Sep 17, 2013

Whine me a River

Ok, let's say it again: I hate whiners. I do. Yep, and there's nothing I can do about it. Sure, I could try to understand them, empathize with them, accept them, tolerate them... but I won't. They irk me, and they irk me to the core. Of course, you could say that this is just an outburst after something that recently happened at the office (oh, I'll go about that in a minute), but no. If you know me (and chances are that you do, but in case you don't, boy you are missing something that could make your life a tad more fun, or at least add a new flavor of "interesting" to it), you know that no, that's not the case. I'm deeply idiot-intolerant, and whiners are just another type of idiot.

So let's go with the classical "situation that triggers the bitching" case. (Note that bitching isn't the same as whining, because those who bitch have enough strenght in them to change cases, in case they can change something, and if they don't, bitching goes into "venting" and they are both ok in my book.) So there's this person who will remain unnamed to protect the innocent. This person - let's call him Kevin - has a little issue with something that has happened through the normal course of things. Let's pretend that it's an office issue. Let's say, just to give this cover story a little context, that Kevin have been working at this office and he likes to get attention, which is why he has normally tended to help out other people with their jobs, and he's good at it. Good for Kevin. Now, his superiors have noticed this and decide that since a lot of people is really lazy at what they do, and Kevin has been kind of slacking at his own job - as it often happens with people like this - to move him to another area and make him responsible of the kind of activities he's already working at. To put it more simple: Kevin is an accountant and should be working on registering the movements of the accounts assigned to him, faithfully registering purchases and expenses, but he has been working a lot with the budget people - by his own volition - allowing for registers to accumulate, while he does a good job helping people in budget at their job. So the bosses decide to move him to budget, and ask Pat to do his job.

And what do our Kevin does? Yes, you guessed it right: he whines. Booo hooo, they want to demote him, he's an accountant and not a financist, and Pat is really sucking up to the boss because she's an evil woman who wants his position, and blah, blah, blah. Now, the rational person would probably vent at first - if they don't really want to move to Budget, which is weird, because why would they help with budget in the first place (oh riiiiight! Because in their delusional mind they actually THINK that the others BEGGED them to HELP them! Not the other way around! Because they THINK they were asked and conveniently forget that they OFFERED!) - and then would go to the boss and tell them that they don't want to move to Budget. They would own the fact that they slacked at their own job and take the necesary steps to correct the situation and avoid a similar one in the future. Because let's be honest for a moment, if they were bored and helped out Budget, is because they enjoy Budget, so the move wouldn't be bad at all. But that's not the case of our Kevin.

So once Kevin does the whining, what steps he takes to solve the situation? And here comes the best part: None. Maybe Kevin's whining touched Jack's heart and he decides to help his buddy, and they prepare a not to send it to the boss, asking him to let Kevin stay at Accounting, and maybe even add a few suggestions of what could make Accounting better for Kevin, and also good for the company. Maybe Kevin's new understanding of Budget could make him ideal to work on a bridge project that would allow more realistic budgets, or a system for easier track of the real expenses compared with the budget. Hey! It's all in! And what does Kevin does? When it's all done, when Jack has invested heart and soul to help Kevin, Kevin says "Nah, I think I better say nothing, because they might think ill of me".

Now, a quick evil note: these useless whiners are the easier to manipulate. They are incredibly annoying, but if you use a pushing technique (meaning that you manipulate them by forcing them into a prepared scenario, like saying "Kevin, it's all arranged: tomorrow you'll give me your office"), or down right bullying, they yield every time. Naturally manipulating and bullying people is wrong, but so that you know that they are like this, so when they whine, beware, they might be being manipulated and might try to drag you in with them.

I have friends who vent with me, and we bitch for hours, but they actually do something about it. They either face the music and try to change it, and when things don't change (when they don't), they quit or dump the son-of-a-bitch/bitch and move on. In these cases the previous venting is a safety measure to keep a cool head and avoid running your car on the s.o.b. that's making your life miserable, or blow up the entire block - depending on what your favorite murder method is. But those who whine for the pleasure of it, because it's another way to get attention, those... well, those should be put away, perhaps in a whiners-prison. In solitary!


As for the case that has my inner murderer running around and climbing the walls, well, that one really got to my nerves.

You see, I have this coworker of mine who's a bit difficult to work with. He's the kind of person who loves complications, who procrastinates and signs in for everything so that he can say that he has a lot of things to do, who seems atomically unable to do anything efficiently and who has a visceral need to use as much flourish as he can. And then some. Of course this is annoying, but on top of that, his flourish-full language is full to the brim with spelling mistakes in even the simplest words (Say, where you and I would say "that's a difficult question" he would write "I belive we have arived at a connundroom" - all spelling mistakes are intentional!), he forgets the commitments he makes, and tries so much to please others that ends up complicating things and promising things that can't be offered.

Now, ever since I arrived to this department, I've been taking care of different projects and reports, and ruling with pretty much an iron fist. Those who comply and get with the program, receive public praises and my unquestioning support and defense. Those who fail, receive my much feared chasing, e-mail nagging and then - if they don't fall in line - my wrath, which normally includes escalating my complains up their bosses until someone answers, then as I go higher and higher I involve my bosses so that there's a boss-to-boss level of pressure, and I'm not afraid to take things all the way up to Ban-Ki-Moon if needed. (No, I do not work at the U.N., so yes, imagine how far would I go.) This has, naturally, earned me a reputation, where my bosses love me because my efficiency and commitment to the project, and those who get on the wrong end of my chasing instincts... well, they are probably trying to find out a way to burn me as a witch.

There's a Division that has be particularly lazy and this laziness has had very serious consequences with third parties. I had exercised my might on them, and since my boss is just as wicked a witch as I am, she helped me on our Bad Cop rutine, which ended up with them getting royally berated. Of course, now they hate me, because I've got them exposed, so they have been doing all they can to prove that they weren't the ones fucking it up, but we. Well, sadly I have tons of e-mails to prove otherwise, but that hasn't stopped them from indirectly hinting at third parties that we were the culprits. Naturally, due to common decency, we don't go exposing them before our third parties.

Now, the case in question is that we had this meeting on Friday with our most important third party. THE third party. Problematic Division was there, and they did their job at pretending that they were so good, so wonderful and did all in time, though have system limitations for which everybody should make allowances for them. My coworker - who had summoned the meeting - was a bit off all meeting, while I was armed with my wonderful livescribe and trying really hard not to snap at Problematic Division, but present a united front. By the end of the meeting, in a joking manner (but really in order to have my coworker do something or show he has payed attention), I suggested that he should prepare the minute of the meeting and send it to all of us. Too many meetings have gone by with this Third Party without a minute and that has been the source of many issues, so yes, we needed a minute. He agreed, and upon our Third Party's question, he promised to send it that same day, otherwise - in his own words - he would forget it.

Yeah well, after leaving me at the office, he took the company car we used to go to the meeting, to run his own personal errands. Oh, yes, let's note here that he always arrives late at the office, and my late I mean around 30 minutes late, and that Friday wasn't an exception to his rule. So anyway, he didn't pay attention to the meeting he summoned and took a company car to do his errands at the other end of the city. When I got off the car I asked him about the minute, whether he had all the notes or if he would like me to send him my notes, maybe build up the bones of the minute, so that all he had to do later was to complete them with his own notes. He said no, that he had everything under control.

30 minutes before the end of the day our Third Party sent us all an e-mail reminding us that they were still waiting for the minute, and kindly offered their input. My heart started pumping wildly, hoping my coworker were about to send a supreme minute. Instead, ten minutes later (and 20 minutes before the end of our work-day) he passed before my cubicle with his backpack and punched out. In absolute panic I called after him, but he was gone faster than people actually can. I called him on his phone and asked him what was the status with the minute, reminding him that it HAD to be send that day. He promised to send it from home once he got there.

I imagined he had the minute done, and would send it from his home. Today at the office I realized that a) today he was on vacations and never told me, and b) he never sent the minute. He, who can't let a holiday or a weekend pass without sending e-mails to prove just how hard working he is. I was boiling with rage. This, of course playede well for Problematic Division, who would use this eternally to prove how we are the source of all delays.

Quickly as I could I prepared the most detailed minute of the meeting and sent it to all involved parties, apologizing profusely for the delay. Not in his name, but in the name of our tiny department. All the parties reacted well - thanks Hyne - and there was much interaction, with additions and corrections to the minute, which is good, because that means that everybody read it and felt drawn to improve it. He was copied on the e-mail, but it wasn't until 11 that he actually dared to send me an e-mail with a simple "thank you". If he would have added his notes I would have gone cool about it, but his attitude of "thanks buddy for saving my ass" pissed me off. So I chewed him out. Told him not to thank me anything. It was him who should have done the job, that I had offered help and he refused, that all the way to the end he insisted he would do it and not even once told me to help him out, which ended in us taking a hit for his ineptitude, and that the next time he must talk to me if he sees he can't get things going, so that the both of us can find a way out.

I was so fired up, and since my e-mail wasn't the sweetest thing in the planet, I thought he might take it to the boss, so I wrote to her and explained her the situation. I admited that I might be too upset to see straight, but that I had to let her know what was going on. All up to the leaving early, save the compay car perusing, because that really didn't have direct impact on the matter. She replied to me that I did right in telling her, specially since she's taking vacations soon and someone else will take charge of the department while she's out, and that person (I know her and like her) doesn't take stuff like this lightly. Besides this type of issues must be dealt at once. She promised me she will talk to him.

Now, aside from the venting, why does this goes into here? To show you the difference between useless whining and venting. I was upset, and I dealt with the situation. I confronted him and informed my boss, so to make sure this type of situation doesn't arrive again. I have had similar situations in the past (past five months, that is) with this guy, where I haven't told my boss, though I have confronted him about it, and have decided that the next time he pulls another stunt on me I would tell the boss. This time I could have gone without it, but I felt his irresponsability and his shameless attitude have gone too far (This is the same guy who once asked me for a ride home and spent the entire trip - and we were in a traffic jam! - talking on the phone and making me feel like a cab driver).

I have also devised ways to deal with the situation and the past situations to avoid similar problems. For once, I'll either nag him constantly to get the minutes done, or I'll take charge of them from now on. The second option would be my last option as I don't want him to then shrugg off the responsability, and assume I'll take care of the administrative matters from now on, so pestering will be my first choice (and have a minute prepared just in case). Similarly, I have made sure to be on top of all my projects - not easy but I'm working my system - and try to know some of his projects, in case he suddenly takes vacations AGAIN on the deadline date and leave everything hanging, as he has done it already TWICE.

It can be tiresome and Hyne I wish he were more responsible! but I can't let the department sink because he can't do his job and is rather occupied with sending his CV to other companies and making flashy websites to promote himself and "his image". Yeah, because companies are more interested in the logo you create for yourself than showing up the actual work you do. Yeah, because my boss and my former boss and basically all bosses I've had (except the Moron Lady, who would never admit it), have fought bloodbattles for me just because I can braid my hair so prettily.

He's a liability, and a liability that can reflect poorly on my own job, as at some areas my work goes invisible, and seen only as a whole along with the rest of the input of the company or the department. Due to this, I need to minimize his action, his effect, and make sure he doesn't come and fuck up my work. Either he falls in step with my standards and my expectations, or I'll have to make sure to shun him. And that's how you solve things.

4 comments:

LJ said...

Yep - that's the way to do it. I'm sure I am referred to as "that witch" by many people all over the world, both in finance (I work in finance in our head office), and in other functions as I don't suffer fools glady either. Good for you :-)

LJ said...

Yep - that's the way to do it. I'm sure I am referred to as "that witch" by many people all over the world, both in finance (I work in finance in our head office), and in other functions as I don't suffer fools glady either. Good for you :-)

Storm Bunny said...

I hear you! It always astonish me when people actually expect others to support them in their incapability. The moment you suggest something in the line of "and why don't you look for a solution" they look at you as if you have ran over their puppy with a lawnmower.

LJ said...

Sometimes they are so annoying that if they did have a puppy (only a toy one obviously) we probably would run it over with a lawnmower - ha ha ha!!!