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How do you deal with people you'd rather not deal with?

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10-19-2015, 09:53 PM #1
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Posts: 4,862 Threads:494 Joined: Jun 2011 Reputation: 67

How do you deal with people you'd rather not deal with?
I've been around people that I don't care for on numerous occasions. I'm pretty good at dealing with situations and not letting it affect me. However, there is one special type of situation that is REALLY hard to deal with. When someone superior to me is not as technically sound as I am, yet still thinks he/she knows better.

Now I'm not the best developer on the block, nor do I intend to put that image out there. However, it takes a quick talk with someone or glance at someones code to get a pretty good idea of where they stand. And from that assessment you have a general idea of your standing versus theirs. Long story short, you know when you're better than someone at a particular 'thing'.

I don't know how many times I've been talking with someone, either a peer or someone that is senior to me.. when I've told them the answer to a problem in the very beginning of our discussion yet they shrug it off like I don't know what I'm talking about. Fast-forward an hour, and what do you know: we find the solution, and I bet you could guess it was the same one I suggested in the beginning.

I feel like I handle 99% of these situations really professionally. It's when the same person does it multiple times that I really start to lose faith in my ability to keep calm. Haha. 

How do you all deal with this? Do you blow a gasket or let it go in one ear and out the other?

10-19-2015, 11:06 PM #2
Posts: 9,733 Threads:1,026 Joined: Jun 2011 Reputation: 76

RE: How do you deal with people you'd rather not deal with?
I've seen situations like this. People in higher up positions have too much pride sometimes to admit that they are wrong. If it bothers you that the end result will be bad because at the end of the day the result is based on their decisions and actions, then there's tricks that people learn to persuade someone into thinking your idea was theirs all along and they won't mind taking the bait if they see that it's a better solution.

There's people that will just take the idea and implement it, but then there's those people who will brag about it and take the credit when the opportunity arises. Unfortunately, you can't really help those people and the older they are, the less likely they are to change their ways, which is sad. If it bothers me that someone takes credit for my work, I try hard not to let it bug me because eventually with enough occurrences, people will be able to figure out who the "hero" is; people are smart. Additionally, you'll probably inherit their respect for it too, and they will want to stick up for you. Even if you never get the claim to fame that you might deserve, just think about all the other opportunities you have throughout the day where your efforts are recognized and appreciated and it usually will balance your emotions out unless you're having a really bad day.

Not much there is to be said about this kind of situation. It is a tough one, and there are variations of it that make it better or worse in comparison, but there's not much you can do about it. If they are unwilling to see that they are wrong, they are probably unwilling to hear you out or negotiate with you about any measurement of skill or better coding practices if anything. That's the way I see it.

Just think too... After a few more years, you'll probably be in their position, but you'll be doing it better than they have done it haha.

This post was last modified: 10-19-2015, 11:11 PM by AceInfinity.

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10-20-2015, 04:45 AM #3
Posts: 198 Threads:16 Joined: Sep 2013 Reputation: 19

RE: How do you deal with people you'd rather not deal with?
When it comes to users I tend to let them think they're right, as long as they're not too far from the truth. Regarding superiors I try to slip my solution in and let them take the credit if they want to, as Ace said most people know better and notice who really solved a problem anyway. Highest priority for me is to avoid conflict. As a support guy my experiences differ a little bit, as I have mostly users to deal with, not other "professionals". My superiors ask for my advice if anything at all.

That makes it sound like I'm the king of IT at my workplace, which would be an overstatement, but I certainly know what I need to know. Many people higher up the food chain are not as competent as their paycheck makes them look and they know it, while those who are seem to see me as someone on their level and usually don't argue but agree with me.
Telling surgeons or doctors (who just assume they are your "superiors") something like "I just updated the BIOS" usually leads to head nodding and "Sure, but you didn't change Word again, did you? Because that happened last time you did this." I just let them know what changed (usually nothing) and otherwise don't mention how updating the BIOS won't affect Word. If I tried they would keep talking about how they're certain I did this and that and other things last time.

Same goes for user errors: I let them know that "someone must've changed this by accident" and that it "just happens sometimes", even though I know the user did something wrong all along. They often believe it simply was something else (or "the IT") and won't accept anything beyond that.

About three years ago I worked in a hospital handing out laptops and setting up WiFi for young patients and their parents. When it comes to parents, fathers are the worst: Many think they really know what's up regarding computers, even though they don't.

Once there was a guy who told me "do not mess with my settings", claiming he "worked hard to make this system secure" while I was setting up the required proxy. I explained that it was not optional but he could and should remove it afterwards. I also told him that secure connections over SSL would not be transmitted using the proxy while showing him the according entries, but he simply turned to his wife and said "Did you hear? They can see what we do, don't do online banking here." I simply finished what I was doing, leaving them and their "secure system" (which was just an XP machine, of course they were using Internet Explorer 8) and let them believe we were spying on their actions.

I've learned that I'm not paid to deal with any of this, and that is exactly how I handle it these days. Educating or arguing with people is not my job, I just fix it and leave. It's very rare that people annoy me enough to make me bombard them with the technicalities, which often leads to them staring at me, realizing I actually DO know my stuff and they do not. Whether they decide to continue arguing or not, the conversation usually ends for me at that point and I return to my "just fix it and leave" routine.
This post was last modified: 10-20-2015, 04:47 AM by Mazzn.
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10-20-2015, 08:33 AM #4
Sam Baker
Posts: 1,525 Threads:76 Joined: Jun 2011 Reputation: 40

RE: How do you deal with people you'd rather not deal with?
I had a pretty bad problem my entire life, I don't care what is going on, where, or whom I'm talking to, but if there's something to be said I would be the one to say.

If it was me I would actually directly go and said, yeah? isn't that what I said would be the solution an hour ago and you didn't listen to me? with a disappointed look on my face, that's why I probably would never be able to stay at one job lol.

I always believe that you should never betray your morals and lick someone's shoes, as if you lose yourself you will never gain it back, BUT if you're in a really good job I think your only way is to just have some balance, draw a line for yourself, and just kiss ass from time to time, wow great job "my stupid, incompetent, good for nothing boss" boss! I'm glad you found the solution, I actually thought of the same thing earlier with a smile on your face.
This post was last modified: 10-20-2015, 11:02 PM by Sam Baker.
Now i am become death,The destroyer of worlds ~oppenheimer

10-20-2015, 02:41 PM #5
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Posts: 4,862 Threads:494 Joined: Jun 2011 Reputation: 67

RE: How do you deal with people you'd rather not deal with?
Haha, HG. it's all about scenario. I'm a firm believer in saying what needs to be said. I've simply learned to craft my words in such a way that it sounds nice, but they understand that they're an idiot.

In a business environment, it usually depends on who I'm talking to. If it's a peer, I'll try things the nice way the first couple of times. But if I'm having to continually tell them the same thing over and over then it will get a little more 'real' the more times I have to say it. When dealing with superiors, you have to be sensitive in the way you word things. Even if it's true, a damaged ego could slow and/or damage your career path. Now I will never kiss ass in order to make someone happy, but I will let them off easy for the sake of my job.

Thanks everyone for the responses. It's good knowing that others feel my pain!

10-21-2015, 12:06 PM #6
Posts: 2,488 Threads:427 Joined: Jun 2011 Reputation: 11

RE: How do you deal with people you'd rather not deal with?
I deal with the same thing a lot, whether it be my solution being shrugged off by my superiors (like your scenario) or having my solution being shrugged off by me.. err... whatever the term is for people below me.

Example: I work retail management and I'm over the general merchandise side, including sporting goods, electronics, etc.. Our electronics associates know nothing about their products except a vague idea of what they do. A customer had an old, deactivated phone and wanted to transfer their contacts to their shiny new galaxy s4. No problem! I sent them to our electronics department manager, and she helped them get it going. Unfortunately, she couldn't transfer the contacts (or so she thought). I asked her why she couldn't and she explained it wasn't possible. I told her she needed to go into bluetooth and send a contact V-card from one phone to the other. Simple right? "Nope, not possible. I know my department and you just need to let me do my job".. Frustrating, because 5 minutes after taking the phones I had the customers contacts transferred.

People annoy me :(

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