Author Topic: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!! Small update p 40  (Read 11557 times)

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Softly Spoken

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2014, 08:43:54 PM »
We had three co-workers who would interrupt another's work to ask for information they already had. It had been emailed to them specifically so they could refer to it when they needed it. Intead of looking through their emails, they would call (or worse, leave their desks to go in search of) the employee who had emailed it to them to ask for the information. They would always start with: "I know you emailed me this, but I thought it would be faster to ask..."

In fact, it was not any faster to ask. The employee who sent it would have to look up the information too, because she had dozens of cases. So her manager said: "Tell them you will give them the information at the very end of the day before you go home."

That put and end to lazy questions. They didn't want to wait that long so they'd take care of it themselves.

^ This. Is. Genius>:D
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WolfWay

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2014, 08:16:55 AM »
I've just overheard this situation with a coworker today.

CW1 handed over a bunch of stuff for quality testing. Tester asked CW1 what the two changes (to different systems) were, CW1 verbally summarised. So far so good, it's what CW1 normally does with the testers.

Tester then spent the rest of today interrupting CW1 to ask questions about how the systems work and what they do and what's changed. CW1 kept saying "Have you read the documentation?" over and over again. The answers were all there in front of him (quite often brightly highlighted because it was something that was recently changed and it was what needed to be tested).

CW1 finally got annoyed with him and walked over to his desk after his last question. CW1 stood over him and asked him to read the highlighted bit in the document out loud to CW1.

CW1: What does the bit in bright blue say?
Him: A new bit has been added to store [blah blah new information].
CW1: What is the name of the new bit?
Him: Uh... <staring at document>
CW1: It's in the bright blue bit.
Him: [New info name].
CW1: Okay, what part of the system is it stored in?
Him: Uh....
CW1: You're hovering your mouse right over it.
Him: [System part name]
CW1: Good. Now what was the name of the new system part you just finished testing in the other set of documents.
Him: Uh....
CW1: Open the other document.
Him: Oh... same [System Name Part].
CW1: <pointed silence>
Him: <hunches down in silence>

He hasn't asked CW1 another question, I think he's too embarrassed at his blatantly dumb mistake (or else he's sulking because CW1 outright called him on his laziness/inattention). Honestly, I'm not sure what he spent the last four hours testing if he can't even tell CW1 what the name of the system part was that he just finished testing.

I'm not sure if making your annoying coworker read out the answers to you from the documentation is going to make them feel embarrassed enough to stop asking you silly questions they already have the answers to. It seems to have worked for our tester.
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Redsoil

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2014, 09:06:08 AM »
It sounds like she's very young, and still in the high-school mindset.  Perhaps it may be useful to try the following (pretend you're a stern but fair teacher.)

Susan:  *asks inane question*
Blue:  "What do YOU think could be the answer?"  /  "What do YOU think is the best way to do that?"  /  "I bet if you think a little bit, you'll realise you already know the answer to that."  /  "Think back to *other incident* and see how that solution could be used here."

It may take a little while to transition from her current idea of getting someone else to think for her, and then it will take more time to wean her off you "coaching" her, but if you do it in stages, she might just grow up a bit.  If she simply won't, then it may be time to have a firm discussion, letting her know she's being paid to do her work, not you.
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Stormtreader

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2014, 10:43:42 AM »
The last few replies are really the key to it - you have to make it more inconvinient for her to ask you or get you to do it than to use the other options, ideally make her do something towards it first.
Need to carry a heavy thing? Tell her to go to the other office and ask to borrow the heavy lifting truck, and say that youll be busy for the next few hours but could *possibly* help after that.

Currently youre the easiest option so thats what shes choosing, make doing it herself easier than trying to get you to do it.

DanaJ

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #34 on: August 22, 2014, 11:00:57 AM »
Exactly. If at 9:00am she asks you to do some quick task for her, the answer should be outrageously inconvenient for her. "I have my own work to do, so come back at 4:30 I can help you then."

Or say end-of-day Friday.

It will make her much more crazy if you agree to help her out, but give her an impossible timeline. Keep saying:  "Yes, I can help you at practically-never o'clock." or "I'll get an answer for you at a quarter after too-late." and she'll find you willing but useless. It's more difficult to complain when someone has said yes, but not the yes you wanted.

Lynn2000

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #35 on: August 22, 2014, 05:57:23 PM »
I don't know if I would make it an impossible timeline, necessarily, but definitely one that was extremely convenient for me, work-wise, regardless of whether it was convenient for her. I mean, if it's convenient for me, so I'm not frustrated and behind on my work helping her, that's a win for everyone, right? And if she decides that my reasonable offer is not convenient for her and figures it out herself, I've also won, without being rude to her at all.

Like with my former co-worker Emma--I was perfectly willing to help her, if she'd asked me early enough in the day, before 10am in a generally 9-to-5 setting. But putting a condition on it, instead of jumping up immediately to help her whenever she asked, ensured that she never asked me after that.
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DanaJ

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2014, 03:43:13 PM »
I don't know if I would make it an impossible timeline, necessarily, but definitely one that was extremely convenient for me, work-wise, regardless of whether it was convenient for her.

But part of the OP's problem is that she's asking ill-timed questions that she should be directing to her manager, not him. Questions that he can't answer much of the time anyway. If he wants to put and end to the questions she shouldn't be asking him, then a near-impossible timeline means he is a dead end to her, so she'll (hopefully) stop asking altogether.

If it was asking relevant quesitons that he could answer, and it would be appropriate for him to do so, then he can set a time for her that works. But "Do you think the manager hates me?" is probably not a question he needs to bother himself with ever.

Lynn2000

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2014, 04:28:31 PM »
I don't know if I would make it an impossible timeline, necessarily, but definitely one that was extremely convenient for me, work-wise, regardless of whether it was convenient for her.

But part of the OP's problem is that she's asking ill-timed questions that she should be directing to her manager, not him. Questions that he can't answer much of the time anyway. If he wants to put and end to the questions she shouldn't be asking him, then a near-impossible timeline means he is a dead end to her, so she'll (hopefully) stop asking altogether.

If it was asking relevant quesitons that he could answer, and it would be appropriate for him to do so, then he can set a time for her that works. But "Do you think the manager hates me?" is probably not a question he needs to bother himself with ever.

I see your point, but I was thinking of a situation where the OP says, "I'm busy now, but I promise I'll answer that for you at 6pm," while knowing full well that the OP intends to leave work at 5pm and not answer the question. In other words, I don't think that I would lie, or tell the employee something that would be recognized as impossible or ridiculous to someone else in the company--the OP seems concerned with appearing to be helpful to the employee, not getting in trouble for being unhelpful, etc.. If the employee started complaining that the OP promised to help her "next week," but the OP was then out on a pre-planned vacation all next week, or something like that, it wouldn't look very good for the OP, and I don't think it would teach the employee anything, except that she shouldn't be put off by the OP's excuses/promises, because they aren't real. It might make her even more persistent. Maybe I'm just being too literal.

For legit work-related questions, I prefer the idea of giving a reasonable timeline that the OP intends to follow through on, like, "I'm busy now, but email me your questions and I'll look over them before the end of the day." If the employee does this, the OP could easily reply to that email something like, "I looked over your questions and realized they should actually be answered by your manager, so I'm CCing him on this. Hopefully he can set you straight. See you tomorrow!" if the questions are indeed of that sort.

For personal, chatty questions, I think the OP could use one of the methods others have mentioned to shut the employee down--"I'm busy right now and don't have time to chat," or something.
~Lynn2000

DanaJ

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #38 on: August 26, 2014, 02:31:06 PM »
For legit work-related questions, I prefer the idea of giving a reasonable timeline that the OP intends to follow through on, like, "I'm busy now, but email me your questions and I'll look over them before the end of the day." If the employee does this, the OP could easily reply to that email something like, "I looked over your questions and realized they should actually be answered by your manager, so I'm CCing him on this. Hopefully he can set you straight. See you tomorrow!" if the questions are indeed of that sort.

Oh, I agree. If the "delayed timeline" appraoch is used, it should be with the intention of actually following up as promised. That's what my colleague's supervisor told us to do when some lazy co-workers were trying to get us do their work for them.

Genuine legitimate questions that required an detailed explanation or demonstration were the ones they were willing to wait for because they needed to learn something. The "do this for me so I don't have to it" interruptions came to an end, because they never actually needed our help and didn't want to wait.

DavidH

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2014, 04:10:44 AM »
I think you identified the issue when you said, "I get the feeling that she's a little lonely and doesn't like working by herself. And I'm a convenient person to drag over so she can socialize..."  For a first step, I think you need to tell here a nice version of this.  Along the lines of, "Co-worker, I'm really busy and don't have time for a lot of questions.  If you need my help for work, that's fine, but for anything else, I really don't have time."  If you want, you can add, "Maybe we can talk at lunch or when we're on break." 

If you go to a manager, one of the first things they'll ask is have you told her directly. If that answer is no, they are not likely to be impressed.  In general, try to resolve it amicably with your co-worker.  Do it directly, since hints are not working.  If that doesn't work, then it's time to escalate.

blue2000

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #40 on: August 31, 2014, 06:10:19 PM »
Little bit of an update.

She's been quieter lately (happy happy happy!!!) but she still asks me silly things or odd work questions sometimes. No amount of trying to make her figure it out on her own has seemed to work - the more I talk, the more she talks. I did notice that if I didn't talk, she would move on much faster. I am apparently the most boring person ever to socialize with if all I say is "mmm" - not even a yes, no, maybe, just "mmm". I like that idea. Boring is good. So I have been doing that.

Thank you so much for your ideas! Having a spine at work is a great thing! :)
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

SoCalVal

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #41 on: September 01, 2014, 05:49:04 PM »
Exactly. If at 9:00am she asks you to do some quick task for her, the answer should be outrageously inconvenient for her. "I have my own work to do, so come back at 4:30 I can help you then."

Or say end-of-day Friday.

It will make her much more crazy if you agree to help her out, but give her an impossible timeline. Keep saying:  "Yes, I can help you at practically-never o'clock." or "I'll get an answer for you at a quarter after too-late." and she'll find you willing but useless. It's more difficult to complain when someone has said yes, but not the yes you wanted.

Sadly, trying this approach has resulted in management telling me I give poor customer service and that I have been deemed unapproachable (never mind that when two individuals went out on sick leaves simultaneously, my workload increased to an unreasonable amount with no one taking anything off my plate to help me out).  Seriously, I wasn't to tell people I would do something at a later specified time, even when I was in the middle of trying to meet a deadline or someone else's request.  I'm now "required" to be open to whatever anyone requests, reasonable or not.



greencat

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2014, 06:17:40 PM »
Exactly. If at 9:00am she asks you to do some quick task for her, the answer should be outrageously inconvenient for her. "I have my own work to do, so come back at 4:30 I can help you then."

Or say end-of-day Friday.

It will make her much more crazy if you agree to help her out, but give her an impossible timeline. Keep saying:  "Yes, I can help you at practically-never o'clock." or "I'll get an answer for you at a quarter after too-late." and she'll find you willing but useless. It's more difficult to complain when someone has said yes, but not the yes you wanted.

Sadly, trying this approach has resulted in management telling me I give poor customer service and that I have been deemed unapproachable (never mind that when two individuals went out on sick leaves simultaneously, my workload increased to an unreasonable amount with no one taking anything off my plate to help me out).  Seriously, I wasn't to tell people I would do something at a later specified time, even when I was in the middle of trying to meet a deadline or someone else's request.  I'm now "required" to be open to whatever anyone requests, reasonable or not.

I turned that around on one management failure - when assigned additional tasks, I would just ask where they wanted me to prioritize it - ahead of or behind the last thing they told me was a "Number 1 priority!" That way, if doing it kept me from meeting another deadline, my rear end was amply covered with "Remember, you pulled me off that task and told me to do the other thing instead."

SoCalVal

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #43 on: September 01, 2014, 07:24:39 PM »
Exactly. If at 9:00am she asks you to do some quick task for her, the answer should be outrageously inconvenient for her. "I have my own work to do, so come back at 4:30 I can help you then."

Or say end-of-day Friday.

It will make her much more crazy if you agree to help her out, but give her an impossible timeline. Keep saying:  "Yes, I can help you at practically-never o'clock." or "I'll get an answer for you at a quarter after too-late." and she'll find you willing but useless. It's more difficult to complain when someone has said yes, but not the yes you wanted.

Sadly, trying this approach has resulted in management telling me I give poor customer service and that I have been deemed unapproachable (never mind that when two individuals went out on sick leaves simultaneously, my workload increased to an unreasonable amount with no one taking anything off my plate to help me out).  Seriously, I wasn't to tell people I would do something at a later specified time, even when I was in the middle of trying to meet a deadline or someone else's request.  I'm now "required" to be open to whatever anyone requests, reasonable or not.

I turned that around on one management failure - when assigned additional tasks, I would just ask where they wanted me to prioritize it - ahead of or behind the last thing they told me was a "Number 1 priority!" That way, if doing it kept me from meeting another deadline, my rear end was amply covered with "Remember, you pulled me off that task and told me to do the other thing instead."

Oh, I've tried that, too.  It usually only works if the person giving me the task is lower in management than the person whose task I'm already doing or I'm already doing a task for the person who's asking.

Side note -- I once had a manager tell me that when she asked her boss, upon being given multiple tasks by said boss, which was highest priority (meaning which one Boss considered most important), Boss then wrote a big letter "A" then circling the A as she said "A, A, A" and so on.  I always thought that a female-dog move of Boss (and definitely not helpful).



DanaJ

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Re: I don't know, I'm not going to know, and please stop asking!!
« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2014, 05:11:11 PM »
Side note -- I once had a manager tell me that when she asked her boss, upon being given multiple tasks by said boss, which was highest priority (meaning which one Boss considered most important), Boss then wrote a big letter "A" then circling the A as she said "A, A, A" and so on.  I always thought that a female-dog move of Boss (and definitely not helpful).

That is a jerk boss who doesn't realize that over-taxing employees means you get employees jumping ship when a not-jerk-boss comes along. I've had a boss like that (the kind who expecs you to stay until midnight to meet a deadline, but you're a salary employee and don't get overtime).

The only way to deal with that is to send a CYA email that states you have competing deadlines and there is a risk that they can not possibly be met unless you have additional help/resources. Since Ms. Jerkboss has indicated they are all of equal priority, you will be completing them in the order that they were assigned to the best of your ability.

The trick is to sound as positive as possible and outlining what can be done in that time. At least that way you're on record about what they can realistically expect for outcomes in the unrealistic timeframe they alotted.