Author Topic: Correcting A Coworker  (Read 1996 times)

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bah12

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Correcting A Coworker
« on: December 12, 2012, 07:07:23 PM »
I had some problems using a database-type system at work and contacted the person responsibile for maintaining the program and working out glitches with my issue.  Since she didn't answer the phone when I called, I emailed her the error message and let her know the circumstances for the problem.

She emailed me back with instructions for fixing them.  I tried it several times and the problem still wasn't resolved so I emailed her back asking her if she had any other solutions.  Her response: "Just keep trying."

I ended up asking some of the techie types around and got some suggestions and after some trouble-shooting, I was able to fix the problem myself.  The solution happened to be very much not what she told me to do.

I emailed her back with details of how I fixed it and noted that "I'm not sure if I just didn't properly communicate what the issue was, but this is what fixed it, so if anyone else has the same problem, here's a suggestion for how to resolve the problem."

Her response was "If you have a problem with how I serviced you, please contact my supervisor."

I do not have a problem with how she serviced me, though I do think she wasn't knowledgeable enough to know how to fix this.  From speaking to my other coworkers, this is a relatively common problem that they fix with the method that I eventually used.
I am now considering contacting her supervisor simply because of how she handled my suggestion for a possible solution when she's asked this same question again in the future.

At the same time, I'm unsure if it's appropriate for me to go to supervisor at this point, or if I should attempt to go talk to her in person first.  This is not someone that I regularly work with and don't know her/her habits well at all.

Shoo

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Re: Correcting A Coworker
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2012, 07:22:50 PM »
It sort of sounds like she's got a little bit of a chip on her shoulder.  I might forward the entire email exchange to her supervisor with a note that says you just want someone in that department to be aware of the fix for the problem you encountered, so you're forwarding it to her since coworker doesn't appear to be interested.

Deetee

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Re: Correcting A Coworker
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2012, 07:55:17 PM »
It sort of sounds like she's got a little bit of a chip on her shoulder.  I might forward the entire email exchange to her supervisor with a note that says you just want someone in that department to be aware of the fix for the problem you encountered, so you're forwarding it to her since coworker doesn't appear to be interested.

This.

I wouldn't engage her further. She is not very responsive (did not respond to phone call, had no suggestions after first email) very knowledgeable (did not send correct fix and could not send correct fix after informed it wasn't working) or receptive to constructive critisism (snarky response when you sent a helpful and not required follow-up).

I assume she was hired to be helpful and knowledgeable and interested in upgrading her knowledge. She is none of these and there is no reason to shield her from the consequences of her snarkiness.

Lynn2000

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Re: Correcting A Coworker
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2012, 11:29:58 PM »
Is it possible that she's only allowed to give out the "standard, approved" solutions to problems, and is not supposed to accept any unvetted fixes from non-IT people? Now that I type it out it sounds a little ridiculous; but when I first read her response of "If you have a problem..." it struck me as perhaps being some kind of formal wording she's obligated to use in response to any feedback.

Nonetheless, I would take her statement at face value and relay the issue to her supervisor. I don't know if I would forward the whole email chain, but I would say, "My problem was X, her solution was Y and it didn't work. She had no other solutions, so I investigated it myself and came up with Z, which worked. Thought you guys might like to know about Z in case other people have this problem."
~Lynn2000

artk2002

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Re: Correcting A Coworker
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2012, 11:49:33 AM »
I'd take her up on her offer.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

bopper

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Re: Correcting A Coworker
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2012, 12:02:02 PM »
I would contact her supervisor.

To: Cow-irker
cc: Supervisor

Cow-irker:

On 12.12.12 I called you with the following error message I encountered using the database system.  The steps you told me to use when resolving were:
1) Wiggle it
2) Jiggle it

I tried the solutions you suggested but it did not fix the problem. I consulted with other coworkers and determined that the following method can be used to fix the error.

1) Paint it blue
2) Let it dry

I have heard that this method has been used with some success with others who have encountered the same issue.  I feel that this is a best practice that can be incorporated in the Database troubleshooting.  What is the process for updating the procedure manual?

OP

NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Correcting A Coworker
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2012, 06:16:53 PM »
Honestly unless it's a repeat pattern I'd blow it off. Her highness will irritate the wrong person one day.

sweetonsno

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Re: Correcting A Coworker
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2012, 11:42:49 PM »
I'm with NottheNarcissist. Unless this has happened before, I wouldn't mention it to the supervisor. I don't think she was hostile, and it is very fairly likely that she has to follow some sort of guidelines when giving her feedback. She may have to go through a set procedure. (I know a few people in Tech Support, and they all have to follow a script that includes asking the dumb questions about checking that the power is turned on. Their phone conversations and email exchanges are recorded and monitored, and if they don't follow procedure, they can get in trouble.) I don't think she was necessarily right or wrong in how she handled it, but it may not be in her power to make the change.

If you do decide to make the suggestion, I think you should start with her. "No, I don't have a problem with how you served me. I just wanted to let you know what worked for me in case it happens to anyone else." I did that once and it turns out that letting them know was very helpful to many users.