Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance: To help or not to help

There's this guy at work who really makes me struggle with my own values. He's a total wanker who seems to succeed within his own little division-sphere (which isn't mine).

We use to report to the same senior manager and now through the Wheel of Reorganization now do not. In November he IM (instant message where folks pop up on your desktop all urgent and blinking orange) asking me for help to get a report from the darned tool that holds lists of applications. (woo hoo). I told him I would help, but that if he needed the report in the future to request access to the tool himself. Fine.

December - here's wanker again asking for the information about how to get access to the tool because he needs the report super fast. Well there's lead time on these things so I had to pull the list again.

So, here it is end of February and here he is again asking for my help,
what do I do?

It only takes 3 minutes to pull the report and I'm the hero - "living
the brand"
It irritates me that he won't plan ahead and get the access he needs, but as long as I help he won't do it.
Am I hurting a larger more important process by refusing to help when I can - even though I'm not his f*cking assistant?
At what point do I stop being helpful and turn into a door mat?
Does whining about this to anyone at work do anyone any good? Wouldn't it just make me look like an ass?

I did give him the list but asked him to please request access - what good that will do - who knows.

When I'm on the other side of this table (being the useless twit who won't do my own work) I do make a point to thank the person publicly via their manager but Wanker is (I think) hiding his total incompetence behind my inner need to do the right thing.


Peter the Cat said...

Three minutes out of two months to help someone else!? A cat would never ask such a question. That's three minutes of valuable potential sleep time.

You humans crack me up.

MWR said...

I suppose this is how the no-longer-a -wordprocessing-operator probably used to feel when I—facing serious deadline pressure—would sometimes trouble her to help me with a formatting problem in MS Word that would have taken me an hour to resolve because, let's face it, unless you have a graduate degree in Advanced Word, it's very much a WYGINWYW user interface (What You Get Is Not What You Want). But she would bite her tongue and fix whatever the problem was in about three minutes so I could get the document out and help keep our enterprise functioning.

Assuming the "darned tool" in this case is some arcane software tool, rather than some person, I can really sympathize with someone not mastering it if he only needs to use it very occasionally.

Anyway, I'll have to differ with my friend Peter here. If it's really a few minutes of assistance every couple of months, I'd say just suck it up because doing anything else would only expend more of your time and, potentially, burn a bridge for little reason. maybe someday you'll need something this annoying fellow can provide.