December 2, 2008

A dumping of the bowl

Picture a bowl somewhere in your gut that collects all those little niggling experiences that just kind of keep poking you when something is just not quite right in your life. You inadvertently insult someone and don't get a chance to make it right. You have a fight with your Sig O which doesn't get QUITE resolved enough. You make a little mistake at work and disappoint your boss, without getting that eventual "hey, it's cool" pardon. In these situations you move on with your life, but the contents of the bowl keep rising up, sometimes with such subtlety that you don't recognize it's even the bowl at all, but it's unsettling just the same.

That bowl lately just seems a bit fuller than usual, and I'm not sure if it's Mercury in retrograde or just bad luck, but there's one issue in particular that I simply can't do anything about at this point, and which honestly is not even a big enough issue to warrant such persistence, so I'm using this blog to dump the bowl.

Briefly- I manage projects at work. I am a project manager. As the project manager, I do not do all of the parts of the job- I interface with the client, I plan out how the project is going to go, I work on the financial aspects of it, I write the technical spec, and make any random decisions that need to be made. I also rely on two other people at my office to do their parts as well. One to write the code, one to QA the code. We, as a company, have put certain processes in place to ensure that the client never sees the finished project until it is FINISHED, and has been checked to make sure it works and hasn't broken any other parts of their system.

In one recent project the person who was in charge of writing the code decided suddenly and without explanation on Wednesday to bypass the multiple steps in the process wherein we do all our checks to ensure that the project actually works and is not breaking any other parts of the system, and he just pushed the code live. Right then and there. With the holiday, I didn't notice until Friday. I asked him to remove it and go through the process and he argued with me for a half hour. It was a conversation beyond ridiculous, almost laughable, both because of how he was reacting and also because if this was noticed by the client, it would be MY ass. Which I told said code pusher, who didn't seem to think that would be an issue worthy of his attention or acknowledgement. With much arguing, he finally pulled the code and put it in the right place. My boss was aware of the situation and called me to tell me I handled it well.

Monday morning I noticed that on Friday night he had written some VERY snarky (and NOT in the good way) comments on a private (but visible to all coworkers) part of our system, and was clearly trying to project a sense of guilt and utter incompetency on my part with these comments. I kinda blew up about it and contacted him. And... well, I kinda blew up about it. Seemingly out of nowhere, since it had been 2 days since he'd written his comments, but it was just then that I had seen them.

We all have lessons we need to learn in life. Mine are vast and varied and I'm certainly not aware of them all, but those I am aware of include two things in particular that apply here. The first is that I have a tendency to assume that there's a LOT about a situation I'm not privy to so I will reserve judgment or very strong opinion on it. This can be a good thing in a lot of situations, but in other situations it can be read a bit closer to "lack of backbone." Because of this assumption that I don't have all of the information, I can never stand strong behind something because I can never believe without a doubt that I am right.

There are a few exceptions to this, of course. The issue of gay marriage is one (it's simply a civil rights issue- denying people of a certain classification the same rights as other people), and this issue was another. I have no doubt that I'm right on this, which brings me to the second issue I have historically had, which is standing up for what I believe in. However, because the reason for this is that there is always doubt entwined in my beliefs, in this case that doubt was gone so I felt able to stand up for myself.

I told my coworker that his attitude was totally uncalled for and that he needed to quit bitching about having to do extra work that he created for himself by not doing it right in the first place, and that I was completely within my rights to expect that he'd not put me in the shitty position he put me in, and just do his job. All that is fine, but it was so out of the blue, looking back on it now it just reads like I was baiting him- trying to get him into another argument for the sake of arguing.

Sooo now, my boss who is aware of all of this, is pissed at me for engaging my coworker again on it, and has asked me to leave it until he and my coworker's boss can work it out.

My problem is that I can't shake the crappy feeling I've gotten from starting this back up. I look up to my boss and I don't like that I've pissed him off. I can see I made it worse.

Having said that, I didn't make it THAT much worse, and damn it, this was a big deal and I have every reason to be upset about it, and to convey that to my coworker and ask that he stop being such a bitch in such a public way about it. Honestly, what I did- stepping about three toes out of line (meanwhile everything but those three toes is entirely IN line) comes nowhere close to how my coworker has acted on this (not to mention myriad other situations wherein he has reacted COMPLETELY inappropriately- he can be disturbingly insubordinate and condescending at times.)

So, here's the crux of my situation. Yeah, fine, I was a bit hasty in yesterday's admonishment. And yeah, it irritated my boss. Overall, though, I'm in a perfectly fine place. I need to shed this icky, stereotypically-girly feeling of needing validation from my boss (specifically something along the lines of "hey, we all blow up sometimes, and you're totally in the right anyway, so don't worry about it!") and just buck up and move on. Since yesterday this situation has just kept catching me in the gut, to the point where I'm wondering if there's something else that's bothering me and I'm just assuming it's this. Whatever it is, though, I needed to take this situation here and write it out to get rid of it. Because, seriously, the mistake I made is so minor.

So that's what I'm doing. Emptying the bowl. Fuck it, I really didn't do anything wrong.

Aside from this, I wanted to keep this to myself until I had some good news on it- but I've recently had a medical scare, but I received some test results this morning (actually, while in the process of writing this) and it has shaken out to be fine so far. I don't want to get into it here, suffice it to say things are looking very good and I have a large chance of being perfectly fine. And yeah, it doesn't take a genius to think that perhaps one had to do with the other and vice versa.

Hopefully later today I'll post pictures of the most kickass hat knit from my most kickass handspun yet. It's so pretty you'll want to put on a frilly dress and sit down to an ice cream sundae.


Divine Bird said...

Ugh. I think you're right to let it go. If you have noticed issues with that particular coder, then someone else probably has, too.

I can't wait to see the hat! Is it out of any of the yarn you spun at the Gathering? :D

Sarah said...

Sounds like you were completely right and I am not just saying that because you are my friend and the coder is obviously a tool. And really no more medical scares! I am glad you can "empty the bowl" here and I hope it helped.