[Courses] [Spineful Living, lesson 2: When Nice = Rude]
raven at oneeyedcrow.net
Mon Apr 9 18:33:45 UTC 2007
* Carla Schroder <carla at bratgrrl.com> [2007-04-09 10:44:59 -0700]:
> On Monday 09 April 2007 07:13, Charlotte Oliver wrote:
> > I then got a lecture about how I really didn't belong in the position I was
> > in, I really couldn't just maintain a system like this, I was completely
> > out of my league, incompetent, needed training, etc., etc.
"How dare you. Give me your manager, right now."
It sounds to me like you gave him a great problem report -- I've
been the engineer on the other end of the phone, and the background and
information that you provided him is exactly the sort of thing that's
most helpful in solving the problem. It was thoroughly unprofessional
of him to a) not work on fixing your problem as he is paid to do, and b)
act in a hostile and unprofessional manner in the process.
> > Regardless, I refused to call Cisco for any kind of support for months
> > after that, because the last thing I needed in addition to having a problem
> > was to be lectured to about how incompetent I am. The worst part is that I
> > let him shake me, actually let myself believe him.
Don't blame yourself for that! Anyone can be shaken when
unexpectedly attacked; it's a perfectly normal reaction. I mean, look
at the loveliness I've had on Full Disclosure lately. It's all one guy
being a harassing jerk with a million sock puppet accounts. I know
security is hostile and that this guy has it in for me, but when I saw
the first vicious attempt at spin control
(http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2007/Apr/0305.html) I was so angry I
was shaking. I did give him what for (I found it most expedient to
answer as if I didn't know it was another sock puppet of my harasser --
http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2007/Apr/0306.html), but I was still
terribly thrown that I even had to do that.
So, my point is -- it's not you that is the problem. It's tough
to go back into situations where someone's been awful to you, but you
can do it. (I've found that having other folks say nice sympathetic
supportive things to me helps a lot. Going forth and successfully doing
whatever it was helps a lot too.)
> So who has some ideas how to handle situations like this? What do you say to
> an idiot tech support droid who would rather criticize and belittle you than
> do his job? Wouldn't you consider this a breach of contract, in addition to
> being personally insulting and generally a loathesome human being?
Things that have worked for me:
If you're not too thrown, call them on it immediately. "ExCUSE me?" is
the mild version, but will let them know that you're offended and that
they'd better backpedal quickly.
If you have some, mention relevant expertise. I've often credited
someone with more knowledge than they had because they seemed so
assured, only to later find out that I did actually know more than them.
(I know *I* wouldn't be that arrogant unless I knew what I was talking
about, so clearly THEY must know what they're talking about since
they're so assured... wait. No.) So, it goes against the grain, but
opening with "I've never really worked with this before", even if true,
makes some people assume that one is an idiot rather than a newcomer to
a particular subset of the field.
Don't be afraid to demand a manager or an escalation, even if it's well
after it happened. You can call back in later and find the tech's
manager and formally complain. I have done this with Cisco, and it was
taken seriously. The guy called me, apologized, and fixed my problem.
> My first impulse is to not even bother with Mr. Dork, but insist on an
> escalation. Then when your situation is resolved, file a formal complaint
> with Mr Dork's boss. Does this sound like an effective tactic?
It's pretty closely related to what I do, and has worked pretty
well for me. (I will give them a chance to apologize, backpedal, and
fix, but if they're still going to be a jerk after one shot across the
bow, then yes, manager time.)
More information about the Courses