"Don't worry," S said to the New Guy. "There's no way you can do a worse job than the Old Guy."
Everybody nodded in agreement. It was really hard to imagine a worse coworker. ( I wrote a little about the Old Guy in my previous post).
1. Well, I won't say that New Guy is worse than Old Guy, but he's definitely not better. Ever since his first day, we've been speculating how he got through the interview process.
"What process?" S said.
"The stupid ones don't complain," M said.
That was kind of mean, but we all nodded in agreement, because he's thirty-four years old with little to no real work experience and until three weeks ago, lived with his parents.
2. He apologizes for everything (except being incompetent. See below). 3. He talks a lot. He talks about everything. He enjoys highjacking conversations. If you're working, he's talking. If you say you're busy, he's over at his computer waiting for the moment you don't look busy. Then he's talking to you.
4. He tries to get invited out after work and he won't take a hint.
"See you tomorrow, New Guy. Uh, uh, okay, see you tomorrow, yeah, okay, Well, I'll see you tomorrow..." This went on forever, and the next day he was telling me how he should have helped. I found myself things mean things like, you weren't invited and go the %$#! away, but I said, "Uh, well, um, we had it handled. Yeah, uh, uh, well that's nice, but we were okay. Sure, of course, but we got.... (continued for hours)."
5, 6, 7 and 8. He lives in the apartment building across from mine. Sometimes when I open the window to get some fresh air... he's there. He knows where I live because his first night here, invited him to join my friend and I for dinner. They say no good deed goes unpunished....
9 to 50: He almost cries at least twenty times a day, and no day is complete without a few shed tears.
Last week he let his students out twenty minutes early-- classes are only forty minutes. Lip and voice trembling, he apologized profusely. He did it again so A. had to take him aside. He made the private issue everybody's issue by apologizing to the whole room--it was time to go home and six people dove for the door. Only A and Mrs. Q and me were left.
A. would not reassure him, so he tried Mrs. Q. She didn't try to make him feel better either so he turned to me. I didn't try to make him feel better so he cried. And this is the meat of why I can't stand my knew co-worker. I have a high tolerance for any number of strange idiosyncrasies. I'm confident that everybody in the entire world is weird, some are just better at pretending to be normal than others, but...
51. He can't teach. 52 He can't manage students. 53 He can't function unless somebody gives him a step by step process. (He wants somebody to hold his hand through everything ). 54-101. He has no real desire to be a good teacher. 102- 1000: He spends most of the day milking people for emotional support and uses tears to manipulate people in to not correcting mistakes or addressing his overall incompetence. (People have a tendency to feel guilty when someone cries, and he totally milks it for all he's worth!)
*Please note that the counting system above is very technical and scientific.
** Please note that this story is complete biased.
The Little Red Hen: Setting boundries
The Little Red Hen is an old folktale. In case you don't know the story (or don't remember ) it's about a hen who asks for help planting seeds, tending the garden and making the bread. Her "friends" say "Not me," until The Red Hen asks "Who will help me eat the bread."
"I will," they all say.
The Red Hen says, "I did all the work and now I will eat the bread myself." For the most part work is shared evenly, but a co-worker who recently left, (well before his contract was over) was a not me kind of guy. For example, I was on a "team" with him to prepare materials for a class. We had to laminate some pictures for the class. There were 26 pictures in each set. While making three of the sets, I asked for help.
"Not me," he said.
Later, we discovered that this less was scheduled at the same time. Since each class needed 3 sets, we needed a total of six sets.
"We need to make another set," he said.
"I know, but I made the first set. I think it's fair you make this set."
A few minutes later he said, "I'll print them and you can laminate them."
Printing takes about five seconds, laminating can forever, so I was feeling a bit annoyed by then. I took a deep breath. "If you had helped me before, I'd be more than happy to help you now."
He persisted a few more times. Finally ,he started the work, but one of my other co-workers took pity on him and helped. In the end no one was sad to see him go, not even our bosses. However, this isn't usually how things turn out. This type of co-worker usually has a knack for looking busy when the bosses around and often get promoted.
It's not fair, but there it is. One of the reasons this happens is because co-workers facilitate the lazy co-worker by doing their work. Perhaps, it's just because the person seems like they need it or because there's a project due on such and such day.
Saying "no" can be hard, especially for women. The person will probably refer to you as "that bitch at work" with their friends. However, once you start doing someone's work, it's hard to renegotiate the relationship. I'm gong to use a horseback riding analogy here: the first five minutes a rider spends on the back of a horse, tells the animal everything he or she needs to know about their relationship going forward. Horses ask questions like "can I stop" several paces and continue to ask with increasing intensity, before they stop.
For the sake of simplicity, there are two relationships a rider can have with a horse; proactive or reactive. Proactive means the rider must recognize the question, before the horse stops, otherwise the rider is forced to react to the bad behavior after the fact. However, once the horse as gotten away with the unwanted behavior, he is more likely to repeat it. Eventually a rider will recognize the "question" and begin to say "no" earlier, but still without much success. The horse now has to progress through, "Do you mean it? Really, really, because I've gotten away with this a gazillion times. (Insert worse behaviors and even bucking and rearing.) And this is not the relationship, I agreed upon."
Every communication between horse and rider is non-verbal. So are many communications between people. We set the tone of the relationship early. For example, when my co-worker, "We need to make another set," he meant two unsaid things. "I want you to make another set and I want us to enter into a non-verbal agreement that you will do my work for me." Going down that road would mean renegotiating our relationship later on, which can often be ugly.
The more times you say "yes" the uglier their response to "no" will be. This also applies to raising children, marriage and ... every relationship. When a child or adult or horse throws a temper tantrum to "no" they're really saying, "This is not the relationship I agreed to have with you!"
Yesterday, I opened my email box to find a strange message:
You have been registered as a user on Rae Bryant
You may now log into the site at http://www.raebryant.com
Your username is bleep and your password is a bunch of numbers
Rae Bryant Admin
My first reaction was worry. Is someone using my name, pretending to be me? I thought. I don't know who Rae Bryant is! I didn't click the link in the email, because I'm a savy interent user. I know that strange emails like this often lead to phishing sites where your information is harvested. Instead, I went on Google where I discovered a rprobably self-created Wiki page. (Yes, writers you can do that. And there's nothing innately wrong with it.) I also found her book on Amazon and just to be sure this wasn't a scam, I followed a link to the publisher, which is a very small press that's appears to have published three titles. None of the titles appears to be in the name of any of the staff, which seem to be three authors who have had some success and decided to start a small press. Nothing but that email smells fishy.
She is a writer trying to get noticed by more readers. I can totally undestand that. I have empathy but not sympathy. Once one puts their work up forsale, writing becomes a business. How would you feel if <s>Bank of America</s>(insert any company here) sent you an email informing you that they signed you up for their website without your permission? I'm all for self promotiom but how it is done is important too. Most people won't think "Wow, this is wonderful." What they're like to think is, "OMG, somebody is using my identity! " Do something like this to the wrong person, and you might even have to fend off a lawsuit.
I can't count the number of times I have felt helpless in the face of bad customer service. AT&T often comes to mind when I think of my worst expereinces. Also my worst employment experiences as well. Ha, ha, ha.
But here's why I love Paypal: They have an arbitration proccess. Lets say you buy something online and it's signficantly different than they described or you don't get it at all.
You can file a dispute, present your case to Paypal. The company presents their case. The ball gets batted back and fourth online, sometimes documents are required, and then Paypal decided who has the best case. My most recent case involved a missing order. The company "helped" by educating me on their policies. Until, Paypal decided in my favor, sixty days later.
The company who really didn't care I haver got my order, certainly not enough to respond to my dispute through Paypal, suddenly started emailing me with "You have to pay for your oder." And of course, continued to educate me on their policy, until I informed that, education on policy is a loose definitioni of help at best. Also Paypal had decided in my favor and thus I didn't have to do anything. Upon which they suddenly got helpful. As in, lets try to track this down for you.
The order is still missing. Perhpas if the company had bothered to respond to Paypal instead of ignoring it (as they did me) said company would likely have won. Inother words, terrible customer service on their part, I gut a full refund minus 67 cents. But had I lost this dispute, I would have accepted the result. There's something about being helpless in the face of bad customer service that makes the situation worse than it really is. This is why I wish more credit cards and banks would offer an arbitration proccess. Allowing consumers to present their case to a third party, forces companies to not just ignore disputes. And one can never underestimate the value of feeling heard.
How to write a novel
The best way to write a novel is one word at a time.
I bet you're thinking right about now, ha, ha, very funny. All orneriness aside, if you think about it, this is actually good advice. One of the mistakes I made early on in writing (and since I made this mistake, I'm going to assume others have to) was to get caught up things unrelated to putting words on paper. Or, I should say, I put a lot of words on paper. I wrote tomes of information on my characters, but when it came to writing the story itself, less got accomplished.
This was in part, because busily hammering out plat and details and everything else felt like I was accomplishing something, wasn't actually taking the novel anywhere. Whether you've written for one year or ten, every writer gets stuck in this phase. Part of it, is that story telling, which is an art not often talked about in writing, is not a quantifiable thing. All the rules new writers get, are confusing because most of us can name famous authors who do the exact things we fledglings are told not to do.
Master story tellers know how to tell a story, how to catch a listener or reader and hold their attention. If I were to give a second bit of advice on how to write a novel, it would be this.
Put your darling on the first page. What ever great big reveal you have for chapter twenty, put it on page one. Of course, if you're a seasoned writer, you start to know when to dole out your darlings. I spent eleven years stuck on the same story because I was guilty of thinking that my darling plot turning, cue big music, idea was so great that I could delay giving it to readers. Falling in love of a plot idea... no matter how great you think it is, readers won't feel the same way if you've forced them to sit through 7 chapters of intermission. No writer is that good. Instead, I recommend putting your darlings out there, not only because it's interesting, but it also forces you to get more creative with your ideas.
When you fall in love with one element, you also prevent your imagination from going to a place you probably don't even know it can go.