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Coworker sabotage?

nevilleneville The Worst Gay(Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
X-posted from SE++ because I'm actually fairly worried about what is going on:
So I like my company. A lot.
And I like my team. A lot.

I've only been there ~3 months so far.

Except:

Our boss quit about 3 weeks ago.
My team has 3 sub-teams on it... my sub-team is just myself and another guy, who is very junior to me, but he's been at the company ~2 years.
He complains a LOT and has a rep for being very negative.

This guy claims he's quitting and just waiting for an offer.
Every time I discuss things I want to do he says it'll never happen, people won't let me do it, etc.
He shuts EVERYTHING Down.

I've been pairing with him a lot since I began, because he knows all the systems backwards and forwards.
He's also a linux guy (I'm not), so I can't just go do everything (they knew this before hiring me) on my own yet.

But now he's starting to check shit in without me, not showing me how to do things or where they are.
When I ask, he's like "Oh you can just look at my check in"
I mean, I know I can jackass.

I am starting to get paranoid that he's actually NOT qutting... and is hoping to make me quit or get me fired, so he can get a promotion.

1. Does that sound likely/possible?

2. What should I do about it?


Since I have no immediate boss, there's an interim director who is one of our team's other sub-team leads OR I can talk to the CTO... or maybe HR?

But I figure doing any of those is sort of an irrevocable thing.
I don't -want- to find another job, but I also don't want to hate my job and I already feel useless and now he's making it worse.

Even when I bring up things I am passionate and extremely knowledgeable about (giving a talk to all of engineering about how to write solid tests, test evangelism, etc) he will shut it down, say we shouldn't do that, etc.


Halp.


nevillexmassig1.png
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Posts

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Are you the team lead? It seams a communication breakdown has occured. I don't think he is deliberately sabotageing you, but he may be effectively sabotageing you. He's using an information assymetry to be a dick, however if you are the team lead you will need to take charge. If checking in is part of your job, then check in. If he's not letting you, or not teaching you how to and it is his job, burn the bridge to cya.

    zepherin on
  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote: »
    Are you the team lead? It seams a communication breakdown has occured. I don't think he is deliberately sabotageing you, but he may be effectively sabotageing you. He's using an information assymetry to be a dick, however if you are the team lead you will need to take charge. If checking in is part of your job, then check in. If he's not letting you, or not teaching you how to and it is his job, burn the bridge to cya.

    No, I'm a senior engineer; the guy doing this is a junior one.

    I think the problem is that he clearly resents the fact he's not a senior (and has said so).
    That's his claim to why he's looking externally.

    But my worry is that he's not really looking externally, but wants me to quit and/or get fired ,so he can effectively get a promotion and raise.
    He's been at the company so long, so it would make sense to stay longer if he could.

    nevillexmassig1.png
  • PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    If he was in the position to be promoted, wouldn't that have happened when you were hired (as in, you wouldn't have a job, he'd have been promoted)?

    I wouldn't really talk to HR, unless he starts really harassing you. If it were me, I'd bring my ideas/general concerns about not knowing where to turn to find something, etc to the interim-director, and if you're 'close' enough, the CTO.

    If he's wanting to shut down your ideas, with the only excuse that "it's not done," I would look into doing them, or how you'd go about doing them. Speak to another team, another team lead, this interim-director.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Personally, I would ask someone else how to do the checkins (to use Zeph's example, since I don't know what some of the words in your post mean), and then just do them before he does. It's great that he's SUPPOSED to be the one teaching you things, but he isn't and so you need to find a workaround so that you're still learning and doing your job as quickly and as well as possible. If there isn't documentation you can use, talk to your supervisor and see about seeing if you can write some for them, because my understanding is that about 75% of the IT industry is actually documentation.

    It sucks that a junior engineer trying actively or passively to shut you down, but this isn't something you have to let happen. Don't retaliate, just go around it.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    AgahnimGreat Scott
  • The Good Doctor TranThe Good Doctor Tran Registered User regular
    I would say it's possible; coworker/collaborator sabotage is something I've experienced a few times in a variety of contexts. It may not even be as malicious as you suspect - he may just be an apathetic dick who's decided to translate some of his bitterness onto you and is therefore attempting to make you look bad.

    However, without really meeting the guy and seeing the behavior first hand it's difficult to tell whether that's exactly what's happening. To what extent would it be viable for you to start documenting this behavior (e.g. sending e-mails instead of using verbal communication)? More importantly, do you feel your project is at risk as a result of this behavior? If so, taking this to your interim director is the best first step. HR is unlikely to be of much help unless your company is weeeeird and the CTO is probably going to ask why you didn't take things to your interim director first.

    LoL & Spiral Knights & MC & SMNC: Carrington - Origin: CarringtonPlus - Steam: skdrtran
  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    I would say it's possible; coworker/collaborator sabotage is something I've experienced a few times in a variety of contexts. It may not even be as malicious as you suspect - he may just be an apathetic dick who's decided to translate some of his bitterness onto you and is therefore attempting to make you look bad.

    However, without really meeting the guy and seeing the behavior first hand it's difficult to tell whether that's exactly what's happening. To what extent would it be viable for you to start documenting this behavior (e.g. sending e-mails instead of using verbal communication)? More importantly, do you feel your project is at risk as a result of this behavior? If so, taking this to your interim director is the best first step. HR is unlikely to be of much help unless your company is weeeeird and the CTO is probably going to ask why you didn't take things to your interim director first.

    our leads are only technical leads, not people managers.

    And the project was supposed to be mine. The guy basically took it over, since he knows the system.
    I -can't- solve it myself and he knows it.
    He's the best/only resource and so he's doing the shit instead.

    Earlier he was documenting the code (I am working from home now) and I asked if we could work on the other task.
    "No I'm documenting, I'll do the other code later."

    I said "Yes, but I'd like to see how that is done. The documenting doesn't need to be done this second."
    "You can just look at the check-ins"


    He's been around since the company was very small, so understands all the systems inside-and-out.
    We're planning our new sprint tomorrow, so I'm going to make sure I pick something I won't need his help on.

    But he's made it known to me that he resents the fact he hasn't been promoted (Why he thinks he deserves a promotion after only less than 2 years is beyond me).
    And our group has had 3 people leave in the past 5 months, so if I quit, it is reasonable to assume nobody would look into it too much or investigate since we've had churn. That's why I think he might be actively trying to make me leave, because if I left (it took them 9 months to find and hire me), then they'd pretty much HAVE to promote him.


    It's hard to find developers like me who want to build automation and tools/tests, and not be active feature developers.

    nevillexmassig1.png
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    You need to learn the system so that you don't need to ask him for help and you don't need him to do your project for you. You NEED to do this, by whatever means is necessary. What you are describing is nearly word-for-word how my husband lost his job last May. He'd been hired on to help someone, the someone never gave him the work he was supposed to turn over or showed him how to do anything, and after six months of this he was let go. One way or another, no matter what the guy's intentions here, you need to be proactive about this.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    bowenJebus314
  • The Good Doctor TranThe Good Doctor Tran Registered User regular
    My first step in a situation like this would be to write him an e-mail describing the necessity of your learning the system, clearly and calmly, and suggesting that while you appreciate his desire to move forward with documentation, you could really use his help now. Begin by phrasing it as a request. If he acknowledges and helps you a bit, even while dragging his heels, thank him and do the same thing the next day. If he doesn't acknowledge or acknowledges without helping, the next step would be to phrase things more directly, but still professionally, and tell him that you require his help. You may not be his manager but currently the company isn't functioning, and if someone higher up would look askance at you laying out what you need from your team members in a professional manager, it's time to reassess your love of the company.

    The importance of documenting these exchanges cannot be overstated, nor can the importance of appearing to be proactive. You are a rare resource in the field, for sure, but you can't always trust the people making personnel decisions to understand that. Proactivity and documentation are your armor against people trying to question your value.

    LoL & Spiral Knights & MC & SMNC: Carrington - Origin: CarringtonPlus - Steam: skdrtran
  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    You need to learn the system so that you don't need to ask him for help and you don't need him to do your project for you. You NEED to do this, by whatever means is necessary. What you are describing is nearly word-for-word how my husband lost his job last May. He'd been hired on to help someone, the someone never gave him the work he was supposed to turn over or showed him how to do anything, and after six months of this he was let go. One way or another, no matter what the guy's intentions here, you need to be proactive about this.

    Oh I entirely agree. The thing is he was /assigned/ to help me; he just isnt. Our sprint planning is tomorrow, though, and I'll make sure it is something he can't/won't help with.

    @The Good Doctor Tran Oh I've done that on gchat and have recorded him saying no. I've been asking the past few days.

    I know the CTO values me personally.
    I expressed my displeasure at the fact I don't know the systems yet last week in my 1-on-1 with him and he said they know that it's new to me, but my talents are very much something they care about.

    I will take this to the CTO if the team lead can't help, but that's a pretty destructive action. Even if nothing happens to me or my coworker, it obviously would destroy any working relationship the two of us have. And if he isn't doing it deliberately, I'd feel bad, but at the same time yeah, I need to look after myself.


    Ugh. I just hate the political bullshit SO MANY people do. I just want to do my work, do it well, and be left alone.
    I'm not interested in your political maneuvers. :S

    nevillexmassig1.png
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    He's not documenting any of his changes? Tell him that that has to change, he's no longer doing a high school coding project. He's a big boy, and part of doing big boy work entails documenting your work. That makes him almost a liability rather than a benefit, particularly if he's not lying about looking to leave for another company.

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  • The Good Doctor TranThe Good Doctor Tran Registered User regular
    neville wrote: »
    Ugh. I just hate the political bullshit SO MANY people do. I just want to do my work, do it well, and be left alone.
    I'm not interested in your political maneuvers. :S

    This is exactly why I seek positions where I can divorce myself from office culture, preferably by telecommuting. I really enjoy the friends I've made at various workplaces but there are far more people who just make problems of themselves via political crap.

    LoL & Spiral Knights & MC & SMNC: Carrington - Origin: CarringtonPlus - Steam: skdrtran
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    This is a sensitive issue kind of close to my heart at the moment, and I hope it works out.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    This is a sensitive issue kind of close to my heart at the moment, and I hope it works out.

    Thank you @ceres and everyone.
    I'll start working to address it tomorrow, because I suppose it is true; if a solution is untenable, I should find out now.

    nevillexmassig1.png
  • shadowaneshadowane Registered User regular
    I don't know how your sprints work, but if you do retrospectives you should try to figure out how to bring up the issue of you not getting enough help but in a more useful manner. Maybe ask if you can work with someone else.

    Rich on Beer - I talk about drinking beer. You read about it.
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    You need to learn the system so that you don't need to ask him for help and you don't need him to do your project for you. You NEED to do this, by whatever means is necessary. What you are describing is nearly word-for-word how my husband lost his job last May. He'd been hired on to help someone, the someone never gave him the work he was supposed to turn over or showed him how to do anything, and after six months of this he was let go. One way or another, no matter what the guy's intentions here, you need to be proactive about this.

    As an aside, I hope your husband kept very detailed paperwork of this and got a massive severance package.

    Ladies.
    nevilleSkeith
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    neville, where's your knowledge lacking? Anyway you can learn this stuff on your free time and then just completely cut out the necessity to need him?

    Ladies.
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    bowen wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    You need to learn the system so that you don't need to ask him for help and you don't need him to do your project for you. You NEED to do this, by whatever means is necessary. What you are describing is nearly word-for-word how my husband lost his job last May. He'd been hired on to help someone, the someone never gave him the work he was supposed to turn over or showed him how to do anything, and after six months of this he was let go. One way or another, no matter what the guy's intentions here, you need to be proactive about this.

    As an aside, I hope your husband kept very detailed paperwork of this and got a massive severance package.

    Funny story.. the day they sent him home they sat him down with a woman from HR, who told him to tell the unemployment office that he was laid off so that he could collect unemployment. When he left they then told the unemployment office that he was fired with cause. Apparently after a number of hours on the phone with the UE greater than six (and a lot of confusion), it turns out that they get that a lot and it makes them a particular kind of angry where you get pretty much everything you could possibly be entitled to under any circumstance. I'm not sure if the company salted the earth behind him or what, but he has been unable to find a job in his field since, for even half of what he was making. It doesn't help that his field is saturated in this area, so there are seventeen thousand applicants for positions that don't exist, and nobody ever calls back anymore. It's very frustrating.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    To me the coworker just sounds like a typical idiot

    People with that kind of disposition, I believe, are incapable of having an agenda quite so vindictive

    they are simply maladjusted fools who need a reality check


    the best thing you can do is adopt the skills necessary to lessen what I sense is some sort of dependency on him (because he's the Linux guy)

    then just show your superiors who is the capable one, and they'll (hopefully) figure it out

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    You're the senior engineer, just figuratively butt him out of the way and don't let him stop you. You don't NEED his help, you just THINK you do. Don't be afraid to be stern but polite either, say things like "I understand your frustration, but if you ever wanted to make it to a senior level, documenting your work is going to be vital". There are ways to politically maneuver around guys like this without necessarily putting yourself in a position of weakness.

    Go pick up a Linux book, make a Linux VM on your home machine, start sed'ing and awk'ing it up, so that you don't need to ask his help for Linux work.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Linux is not very challenging either. If you're good at a command line prompt in windows linux will be dead easy.

    Ladies.
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Yeah, Linux just seems scary. As a computer literate engineer, I actually recommend doing a full bootstrapped install of a distribution like Gentoo (follow the guide), because it will force you to run some commands and get a feel for how the system is put together...versus something like Ubuntu that just does all the work.

    http://www.gentoo.org/

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
    bowenGiggles_FunsworthEcho
  • RendRend Registered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    Yeah, Linux just seems scary. As a computer literate engineer, I actually recommend doing a full bootstrapped install of a distribution like Gentoo (follow the guide), because it will force you to run some commands and get a feel for how the system is put together...versus something like Ubuntu that just does all the work.

    http://www.gentoo.org/

    I used to be scared of Linux, but then it was incredibly inconvenient to ssh into my school's server to hand in assignments electronically using an emulator, so I dual booted windows 7 with ubuntu.

    It's hard for me to think back and understand how exactly I managed before to develop in a language like c++ in a windows envronment. Being functional at linux is not hard, just takes some practice. And a lot of stuff in linux, particularly development, makes a lot more sense. If you can find a decent linux IDE for your language of choice I think that switching to linux will actually be a conversion for you, rather than a chore.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    I actually still prefer to develop on Windows because Visual Studio and C# huehue, but I get your point. The gcc tool chain is quite nice, and if you know how to use Make files you can actually do a lot of really good work in Linux using nothing but a good text editor.

    As a side note, Sublime Text works on Linux, so that's a plus. http://www.sublimetext.com/

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
    bowenThe Good Doctor Tran
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Visual Studio is hands down the best IDE and debugger I've worked with to date.

    Ladies.
    neville
  • SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Registered User regular
    Yeah, you need to remember that you were hired as a senior engineer and there are reasons this guy hasn't been promoted yet. No doubt his attitude is one of those reasons. If he's not going to act as a partner to you, you need to reclaim authority as the lead on your project. It is still your project, and you're the one who will be primarily held to account for it as well as the one who will get the primary credit if it goes well. Negative Nancy can be obstructionist (either purposefully or not) with minimal risk, which means you're going to have to be the one to take charge and get things going in the right direction again.

    One positive way to do that is to check in with a leadership type... the interim director might be a good person here, and say that you could use some input with your project workflow. Go in with several major goals that need to be met, and work with your more-helpful co-worker to develop more specific ways to meet those goals, with appropriate responsibilities for you and your "assistant" (and whoever else is involved). You may not be Negative Nancy's boss, but you have authority over how your project goes, and the right to determine what he can do and what you need to do yourself. Your leadership contact can help you clarify those lines, and then you just need to be friendly but firm with Nancy on what he does with the project.

    If there are things you believe need to be done, and this guy has said, "Oh, it's not done that way," check in with the leadership person and ask if that idea sounds acceptable/do-able (without mentioning Negative Nancy) and what needs to be done to make the change. Then you can say to Negative Nancy, "OK, this is how it's going to be, I've run it by X and they're down with the change." He's relying on his knowledge of the systems to claim authority, and you're going to have to shake him out of that comfort zone a bit. You can also use the opportunity to locate alternative sources for company-specific information that you can't get from your own Linux learning. You don't need to drag Negative Nancy through the mud, but you can say that you could use some additional perspective on how things work and ask who might be a good resource. Sounds like with Nancy's reputation, you don't even need to say much for your co-workers to understand what's going on and help you get what you really need.

    In this way you're being proactive, getting help you need in learning the systems, and taking control back over your project.

    Want to find me on a gaming service? I'm SwashbucklerXX everywhere.
  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Another thing I would add, is that a lot of times this comes down to the fact that teaching someone is a poorly defined directive. What you need are much more rigidly defined directives that you can set in place for the both of you. Because it's easy to blow off a directive like "help your coworker learn this info". It's not so easy to blow of a directive like "meet with your coworker twice a day to explain your current work".

    For example, if there is a project that you are working together, then have the workflow begin with you. If you can, make it a rule that you have to begin the code, and he can assist/correct code that you send him. Or like I said previously, implement actual meeting time for him to sit down with you and go over the code that he's been working on. The bottom line is you have to put in place specific rules, that will allow you to learn, and that can't be ignored.

    Jebus314 on
    "The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it" - Dr Horrible
  • emimonsteremimonster Silicon ValleyRegistered User regular
    Do you have an HR department? Sorry if this was already covered...

    Having been a part of a attempt to fire somebody in the past and being in one now, AND having been best friends with a senior HR manager for years, I can tell you, you need to document EVERY. SINGLE. THING. this guy ever does that is cause for concern (no matter how small it seems). Because if it comes up that you want this guy fired a year from now, you need to have documented evidence dating back from at least now. You can start an email folder in your outlook now that has every email you send to HR about this guy (and some excel charts documenting his meeting attendance, word docs documenting his remarks or unprofessional behavior, etc), and months down the line he'll get a poor yearly performance review, meaning he'll have to work closely with a counselor on his behavior, and then a year down the line at his next performace review if there's not improvement you'll find yourself meeting with legal, and then months later they may offer the guy a severance package and strongly suggest he take it.

    I'm assuming, of course, you work for a large company in the US...

  • ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    Do you know for sure what he wants from you? Can you get him what he wants in a way that satisfies both your interests?

    Whether you like it or not, it looks like what you have here is a straight-up negotiation. He has something that you want (Linux knowledge, his cooperation) and you have something that he wants (your position?).

    He knows that your main source of power over him is the threat that he'll lose his job, so he's inoculated himself against that by telling you that he doesn't care about getting fired and is looking for another job right now anyway. (In the field of Negotiation Analysis, we call that strengthening the BATNA, i.e. the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.) And now he knows that he has most of the power, because your own BATNA is fairly weak -- you're afraid that if nothing breaks the logjam you'll lose your job or begin to start hating it, which are both highly unappealing to you. This dynamic gives him a lot of power as a spoiler, and he's using that power to try to extract value from you.

    "Is he really looking for a job, or is he trying to get me fired so he can get a promotion?" isn't really the right question here. It looks to me like he's doing BOTH, so that he can have multiple "good" options to choose from. The real question to ask is, "Why does he want a promotion or another job, and why does he feel like he needs to be such an asshole to get it?"

    So, time to do some recon. Find out his end-game. Ask him or others that know him, in a respectful and courteous (and if you can manage it, friendly) way:

    - Why do you want this promotion so badly and so soon? Why are you willing to look for another job if you can't get it?
    - If you were offered a promotion here at the company, would you take that over a new job? Why or why not?
    - Why do you think you haven't gotten a promotion so far?
    - Why are you so reluctant to teach me this system? If you teach me this system, do you think it would hurt your chances of getting a promotion? Why or why not?
    - What can I do to help us both get what we want?

    There may be a way that you can get use a little quid pro quo to get this guy to stop dicking you over. For example, you might have contacts in other companies due to your age/experience, and you might be willing to help him get an interview or write him a letter of recommendation -- if he starts to play nice. Or you might be willing to recommend him for a promotion the next time he's up for one. Maybe you have some skills you can teach him that would be useful in his job search or promotion aspirations.

    This doesn't necessarily mean you have to be a totally nice guy, either. If you have a better idea of what this guy values and why he's behaving the way he is, then you can know how to hurt him. You can make a principled threat: "Look, the way you're behaving isn't making you any friends in the office, and while it may get you what you want this time, if you keep this up I can assure you that you'll be the last person to be offered any promotions in the future, and you won't be able to count on our help in your job search either." Or you can talk to people to make sure that he's not put on the projects he needs to get on to advance quickly in his career. You can take Linux classes or do some self-learning in your spare time in order to reduce his leverage on you, as others in this thread have suggested. You can make clear to him that you're too valuable to the company to be fired and you're not going to quit anytime soon, so if his "strategy" is to take over your position he'd better think twice.

    It sucks that you're in a situation that you're basically having to negotiate with terrorists, but it is what it is. Try to make the best of it, and maybe you'll both get out of this confrontation with what you want.

    3DS code: 3007-8077-4055
  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    neville, where's your knowledge lacking? Anyway you can learn this stuff on your free time and then just completely cut out the necessity to need him?

    Our stack is heavily linux, Java, and telephony stuff. Moreover, the coworker's been there ~2 years, so built a lot of the system.
    And the systems/things I -am- familiar with are either not used (Windows, C/C++, etc) or modified-beyond-recognition (how they use CI like Jenkins).

    I am not "scared" of linux, but much of our work lately is sys admin heavy. And I don't know where to go check when a partition on AWS is out of disk space, or how to modify user credentials from GitHub, etc.
    They aren't difficult things; they're just busywork I have to deal with that I don't know how.

    When he's feeling dickish (as today), he'll just say "I don't have time to help with that" -- although the time it would take to IM me "/etc/jenkins/user_db on box 1.2.3.4" is the same as saying that. He's just being a douche.
    Jasconius wrote: »
    Jasconius wrote: »
    To me the coworker just sounds like a typical idiot

    People with that kind of disposition, I believe, are incapable of having an agenda quite so vindictive

    they are simply maladjusted fools who need a reality check


    the best thing you can do is adopt the skills necessary to lessen what I sense is some sort of dependency on him (because he's the Linux guy)

    then just show your superiors who is the capable one, and they'll (hopefully) figure it out
    Yeah, I think you may be right. He just likes to argue and be negative about things (but also LOVES to be "right", even when he isn't).

    We had a meeting today where he was basically talking over and interrupting me, so I spoke to one of the leads after, who agreed that my coworker was being unprofessional.
    He had some points, but overall he was being dismissive of my points, which were all very valid.

    I don't think he's quitting, but I'm not too worried about him getting me fired (or promoted over him), I guess.
    The CTO still seems to like me a great deal and I'm pretty sure the leads have my back.
    Additional ideas on what else to do are, of course, still welcomed.


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  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    Yeah, you need to remember that you were hired as a senior engineer and there are reasons this guy hasn't been promoted yet. No doubt his attitude is one of those reasons. If he's not going to act as a partner to you, you need to reclaim authority as the lead on your project. It is still your project, and you're the one who will be primarily held to account for it as well as the one who will get the primary credit if it goes well. Negative Nancy can be obstructionist (either purposefully or not) with minimal risk, which means you're going to have to be the one to take charge and get things going in the right direction again.

    One positive way to do that is to check in with a leadership type... the interim director might be a good person here, and say that you could use some input with your project workflow. Go in with several major goals that need to be met, and work with your more-helpful co-worker to develop more specific ways to meet those goals, with appropriate responsibilities for you and your "assistant" (and whoever else is involved). You may not be Negative Nancy's boss, but you have authority over how your project goes, and the right to determine what he can do and what you need to do yourself. Your leadership contact can help you clarify those lines, and then you just need to be friendly but firm with Nancy on what he does with the project.

    If there are things you believe need to be done, and this guy has said, "Oh, it's not done that way," check in with the leadership person and ask if that idea sounds acceptable/do-able (without mentioning Negative Nancy) and what needs to be done to make the change. Then you can say to Negative Nancy, "OK, this is how it's going to be, I've run it by X and they're down with the change." He's relying on his knowledge of the systems to claim authority, and you're going to have to shake him out of that comfort zone a bit. You can also use the opportunity to locate alternative sources for company-specific information that you can't get from your own Linux learning. You don't need to drag Negative Nancy through the mud, but you can say that you could use some additional perspective on how things work and ask who might be a good resource. Sounds like with Nancy's reputation, you don't even need to say much for your co-workers to understand what's going on and help you get what you really need.

    In this way you're being proactive, getting help you need in learning the systems, and taking control back over your project.

    @SwashbucklerXX exactly what I've been doing here!
    I agree his attitude is likely 100% why he hasn't been promoted.

    He has the knowledge to keep it, but his professionalism is severely lacking; hence why nobody wants him being even more senior.

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  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    emimonster wrote: »
    emimonster wrote: »
    Do you have an HR department? Sorry if this was already covered...

    Having been a part of a attempt to fire somebody in the past and being in one now, AND having been best friends with a senior HR manager for years, I can tell you, you need to document EVERY. SINGLE. THING. this guy ever does that is cause for concern (no matter how small it seems). Because if it comes up that you want this guy fired a year from now, you need to have documented evidence dating back from at least now. You can start an email folder in your outlook now that has every email you send to HR about this guy (and some excel charts documenting his meeting attendance, word docs documenting his remarks or unprofessional behavior, etc), and months down the line he'll get a poor yearly performance review, meaning he'll have to work closely with a counselor on his behavior, and then a year down the line at his next performace review if there's not improvement you'll find yourself meeting with legal, and then months later they may offer the guy a severance package and strongly suggest he take it.

    I'm assuming, of course, you work for a large company in the US...

    I work for a smallish startup, but good points to be sure.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I'd bring up your concerns with the CTO at this point. Just bring up that he seems to overtly either be a nincompoop about things in general or sabotaging you, you don't really care you just want him to be aware that it's becoming increasingly difficult to do shit.

    I flat out think this boils down to "your stuff is causing me to fall behind in my work, so you'll wait however long I deem is appropriate."

    Ladies.
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited December 2012
    It's hard to bring up charges against a coworker when you're a new guy. You really need to have a good sense of how much trust you have with your superiors. But ultimately this appears to be a clear case of "this guy is (or is going to) making my job harder to do", and that's one of the best reasons to go to a superior with your concerns and rarely ignored. Given your advanced qualifications, you may be able to broach the subject sooner than later, especially if you know the CTO well enough.

    Just make sure you come armed with a solution, and not just a complaint.

    Jasconius on
    bowenUsagi
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Maybe you can switch him out for a different junior? Although I think chances are good that if his attitude is a known quantity they probably stuck him with the new guy so no one else had to work with him. :P

    His behavior isn't the sort of thing that says "big plans" to me.. otherwise he'd never tell you to wait but always jump on shit himself. I think he's just a jerk.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    bowen
  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    How many other people in the company know Linux on the scale that he does? He might be afraid that if you learn how to Linux, his boss might take the opportunity to remove the thorn in the company's butt and he'll lose his job.

    It sounds like he's trying to preserve his place on the food chain and he sees you as a threat to his continued employment, so he's busy trying to justify his having the job by making himself "the Linux guy". If you learn Linux, and are much more pleasant to deal with, well... he'd be screwed.

    I'd just say "screw him" and learn Linux with the intent on replacing him. He refuses to budge on helping you, so run him over and leave him behind. You can't negotiate with someone who refuses to.

    steam_sig.png
  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    It's hard to bring up charges against a coworker when you're a new guy. You really need to have a good sense of how much trust you have with your superiors. But ultimately this appears to be a clear case of "this guy is (or is going to) making my job harder to do", and that's one of the best reasons to go to a superior with your concerns and rarely ignored. Given your advanced qualifications, you may be able to broach the subject sooner than later, especially if you know the CTO well enough.

    Just make sure you come armed with a solution, and not just a complaint.

    Yep, exactly @Jasconius, and that's what I did today.

    We normally have no meetings on Thursdays, but today we had 2 long ones. And I was pretty dissatisfied with the Q1 goals, so I set up a meeting to discuss some that I'd like to see.
    Security lead came as well as the problem coworker. The lead and I were 100% in sync; coworker disagreed with us both until he said he was done discussing it and stormed out.

    Specifically, he is 100% against embedding people with developers to help write tests, increase coverage, etc. Apparently something that makes up 1/3 of Microsoft's company, a huge portion of Google's, etc is all wrong.
    His argument actually came down to "They are smart people; you're insulting them by saying they can't write complete tests."
    Uh, no, I'm not, but no, they can't. I told him "If everyone could just write perfect code, why wouldn't they?" and he got more pissed.

    He made a point to go off separately with both our leads, the CTO and several coworkers, so I knew he was doing something.
    Apparently he told them I wasn't doing anything and how I shouldn't be senior to him because he knows systems, blah blah blah.
    His attempt... failed.

    The CTO is going to work with me 1-1 to create a quality strategy and platform for the entire company, then help me to implement it.

    Boo-yah. :bz

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    zerzhulThe Good Doctor TranV1mAnialosbowenEchoRendEsseecabsyEdith UpwardsShadowfire
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    That is fantastic. Now all you have to do is be eager, hard-working, and reliable, and I have a feeling you are those things already.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    neville
  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    Yup! :D

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  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    Everything's coming up Milhouse!

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Now would be a great time to take the initiative and ask if there are any additional resources available for you to learn the system/Linux. Don't make it a big deal, just broach the subject with something like, "Hey, do you think it would be a good idea for me to take a couple of hours a week with Bob so that he can bring me up to speed?" or asking some of your peers if they have any good books/courses they would recommend for you to work through so that you can become more familiar with everything more quickly. That will make it clear to everyone that you aren't looking for a scapegoat and that you're being proactive about any issues that might arise due to these personnel problems. Also, a good manager will at that point consider more significant "investments" to help move things along, which turns it into a win-win: you get the support you need, you look more competent, and your boss will think the whole thing was his idea.

    a.k.a. Antaeus or Nubmonger

    -A digital receiver in an analog world.
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