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Your worst nightmare.

By Faulty Dreamer in Op-Ed
Sat Sep 01, 2001 at 11:34:33 PM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

With the theme in my life over the past couple of days being one of tortured existance, and with a little prompting from DesiredUsername, I have come up with a question that I feel deserves a bit of attention. What is your worst coworker/work contact experience?

Please vent below.

We all have those people in our lives. You know the ones, the brutish, thugish, moronic, and otherwise mentally incapacitated individuals that make our lives so much more pleasant. These are the people that make it necessary for us to take up hobbies that involve serious physical activity, and sometimes violence. They have driven me, at various points in my life, to playing heavy-metal guitar and drums, to weight lifting four days a week, and to sword fighting (with broadswords no less) with friends to ease tensions. We went to school with these people. And now, they surround us at our places of work.

There isn't really a name for these folks. At least, not one you can utter in polite company. They are just there. Frightening in their actions, and proud of their stupidity.

My recent dealings have included an individual that shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, that fits into this category undeniably. Allow me to tell you all a little about her.

I never really understood the appeal of the valley girl. They exist, sure. And some of them are interesting to look at. But there is something lacking in these individuals that cannot be overcome by the push-up bras and the mini-skirts that they are all so proud of. That something is intelligence. And it is not just intelligence in the schoolastic book sense. No, these girls have no intelligence to speak of. They do not have the intelligence to realize that people really don't need to hear hour long stories about subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with anything. They are not intelligent enough to realize that they look foolish as they bob their head back and forth. They are not intelligent enough to understand that you cannot talk non-stop, without taking a breath, without causing severe oxygen depravation to their already obviously starved and fragile minds. Imagine my suprise when I realized that one of these girls had managed to make her way into a developers position at the firm which does our company's software development.

Now, at first I thought maybe that valley girl method of speaking was just a cary-over from a distant past. But no, I was wrong. I tried to be decent to her. I tried to understand her silly, and sometimes completely idio-syncratic method of thought. But no matter what I did, no matter how kind I was, she just shattered every hope that I ever had in her. Time after time she has proven that every project she does will, ultimately, fail miserably. And the truly amazing thing is, with this particular person, she can screw up our entire system with an update that is supposed to only touch one small part of the system. Really, she is an amazing piece of work.

This week things have come to a head. I have other frustrations as well, but she seems to be particularly stubborn in her insistence of stupidity. It all started with an update that was supposed to make the faxing on our system work for the first time since the promise was made two years ago that it would work. The good news: faxing worked perfectly with this update. The bad news: every printable thing from the system is now completely hosed-up beyond recognition.

I put the update on the system. It has somehow completely morphed beyond the small update that was added and completely destroyed so many different things that it is simply beyond belief. OK, I can deal with that as long as someone works at fixing it. I have to talk to "HER" in order to get the fix started. An hour after I place the first call, as I finally hang the phone up, my head spinning with the delusional ramblings I had heard on the other end, I realized something. This gal really is as insanely stupid as I thought she was. She would not let me finish a sentance. No, because that would prevent her from talking for about thirty seconds or so, and we just can't have that. She would come up with some of the most cock-a-mammy ideas and just blurt them out in an endless stream. I would say, "No, that's not what I said..." and she would cut me off and start rattling some other wild theory.

We had multiply conversations that day, all of them ending with me wanting to reach through the phone and strangle the breath out of her. Of course, I reasoned that doing that probably wouldn't stop her from talking. The next day things went the same. Finally, yesterday afternoon, when she spewed forth a forty-five minute story about venus fly traps and the venus fly trap that she owned I almost went over the edge. But, instead, I allowed my mind to wander through the various torture devices I would like to see her placed in. As she talked, I could almost see her head bobbing back and forth between her shoulders. Her voice lilting and high, fast and furious, I learned way more than I ever wanted to know about her history with the fly trap. It was an amazing story, fraught with peril and idiocy. "I got it when I was eight as a present and there was this shop that had flies for sale and since I couldn't find anything else to feed it during the winter I would go buy flies and just turn them loose in my room and then we had flies in the winter and the pet store where I got the flies had hand-raised birds that are really hard to find and really expensive and my fly trap was with me until I left for college when I gave it to my mom and ..." blah, blah, blah, blah.

I know you all have someone that you work with, or have worked with in the past that you would love to vent about. Maybe some of you feel scared that they could possibly see what you write about them. Maybe some of you could care less, but simply refuse to allow yourself to relive the nightmare of being around them. But, if you dare, I and your fellow (and female) K5ers would really love to hear your nightmare stories. Bend to your keyboard, and write your worst.

As to the individual of my story: if you are out there and recognize yourself, yes, I am talking about you. And yes, I do hate you. Who wouldn't?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


How many coworkers do you hate?
o One. 15%
o Two. 15%
o Three. 9%
o More than three. 12%
o More than ten. 3%
o All of them. 15%
o I hate them before I even meet them. 28%

Votes: 32
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Faulty Dreamer

Display: Sort:
Your worst nightmare. | 57 comments (54 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
I reakon this is how it went..... (3.80 / 10) (#1)
by craigtubby on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 11:44:12 AM EST

Boy asks girl out for a drink

Girl falls about laughing

Boy posts to Kuro5hin to vent anger :-)

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *

Ah, memories... (3.00 / 3) (#2)
by Faulty Dreamer on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 11:52:35 AM EST

I remember in high school asking a girl out. Her response?


Yeah, it pissed me off too. I wish I had had K5 as an outlet then. I broke a guitar that night I was beating on it so hard.

Faulty Dreams - Barking at the moon 24/7...

If you think I'm an asshole, it's only because you haven't realized what a fucking idiot I am. - Faulty Dreamer
[ Parent ]

punctuation, please. (none / 0) (#50)
by streetlawyer on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 12:41:47 PM EST

You need a full stop between "night" and "I".

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Hehe (1.00 / 3) (#3)
by SYNth on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:09:37 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Ozy and Millie had a comment about this... (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by chipuni on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 02:01:44 PM EST

This comic probably best illustrates what actually happened...
Perfection is not reached when nothing more can be added, but only when nothing more can be taken away.
Wisdom for short attention spans.
[ Parent ]
Don't understand (4.14 / 7) (#4)
by TheophileEscargot on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:10:16 PM EST

As far as I can work out, YOU'RE the customer, which means you basically have the power in this relationship. Even if you're not a manager, you're not under an obligation to be nice to the ven-duh.

Why can't you just say "Stop talking about Venus fly-traps and concentrate on the problem"?

Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death

I tried that once. (3.50 / 4) (#14)
by Faulty Dreamer on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:46:19 PM EST

Early on I chewed out one of the developers in a semi-kind way. I asked them to please try to concentrate on the task at hand. I really thought I was quite polite about it.

I ended up with a verbal reprimand from the boss and an admonishment that I needed to work on my people skills. I'm not paying them. If the boss wants the system to be fucked, that's his decision. I just wish I could shut her the hell up.

Faulty Dreams - Barking at the moon 24/7...

If you think I'm an asshole, it's only because you haven't realized what a fucking idiot I am. - Faulty Dreamer
[ Parent ]

Maybe it's me? (4.16 / 6) (#5)
by MK77 on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:11:10 PM EST

So, if I can't really think of anyone who I hate -- in fact, if I'm the kind of guy that would go off on a random subject like Venus fly traps with my coworkers, does that mean I'm the one they all despise?


Mmm... rageahol

If you talk at length about Venus fly traps... (3.75 / 4) (#9)
by TheophileEscargot on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:26:42 PM EST

...when the system you're supporting is down and everyone is working 14 hour days to fix it, then yes they despise you ;-)

I have noticed though that the people who constantly have temper tantrums tend to be the ones who are actually despised. People with poor social skills tend to fly off the handle because they can't deal with other human beings, and the same lack means that other human beings tend to dislike them.
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]

Here is a theory.. (4.00 / 10) (#6)
by ignatiusst on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:13:31 PM EST

My sister presented a theory to me last night that (I think) has some bearing on this topic.

Apparently (And, no, I do not know the source of this), we as individuals can tolerate and/or like people whose IQ falls within a +/- 20 point range of our own IQ. Normally, we will not engage anyone who falls out of that range, and if forced to do so (ie: dealing with someone at work, or, in this case, on the phone), it is generally a very unpleasant experience.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift

Exactly (2.33 / 9) (#10)
by ubu on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:32:18 PM EST

This is why I have such a difficult time talking to any of you shitheads.

My brother married a fairly dense girl, but he loves her to death and seems pretty content in his marriage. I wouldn't have believed it, but there it is.


This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
It's all okay.. (3.62 / 8) (#16)
by ignatiusst on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:51:47 PM EST

This is why I have such a difficult time talking to any of you shitheads.

Don't be so hard on yourself, man.. A low IQ is nothing to be ashamed of. If we knew you were struggling, I am sure a lot of us here would speak to you in much simpler terms.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

That was good (1.16 / 6) (#19)
by ubu on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:56:02 PM EST

I had a good laugh at myself, thanks. Now go fuck off!


I'm bored as hell

As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Some advice (none / 0) (#38)
by fluffy grue on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 12:22:04 PM EST

Sit, Ubu, sit!

Good dog.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Arf! (none / 0) (#41)
by sigwinch on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 02:47:05 PM EST

(Had to be said.)

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

re. your sig. (none / 0) (#49)
by streetlawyer on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 12:40:45 PM EST

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift

I have always held that a corollary to that is:

"When a complete cunt appears online, you may know him by this sign; that he has a signature with that Jonathan Swift quote about dunces".

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

You are capable of better.. (none / 0) (#53)
by ignatiusst on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 08:18:53 AM EST


Was Monday just a bad day for you, or are you losing your touch?

I have come to expect much more from you than a pre-pubescent spew of obscenities. I really don't know what is worse.. to be flamed by the jsm, or to be flamed by jsm in such a trivial manner.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

not to worry (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by ubu on Thu Sep 06, 2001 at 12:50:35 AM EST

Neither event is particularly bothersome. What would be really unfortunate would be if you were embarassed into following jsm's example by putting a link to Adequacy in your .sig.


As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
yada yada (none / 0) (#57)
by streetlawyer on Fri Sep 07, 2001 at 10:57:38 AM EST

I have come to expect much more from you than a pre-pubescent spew of obscenities.

soapy tit wank.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Re: Here is a theory.. (3.00 / 3) (#27)
by akharon on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 02:55:37 PM EST

I'd buy that. I unfortunately am one of those individuals who lack "people skills" and so my only reaction when I can't get intelligent (sp?) thought out of someone is to either walk away or ridicule them. The thing is, I have to remind myself that it's not their fault. You just have to deal with them as little as possible, and remember that though you may become enraged at the very thought of those induhviduals, they may actually like you and pull a favor for you someday. Yes, it's odd, but there are more of them than us...strength in numbers.

I've had some long conversations with a buddy of mine about intelligence and whatnot (whether we could train them to be smart, how to enslave the stupid to be our minions, etc), and the sad thing is that they (AFAICT) will only be consumers. If someone should find a way to employ their numbers (or beowolf them :) ) towards a larger goal, please share :)

[ Parent ]
A guy I worked with. (3.66 / 9) (#7)
by ucblockhead on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:24:19 PM EST

It was at one of my first jobs. It was at a startup and the guy was a programmer, the first the company had hired. (I was the second.) The guy was just utterly incompetent. Worse yet, he was just out-and-out stupid. You'd try to talk to him about anything even moderately technical and his eyes would go glazed and he'd get this deer-in-the-headlights look. (He also had a bizare speech-impediment that was so bad the another coworker once ask me what country he was from. I had to tell her that he was native born and bred.)

The only way to successfully work on any code that he'd worked on was to delete it and start over. If the code worked in the first place, more often than not it was due to some wierd confluence of bugs that coincidentally produced correct-seeming behavior, but usually the code didn't work except for a couple simple test cases.

The worst part was that for some reason the president of that company (another person worthy of a post here) felt that he owed the guy something for stuff that happened before my arrival, so his position was rock-solid secure. They tried to make him manager for a while, but that failed utterly, partly because no one in the programming staff respected him in the slightest, but mostly because he was just too damn dense to be a manager. They eventually shuffled him around and made someone else manager of everyone but him. Sighs of relief were audible, but we still had to deal with him.

A couple years latter, things changed a bit and I actually had the misfortune of having to manage him myself. I discovered the only successful way to do it was to give him a piece of the project, discard the work, and then give the same piece to someone else. Eventually, I was able to talk him out of my area.

He's still at that company (the "head programmer") as far as I know.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

my question is... (2.85 / 7) (#8)
by b0r3d on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:24:44 PM EST

Why the FUCK did you stay on the phone for 45 minutes while she talked about her flytrap?

Unfortunately... (3.75 / 4) (#15)
by Faulty Dreamer on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:51:01 PM EST

I have this problem. I tend to be way too nice to stupid in-duh-viduals. It makes them think I like them, when in reality I'm just trying to get them to do what they are supposed to do. Hanging up would have felt good, but it wouldn't have fixed the system.

Faulty Dreams - Barking at the moon 24/7...

If you think I'm an asshole, it's only because you haven't realized what a fucking idiot I am. - Faulty Dreamer
[ Parent ]

why talk for 45 minutes? (3.66 / 3) (#25)
by NoNeckJoe on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 02:43:22 PM EST

The answer is simple. Hating someone and wanting to play "Hide The Sausage" with them can be mutually independent things.

[ Parent ]
Da MOOCH! (3.80 / 5) (#11)
by Skippy on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:38:54 PM EST

I worked with a guy who was the ultimate mooch. He'd actually wander around the building looking for other departments in our company who were having potluck meals, load up a plate (or three) and come back to his desk and eat. He would then complain loudly about how big his but was getting and how he just didn't understand it. He mooched so much hardware off the reclaim pile (which was allowed) that the company actually changed the policy of letting people grab stuff and hired a reclaim company. I could go on and on about this guy because being a mooch was only one of his many faults but I think you get the idea.

# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
I have two, for comparison (4.12 / 8) (#13)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:46:01 PM EST

(I already commented on one of them in FD's diary, but I have PLENTY of stories about her)

The first one we'll call "Maria". She is at the company I work at now. She is the wife of one of the owners. Her job (insofar as she does one) is Tech Support coupled with System Administrator. She is not evil, just....lame. She's the kind of person who will come to work 45 minutes late, spend 3 hours trying to find a boot disk (rather than making one in 3 minutes), then take a 2 hour lunch, then complain about how she doesn't have time to get any work done. (For a while I was secretly keeping track of how many days in a row she came in late, but at the end of the year I just threw the calendar away). She doesn't know jack-diddly about the machines she's supposed to admin. I tried helping her for a while but eventually I just "went limp". "How do you blah blah blah Exchange?" she would ask. "I dunno, I use Linux" I would answer.

But at least she means well (I think she honestly doesn't realize how inefficient and unorganized she is). A coworker at a previous job, "Denise", was just plain evil. She had been there as a programmer a few years before I started. After a dept shuffle she was promoted to "Network Admin" (mainly because they couldn't fire her and she sucked as a programmer). If she had had any technical skills she could have been the original BOFH, but as it was all she could effectively accomplish was holding the rest of us up because she was so "busy". (The kind of person who constantly has an overflowing inbox, claims to be constantly busy and yet never seems to finish anything.) With my office next to her's (after a promotion of my own that put me on her same level) I would often hear her reluctantly agree to do some work and then after hanging up say to someone else "....in about 3 months". Once when I needed a backup restored ASAP she said she was so busy she wouldn't be able to get to it for two weeks. She was so incompetent as an admin she needed to come to Programming (which I was in charge of) to have a simple script created that would FTP a set of file to all our branch servers. I would periodically come across one of the programs she had written or modified and I eventually learned to just delete everything she had done and re-implement it. Even the bugs were inefficient.

(reading this you may get the idea that I don't like technical women--not true. I actually hired two women as programmers during my stint at "Denise's" company. One was nice but very very slow. The other was great. Both were considerably older than me.)

Play 囲碁
Oh yeah, AND... (4.66 / 6) (#17)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:52:17 PM EST

...when we got big enough she got a couple of "network admin assistants". On of them "Barak" (Hey Barak, are you out there?) was excellent. A hard worker, intelligent, semi-knowledgable and willing to learn. One day he read about how some NT passwords (I don't remember the exact mechanisms of this) are sniffable. So he downloaded a tool and attempted to sniff some. Remember that he was a network admin (assistant). When he reported his findings he was fired as a security risk. I went to bat for him but no luck.

3 months later I quit. One of the reasons I gave was "A company that retains Denise while firing Barak is not a company I want to work for."

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
I would've fired him too (none / 0) (#45)
by Macrobat on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 10:55:44 PM EST

Look, if he was an assistant admin, he should have first brought up the issue of sniffable passwords with his boss, and then gone ahead with the project if he had permission.

That's a no-brainer. If he wasn't savvy enough to realize that kind of loose-cannon behavior would make his higher-ups nervous, then he should have been fired for being clueless.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

Not a no-brainer. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by wiml on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 03:09:57 AM EST

Where I work, that's exactly the sort of thing an assistant admin would be expected to do. The real admin would be busy doing more urgent things --- setting up software, dealing with network issues, planning, blah blah. Investigating a possible security problem to see if it's actually an exploitable hole that needs to be brought to the main admin's attention is what assistants are for. An assistant who does that without having to be told is especially valuable to the company, assuming the assistant isn't taking time away from something more important. If you don't trust someone to muck around with your network, don't hire them as a network admin. Really, don't hire them in a technical capacity at all.

[ Parent ]
Still not convinced. (none / 0) (#55)
by Macrobat on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 04:06:01 PM EST

Investigating a possible security problem to see if it's actually an exploitable hole that needs to be brought to the main admin's attention is what assistants are for.
Maybe where you work, but that ain't the way everywhere, and the job description should say if that's his job or not. A lot of places divide "assistant admin" responsibilities into specific concerns--security, user support, connectivity troubles, etc.--and have written policies regarding who can do what. And even if there is no written agreement, security is one of those regions where you shouldn't just assume you have carte blanche, which is what someone who takes it upon himself to crack passwords without authorization is doing. Based on what the previous poster wrote, it looks like his friend didn't bother to check out the policy beforehand.

If you don't trust someone to muck around with your network, don't hire them as a network admin.
--well, they did hire him, then he gave them a reason not to trust him. So they let him go. And don't try to defend him by saying he had good intentions, either; stupid people with good intentions are bad for business, too.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

Two people (3.85 / 7) (#20)
by wiredog on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 12:58:22 PM EST

Drill Sergant Butler. Had him in basic. He was, literally, a professional asshole. I hated him in basic, but later developed a lot of respect for the guy. He had to act pissed off on a nearly constant basis without actually being pissed off. Guys that were 6 inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than him were totally intimidated. Drill Sergant is probably the toughest, and most important, job in the Army.

The boss at my last job. He damned near killed the company before he died. All the top people were looking for other jobs. Jurgen was a genius who invented the quartz watch. His problems were that he expected everybody to be as smart as he was when he was probably the smartest guy within 150 miles, he thought that his knowledge in one field made him an expert in others (which drove programmers and machinists nuts), and he was a screamer. The last was the worst.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle

The co-worker I hate most... (2.66 / 3) (#23)
by PhillipW on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 02:30:17 PM EST

One of the guy's in tech support here, who shall remain nameless, gets on my every last nerve. He is lazy and incompetent, and has no place working in the field, as most people who call in know more than he does. I can't even say he's a cool guy, because it would be a flat out lie. Everything about him annoys me. Speaking of the devil, I just got an e-mail. God help me.

Mistah Comptroller, he dead (3.50 / 6) (#24)
by Duke Machesne on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 02:37:28 PM EST

A despicable man, if he can be called a man... I think he's an android. After all, he never blinks (at least no one has ever seen him blink) and he always walks around with a nervous-looking grin that doesn't fit with the rest of his posture. I've never heard him talk about anything not work-related, or seen him look any more tense or relaxed than at any other time. When he sees you, he'll issue a mechanical greeting. "Hi, how are you?" And then he'll stare at you with those hideous bugged out, fully open eyes that never, ever blink. And the response is always the same. Whether you say "Wonderful, thank you!" or just "Fine, fine" and blow by him, you'll always get the hideous metallic laugh. It would seem nervous if only the fucker would shake. He'll ask the same questions over and over in slightly different ways, he'll give you the full story behind every minor request, and everything you say, he'll repeat.
Hey, uh, <straightens up as if remembering the proper procedure> How are you?
     Fine, fine, man, what do you need?
Well, I uh, noticed that--you know how we have three reports for unpaid balances: we have Unpaid Balances on Fullfilled Orders, and then Unpaid Balances on Unfulfulled Orders, and then just 'Unpaid Balances'?
     Yes, of course, man, I wrote them, what do you need?
Well, I was going through the totals on these and I noticed that... <somehow widens eyes even more grotesquely as if to emphasize the importance of his observations> the total of unpaid balances on fulfilled orders together with the total of the unpaid balances on unfulfilled orders is less than the total on the full 'Unpaid Balances' report. <pause for a dead stare>
     Mm-hm. Yeah. Orders can be 'pending' too, but we don't have a report for that.
So, orders aren't just 'fulfilled' or 'unfulfilled', they can be 'pending' as well.
     Yea- well, I... yeah. (isn't that what I just said?)
     So, do you think it would be possible to make another report for orders that are pending?
     Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's possible.
Because <widens eyes again!>... I think we need to have that.
     You think?
And probably the worst of all, is the stench this man carries with him. Once, I rode a Greyhound bus, and all I could think of on the ride was the smell of decades worth of sweat running thick through the air--the type of odor so pungeant and so viscous that you come to believe that no amount of prayer can ever save your tender nostrils from being imprinted with it for the rest of your natural life. The only release now is Death, pure and black. It smelled like rotting flesh. And this man, this 'comptroller'--he, too, smells like rotting flesh. And he'll come squat within inches of you, watching the activity on your screen, staring vacantly but intently at you and grinning that grin too horrible for any earthly dimension, reeking like a year-old corpse. Maybe he's not an android; I think he may be undead.

arts schoolsweight loss

Fishy Odor (none / 0) (#54)
by catseye on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 09:37:33 AM EST

That odor can be caused by ingesting ultra high doses of foods or supplements containing choline or taking fish oil as a treatment for Crohn's Disease. As for the odd grin and not blinking, he may simply have Bell's Palsy. As distasteful as the man sounds, he's probably just very ill. It's also possible, if he does have Bell's, that he's not aware of how bad he smells. Perhaps you could find a nice way to tell him or find someone else at the company that could tell him nicely?

[ Parent ]
Another way of looking at it . . . (3.75 / 12) (#26)
by tmoertel on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 02:53:16 PM EST

Another way of looking at the picture is that she is simply different from you. She very likely has a different upbringing, different education, different work history, different economic perspective, different types of friends, different social circles, and so on.

You two are sufficiently different that meaningful communication is difficult. In a work situation where effective communication is essential, it's easy to see why this difficulty would be exasperating. I'm sure that lots of people, so exasperated, would consider the root of the difficulty to be "her stupidity." But that's a cop out. It lets you off the hook and gives you an excuse not to try to work things out with her. After all, why waste your time? She's probably too stupid to understand you anyway.

The reality is that she's a person. She matters. If she can't code worth a lick and talks in a manner that most people find irritating, it doesn't mean she's stupid or a write-off or deserving to be mocked online. It means she can't code worth a lick and talks in a manner that most people find irritating, nothing more.

If somehow she ended up in a coding position where she must talk to you all the time, that's too bad. Sucks for you, sucks for her. But that's the way it is: It's reality. Deal with it. And try to act like you give a rat's ass about the folks around you. They deserve it.

If I seem passionate about this, it's because I am. I used to do the same thing that you just did, and I've lived to regret it. I used to write people off because it was easier than earnestly trying to deal with them. I found more enjoyment in showing people that their code was crap than helping them write better code. I used to relish attending presentations given by "very smart" people and other "experts", just so I could poke holes in their talks and joke about it later with friends. Guess what? None of it made me any smarter then those other folks, and it didn't make them any stupider than me. All it did was show me for an asshole and make life more difficult for those other folks.

If I could go back ten years and kick myself for my unkind behavior, I would. In fact, I'm doing it right now. You're me. So learn from my mistakes. Don't write people off because you find it hard to deal with them. And if you ever feel the need to make fun of somebody, don't. You'll regret it.

Heaven knows I do.

My blog | LectroTest

[ Disagree? Reply. ]

Hey. (3.75 / 4) (#28)
by Faulty Dreamer on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 03:05:23 PM EST

Take your own advice. Maybe realize that I'm not you, and you aren't me.

I've come up with decent ways to deal with things. To each person around me, I deal with them the way I need to to get through. Then I find a way to vent about them. If I do not vent, in some way shape or form, I pile emotions up until I explode and I end up with a busted guitar, a busted window, a busted hand, a hole in a wall...

Honestly, blowing off steam is not always an evil, terrible thing. But, I'm really glad I got yet one more lecture today. Thanks, you almost tipped me over the edge into hostile. Then I pulled up and realized, that's probably exactly what you were hoping for. Funny, when I think someone WANTS me angry, the anger just disappears.

Faulty Dreams - Barking at the moon 24/7...

If you think I'm an asshole, it's only because you haven't realized what a fucking idiot I am. - Faulty Dreamer
[ Parent ]

Dunno about you (3.33 / 3) (#31)
by slaytanic killer on Sat Sep 01, 2001 at 01:54:49 PM EST

But tmoertel seemed to me to be handing you advice in a friendly manner, whether or not you interpreted that as being pedantic.

Maybe you're being a nightmare yourself? ;) I thought his was the main good post in the whole bunch; it modified my thoughts a little bit.

[ Parent ]
Inappropriate response (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by greenrd on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 10:49:39 AM EST

I thought he completely failed to listen and respond appropriately. When someone says "This woman is driving me up the fucking WALL!!!". You do NOT, you NEVER say something like "Don't be so unkind, it's unproductive". (paraphrased, but close enough). Being kind to people means taking their emotional concerns onboard, not dismissing them.

"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

I saw your point. Now see mine. (none / 0) (#47)
by slaytanic killer on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 06:46:57 AM EST

You do NOT, you NEVER say something like "Don't be so unkind, it's unproductive". (paraphrased, but close enough).
I see you don't assume I've ever known anger. Unlike you or Faulty Dreamer, I am at least receptive to anger management strategies. ;) Tmoertel was, to his mind, doing a kindness.

I dunno, I've never disliked coworkers ever since I did that stint at McD's and told a child molesting coworker that he probably didn't want to return the next day.

You think I speak the same language as you do, just because I comment on the same things. I don't, and this is one point we will never agree on.

[ Parent ]

you again? (none / 0) (#48)
by streetlawyer on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 12:36:47 PM EST

Hmmmmm ... I seem to remember someone with a nick similar to yours vowing that they were going to leave kuro5hin, never to return, after a little exchange he had with me (I seem to remember you leapt into my diary to say "blow me", and got all hissy when I politely declined). I seem to remember thinking at the time that you were perhaps not the soundest judge of character at the time.

Fucking deal with it. Reading between the lines, I'm 99% sure that the programming problems were as much your fault as hers, and you're trying to salvage your fragile self-esteem with a frankly horrible misogynistic rant. You're a shit computer programmer and an arsehole to boot. Now go and break your fucking guitar again before you inflict any more dreadful heavy metal on your neighbours. Oh yes you do like heavy metal. Your sort always do.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

No, (none / 0) (#51)
by CaptainZornchugger on Mon Sep 03, 2001 at 09:52:53 PM EST

That was demona. Faulty Dreamer and Demona left at about the same time, and were both rather loud and whiney about it. Faulty Dreamer, when he returned, apologized for being whiney, and to be fair, was never anywhere near as irritating as Demona. Although Faulty is often whiney and oversensitive, I have never noticed him being an asshole.

Don't ask me why I remember all these things.

Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
[ Parent ]
Nice confusion there. (none / 0) (#52)
by Faulty Dreamer on Tue Sep 04, 2001 at 08:18:17 AM EST

You had absolutely nothing to do with why I left. I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, a programmer. I don't know how you can read between the lines and see that the programming difficulties were my fault, since the extent of my programming was "insert file here".

But thanks for again proving that you do not have the capability of letting something go. It's great to see you are still a bitchy fucker.

Faulty Dreams - Barking at the moon 24/7...

If you think I'm an asshole, it's only because you haven't realized what a fucking idiot I am. - Faulty Dreamer
[ Parent ]

I think there's a difference... (4.00 / 5) (#29)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 03:11:32 PM EST

....between nitpicking valid-but-suboptimal work and complaining about a person who regularly wastes multiple man-hours on activity not related to work.

I too have learned not to nitpick (mainly because there's just no time to do a good job of it 8^)) but some things are too big to ignore. I mean, what should we do, let off criminals because "they are people too" and "crimes are just their way of expressing themselves"?

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Let's be clear . . . (none / 0) (#36)
by tmoertel on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 11:19:13 AM EST

DesiredUsername wrote:
[I think there's a difference] between nitpicking valid-but-suboptimal work and complaining about a person who regularly wastes multiple man-hours on activity not related to work.
Agreed, but my earlier post condemned neither nitpicking nor legitimate complaints. Rather, I wrote that people matter, and regardless of how difficult some of them make our lives, they deserve better than to be written off as wholesale "stupid" or made the butt of our cruel jokes.
I too have learned not to nitpick (mainly because there's just no time to do a good job of it 8^)) but some things are too big to ignore. I mean, what should we do, let off criminals because "they are people too" and "crimes are just their way of expressing themselves"?
You are ignoring the distinction between legitimate consequences and cruelty. One need not require the other. If a man robs a bank, he goes to jail. That's a legitimate consequence of his actions. Likewise, if a woman takes a technical job but isn't qualified, she could be fired. That, too, is a legitimate consequence. However, it is an entirely different matter to have some guy mock her online, make fun of the way she dresses, describe her as "insanely stupid", ridicule the way her head bobs as she talks, and explain how he'd like to reach through the telephone an strangle her. That's cruel.

There's a difference, to be sure, and it ought to be clear.

My blog | LectroTest

[ Disagree? Reply. ]

[ Parent ]
She didn't think I liked her (4.50 / 8) (#30)
by Karmakaze on Thu Aug 30, 2001 at 03:20:48 PM EST

I've learned as a contractor (When you have assignments lasting three years, "temp" hardly describes it anymore) is that there are three kinds of conract assignments... 1) someone is out for a set duration (vacation, leave, etc.) and they need a fill-in, 2) the department needs more people, but cannot get authoriation for permanent headcount, and 3) jobs where nobody with a choice will stay.

You know job type #3 when the co-workers mention more than two predecessors in the position. I was the fifth person to take one assignment in one month once,

I showed up for work and my supervisor asked me if I could work a copy machine. I said yes, I've been operating them since I was tall enough to see over the top. She then followed me to the copy room to watch me make copies to "be sure I knew how to do it." Okay, that was a little insulting, but sometimes the agencies do send complete idiots, so I figured maybe she'd just been burned once. I let it go with a smile.

A few days into the assignment, she gave me a job to do, and explicitly laid out a process that would not work. (Basically, she wanted me to take a list of area codes and figure out what the companies's zip codes were - the two databases do not necessarily correlate. I was not allowed to simply call the company switchboards and did not have web access). I pointed out the problem, and she went away for about an hour. She then came back, closed the door, and gave me a half hour lecture to the effect that 1) she was a manager, 2) I was not a manager, and therefore 3) even if what she told me to do was impossible, I should have done it anyway, because see points 1 and 2. And yes, she actually used the phrase "even if what I tell you to do is impossible". I eventually smiled and nodded, waited for her to leave, and found another way to do the job.

Her other classic comment was "I know you're smarter than I am and know more about this kind of job than I do, but you shouldn't act like you know how to do anything unless I tell you how." "Anything" in this context, included adding columns to a spreadsheet. The context for that one was, she said "now create a column", and I did not ask "how do I do that?"

I found out later that she had been calling my agency every day to complain that she did not think I liked her. Not, I should mention, that I was not doing good work (I was getting praise from her manager), nor that I had been anything but polite to her (I never so much as raised my voice.) Just that she did not think I liked her. She was right, of course, but you don't actually have to like people to work with them in a professional manner.

That was the only job I ever out-and-out quit (as opposed to just asking the agency to let me know if a better assignment came up.)

I became the fifth person to quit that assignment in just over a month. I wonder if anyone ever figured out why.

Everything is good (1.60 / 5) (#32)
by cunt on Sat Sep 01, 2001 at 04:50:37 PM EST

I am loved by all and all love me. I have never had the slightest difficulty interacting with anyone at all. I truly do not see what all the fuss is about.

A KPMG Consulting partner (4.50 / 8) (#33)
by Wondertoad on Sat Sep 01, 2001 at 05:39:30 PM EST

Before I realized that I had no business whatsoever being a big-5 consultant, I spent a few horrid months at KPMG. Out of 7 "engagements" that I had while I was there, 6 of them were utter botch jobs in one way or another.

In one case, a partner, let's call him "Bob", stopped in the first week to maybe do a little oversight on a project that didn't need overseeing. I think he was there to show the client that even the KPMG bigwigs were keenly interested in their situation.

So Bob stopped in, and since I was the project manager, I debriefed him. He talked a little about it all. He had decent input and seemed like a reasonable sort.

Eventually lunch time came around, and Bob decided to head down to the building's deli for a sandwich. I wanted a sandwich too, so I said I'd tag along.

On the elevator ride down, I tried twice to engage Bob in friendly small talk. He returned my attempts with little grunts. Not grunts that suggested conversation mind you. I said something like "Hey, Cleveland's turned into a pretty nice place to spend a few weeks," and his reply was "Buhhh". Nothing that could be construed as "yes" or "no" or "maybe" or "you're insane", etc.

From the elevator to the deli, I tried one more time, but the guy stopped even grunting or even looking at me, preferring to pretend that I didn't exist.

We got our food in silence, went back up to the office in silence, and ate in silence. Finally he left, and I related the story to one of my fellow consultants. This guy had some previous experience with Bob, and had been in consulting much longer than I. He explained that since Bob had gotten the information he wanted from me, and since I was a peon in the big picture of things, he no longer had any reason to talk to me at all, AND SO HE DIDN'T. And this was a behavior that was not all that uncommon amongst big-5 consulting partners. The interpersonal transaction - or lack thereof - reaffirms your place in the firm's food chain. If you are personally degraded in the process, so much the better... you've learned your place.

Oy? (none / 0) (#42)
by kaatunut on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 03:51:26 PM EST

He explained that since Bob had gotten the information he wanted from me, [...] he no longer had any reason to talk to me at all, AND SO HE DIDN'T

Oh? And how did your friend come by this knowledge? Simple guess, mayhaps?

I know I might act like that in a similar situation. Not because I consider you equal to an earthworm. If someone says "cleveland's a nice place" or something to that extent, it may easily happen I can think of nothing to say to that. Often I, then, reply to it with some incomprehensible sounds or phrases of null information ("indeed"). This not to say your boss is incapable of talking without speaking, only to remind you that your interpretation of events may easily be completely incorrect.

there's hole up in the sky from where the angels fall to sire children that grow up too tall, there's hole down in the ground where all the dead men go down purgatory's highways that gun their souls
[ Parent ]

Oh hell yes (4.00 / 3) (#34)
by Tatarigami on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 05:36:15 AM EST

The manager two levels up from me. Until I met her I didn't believe it was possible for a person to have no good qualities at all. But no, she really is Satan's concubine.

I'm told she's good at what she does. I wouldn't know, because she delegates all her work and spends the day chatting with the group of sycophants she's surrounded herself with.

She swears at the staff. Constantly. Even when she's in a good mood. I guess we're meant to accept it as a harmless little personal quirk.

She destroys the promotional prospects of people she doesn't like. She enhances the promotional prospects of her drinking buddies.

She undercuts the authority of managers who report to her.

To keep this rant from being completely one-sided she does try to do her job properly. Unfortunately, the attempts are sporadic and short-lived.

We call him Colonel Klink (5.00 / 2) (#37)
by Elkor on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 11:22:32 AM EST

He is the Supervisor of the CAD group. Prior to his being hired, he had no management experience. He also had no familiarity with the CAD system we use. He still doesn't, for that matter, and it has almost been 4 years. He was hired by our previous Engineering Manager, and I figure the only reason he is still around is because the new Manager didn't want to make a snap decision and get rid of him whenhe came on, and now we are being sold, so we shouldn't get rid of any of our people.

His problem is that he micromanages his people. They aren't allowed to be in meetings, at all. All design requests have to go through him, we aren't even allowed to get the designers opinions, even though they will be the ones doing the work. If you start talking to a designer, he gravitates over and listens in. Then later fusses them out if they say anything that sounds like they agree to doing the work.

Since he started, our CAD group went from 8 competent people to 20 incompetents. Self starting individuals who pursue tasks related to the programs they are assigned are chastised for not getting his ok on it. Unless he tells them that they are allowed to do something, they aren't. That kind of thing. This is above and beyond wanting to simply be involved. If he just wanted updates, that would good, that would be great. Instead he wants to know about it before hand and give his personal blessing. Again, even though he has no idea what is involved in making the task a reality.

He casts judgement on whether something is "taking too long." Not that he could do the job AT ALL, let alone know how long it should take from personal experience.

When I started (a year before he did) we had 6 kick ass designers that really knew how to make "stuff." Now they are all gone, chased away by the micromanaging freak.

He is the same guy that decided we needed to maintain weekly back-ups at an off-site location for a period of 2 years (we were doing 6 mos), using our current tape drive hardware. The cost of this implimentation is $1400/mo. The technique proposed by the Sys admin, he who actually does the back-ups and is familiar with the technology has an alternate solution that would cost $3500 at start, but only $400/mo.

Two guesses as to which procedure was enacted.

The group has now dwindled down to 5 designers, 2 of whom are contracters. To compensate for this smaller group to oversee, he has been working on coming up with new ways to make it obvious he is an active manager.

The most recent is asking for the ability to read his employees e-mail. When asked why, he said "well, I think one of them is doing outside work." Didn't ask the guy, doesn't even have any evidence to support this aside from a speculation provided by one of his other designers.

The best time was the 4mo period he was on medical leave and his night supervisor took over for him. Things ran so smoothly.... We needed something, we asked the designer, they got it for us.

We actually counted down the days to his return with dread.

Ok, I'll stop ranting now.


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
What about Zero? (none / 0) (#39)
by scross on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 12:52:37 PM EST

Hate. That's quite a powerful word. Hate a coworker? I'd really have to say zero. Of course, I define coworkers as those in my department. I wouldn't consider every one of the 5,000 in my company, or 60,000 in the parent company a coworker.
Sure there's a labour group in my company that just finished a strike. Collectively I don't care much for the group, but individually any one of them is a nice person.
My vote, unregistered, is Zero.
Cheers, Sarah
MY Pal Tony (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by ganglian on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 01:38:14 PM EST

Let me tell you about my pal Tony. He is a source of daily work related joy on multiple levels. First there is the incompetence, this loser never writes things down, he outdates my tenure in our desktop support unit by years, and yet continues to repeat the same boneheaded questions week after week, in short, his attention span is that of a three year old. Second there's the mooching; disks, tools, drivers, instructions you name it, god forgbid he copy something, he must borrow it, and then he doesnt return it. If you're not there to borrow it from, that brings us to trait number three Thirdly he is a sticky fingered son a bitch, he has stolen countless floppies off my desk, he stole my first tool kit and has walked out of the building with a seventeen inch monitor. Fourthly (YES< there's MORRE!!!!!), he is happy to take on more work than he can handle and then delegate it to other people, and no, he doesnt go to the manager to ask this be done, and no, he's not the manager, and no, he never bothers to ask what you have going on when he tries this shit. On one joyful occasion, he upset a customer by telling her to inform me that I would be doing Tony' s work for him. When I cried foul, this ended up being used against me on my review, because I had upset Tony. All points of him not following procedure, sidestepping his work and upsetting a customer were overlooked. Fifthly: This charming so and so will on occasion try to shove his religious outlook you, getting all preachy like and saying how others should help the downtrodden (Howz about thou shalt not steal??!) As some of my comments would point you towards wondering, how does he get away with this, well, despite his charms, Tony is the subject of blatant managerial favoristism. I wish it wasnt to do with his sole minority status, but in the insurance environment it is relevant, but it also feeds into a greater issue I have that my managers are so concerned and busy with propping up the dead wood in our group that they have alienated the ones who actually have talent and do the hard work, and now are too stupid to see they are at risk of losing those same people. I'm waiting to hear about some interviews as I write this. I write this in frustration and openly agree that there is a trend in certain work environments that it is expected that some (The smart ones) "dumb themselves down", ie conform in insurancese, to the level of everyone else so that the hive remains in harmony. I'm all for oppurtunity for everyone, but the fact is that even the most bleeding of hearts has to face the cold truth of the fact that having been given the oppurtunity, if someone still proves unable to do the work, at that point, you fucking remove them from the position they dont belong in, and boo hoo for them. Ditches still need digging!
You heard me.
Beancounter! (none / 0) (#43)
by pngwnpwr on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 05:17:15 PM EST

I work in a small department as a network analyst. This is for a company who has no idea about IT in general. They are part of the glorious hospitality industry, and as such tend to fear the IT dept and resent our salaries. So after rolling out a new infrastructure with flawless performance and uptime, the powers that be decided that the IT department should have some sort of representation at the Senior Team level. As they were unwilling to promote (we already make too much!) on of our members to the new position, they decided that the new head of accounting would be a perfect candidate for the job because he *liked* computers and was such a great guy. Needless to say he knows *nothing* about IT and is a relentless pain in our ass. Since we have shown ourselves to be unable (ie unwilling) to work with the idiot he has acquired a consultant (for 150K a year) so have someone back him up in his ridiculous endeavors. Smart guy, he has a built in "yes man" on staff now. This person is no better, and possibly more dangerous to our network than the beancounter. He actually had the nerve to request that we train him on Cisco, Win2K, and Linux stuff! We laughed at him, almost as hard as when he asked for the admin password for the routers and switches.Something along the lines of "you are getting 150K a year and you want us to train you?" was said. Oh well, now our once happy department hates the place and everyone is just waiting for op to jump ship.I hope that company dies a horrible death. It is everything I can do to not "help" them along in that matter.
01 ZEN : Sensible Network Security
HATE? (5.00 / 3) (#44)
by Ender Ryan on Sun Sep 02, 2001 at 08:33:02 PM EST

Since when was incompetence a reason to HATE someone? I usually reserve that word for people who actually wish harm upon me.

Granted, there are 1 or 2 people that I absolutely cannot stand to work with because they are incompetent in certain areas, but I definately don't hate them and am in fact friends with them.

You might be surprised what you find when you try to see past your own prejudices towards "valley girls", I've got to know a few that were actually not so bad afterall.

Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!

Your worst nightmare. | 57 comments (54 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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