November 10, 2008

Nightmare Colleagues?

If you have noticed from my blog, I'm a big geek. The reason why I am so, is not because of the thick glasses (made slim by a wonderful technology called High-Index Plastic); but because of my job scope.

I'm currently a team lead working in some IT company in KL, supposed to be working on some mid-level management stuff (without the title); but deep down, I'm still a techie developer at heart.

I've seen many young developers come and go; worked with many seniors within the technical scope and have seen my fair bit of personalities while at a job or project.

This article about When Good Developers Go Bad, certainly sparked something in me to write this article.

Now, a common assumption or "mis-assumption" of folks about IT workers in general is that, we all tend to be loners, unfriendly, introverted, and some what know-it-all cocky geeks but not all are like that. In fact, just like people in all other industries, our career choice does not govern our personality traits; nor does the personality trait govern what type of jobs we do.

Ironically, I've met folks in the IT industry who are the complete opposite stereotype of what people perceive an IT worker is.

Anyway, I digress.. as usual. (^___^)

So, you're working in a large IT corporation. You will bound to meet someone who has the following traits:
  • Cocky/Arrogant
  • Show-Off
  • Unhelpful
  • Highly Critical
  • Highly Argumentative
  • Illogical - strange but true...
This type of individual likes to boast about how great their code is, how lousy everyone else's code is, and how; if management were to just see his wonderful-ness, he would change the very way we work, i.e. be a complete jerk and hire other jerks like himself to run the show.

I have this colleague, whom I coin as the "The Village Idiot" as he's someone who loves to challenge weaker members of the team and then; put them down by saying that they're lousy and should just go and die. Whenever he gets a little bit of praise, he'll shout to the heavens (and hell) about his awesome greatness.... *rolls eyes*

Now, whenever a significant challenging task which he has to pick up DOES APPEAR, we often like to shove the "crap" to him with the remark such as "You're so smart-mah, you go and solve the issue-lah...". To which, if he sees that he can't handle it, he'll scoff and say, "This one is not my level.. I don't deal with such problem one..." **rolls eyes more**

In terms of reporting to him, I have been so unlucky not to experience that. However, one of my junior team mates has and it was a nightmare. His brilliance was so overpowering that he kept changing his designs on the fly; confusing the junior member to the point that he nearly wanted to "take out" his supervisor. Due to the constant change, the junior member couldn't deliver his work on time; causing "The Village Idiot" to make remarks such as, "You are so lousy. So simple thing you cannot deliver-ar?"

I couldn't intervene then as it was just out of my scope but ultimately, decided that his leadership skills were not up to par and so, minimized his contact with the other junior members of the team. I feared that should he work with more junior members, he will demotivate more than motivate them to do better.

So, I'm trying out a workaround as suggested by the book "No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't"; i.e. minimize his contact and give him assignments only he himself can complete.

Do you have any nightmare colleague stories to share?

Ohhh... In addition to his cockiness, "The Village Idiot" in my team thinks that he speaks the Queen's English after spending 1 year in the UK. His latest Facebook status states that "Economy very bad, have to tighten bell..." (^___^)


  1. Anonymous3:38 pm

    im lucky all my colleagues have been rather pleasant and very supportive, positive and nice. :D

  2. Anonymous8:08 am

    Oh I have one whom I called 'shit' coz this fellow is the most nightmarish colleagues in the world!!! Hahaha

    His polishing is so good that in just mere 4years... from the title colleague he became my boss. And you know what? Many people resign after that. Good at polishing doesn't mean you can excel in managing people.

  3. Hi ehon, che-cheh,

    ehon - Nice to hear that you have great people to work with. I've encountered a few nasty colleagues but always managed to see the good in them and they turn out to be better. This one in my team... what I can say is that only God loves him...

    che-cheh - *sigh*... Yeah, some folks are very good at polishing or "bodek" but doesn't have anything substantial. People are important, treat them well, they will go far; treat them like sh*t, they will leave eventually - despite how much $$$ you pay them.

  4. Your nightmare colleague is the same as mine. :P

    Every team in the office has at least one weirdo/hack/nutter/dungu. I have one. And guess what? My nightmare colleague is your nightmare colleague's, well, friend! Veggie partners they be.

    But then again, what's working life without someone to bitch about?

  5. Hi Chris,

    Hahahaa... There is "one" in every village. You're right about the entertainment bit... ;-)

    Anyway, I'm getting some peace every Monday now.. Kekeke...

  6. wahlau eh...thats a nightmare!..i hope tat fellow went n "take him/her out" literally..

    sigh, life's unfair..

  7. Anonymous8:55 pm

    Exactly what I hv now in my current company.

    My seniors never provide positive information to juniors somemore threaten us. Sie mou....

  8. Hi joe, keeyit...

    joe - I was hoping the gwai lohs in UK will do that but they seem a bit too nice. I think Americans would have whoop his @ss a long time ago..

    keeyit - Its counter-productive. I believe in positive challenges instead of using threats and putting people down.

  9. well, u will also find those kinda pppl in the finance world... :)

  10. Anonymous9:42 am

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm ...i thought the 'uncle' said he has a job offer which pays him 20-30% more? Why is he still here ?!?

    You forgot to mention that he always boasts about his job offers, his wealth, his racquet. :P

    Not sure if we're talking about the same person. :P

  11. Hi zewt, alvin...

    zewt - Hahahaa.. I think such folks are everywhere. ;-)
    Anyway, we concluded that though he's an @ss at times, he's quite entertaining when he puts his foot in his mouth. However, I've met some of these folks who are cocky to the point of putting everyone down so that he can be alpha dog.

    alvin - I'm still waiting for his letter. (^_^) Yeap, we're talking about the same guy-la...

  12. Anonymous12:00 pm

    Put the idiot into an infinite loop of torture. Sabo him. I can't stand such people who thinks they're ahead of people due to their qualification and language.

    We meet such a-hole everywhere. They have a need to be at the top and thus the condescending behaviour. There's this PhD grad here who thinks everyone owes her!

    Do you think we'd just give suck cocky imbeciles a piece of our mind?

  13. Hi wickwax,

    Ahhhh... I believe jerks are everywhere. It's our attitude towards them which either fuels them to spread more "evil" or help change them for the better.

    Sometimes I will tell the guy off. Its better to choose your battles than to just pick a fight and have it explode in your face. Other times, we ignore him as that sends the signal that his jokes are not that funny but rather offensive.

    In short, we try not to let his attitude influence how we feel about work.


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