How I Dodged Responsibility With One Phrase
Chet and I have been working together for over three years at our current job and a year at our previous one. When he brought me in, he claimed I could “walk on water”. For the previous few years, I lived up to that lofty billing. Now that the honeymoon is over, our work relationship is feeling the effects of time. During a back and forth about a work issue, we joked and could see how old married couples get on each other’s nerves.
Although Chet has me outclassed in networking and storage management, he never really held it against me. Server management is my domain, but Chet is equally as versed as that is where he began his career. Since we’ve been so busy and because network and storage isn’t as high maintenance, Chet and I often cross paths in the server realm on issues and projects. The friction that is surfacing lately is because his passion, rigor, and diligence for IT is vastly superior to my own. During one heated exchange, I finally figured out what could be the root cause.
For months, we’ve had an issue where connections into our network were disconnecting our remote users. Our consultants were informed and they tested and tweaked our problem. Last week, the project manager chimed in to see if we were still having issues. Chet asked if I heard of any more cases regarding remote user disconnects. Here was my award winning reply.
“I don’t think I saw or heard anything.”
Chet was either having a bad day or he was getting tired of my antics. He went ballastic. “You don’t think?!?! It’s either you did or you didn’t!!!”
I fired back, “Okay, Okay! I did not see or hear any more reports of the disconnect issue!!!”
Chet screamed, “That’s better! I am going to respond back to the project manager!”
As you can tell, Chet holds no punches and is not afraid of calling people out. In that moment, I realized this is my move for dodging responsibility. Being vague and non-committed, if we were in fact still having issues, I could not be blamed for anything. However, this apathetic mindset is the root cause of my lack of passion, rigor, and diligence. Diving deeper, this lack of self confidence and deferring to others is causing friction between Chet and I.
As luck would have it, Chet is planning to take a long and well deserved three week vacation. With Chet out of the picture, I will be the defacto, last line of defense. The past few days my passion, rigor, and diligence for IT has jumped to another level. Nothing more motivating than possibly falling on your face in front of everyone. Who knows, it may even be the threat of loosing my job. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point.
But to prepare, I’ve been paying more attention to issues. I’ve been challenging Chet with more informed questions. I’ve been diving into his networking and storage realms. Chet couldn’t be happier. He gleefully said, “You have every opportunity to learn here.” I would be a fool not to take it.
The great thing about this exchange is I am finally casting aside my dodging responsibility phrase. I know what I know and will stand behind it. I will be responsible for my words and actions. If I am wrong, I will deal with the consequences. I will rectify the situation as quickly and calmly as possible. I will review the situation, learn from the experience, and make sure to improve.
Are you responsible for your words and actions?