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Posted on: Sunday, 10 July 2011 by Rajiv Popat

The nitpicking saga between J (real name withheld for obvious reasons) and his team lead had been on for months. Every small mistake J was making was being highlighted and all his contribution were not even being discussed.

J had been working late nights for a few weeks at his workplace.  On the last week of his project J having nothing on his plate decides to call it an early day and heads home at around 8:00 in evening.

The next day his technical lead escalates the issue of J not being proactive about his work. Leaving early when you are on a critical project is unacceptable.

Unable to understand what is going on, J tries to patch things up by having an open candid conversation with his team lead who isn't in office for the entire day.

At around 10:00 in the evening J sees his lead on IM and summons up enough courage to send him a message asking him if he was mad at J and if there is anything J could do to improve a sour professional relationship between them.

And the response from his team lead?

It goes like this: "Are you sending this message on a high? Are you drunk!?"

As J narrates this incident to me over a casual conversation some highlights emerge:

  1. In J's organization open candid one on one conversations are so rare and unheard of that nobody believes that is what you are trying to do even if you start an open conversation with your manager.
  2. In J's organization cases of IM flames by drunk employees to their managers are so common that most team leads see precisely that even when you are trying to have a perfectly healthy discussion that can bridge gaps.

Makes you wonder if the cases of drunk IM flaming that J's organization is so concerned about are really cases of drunk IM flaming or  just perfectly sane employees trying to summon up enough courage to have perfectly sane conversations over IM?

Wow! Talk about invisible gorillas!

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