Your Mouth Is Moving

The question to that title would be “how do I know you’re lying?”

Or my work theme yesterday.

I have a “cohort” – a term I use loosely – who spent 15 minutes ranting and raving at me – and lying to me yesterday.  Then kept going on and on with said lies – but let me back up.

This huge project I am part of includes a triad of project management, if you will.  I represent IT, and the other two represent their major business functions.  Together we are like the triangle of  cat herders – except if you take out Mr Lying Pants or maybe Mr Shit Stirrer is a better name.  I’ll let you pick.

This guy is constantly causing issues – because, in short, he doesn’t manage his shit – he’s too busy worrying about everyone else.  Then, predictably, what results is a mad fury of activity at the end as he tries to play catch-up.  Then comes the “blame game”.

He literally is the boy who cried wolf.

So, I should not have been too surprised by the instant message I received from my tester yesterday.  “OMG – is our testing really invalid???”

Tell a stressed out tester who has three days left to test her stuff is invalid.  It definitely elicits a great response.  As expected, they ran to me to validate what he told her and two other people which was a myriad of incorrect statements.

After getting her settled down – and doing some damage control with her boss – I sent him a very pointed email about roles and responsibilities, how his statements were wrong, etc.  The third person in our triad happened to be at my desk, so heard it all (and escalated it to his boss).  It was another classic case of Mr Lying Pants and his bullshit approach to managing his project.

What resulted was Mr Lying Pants in my cubicle “confronting me”.  I should mention that when IT men confront me, it is usually a funny experience as I’m pretty unflappable mainly because I know it is a power play, so I refuse to engage.  He was clearly looking for an apology when he accused me of stirring the pot.

During the course of the conversation, he lied and lied and lied. When he asked for and received examples of his past behavior, he bobbed and weaved like any good boxer trying to avoid a hit from a punch. But his problem is his mouth. His mouth was moving so much that he kept tangling up his story.

Another trick I learned a long time ago is to let people who are in this mode to keep talking.  I wasn’t going to apologize for my actions because the word of three people against him is better especially given those three people had nothing to lose like he did.  So, I let him keep talking – and keep digging himself the hole.  He accused others of being the ones stirring up crap (people who are the most even keeled people I’ve ever met.)  He painted himself the victim.  He did all of the classic moves of a desperate man.

Later, after I asked him if he was done, my neighbor in cubicle land came over and was just flabbergasted at what he heard.  “Does he normally change his story like that – mid-sentence?”

Yep. Sadly, he does.  And sadly, he also likes to answer questions about the status of his stuff with “but what’s the status of XYZ?”

There is no point arguing with someone like that.

To quote Mark Twain:

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

Something for this guy to learn.

What do you think?