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  • FIRST POST
    • Nathaniel Essex
    • By Nathaniel Essex 7th Aug 18, 7:12 PM
    • 116Posts
    • 62Thanks
    Nathaniel Essex
    How would you handle this situation?
    • #1
    • 7th Aug 18, 7:12 PM
    How would you handle this situation? 7th Aug 18 at 7:12 PM
    Grumpy old man at work, has been there 20 years and holds most of the cards when it comes to getting IT stuff done. Not because it's particularly complex, he's just the type that likes to horde work and processes to make him feel important.

    Long story short, a few weeks ago he sent an email to my boss and I which was completely the wrong tone and attitude to have. I simply ignored it as was not going to entertain an email like that. Forward a few weeks and I need him to update something that should take no more than 30 minutes and even then I am being extremely generous.

    He ignores my email for a few days so I chase him for him to reply it will be complete in two weeks time. Again, this is something that should take 10 minutes to be honest. 30 minutes if you take your time.

    Being the new guy, I have been slightly cautious on the initial bad response but now it seems like he's taking the !!!!. Gut tells me to reply, copying in his manager and ask why on earth it will take so long. However, the typical side of me would say just wait the 2 weeks in order to avoid the drama and him being grumpy with anything else that comes up in the future.
Page 1
    • Les79
    • By Les79 7th Aug 18, 7:49 PM
    • 368 Posts
    • 434 Thanks
    Les79
    • #2
    • 7th Aug 18, 7:49 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Aug 18, 7:49 PM
    Grumpy old man at work, has been there 20 years and holds most of the cards when it comes to getting IT stuff done. Not because it's particularly complex, he's just the type that likes to horde work and processes to make him feel important.
    Originally posted by Nathaniel Essex
    If he has been there for 20 years then chances are it is all a defence mechanism... Getting a bit older, has a cushy post and sees the younger generation who could do his job better (sometimes for less money). So work is horded, processes made a bit complex and a sense of self-importance is generated so that there is a feeling that he is useful to the business. More so if generally grumpy.

    To be fair I could be wrong in that assessment, but that's how I'd take the guy in your work. And I'd act appropriately; feed the self importance to an extent so that I keep him on board and he is more inclined to do work for me. It would be slightly different if his was a role I wanted to develop into though.

    Long story short, a few weeks ago he sent an email to my boss and I which was completely the wrong tone and attitude to have. I simply ignored it as was not going to entertain an email like that.
    Meh, I don't know what was said like but it is slightly rude to ignore an email irrespective of tone!

    I've been there like, the IT manager in my last employer sent me a directly snotty email once because I wasn't using the company font on emails! It was so condescending... But I just bit my lip and apologised via email, and just pretty much forgot about it. Just pandered to him a bit.

    Forward a few weeks and I need him to update something that should take no more than 30 minutes and even then I am being extremely generous.

    He ignores my email for a few days so I chase him for him to reply it will be complete in two weeks time. Again, this is something that should take 10 minutes to be honest. 30 minutes if you take your time.
    Well, have you considered any other variables? Such as GDPR etc? Because, as much as YOU may think it takes only 30 minutes, there may be legitimate processes which need to be followed when completing the task. Also, could he be going on holiday etc? It could actually even be a knowledge gap on his part!

    I'd also like to query why you didn't just ring the IT guy a few hours/day after emailing...

    Also, do you believe that ignoring/not entertaining his email might have given him the wrong impression about how you prioritise emails? (read: did you get his back up possibly?).

    I feel that, were you to have developed a better relationship with him, you could have ASKED HIM why it is going to take 2 weeks and maybe also proposed the 30 minute fix you talk about without coming across like you know more than him.

    Being the new guy, I have been slightly cautious on the initial bad response but now it seems like he's taking the !!!!. Gut tells me to reply, copying in his manager and ask why on earth it will take so long. However, the typical side of me would say just wait the 2 weeks in order to avoid the drama and him being grumpy with anything else that comes up in the future.
    Well, I would certainly express your concerns to your manager. Make sure that the buck lies on the IT guy and not you when/if anything goes wrong. And maybe your manager for sorting things out.

    Aside from that, I'd just recommend biting your lip and trying to develop a professional relationship with said IT guy so that, in future, you will be less likely to get snotty emails and more likely to get tasks done in good time.
    • Dox
    • By Dox 7th Aug 18, 7:59 PM
    • 858 Posts
    • 648 Thanks
    Dox
    • #3
    • 7th Aug 18, 7:59 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Aug 18, 7:59 PM
    Ignore your gut.

    Ask to go on a training course to learn some interpersonal skills.
    • ACG
    • By ACG 7th Aug 18, 8:06 PM
    • 17,333 Posts
    • 9,185 Thanks
    ACG
    • #4
    • 7th Aug 18, 8:06 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Aug 18, 8:06 PM
    If it will only take 10 minutes, why not do it yourself?
    I am a Mortgage Adviser
    You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a mortgage adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 7th Aug 18, 8:10 PM
    • 38,901 Posts
    • 35,749 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    • #5
    • 7th Aug 18, 8:10 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Aug 18, 8:10 PM
    If you have any responsibility for managing him, you need to manage.

    If you don't, and his attitude is obstructing your work, you need to discuss with your manager / his manager.

    If you don't, and his attitude does not obstruct you, then carry on ignoring him.

    But nothing changes in the last scenario.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 7th Aug 18, 8:33 PM
    • 20,717 Posts
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    agrinnall
    • #6
    • 7th Aug 18, 8:33 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Aug 18, 8:33 PM
    Perhaps he has a lots of requests from other people and he can fit in your 10/30 minute job in 2 weeks time, once he's completed everything else queued up ahead of you.
    • Nathaniel Essex
    • By Nathaniel Essex 7th Aug 18, 9:01 PM
    • 116 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    Nathaniel Essex
    • #7
    • 7th Aug 18, 9:01 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Aug 18, 9:01 PM
    Thanks for the reply all. To add a bit more context to this particular situation, it has been going on for months. Previously he would promise that it would be done on x date only to miss deadlines. I then made an agreement with him that he can change the entire thing on x date instead of making one change then another when something else came through. He knows what needs to be done, has been copied in all the emails but is dragging his feet I feel just to show me who's "boss".

    I hate it when people copy in the world and the wife in emails to talk to seniors about performance etc. that's my main reason I am so hesitant taking this to his boss because it is something I hate doing because I appreciate having a busy workload.

    I don't manage the guy at all. To the person who asked why don't I do it myself, I have already asked him to show me how to do it as it is such a minor thing for him to be dealing with if he's so "busy". But again, he falls back on how there needs to be accountability, how it's more complicated than it seems etc. It's funny he says that because it has been in a state for years and I am the one who has picked up on all the comical errors. He is literally hording work so he can feel important.
    • Ozzuk
    • By Ozzuk 7th Aug 18, 9:21 PM
    • 1,397 Posts
    • 2,020 Thanks
    Ozzuk
    • #8
    • 7th Aug 18, 9:21 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Aug 18, 9:21 PM
    Are there no behavioral standards in your place? things like respect others, always assume positive intent etc? If not, then these aren't bad ideas to take on board. you don't know what pressures he is under, you don't know what his workload is like or how people may have treated him (or are treating him). You are passive aggressive relying on emails - talk to him, he is human, you are human.

    Of course he may just be a !!!! who is stuck in his ways, but it is better for you to try and find a way to work with him.
    • dlmcr
    • By dlmcr 7th Aug 18, 10:26 PM
    • 152 Posts
    • 203 Thanks
    dlmcr
    • #9
    • 7th Aug 18, 10:26 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Aug 18, 10:26 PM
    I do quite a technical role but one which also needs good soft skills. My job is within an industry which unfortunately contains a higher than average proportion of arrogant individuals. This is not intended as a criticism since it is exactly this quality that helps some of them to be good at the job they need to do. Unfortunately arrogance also is an ugly trait if untempered and one of the main areas it shows negatively is when dealing with individuals that you work with.


    One of the biggest challenges in my job is to help my stakeholders understand things from my point of view. More specifically I spend a lot of time educating stakeholders that my workload priorities and the needs of the wider business are not the same priorities that they believe them to be. In other words the perceptions of my stakeholders are different to the perceptions of myself with regards to where their request sits in the hierarchy of the business needs.



    The other main problem I face in my current job is the attitude of stakeholders towards building professional working relationships. If someone comes to me, as happened only today in fact, and asks me using blunt language, why something hasn't been done in the way that was expected, because they haven't been involved in a particular part of the process that they needed to be, I will need to go back to them and explain in a very polite and detailed way why their perceptions of a situation are not the same as the reality of the situation. Then as part of that conversation I will also explain to them in clear but polite language that their involvement in a particular part of the relevant task or project has been lacking. A conversation that with a well developed professional relationship would not need to take place.


    In your posts on this thread you have made statements such as "Grumpy old man" and similar derogatory comments towards this individual. In your posts you come across as lacking in empathy and show an inability to understand the point of view of another person.



    Regardless.. It doesn't matter if he is a grumpy old man, whether that is the case or not - take out the emotion, you do not know his priorities, you likely do not appear to show any effort to develop an understanding of the complexities of the task at hand, and you certainly are not in a place where you will be ready to develop and cultivate a professional working relationship with this individual.



    The workplace is probably unique in that there are few other places where you are forced to deal with people who you would probably not choose as your friends. This is what makes it so important at work to be able to relate to all sorts of people regardless of how they appear to you - if you can't endear yourself to a range of people that you work with then you are likely to not be fulfilling your potential at work.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 7th Aug 18, 10:35 PM
    • 38,901 Posts
    • 35,749 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    I hate it when people copy in the world and the wife in emails to talk to seniors about performance etc. that's my main reason I am so hesitant taking this to his boss because it is something I hate doing because I appreciate having a busy workload.
    Originally posted by Nathaniel Essex
    but you don't have to do it that way: there are alternatives, although sometimes that IS the way to do it.

    in the past, I used to make myself highly unpopular by copying managers into phone messages I'd taken, where the caller said "I've phoned three times and they've not called back yet." The colleagues who were not calling back were making life difficult for MY team, and their managers needed to know there was a problem.

    Quite recently however, I just mentioned to my manager that I thought a colleague was struggling with their workload. My manager doesn't manage this person, and was already aware of the issue, as I thought they would be. I didn't do it by email, and it wasn't a complaint: it's actually an expression of my concern for this person, and it does have a small impact on my work because I end up doing things which should have become their responsibility.

    So there are ways of doing things, and it doesn't sound as if you've exhausted all the ways!
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • Nothanks
    • By Nothanks 7th Aug 18, 10:37 PM
    • 134 Posts
    • 151 Thanks
    Nothanks
    Pick up the phone, or if you're in the same building go speak to the dude.

    Seek to understand and all that.

    There is a special circle of hell reserved for people who copy in someone's boss when emailing for no good reason.
    Anything I post is solely MY OPINION. It never constitutes legal, financial or collective bargaining advice. I may tell you based on information given how I might approach an employment dispute case, but you should always seek advice from your own Union representative. If you don't have one, get one!
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 8th Aug 18, 4:33 AM
    • 32,754 Posts
    • 19,705 Thanks
    getmore4less
    This is a simple one

    What is important to the business that you can't do without this task getting done?

    I will let you work out the rest.
    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 8th Aug 18, 5:35 AM
    • 2,077 Posts
    • 3,125 Thanks
    shortcrust
    If it can wait two weeks then there's no problem. If it can't wait two weeks then explain why and ask if it can be done sooner. If he can't help you with that then speak to your manager.

    Some thoughts:

    Building and/or fixing relationships with colleagues is probably the most important part of the initial stages of most jobs.
    It's not ok to simply ignore a work email because you don't like the 'tone' and 'attitude'.
    A quick job isn't necessarily a priority.
    Managers generally take a pretty dim view of employees who can't sort stuff like this out on their own.
    • nicechap
    • By nicechap 8th Aug 18, 7:32 AM
    • 1,265 Posts
    • 2,622 Thanks
    nicechap
    Personally, I'd read back through some of my previous threads about problems with colleagues & work and think about what the common denominator is.


    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5645885

    Did my boss really expect more from me for paying me 50k a year?


    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5805872

    And 'let go' within a year of that job, so 2 jobs in 2 years.


    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5812582

    Planning to lie to get a copy of a reference


    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5817790

    Not preparing properly for an interview/ role play but it was the thechniques shortcomings


    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5866682

    Spending more than you earn so need to get an extra job which they are "overqualified" for.


    BTW - did you decide whether you were Andrew or Nathanial?

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/member.php?u=2423599
    Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. - George Carlin
    • pmduk
    • By pmduk 8th Aug 18, 8:59 AM
    • 8,857 Posts
    • 6,593 Thanks
    pmduk
    I suspect much of the issue may be your approach to him?
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 8th Aug 18, 9:21 AM
    • 3,749 Posts
    • 3,555 Thanks
    Comms69
    Grumpy old man at work, has been there 20 years and holds most of the cards when it comes to getting IT stuff done. Not because it's particularly complex, he's just the type that likes to horde work and processes to make him feel important.

    Long story short, a few weeks ago he sent an email to my boss and I which was completely the wrong tone and attitude to have. I simply ignored it as was not going to entertain an email like that. Forward a few weeks and I need him to update something that should take no more than 30 minutes and even then I am being extremely generous.

    He ignores my email for a few days so I chase him for him to reply it will be complete in two weeks time. Again, this is something that should take 10 minutes to be honest. 30 minutes if you take your time.

    Being the new guy, I have been slightly cautious on the initial bad response but now it seems like he's taking the !!!!. Gut tells me to reply, copying in his manager and ask why on earth it will take so long. However, the typical side of me would say just wait the 2 weeks in order to avoid the drama and him being grumpy with anything else that comes up in the future.
    Originally posted by Nathaniel Essex
    He probably has other work to be done ahead of yours?!

    Hes been there 20 years, probably for a reason...
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 8th Aug 18, 12:08 PM
    • 5,080 Posts
    • 8,695 Thanks
    sangie595
    He probably has other work to be done ahead of yours?!

    Hes been there 20 years, probably for a reason...
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Hmmm. In view of the post from Nicechap, the OP might be well advised to try to aspire to staying in a job for a couple of years themselves instead of complaining about someone who's worked there 20! There does seem to be something of a consistent theme to their posts which suggests that the problem doesn't always lie elsewhere. And it's a bit rich complaining he isn't doing something fast enough when the OP still hasn't responded to their email! At least he had the courtesy of responding...
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