How well do you really know your colleagues?

  • majorbloodnock

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 9389

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item How well do you really know your colleagues?

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

  • luke.warneminde

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 101

    People are like teabags - you don't know how strong they are until you put them into hot water.

  • karyn.webb

    SSChasing Mays

    Points: 618

    I knew how some of my colleagues would react, having gone through similar experiences with them before, but some others were unknown quantities. Amongst those, one particular colleague who I'd suspected of being a little ineffectual suddenly came to the fore and demonstrated a calm, composed professionalism under intense pressure that would still have been impressive in someone with twice their experience - it's nice to be proven wrong sometimes.

    Well, I'd suggest many of the clues are already there if only we look for them; indeed they're often blatantly obvious with 20:20 hindsight. What we need is to develop the knack of spotting them in advance. There's no magic formula for achieving this, but taking the effort to mentally appraise each of your colleagues within the "disaster recovery" context is still an exercise well worth carrying out.

    I find these two paragraphs to almost cancel each other out... but I know what you are saying. The thing is that people will genuinely surprise you when it comes to the crunch, and really you need to be sure that you don't surprise yourself (at least not negatively). You have no control over anyone else's actions, but you can do your best to make sure you are cool, calm and collected. As an 18 year old I was involved in a medical emergency. I knew how to handle it and what to do, but allowed myself to be swayed by the panicking people around me and I ended up being completely ineffectual. This was a shock to me, but the next time a similar situation came up (in my late 20's) I knew that I needed to focus on what I knew and not on what the panickers were trying to do.

    I don't know how I'd be in an IT emergency, but I'm pretty sure it would be a lot less freaky than either of those occasions.

  • majorbloodnock

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 9389

    You're right, Karyn; they do almost cancel each other. The almost is important though. Many of the clues were there, but I hadn't looked hard enough beforehand. If I'd given a bit of thought earlier, I'd have been less surprised at the revelation and could have planned better as a result.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

  • dhamilton-905368

    Old Hand

    Points: 383

    I was in a "real" combat zone (though some 20+ years ago) and nearly always find others impressed by my relative calm in almost any circumstance. Very few technical situations even come close to competing with bullets whizzing past you and mortar shells exploding. So I feel I'm pretty prepared to deal with any situation us "normal" people deal with.

    However, like Karyn, even though I was a "combat medic" (meaning I was given a little medical training beyond what the rest of us "grunts" were given), I had a professor in one of my first college courses collapse from a heart episode (not a life-threatening heart attack, but more of a blood flow issue), and I was somewhat frozen. I had the sense to instruct a bystander to call 911, but I was far from the first to rush to his aid, even though I was probably as qualified as anyone (I was only about 6 months out of the Army, at the time) to get to him.

    Fortunately, he was OK, but I think all of us have some situations where we're more qualified than others. I've found myself feeling less qualified in medical emergencies (beyond the one above) than during "critical" systems circumstances, even when they require complete focus for 48 hours or more.

    It is interesting, but I know I can at least keep a calm enough head to get the right people in place, even when I'm not the right person.

  • ChrisM@Work

    SSC Guru

    Points: 186093

    "There's nowt so queer as folk".

    How many of us can remember as far back as our first four or five years? Do you remember that kid who used to experiment with insects? We become conditioned to behave in a manner which is expected of us from a very early age. There's a constant, gentle, and irresistible pressure to conform, homogenise. You think that pulling the wings off a crane fly is cruel, unusual and...well a bit creepy. But the kid who did it in school doesn't think that way. She gets as much guilt-free pleasure from it now, in her 30's, as she did as a toddler - except that she's learned not to get caught.

    Kids of 3, 4, 5 years old are extremely different from one another. They're still just as different, underneath the gloss, when they're 30.

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  • TravisDBA

    SSCoach

    Points: 15780

    IT shops are very political and full of a lot of tight little cliques I have personally found in my 20+ years experience. I have seen people throw other people under the bus simply because others found out how much money the person was making. People/managers in IT shops tend to listen to what others say about people, instead of checking things out for themselves first. Many times, it is about personalities and and personal agendas, instead of skill and competence. I have seen a lot of good people run out of companies while others sit on their azz and surf the Internet all day long, or engage in personal conversations all day instead of concentrating on their jobs. It is very unfortunate that this kind of junior high behavior and nonsense is present in the workplace and can end up affecting our ability to make a living for our families, but it is a fact of life. I have learned the hard way that what people say to your face in this industry is usually not what they are saying behind your back. What is really sad and tragic is that people lose their jobs over these kind of juvenile stuff everyday in this business. πŸ™‚

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • Craigmeister

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1025

    As a Psychology major, these kinds of things are fascinating to me. The "hot water", as someone above put it, will affect people in different ways depending on the kind of situation and the people and personalities involved. Sometimes you can't tell a person just by looking.

    There are a lot of contemplative personalities in IT such that we usually have given some thought towards disaster and disaster recovery. But we often find ourselves stretched by circumstances outside of our area of expertise. These situations are often reminders to me that we in technology, and I in particular, can never become inflexible and rigid, can never stop learning new ways of doing things and can never stop being open to doing things another way.

    That speaks to the how of dealing with emergencies. The other issue is taking charge and being the leader, the influencer of the group. I think that comes naturally with some and with experience (thankfully) for others.

  • jay-h

    SSCoach

    Points: 18816

    It's a lot more variable than that.

    Even the same people will react differently to different crises, and even to the same crisis at different times. There are times when a crisis has forced me to focus, and there are times when it has not.

    Similar to an earlier post, I know someone who was in court for a workplace comp case when one of the lawyers had a major heart attack. Surprisingly even though there was at least one doctor and one nurse in the courtroom for other cases, it was this guy with just fundamental first aid training that started CPR, the others were too stunned to act quickly.

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • nwerner

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 768

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  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172751

    Ah, my probationary period for one job started right in the middle of a major project. There'd been over a hundred scope changes the the project was due the end of my first month. The boss was head down in the project (no time to train me to help him) and gave me a data model / out-of-date data dictionary for the main app database.

    So I spend the first week reading up on the database, then find myself receiving troubleshooting emails. So I ask my co-worker (the only other DBA team on the team) what the procedures are for fixing these problems and he freaks out. Literally at the top of his lungs, screaming so the entire office can hear him, that this is his job and he doesn't need *my* help doing it. My new boss talked to me later on, apologizing for the co-worker's behavior.

    My advice to people, if you're going to accept employment, try to get hired during Crunch Time. There's nothing better about telling you what kind of people you're working with than seeing them under extreme pressure before you're committed.

    Of course, I've been committed for years. Occasionally my handlers even let me out of my cage and pretty white jacket (it even ties in the back!) to speak at SQL Saturdays. @=)

    Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • TravisDBA

    SSCoach

    Points: 15780

    So I spend the first week reading up on the database, then find myself receiving troubleshooting emails. So I ask my co-worker (the only other DBA team on the team) what the procedures are for fixing these problems and he freaks out. Literally at the top of his lungs, screaming so the entire office can hear him, that this is his job and he doesn't need *my* help doing it. My new boss talked to me later on, apologizing for the co-worker's behavior.

    DBA's tend to be very territorial, fact of life. However that said, that still does not excuse anyone acting like that in the workplace. HR should have gotten involved. πŸ™‚

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • PA1

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 273

    Travis is right on with what I see in my place of employment, too. It saddens me that the people who get promoted almost never seem to deserve it, and worse - they will take credit for your work in a heartbeat and never even acknowledge you.

  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172751

    TravisDBA (7/8/2010)


    So I spend the first week reading up on the database, then find myself receiving troubleshooting emails. So I ask my co-worker (the only other DBA team on the team) what the procedures are for fixing these problems and he freaks out. Literally at the top of his lungs, screaming so the entire office can hear him, that this is his job and he doesn't need *my* help doing it. My new boss talked to me later on, apologizing for the co-worker's behavior.

    DBA's tend to be very territorial, fact of life. However that said, that still does not excuse anyone acting like that in the workplace. HR should have gotten involved. πŸ™‚

    HR didn't have to get involved. He was a contractor. @=)

    Oddly enough, I haven't met very many DBAs who are territorial. Most of the ones I know are good with sharing duties, solutions, etc. I hear more stories about territorial developers and server admin that I've heard about DBAs, in fact.

    Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • James Stover

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3343

    There's a great line spoken by John Milton (played by Al Pacino) in the movie "The Devil's Advocate":

    "Pressure. Changes everything. Some people, you squeeze them, they focus. Some people fold."

    The movie is from 1997 and that line has stuck with me ever since. I say it to myself when I start to feel the pressure. I want to focus, not fold.


    James Stover, McDBA

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