Helping the Helpless

Y’ever try your best to help someone who just won’t be helped? Actually I’m talking about work. We pretty much all have been there when it comes to personal life. I’m in deadline hell; the story is complicated and even if it were worth telling, I couldn’t really tell it anyway. But to tell a […]

Y’ever try your best to help someone who just won’t be helped?

Actually I’m talking about work. We pretty much all have been there when it comes to personal life.

I’m in deadline hell; the story is complicated and even if it were worth telling, I couldn’t really tell it anyway. But to tell a short version, there are software licenses that expire at the end of this month, I have travel plans that eat half a week next week, and due to plans gone awry (I suddenly want to say it like bobby burns, Gang aft agley), and due to unexpected software bugs, I suddenly find that I need to replace infrastructure software two months sooner than expected.

Ok. I can do that. CAD tools and engineering infrastructure is what I do. Solve Problems. Only here’s the thing; sometimes one man can’t do it all.

The tool I’m replacing – a batch queueing system – is wired into every damned thing, in about twenty different ways. Which means that the things that need to change are not all under my control. But I can manage that, I’ve got plans and schedules. I don’t really need sleep, you know, and I can ignore my friends and put off things that need doing at home and at work.

Only today, one of the users I’m giving it all for came back to me with a whole new plan which consisted of, “no, I don’t know anything about what you’re doing, and don’t really understand what you’re asking, but I reject it and propose you do it all my way.”

Ten years ago, I guess I would have come back with exact details on why he’s such a fucking moron and explained to him that if he’d just try doing things the right way (ie,my way), suddenly most of the problems he’s having would go away, fucking *poof*. And then I would have stared updating my resume.

Sigh. Sometimes growing up sucks.

I managed to respond in a businesslike way, clarifying that 1) I was doing all this to support his team, 2) no, the solution he countered with was technically impossible, and 3) his fears of disaster were based on not understanding the technology. And I even said it all without using the word ‘idiot’ even once. Tomorrow, I fully expect him to re-iterate his points, adding extra emphasis, in effect saying “I don’t have time to read your email, just go make pigs fly for me, slave!”.

And I’ll brandish imaginary weapons, then I’ll go solve his problem against his will, knowing that I’ll win in the end, without him ever knowing I’ve again saved him from himself.

It’s a thankless task, but someone’s gotta do it.

0 thoughts on “Helping the Helpless”

  1. Ha, do I get this.

    Just this AM the company president wung by my office to tell me of a new initiative she is personally overseeing. I have learned, by practice in the mirror (not kidding), to blink slowly and keep my face as friendly blank as possible when one of these things comes up.

    The idea? Concept is not so bad. Execution? *Completely un-executable.* Crash and burn. Not gonna happen. Fraught with so many logistic problems, I would have had to sit her down for an hour to go through them all. Years past, I would have done it — which then would have dragged me into days of fruitless drama, ending with her doing exactly what she said she was going to do to begin with with exactly the result I predicted, and no change in course the next time.

    What I have f-i-n-a-l-l-y learned. The woman didn’t ask for my opinion. She had her plans sealed in her brain before she ever dropped by to tell me what she was going to do and, well, ask what I thought but not really *ask* what I thought at all.

    This AM? I listened for 10 minutes. Complimented her concept. Wished her well in the endeavour…and went back to my own freakin’ job.

    Wishing *you*, Mr. Karl Elvis, well in your endeavours (sincerely!)

    hugs, E

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