart from anything else you'd have got the company to pay a trip to meet the writer, or at the very least, if they paid him to come to you, an expense acoount lunch.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, November 17, 2002

I don't know why you keep bringing your sex into it; there are men who do forty years of what you are talking about, let alone two months.

Without actually being able to see examples of what needs to be done (how about giving us the URL of the site?) it's hard to make a jiudgement.

I can make one comment which you might find useful for the future. If you had realized that you would have had to do all the manual work yourself would you have still designed the project the same way?

Stephen Jones
Sunday, November 17, 2002

[I don't know why you keep bringing your sex into it; there are men who do forty years of what you are talking about, let alone two months.]

That's true. But they either didn't have a chance to acquire skills, or weren't capable of it, or didn't want to. The reward for working hard at acquiring skills is you are then qualified for a better job (I can't believe I have to explain this).

[What you are saying simply doesn't add up. First of all you complain that Betsy doesn't do a small amount of work and then you go along and say that actually what you are talking about is months of mind-numbing tedium.]

Show me where I said a "small" amount of work.

Why Me
Sunday, November 17, 2002

[What  kind of "clerical work" ia it anyway? You've been talking about a web site used by one writer. How on earth can that provide months of routine work? And are you sure that Betsy is not stallng on it because she doesn't know how to do it, routine though it may appear to you. The fact that it can't beautomated suggests that there is a minimum amount of skill involved.]

There is a web site of 300 pages and Each one is a scientific article. My Perl script tried to find things like the date and the author's name, the main text of the article, etc. But there were no reliable markers for the script to follow. Nevertheless it extracted most of the text correctly. However the result had to be correct in every detail, not missing anything. My manager did not want to show the XML site to the author until it was perfect, so the author's expertise was not available to me.
A proofreader was assigned to work with me and find anything missing or imperfect in the XML site. We went through the 300 pages about 4 times, which took 2 months. We probably caught most problems, but not all. The author was not allowed to see the site until a week before it opened (my manager's decision). He sent us lists of the imperfections he found. It's very little compared to the amount of work I have already done, but I decided I had to draw the line somewhere. If I offer to help Betsy with this, I will be finished before she ever starts. That's what happened before.
The work is easy and I know she can do it. Her full-time job was to maintain the static HTML site (which would take a normal person less than 2 hours per week). She has almost nothing else to do, and has plenty of time to finish all the corrections for the site.
The content management application I wrote will allow the author to maintain the site himself. Betsy will be free to take 8 hour lunch breaks.

Why Me
Sunday, November 17, 2002

Somehow you've made your performance dependant on the willingness of other people, without the power to direct those other people. This is bad,  don't rely on the goodwill of other people, if you are a naturally helpful person you can get burned by this one over and over again.

You should manage your situation as a great opportunity to improve, it sounds to me like you have have unclear and ambiguous management instructions, this is where the work needs to be done, forget Betsy, distance yourself from her, concentrate on your management and Betsys management, do not be emotive.

Nike.
Sunday, November 17, 2002

[take these M*f*s by the balls and let them know you ain't gonna take no more sexist sh*t off of their puny pansy asses.]

I know how funny you think it is when women complain of being treated unfairly. It's just an excuse, and the real reason I'm not respected is because my work sucks.

But actually, you only have to be half as smart, if you're male, to get twice the respect. 

Why Me
Sunday, November 17, 2002

You need to go to someone higher and make sure they understand there is a problem, however it's defined. Just implementing little tactics won't help.


Sunday, November 17, 2002

Don't quit before you have another job lined up.

Otherwise, get your ass out of there ASAP.  Hopefully you can get a job in what your doctorate is in, that way you won't have to take much shit from anyone. 

Otherwise ...

George Leroy Tirebiter
Sunday, November 17, 2002

"But actually, you only have to be half as smart, if you're male, to get twice the respect. "

Please don't go there, because it isn't so.  Incompetence is widespread, and so is competence - being male or female has nothing to do with it.  Don't let this cloud your vision or you'll only make life miserable for yourself.

Nat Ersoz
Sunday, November 17, 2002

I recommend finding something outside work that you really enjoy so you have something to look forward to while working.

It worked for me at least (seeing 36 films in two weeks at the local film festival was a fun way for me to spend a holiday, plus I got the benefit of looking forward to it for about six months.)

Thanks.

Tim
Sunday, November 17, 2002

That really sucks, it sounds like you are in a no-win situation.  Unfortunately a lot of my neanderthal cousins view women in black & white:  either they are less competent, or they are a bitch.  I've heard too many of my female friends complain about this kind of treatment to think there's not something going on.  If this is the kind of workplace you're in, I would suggest becoming more of the latter.  You're going to have to put your foot down.  If that doesn't work, and you get tired of the job, then start looking.  Otherwise, I had a friend that was doing what many considered to be 'beneath him' and was quite happy.  He thought he was making out like a bandit because he was getting paid the same but didn't have to think as much.  I'm sure you don't need me to tell you this, but next time/job be a little more assertive and don't cross over any of those lines. 

lil' arnie
Sunday, November 17, 2002

Why Me,

Have you read 'Atlas Shrugged' Ayn Rand ?

I have had many experiences similar to what you are describing.  I think the crux of the matter has been touched on by a few people in this thread.

1 - "In any conflict involving emotion, she who cares least about the consequences wins."  This slacker is able to get away with their behaviour simply because she is not concerned about what you, other employees and the author of the website think.

2 - "If you can, you will be expected to, if you can't you will not".  (Ok i need a better sentence to sum this up). 

Capable people often find themselves having to bear the load because deep down they, and other people, know that if push comes to shove they _can_ do it.

Incompetant people seem to regard competance as a blessing not a reward for effort.  They never see the pain and stuggle that went into obtaining it, hence they don't value it.

This problem of dealing with incompetants who create extra work for me and somehow end up making me feel problems are my fault are extra burdensome for me.  I seem to be naturally survile and eager to please and am easily taken advantage of.

My plan, which is working well so far,  is to work only for organisations where ability is recognised and valued, where the people in charge can actually tell the difference between the dead and living wood.

For me this has meant small companies and hopefully will end up with me working for myself.

Another practical tool i used when i felt i was selling myself
short at work with the treatment i was accepting was to start some inspirational projects at home, to remind myself of what i am capable of and what i enjoy. 

People who love what they do naturally associate their ego with their work,  make sure that ego is getting some releif somewhere else in your life if you need to expose it to some short term bad treatment at work.

Don't get discouragred, It's great that you can see you are being undervalued. _never_ let the treatment you get from others shake your own sense of self worth. 

If you have deep down feeling you were meant for something better, you were! 

sosay
Sunday, November 17, 2002

It's possible to see another side to this tale. You've had a fight with Betsy, and as a result this has produced problems for your manager. He knows he can't ask you to do things because you want Betsy to do them. ("My manager has been even more irritable than usual lately, and maybe this is why.")

Although there's obviously a history of conflict, surely you know not to try to trap someone into a task ( "I have informed everyone that I am only making changes or corrections to the programs, and all clerical work from now on should be directed to Betsy.") That never works. Imagine what she must have sent around in response to that, behind your back.

I think an element that's missing here is that, once decisions have been made, you've been reluctant to execute them properly. Difficult situations should always be discussed robustly but, once decisions have been made, all concerned should honour them as well as they can.

When you write: "it seems that no one has any control over Betsy," what you're really complaining about is that YOU don't have any control over Betsy.

Also, with respect to your claims about gender bias by respondents here, the responses on the earlier thread were made before your gender was known, and include several suggestions about parsing and automating, and also about fixing your work. It's not fair for you to attribute similar suggestions here to gender-based judgements by the respondents.

Because you're there
Monday, November 18, 2002

a) Stop being obsessed with this Betsy character and what she does or does not do. You are letting her rule your world.
b) Do those changes now! Get it over with. As you say yourself, the requests are minor. What are we talking about here? An afternoon's worth of work?
c) I never hear you complaining about other work that is piling up because you are diverted on this project? How come?
d) Ask for the full maintenance responsibility of the site to be officially transferred to you. If updating the static HTML site was a 2 Hours/week job, surely updating the XML thingy will be 30 minutes/week max. You will feel better since you will now not be doing what in your mind is "somebody else's job".
e) Automate the error reporting, so the content part of the site takes care of itself.
f) If there is nothing else to do, go wild! Build your own CMS form scratch for this thing, implement advanced methods for verifying the authors on the basis of the paper writing style, auto summary algorithms ... whatever makes you happy.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, November 18, 2002

Yeah, and you've had about 70 responses so far, so it's time for you to do something. Nobody here can help you anymore, unless you pay somebody to kill Betsy.

And stop complaining about being a woman, you could have a cat fight with Betsy and scratch her eyes out, as a man I would be jailed for that.

Nike.
Monday, November 18, 2002

[You've had a fight with Betsy, and as a
result this has produced problems for your manager. He knows he can't ask you to
do things because you want Betsy to do them.]

I didn't fight with Betsy, I just said I have to concentrate on doing my job now, because I spent too much time on non-programming work. My manager told me I'm only doing programming from now on and I said great. But I don't think he expected the author to find so many errors.


[Do those changes now! Get it over with. As you say yourself, the requests are
minor. What are we talking about here? An afternoon's worth of work?]

It could drag on for weeks. It depends how many errors he finds. It will keep on interrupting my concentration and what I'm supposed to be doing.



c) I never hear you complaining about other work that is piling up because you are
diverted on this project? How come?

I'm in the R&D group, and we don't really have deadlines. I'm being prevented from starting on my next project. I'm being prevented from seeming valuable or intelligent or creative and doing what I was hired for.

Why Me
Monday, November 18, 2002

One possibility I thought of is to allow Betsy to get in trouble. If the author knew what happened, that I had to do all the Betsy work myself, he would probably be angry at her for not making his corrections now.
His web site -- which is his life -- has imperfections and that must be driving him crazy. If he knew that Betsy spends the whole day on personal calls, email and social breaks, he would be outraged.
What if I stopped covering for her and let him realize what's going on? Then maybe her manager would realize what her game has been all these years.
I would feel very guilty if I caused Betsy any problems, since she is a nice person (on the surface anyway). But on the other hand, I don't have to sacrifice myself for her. Why should I? My self-respect and my relationship with my manager is being destroyed because of her.

Why Me
Monday, November 18, 2002

Why me,

You seem to work as a researcher in some Euro university lab. Stop using this thing as an excuse. Each morning as you walk in you spend 10 minutes correcting the errors that where found the previous day. After that, you have the whole day in front of you for doing your research, without interruptions (of this particular nature at least).

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, November 18, 2002

Don't be defensive; I definitely have had this "personality disorder" of near-violent boredom when I was sick & tired of stupidity.  You signed up for a job that promised you a reprieve from dealing with the tediousness others foist on you; most of us (myself included) are implementors and therefore don't really respond in the way you'd like. 

Have you corresponded with the guy with the scientific articles?  You definitely want him on your side.  Maybe he's unhappy with a feeling of powerlessness.  Instead of doing double-work, having him write emails with corrections, couldn't the site be exposed so that he can preview and make corrections?  Be frank with the problem; don't hide info and don't skewer anyone.  Walk him through the software, telling him it's faster than writing emails or calling. 

Another thing you can do is bite the bullet and ask the guy if he might have a student who would like to do this.  You could pay him the tiny hourly fee students seem to like, and slack off doing what you love with your days until the student is done.  (Of course, the student must give daily reports, or better yet you check the diffs.)

Tj
Monday, November 18, 2002

Shoot Betsy.

Ichabod Crane
Monday, November 18, 2002

[Have you corresponded with the guy with the scientific articles?  You definitely want him on your side.  Maybe he's unhappy with a feeling of powerlessness.  Instead of doing
double-work, having him write emails with corrections, couldn't the site be exposed so that he can preview and make corrections?  Be frank with the problem; don't hide info and
don't skewer anyone.  Walk him through the software, telling him it's faster than writing emails or calling.]

The whole idea of the CMS was to give him control over the whole process. But correcting things that got messed up during the conversion isn't his job. It really isn't anyone's job, officially, and that's the problem.
No, I'm not going to hire and pay someone to do it. The organization can afford it a lot better than I can.

Why Me
Monday, November 18, 2002

When I said "you," I don't necessarily mean "you."

If your manager is not only too angry, but too dumb to talk and understand your perspective, then maybe there is no satisfactory solution.  For some reason it frustrates me that you're in a position where you feel you can't talk without getting irrational responses or sounding irrational.  Maybe I should stop reading this thread. <grin>

Tj
Monday, November 18, 2002

There is some good advice here, but it sounds like Betsy is a passive aggressive person. She does nothing, and if you complain, well, you’re a complainer. Your manager does not know how to handle her either.
The advice at the beginning of the thread is pretty good for most situations. Document everything; get sign off on assignments, etc. The problem is, Betsy does not report to you so you can not enforce any of this. Guess what, she knows you are powerless to affect her job and that gives her power over you.
If you want to stay in this totally unsupportive environment, you have to out flank her. Try a reversal. You have said the corrections only take a few hours a day, if that is tolerable, her is what I would do.
First, go to your manager and have a nice quiet talk. You are right, but you need him on your side. You will do all of the corrections, but only if Betsy’s manager is OK with you doing the work. Be honest, tell him you know this is above and beyond your job description, and you want to be sure it does not count against you at review time, but you want to get the work done and be sure of the quality. Other than saying you should check with her manager, do not speak about Betsy at all during this meeting. Stay totally calm, speak quietly but confidently. Have the attitude that the work is the important thing here and you want to get on to your next project.
Take over the drudgework. Talk to the author and set up a schedule. Do an update weekly or daily whatever works FOR YOU.
Do not try to force Betsy to do the work, you can’t and you will go crazy trying. Take the work away from her.
Her manager will probably complain that she now has nothing to do. All you say is, well I have already done most of this, and I can finish it with no problems. Let Betsy and her manager work it out. If they say, “No, this is her job.” Then ask for the sign off on the work done and changes. Her manager is now on your side; she is claiming this is what Betsy should be doing.
Next time something like this comes up, be wiser. Do not get into the situation. Remember, the only reward for hard work is more hard work.

Doug Withau
Monday, November 18, 2002

How can someone be passive aggressive? This sounds ridiculous.


Monday, November 18, 2002

For example, if you ask someone to do something and they say sure, no problem, and then it never gets done. It's an indirect, subtle, devious way of getting revenge.
Most or all people are passive aggressive at times, often without even realizing it. But a typical passive aggressive person is someone who is in a weak position and doesn't feel they can get their way by direct means.
For example, if my boss yells at me I can't yell back, but I can take an extra long coffee break.

Why Me
Monday, November 18, 2002

That is not being aggressive at all. I disagree with this labelling, and the attempt to condemn people simply for failing to do what the labeller wants.


Monday, November 18, 2002

"Passive aggressive"

The first time I've come across the phrase, but it describes a certain type of behaviour down to a tee. The guy at the utility company who continues his telephone conversation for ten minutes while you're waiting to pay the bill. He doesn't respond to your increasingly irate comments but simply treats you as if you weren't there.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

You said Betsy would get into trouble if the author knew
what she was (not) up to. Well we all know we're not
supposed to hide anything from Teacher since nursery
school. But you couldn't stop covering for her because you
would feel "guilty". Yet instead you blame your own
spinelessness on your male colleagues' "sexism" and
somehow feel no guilt whatsoever about this injustice.
Seems to me you're waaaaay more sexist than they are.
If Betsy were a guy would you cover for her? Didn't think
so. Grow up! Don't make excuses, solev your problem!
Either
A) shut up and do the drudgework,
B) rat on Betsy,
or
C) quit and try to get a new job (what I would do).
And no, you're not being picked on because you're female.
Similar shit happened to me before too.

Ali
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Passive aggressive  and utility company guy - surely what you're describing is that you became angry because the other person failed to do what you want. From the description, it was YOU who was aggressive.

It increasingly seems to me this whole use of the passive aggressive tag, in other contexts, is just another aggressive act.


Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Why me, I think you're actually the problem. You seem not to have done a very good with the programming, and you seem to expect others to be at your bidding. You say you had the services of a proofreader. You expect Betsy to do a job that's probably a bit dumb.

You've also engaged in a lot of manouvering to get your way. I don't believe you hide your PhD at your job. You mentioned it here. That's probably why your manager has a difficult situation.

I don't know what the answer is. You should try to see the best in people and try to help people.

Because you're there
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I think I'm going to draft a disclaimer to append to all of my future posts asking that misogynistic self-fellators not reply...and I'm not even a woman.

I had no idea there were this many hostile and accusatory forum members.  She asked for advice, not abuse.  If you're not going to say something constructive, move on to the next thread.

Dunno Wair
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

[I don't believe you hide your PhD at your job.]

Well, believe it or not, I don't tell anyone. I mentioned it here because no one here knows who I am. See, Why Me isn't my real name -- get it?
People who are insecure about their status and intellectual ability get real angry at those of us who have worked long and hard to improve ourselves. God forbid I ever mention it, people like you will think I'm bragging. Therefore, I don't. I don't hide it either, and if anyone asks what my degree is I tell them.

Why Me
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Dear No Name (by the way I thought you needed a "name" of some kind to post)

I'd love to serve you in a shop. You come in to buy something and I do nothing. You say, excuse me, and aslk for something and, although there is nobody in the shop I pointedly ignore you. Now remember you're in the shop, and there's nobody else there, and the sales guy's job is to serve you, but he simply completely ignores you and watches TV, whistles, or picks up the phone or whatever. Yet according to you, it's the customer who is being aggressive because he is angry that he can't get the other person to do what he wants (which is sell him something in a shop).

It must have been really bad for you when the Iron Curtain came down - what did you do instead of all those trips to the ultimate non-shopping experience in Moscow, staying for hours in line only to find at the end of it that there was nothing in the shop, and then going back to hotels with the worse service in the world.

If you go to a restairant or bank or shop and the attendant says "F*** you mate, I don't give a monkey's toss about you or your problem" wouldn't you say he's being aggressive? Yet if he leaves you hanging around for twenty minutes or longer so it's clear that that is exactly his attitude what is he being - a latter day Buddha?

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

You're blathering and I can't understand you. It looks like you never read the dead wood story. My manager asked Betsy to help me (since after all we were doing her a favor by automating her job), she said sure and then proceded not to help.
You're describing a person who won't do their job and saying that makes you angry. Well that's why I got angry.
So I can't imagine what you're criticizing me for or what you're trying to express.
But I'm sure it doesn't matter.

Why Me
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Dear Why me,
                      If you look at my post again you will see it is addressed to "No Name". Go a little further up the thread and you will see a message from somebody with no signature at all (not even anonymyous) attacking the idea of "passive aggressive" you mentioned and which I thought was an excellent and appropriate phrase.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Passive-agressive is well known in psychology. They even have a design pattern for it:
http://www.earley.org/Patterns/passive-aggressive%20pattern.htm

The pattern is funny because it looks so much like a Software Design Pattern, but you'll find more useful stuff from Google.

Yves

Yves
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

If you look at my post again you will see it is addressed to "No Name".

Oh sorry.

Why Me
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Dunno Wair, you realise that by uncritically accepting the story presented by Why Me, you're condemning a woman, being Betsy?

I have an idea Betsy is not the demon she's made out to be, and there is more to this than we've been told.

Because ...
Friday, November 22, 2002

Betsy is just about the nicest person I know. I never said otherwise. She may have had good reasons for not helping me -- it wasn't really her job, my boss is nasty, etc.
But the fact remains that the department where I work can be very lax about paying people who actually don't do anything. One woman comes in at night and changes tapes on the computer, which takes 15 minutes, even though the tapes aren't used anymore. Her shift is 6 hours and that's all she does. The people who actually have to do all the work are pretty resentful.

Why Me
Friday, November 22, 2002

Have you actually tried explicitly *asking*
Betsy why she doesn't do as you wish?

Ali
Saturday, November 23, 2002

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