L’Idiot

Our team hired a new guy 7 weeks ago. We were all excited about him joining. Big mistake.

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Scene from Detective Mittens (1940): "What do you mean I only see things in black and white?"

L’Idiot is arrogant, aggressive, selfish, and rude. He makes assumptions all the time and often is wrong, but he gets defensive if you point out his mistakes. Yesterday he even threw a tantrum and vanished for an hour because the whole team told him it was wrong to do what he wanted to assume would be correct.

And he makes a lot of mistakes. He doesn’t focus on the details unless it’s to argue over the nuances of “suspicious” as it is used in two different places in a document. He then overlooks actually important details like if we need to place a hold on new accounts for a client.

I am a very patient person. People compliment me on my patience all the time: “You have the patience of a saint.” If you have worn out even my patience, then something is seriously wrong with you.

And something is seriously wrong with L’Idiot. This is just a small sample of shit he’s done:

– Cut the lunch line with no sense of shame whatsoever.
– Seriously consider stealing the banana off a fellow teammate’s desk because, “He won’t notice, right?”
– Outright refuse to help a teammate with our normal job duties when asked because L’Idiot was too busy assigning himself projects no one asked him to do instead.
– Invite himself to a coworkers birthday party and then creepily ask her for the phone numbers of her friends. (Keep in mind he is over 40 years old and the coworker who had a birthday is mid-20s.)
– Ask a coworker with too many girls in his dating pool to send some girls his way (Ewww!)
– Refuse to read documentation about our role at this job; instead, he makes sweeping generalizations about everything and makes terrible assumptions.
– Waste time, waste time, waste other people’s time. He has spent many days sitting at his desk emailing others in the company, trying to schmooze, and not getting any work done.
– Never listens to the team. We have a meeting and talk about X and how to handle those cases. 5 minutes later after the meeting, I hear him ask a coworker, “What do we do with X cases?” God.
– Doesn’t pick up on social cues. The guy has 0 emotional intelligence. People have abruptly left the lunch table where he is sitting because they can’t stand hearing him continue to rail on about shit no one cares about. We witnessed one occasion where at least 4 people sat with him (the only open lunch table) and leave within a minute of sitting down when they realized they would be better off eating alone at their desks.

There are definitely stupid questions, and he will find them. I was ready to flip some tables when he told me, “I was looking through your documentation on ABC-LA. Does it apply to ABC-MN?” No. NO NO NO NO. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK THAT! One is rules for Louisiana… how would those apply to Minnesota?! Is the document titled ABC- LA and MN? No, it is not AND FOR A REASON.

Before this, my team had been fairly lucky in hiring good people who were great team players; the team dynamics were harmonious and we were a close-knit group–and we have the most diverse team in the office. Other teams would comment how cute it was that our team would sit and eat lunch together when we already spend all our time together at our desks.

But L’Idiot’s presence has quickly become toxic to the whole team, and we try to time lunches to avoid him sitting with us. He is such a miserable failure at life that I really want to talk to his references. Who could ever recommend this guy for ANYthing? And how has he gotten this far?

Troubleshooting Shrödinger’s Kitten

A consultant for our team led a workshop titled, Imagining Solutions.

She wanted to empower us with the ability to solve problems as she does and has helped us in the past. She said we’re all so great at what we do that we don’t even realize how many problems we’re solving each day, and she wants us to feel comfortable tackling the complex stuff with which she has helped us in the past. She also said this knowledge applies not just in the workplace but in all aspects of your life, including relationships.

I now share this knowledge as a testament to what I have learned.

To get started, first you must understand that there are three kinds of problems:

  • Simple
  • Complicated
  • Complex

And of course problems are best explained when cats are involved.

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Exhibit A: Coffee and Cats (auf Deutsch: Kaffeekatze)

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“WE RAGE BECAUSE WE LOVE!”

After six hours of sleep, I woke up early enough to grab coffee at Starbucks before heading over to the offices of Atlassian, the host of the conference. I was actually here in Austin for work. My company paid for me to attend the conference, Elevate Summit, which is dedicated to the customer support community. Attendees were people who work in customer support or whose businesses are customer-support tools; their roles varied from customer service representative all the way to CEOs of customer-support businesses (for example, O’Lark) .

People came from all sorts of companies: Google, Microsoft, BuzzFeed, ZenDesk, RunKeeper, Idealist.org and a number of other companies I had never heard of. The talks were all about support: pitfalls, managing it, scaling it, how to survive. 

It was my first time in attendance, and I was excited. One of the things that has long bothered me about being in customer support was feeling like there were few professional development opportunities and not knowing of how one could grow professionally in that type of role. I was excited about being able to meet people who work in and care about support as well as hearing ideas and learning from others’ experience. It was an opportunity to see and feel hope – that light at the end of what can often feel like a long, never-ending, thankless dark tunnel.

Whiskers for President
Nothing gives greater inspiration and captivates your audience than images of cats.

Although the number of speakers being lined up was intense (there were not multiple panels), I felt like I got a lot of it. There were twenty-two speakers, and while all the speakers weren’t equally engaging or interesting for me, I appreciated every moment of it. It was truly fascinating. Also, there were plenty of cats. I’d say at least half of the talks featured slides with cats.

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