When Do We Ask for Help?

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item When Do We Ask for Help?

  • I am guilty of banging my head against something for more than an hour, but I have found that if you ask someone (anyone really) to lend you their eyes for five minutes, the very act of explaining what you have done and are trying to do will reveal  false assumptions or cause you to see something you were missing.

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    Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. -- Friedrich Schiller
    Stop, children, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down. -- Stephen Stills

  • I'm one of those who spend more than an hour working on a problem. Steve, I appreciate what you're saying, and it makes a sense, but I'm finding it to be complicated.

    First, I have at various times in the past sought help on something. Then at those times I've found that people began to resent me asking anything at all. Thus, over time they stopped answering any question or seeking someone's help because they've made it abundantly clear they're not going to help me anymore.

    Second, there are times when certain people simply make my life a living hell, for even bothering to bring up a question. For example, at work we use TFS 2015. The former TFS administrator has moved on, so I've become the "Accidental TFS Administrator". That's only because I've spent the time to learn TFS better, from the point of view of a developer. How to use it better. But I have no training on TFS. And certainly, none on administering TFS. Therefore, I'm profoundly ignorant. And since no one at work cares to know more about TFS then how to check in a file, I must go elsewhere to get help. I know of no user groups, no Slack workspaces, nothing, to help me with TFS. I don't know of blogs on it, etc. And because we're using an old version of TFS, getting help is even harder. The only resource I've been able to find is Stack Overflow (SO). I've gone there to ask questions several times over the last 3 years. This has been the worst experience I've ever had getting technical help. That's because there's one guy on SO who's a TFS expert, whose made my time trying to get something fixed, a living hell. His modus operandi with me is to follow these steps: (a) belittle me for not knowing the answer and having the gall to ask such as stupid question; (b) vote my question down; (c) and then turn disallowing any answer to my question. If I weren't so ignorant of the subject matter, I wouldn't have to ask simple questions. The fact is I am ignorant of the subject matter, there's no one else at work who wants to do this job and work won't spend a penny to get me the training to support TFS. Because of the actions of this one individual on SO, there's been several times when WEEKS have gone by before I finally stumble upon an answer. I've complained to this guy, saying how his actions have hurt our business. He just comes across like he wants to give me the finger, then says nothing. I've learned to NEVER ask any more questions on SO about TFS, because I know I'm never going to get help there.

    I could go on, believe me, but I've got to get ready for work.

    Rod

  • The Dixie Flatline wrote:

    I am guilty of banging my head against something for more than an hour, but I have found that if you ask someone (anyone really) to lend you their eyes for five minutes, the very act of explaining what you have done and are trying to do will reveal  false assumptions or cause you to see something you were missing.

    I think this is where the advice of writing things down, double checking yourself makes sense.

  • Doctor Who 2 wrote:

    I'm one of those who spend more than an hour working on a problem. Steve, I appreciate what you're saying, and it makes a sense, but I'm finding it to be complicated.

    ...

    I do think when you don't have good resources at work, this is hard. I certainly have been in your shoes, where I feel like I'm learning everything myself.

    As a side note, One other resource I might look to is: https://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home

    I agree with you on the SO stuff. We started ask.sqlservercentral.com, mostly because some people like the format, but I tend not to and I think there are some people there that are really poor representatives of our industry.

     

  • Have you ever worked an issue with some vendors ahem early 2000's ahem and they don't bother to read your meticulously documented steps to describe and reproduce the issue, what you've done to troubleshoot, links to their own documentation explaining why/how something didn't work as it was supposed to?

    It's beyond frustrating when a technician hasn't fully read the issue or isn't suited skill-wise to pick up where you're stuck until you've been transferred 3 or 4 times and multiple days have passed.

    Of course, I'm convinced that sometimes when I've explained something, I'm not speaking in complete sentences with just the right keywords to direct a reader's attention because almost invariably in meetings, what I've just said gets re-stated by someone else verbatim and suddenly everyone understands it.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor wrote:

    Doctor Who 2 wrote:

    I'm one of those who spend more than an hour working on a problem. Steve, I appreciate what you're saying, and it makes a sense, but I'm finding it to be complicated. ...

    I do think when you don't have good resources at work, this is hard. I certainly have been in your shoes, where I feel like I'm learning everything myself.

    As a side note, One other resource I might look to is: https://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home

    I agree with you on the SO stuff. We started ask.sqlservercentral.com, mostly because some people like the format, but I tend not to and I think there are some people there that are really poor representatives of our industry.

    Excellent Steve, thank you for sharing that link!! When I run into other TFS questions, I'll go there first.

    Rod

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