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techstepgenr8tion
SomeRandomGuy
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12 Mar 2019, 10:41 am

I'm trying to sort out my philosophy on these sorts of situations. I've noticed, and heard from other people, that I tend to be way too hard on myself and put the screws to my own health and performance too quickly when people essentially dump things on me.

Here's a good example:

A client of ours who we handle SQL for said that their yearly totals were off by about $50,000. I looked at my own pulls and they're the same as the were last year (when they were correct). I asked him if he could give me the list of invoices that this total came from and he said he didn't have it but that it's off by that much, really implying that I should be able to figure it out without help.

If it were something that I could check in my own pulls and say 'Ah yeah - I doubled x date by mistake between the two pulls I made' I could easily fix that. If they haven't given us enough information on what we need to pull then there's no way we'd guess this correctly. Thus - what would be a half hour problem to solve becomes an exercise of beating ones self in the face with a brick, seemingly based on what another person doesn't think they should need to provide.

In the past the explanation was usually - you're inexperienced, or lazy, and you need to grow up. That's at least - having a disability - what I tended to assume was the case and why, when I got into situations like these, why I'd rather proceed to beat myself in the face with a brick for hours rather than show any sign of weakness, ie. knew already that with any display of weakness people would be out for my blood - I've seen it happen in the past and its terrible.

Unfortunately I have to assume this example and examples like them to be ubiquitous. So the question - what do you think should be done when someone tells you that you need to go find the corner of a round room or draw a square circle, the client is 'always right', and on one hand your burning your boss potentially if you say no and they get infuriated, and your burning your boss if you spend all day on a one hour problem.

This has been probably one of the worst repeating themes in my work life, at least with this job I think i have some common-sense buffer with my boss but some of these clients.... wow... he could lose them if I demand reason, which is why this is even a question.


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shlaifu
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12 Mar 2019, 6:33 pm

I often have to politely remind clients that they're paying by the hour/day - sadly, that doesn't deter most, as it's very often not really their money they're basically just passing on to me.
Other things that have worked in the past were making a clear list of the required materials and offering a deadline: if you can get me X by tuesday, I will deliver Y by friday. It seems there's something about the announcement of a definitive end to whatever task needs doing that makes people do their part...


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techstepgenr8tion
SomeRandomGuy
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12 Mar 2019, 7:53 pm

That's pretty much what my boss said as well - bill them for the extra time I had to put in.

I think the company I'm at needs a better theory as well for how to deal with larger clients - ie. they tend to bully, and it seems like we've been getting the short end of the stick even if our owner is principled in his dealings with them.


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"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privelege of owning yourself" - Rudyard Kipling


BTDT
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12 Mar 2019, 8:08 pm

Yes, it sounds like you need someone who is better a dealing with bullies. I ought to know, that is often my job at work.

A typical mistake is to talk too much. They will say something to get a reaction that they can use against you. Better to listen as much as possible. Sometimes you will find out that the problem is just user error or a misinterpretation. I don't let on that I even remember previous conversations unless I think it is appropriate. I took a message for someone one day and repeated it back to him when he started to repeat it to me all over again the next day. He had no corrections.