My views on software, programming, Linux, the Internet, government, taxation, working, and life.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Surviving Freshman Managers in Tech Jobs

Do you have a crappy tech job? Is it because you're making wise decisions grounded in experience and logic, but your manager, who's far more the freshman than you, merely implements choices with no bearing on anything, moving, if not at random, on some buzzword he last saw on his cnet homepage, even if it's counter to the corporate direction? Is he always proposing "left" simply because you said "right"?

I have the solution for you. You need to remove the emotion from your job. Here's how. It's all about communication. Follow this strategy for dialogue.

HIM: DUMB IDEA. He wants to propose his dumb idea with no bearing in experience or logic.

YOU: "Outstanding, I'll get right on it." (The faster, the better. Even cut him off before he says the last two words if you can.)

HIM: STAY LATE, SOMETHING DUMB. He wants you to stay late on something dumb.

YOU: "I'll call my wife right away! I'm sure she'll understand since you do so much for her."

HIM: SCOLDING, NOT RESPONSIBLE. He scolds you over something you had no control over.

YOU: "What a fine mess, huh? I'll spend the next 6 months personally enrolling myself to spend nights and weekends undoing this."

HIM: EVEN MORE PROJECTS. He gives you even more projects than the overwhelming, ridiculous ones you were working on.

YOU: "I'm too stupid to do those other projects, anyway. I'm glad you came by to give me something even stupider and just my speed." (In later times, just say, "I'm too stupid to do those other projects, anyway," and then eventually just chuck any existing projects in the trash when he comes up.)

HIM: DUMB CALL WHILE IN MEETING. He takes a dumb call while you're in a more important meeting, and often while you're in mid-sentence on the hugest crux of the conversation.

YOU: "Gosh, I forgot what I was saying. It probably wasn't important anyway and so I'm sorry for wasting your time on whatever it was." (Then, smile a fake, heartfelt smile and walk out.)

HIM: SHUTUP. He tells you to sit down and shutup.


HIM: MEMORY LOSS (HIS). He tells you he told you something when he did not.

YOU: "Yeah, sorry. When my meds are low I have a profound lack of telepathy, er, I mean memory."

HIM: WORK NOT DONE YET. He asks why something unbelievably hard for most geniuses is still not done yet.

YOU: "You're right. I need to start turning in half-assed work more often."

HIM: OUTSIDE ROLE. He asks why you're doing something outside of your unwritten, unlisted, undocumented, untold role.

YOU: "Oh yeah, we've never had a discussion about that but I'm sure I should have deduced it from your grunts and hand gestures while passing me in the hallway."

HIM: NOT YOUR ROLE. He tells you to do something having nothing to do with your technology job, and which he has many temp clerical staff or a janitor to do, such as photocopying audit paperwork, or climbing up a ladder to change bulbs.

YOU: "That sounds like extraordinary fun. I've always wanted to do that! It's fun to portray someone I'm not."

HIM: SPY. He sends a coworker spy around to eavesdrop on you again, and you've kind of figured it out.

YOU: (While speaking to your other friend when this "spy" approaches...) "...So tonight I meet you out back with the stolen servers and you'll have a black van there, right?" And, "...And that's when I decided, after a lot of thought, that I would return all the money I embezzled from this place over the years. I hope I don't get caught because that sure was a close one."

HIM: SWITCHED DIRECTION. He asks why you switched direction to a different strategy than the one he specified, even though yours was better on so many phenomenal levels.

YOU: "Actually, I caught _(insert coworker's name here, and especially if they can overhear you)_ doing this. I stopped him right away and tried to cover up for his brilliant idea that would have saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. But no, no, he insisted on doing it this way." (You get two extra points if you use the name of the spy who eave drops on you and is within earshot of you.)