|Don't ask to ask, just ask|
(OT) The Honest Cherry Bombby Ovid (Cardinal)
|on May 28, 2003 at 16:24 UTC||Need Help??|
Despite appearances, this train of thought was actually started by a post I saw elsewhere. However, it also applies here and it's something I've been thinking about lately.
For some reason, I started thinking about my childhood. One of my more annoying traits was my honesty. People would ask for help with homework or ask my opinion of something and I would tell them. If they were wrong, I said they were wrong. Few people appreciate such bluntness. I took me a long time to realize that my bluntness was merely a sign of very poor social skills.
Years later, I worked with a guy I called the Cherry Bomb because of how quick he was to explode (some of you have heard this story, but bear with me). His customers were comprised of accountants two floors below us. They would call and complain that they didn't get a particular report. He would look into it, see that the customer had messed up again and call them back and start yelling at them.
To the Cherry Bomb, these were stupid people. He would tell them, over and over again, that they screwed up. Naturally, the stupid people would hear him getting upset and "defensive mode" would kick in. It was his system and and it's supposed to just work. These "stupid" people were very intelligent and I knew quite a few of them. The Cherry Bomb knew as little about what they did as they knew about what he did.
While the Cherry Bomb was technically correct about his customers doing things he yelled at them not to do (anyone see the problem there?), the simple fact remains that not everyone handles brutal honesty well. The Cherry Bomb was more brutal than others. He would turn to me after these pleasant phone calls and start ranting over the cubicle wall about how stupid these people were. I would respond by hitting "Alt-tab", which would take me to an Excel spreadsheet. Embedded on this spreadsheet was an icon of a Cherry Bomb that I made. I would click it and it would sent a Netware plea out to coworkers who would then call me and ask me to come over to their desk to help out with a "problem". The Cherry Bomb never figured it out.
At this point, not only did the "stupid" person not get their work done on time, but the Cherry Bomb wasted much of his time, he wasted my time and I wound up wasting the time of some of my coworkers because I was a brand-new employee and I wasn't about to talk to the Cherry Bomb about his problem.
Which is a roundabout way of bringing me back to the issue that I can never quite figure out. Why are so many IT people mean? Some are just blunt and say "the code you wrote is stupid!" Others are even worse and say "you were stupid!" What does that gain us? Do we get to feel superior in some way? If someone codes well or not, that doesn't reflect on their worth as a person. If how they code bugs you, why is so difficult to take a few extra seconds to be nice about it?
Now, I'm not claiming to be perfect in this department. I've lost my temper before, but I try not to. At times I've had to apologize for my behavior and at other times, I have simply been an ass. In short, I'm not saint (if you take my meaning) and I still blow it from time to time.
Particularly here at Perlmonks, I think it's fair to say that if you're going to say something mean or rude, you don't have to say anything because if something is incorrect about something you see, someone else will usually be happy to come along and nicely point out the issue.
I think the major objections that I hear to this point of view are fairly predictable:
In other words, be a good person.