The Joy of Cohorts


I feel like I’ve been on a stretch of writing about the kids lately, so I thought I would mix it up a bit and write about work.

Work has been a bit slow lately. Slow in IT is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you can get caught up which is a novel concept. IT is traditionally behind in everything they do especially supporting users. A lull in the action means getting the work queue down to a manageable level.

But there is a curse to a lull. The curse is trying to find things to do without creating your own new and exciting problems. When you feel you have all of the time in the world, you can be a bit careless in your playing with new technology. IT people are our own worst enemies when it comes to creating issues for ourselves. And, unlike the issues others create for us, ours are complicated by beta software and other new, yet untested software. Throw in some questionable hardware of an unknown origin, and you can spend days troubleshooting an issue.

The other curse is the one of cohorts who also have time on their hands. My cohort – the manager of the other side of IT – is driving me crazy!!

I should mention that I helped choose him when we hired him six months ago. I knew what we would be getting into, but thought it would be fun to shake up that team with new energy. They needed to be led by a geeky guy who can pretty much do their job for them if necessary.  They had been without that sort of leadership for too long.

I also should mention that this guy is a nice guy. He truly is. I mentioned one day that I had to go get lunch now because I was starting to get that shaky, low blood sugar feeling. A couple of days later, he delivered me a variety of snack items out of his stash so that I wouldn’t be without food when the moment hits again. When he discovers he has duplicate technical manuals in his personal library, he gives them to me.  And, he brings to the table experience with a whole new different set of technologies which makes the geek in me happy.  We have a lot of great talks about technology.

But, the talking is what is driving me fucking crazy! He must talk to think. While I can be the same way especially when trying to figure out a particularly hard issue, I am not always talking out loud to myself (he sits next to me), and I’m not always looking for opportunities to talk about myself and what I am doing and how I am doing it and how I need to channel my dead grandfather’s military voice to get what I want.

Since he is also experiencing a slow down, he is talking to me – a LOT. He had a problem with the phone system last night, so I got a 45 minute recap of every call and email he had between he and the vendor. I got copies of the emails he sent with notes attached saying things like “I’m going to get myself in trouble for this one” or “these guys are probably wishing they didn’t have to deal with me now.”

And, to make things even more annoying, you can’t derail him from his topic. I have tried all of my usual techniques – letting him talk until he has talked himself out (does not work), try to turn the conversation (no way that works), try to get out of the conversation be claiming a deadline (nope, won’t work). The only way I can get him to end the conversation is by literally getting up and walking away from my cube like I have to be some place urgent.  Heck, headphones won’t keep him from bothering me.

I think some of his issue is the fact he cannot get out of a conversation once he has started it. He gets stuck, in an infinite loop of sorts, and simply doesn’t know how to bow out of it. And, even when you throw him a lifeline in an attempt to help, he doesn’t recognize it, so ignores it.

At least these are all of the things I tell myself in an attempt to keep myself from killing him with a punchdown tool.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Yikes! Perhaps you should just have a friend call or text you after 10 minutes and be, “oh gotta get this!”

  2. Hubman says:

    We have a guy like that here. NEVER EVER stops talking, tangent upon tangent upon tangent until your head is spinning.

    Fortunately I’m on the 2nd floor and he’s in the basement, so I can easily escape when trapped!

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