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Handling Inconvenient Requests Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 8:24 AM
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Yep. By default the answer is "yes" - it's what I do.

We have in my office, however, a "5 o'clock Donna". In any given week you can count on her to come up with some urgent request after 4PM that "absolutely has to be done today" at least once. It gets old. Everything that comes from this person is a crisis. She's been well trained to know that we'll handle any crisis as long as it's presented that way. She'll resort to crying if she has to.

Personally, I don't jump anymore for her (very often). As a result she doesn't come directly to me with her troubles very often anymore.

The problem here is these things may be critical for the company to keep clients but more often than not she's known about them for over a week and not said anything. So what to do in a situation like that. We're not a huge company. The loss of one major client could be catastrophic. I'm not "an IT guy" exclusively. I have a life that doesn't involve SQL or my company. I have kids to pick up from day care and get fed and play with. I have a dog at home that really wants to go out. I like my job but I'm not my job.

There's a balance to be found I guess. It's no different from most other jobs. I just take things as they come and deal with them the best I can.
Post #830722
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:04 AM


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I generally start with the "yes" position. If I have some hard boundary I usually tell the requestor that I will try but I have another commitment that I am unable to break. I view that as managing expectations. I'm not saying no, but I am limiting how much "yes" I can deliver before I have to go, and after I satisfy my other commitments I might be able to come back to it.. I think this works fairly well because they usually know full well that they are imposing but are happy for the accomodation.

CEWII
Post #830762
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:05 AM
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Also by default yes, unless I have an appointment elsewhere. I'm on proper flexitime so staying late will add to my credit and be time off later. We tend to jokingly say the job is worth a few Jaffa Cakes which often do materialise a day or so later to be shared round the team and does wonders for that users next job request .

If we get a "5 o clock Donna" or someone who has been awkward before we can fall back on beaurocracy - "we really need a helpdesk call before we can do any work" or "I need to confirm it with your manager" or "your manager needs to speak to my manager" (since her manager gave her the job he'll know how long she's had) or the killer "we need a change request and that has to go through the change board (CAB) and the business steering group" (a.k.a. black hole)

Often we've found it's not as urgent as they make out and we can leave it until the helpdesk call gets through to us via the appropriate approvals. But we'd rather find that before we bust a gut on a Friday evening.
Post #830764
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:13 AM


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I think P Jones has a point, people who abuse this might get away with it once or twice but most of us have a formal process that we can shift them to if need be.. One that better tracks the request..

CEWII
Post #830778
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:03 PM


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I usually say yes, too. I've been lucky that it's rare for people to abuse it (with me anyways). I ended up staying 'til midnight once (I rarely work more than 40 hours), but I was happy to do it in this instance: it was a critical need, the person was new and had been given limited training (not her fault), I was the only person besides my boss who knew enough to be of assistance, and although it was years ago, I know she still remembers and appreciates it. Plus I am part of the Information Technology Services department. I do agree that people who abuse it need to be handled differently. "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine."
Post #830889
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:10 PM
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I would step back and ask if it is really a choice. 'Help' is sort of a convenient word used in many workplaces for an order in disguise. I'd usually help the guy rather than risk him calling my boss and my boss calling me with a polite yet subtle 'I'd appreciate it if you can help so and so'. Again if it is someone by boss doesn't care about i'd probably decline, even if i like the guy personally i dont want to be in my boss's bad books. In my experience - 95% of requests are orders in disguise. The remaining 5 percent you have a choice - if it is someone you like, someone you think will help you similar or you just feel like doing a good deed go on and do it that is all.
Post #830893
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 2:30 PM
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I think most people are generally good and would help out. I'd like to put this spin on it. Look at this from a custom service point of view. If you called any customer support and they said "Yeah... it's Friday and I'm heading out" you'd probably give that fella a bad review later on some survey. Good customer service tends to pay off in the long run. Consider it an investment and help the poor fellow out.
Post #831024
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 2:30 PM
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dwilliams-766857 (12/8/2009)
Default, by nature, is to help out.

I also use the "I'll do it but then you owe me" routine. I may not take them up on it but it seems to prevent some coming back for more.


Another way to look at this is that I'm building slack to be taken at a future date. If I have nothing pressing I do try and help out. That way I can say no without guilt when I really do need to get out of there or what's being asked is complicated enough to not want to race through at the end of a day.

Ken
Post #831025
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 3:00 PM
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The answer here is pretty simple: leave at 4:30


James Stover, McDBA
Post #831051
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 5:13 PM
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We are in a customer service position are responses should reflect that.

We should also be proactive and asked questions, why this occurred and can we do something different to avoid situations like this in the future.

Post #831102
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