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Posted on: Wednesday, 17 June 2009 by Rajiv Popat

The Problem With Being A Bullshit Passing Whiner.

"My manager is a pompous asshole in pressure situations." --- you say.

That's a lame excuse for taking the shit and passing it over to your team when you find some on your own backyard.

Remember; organizations are all about observation.

You see, the whole act of morphing into an asshole that your boss pulled off when the sky started falling; you were watching that.

Closely.

Weren't you?

Now; just in case; if you didn't realize here is another secret.

The builders in your team; they were watching it too.

Not just watching your manager; they were watching you as well; to see how you are going to deal with the shit that your manager threw at you and which is now safely lying out on your backyard.

Unless you have observed organizations and builders at work very closely; let me turn you on to another secret you may not already know --- ready?

They expect the worst.

Your builders; I mean.

Time has taught them to expect the worst. They're prepared; waiting for you to throw the shit in their backyard and get on with your comfortable life.

You can do it right now. Take the truck load of crap --- throw it over the fence straight at their backyard and forget that the problem ever existed. Be rest assured they have both; the competency and the courage to clean up the mess for you.

There is just one tiny little problem with doing that however --- at the first act leaving the shit in their back-yard you've just disassociated yourself from the team of builders; you have just sent out a very subtle, silent It-Is-Not-My-Problem message to your team.  

Do it just a couple of times and your team will start perceiving you as a 'manager' followed by an 'outsider' --- not an integral part of the team who is support to play definite role in the larger scheme of the team dynamics. 

Do it a little more frequently and you are not even a 'manager' or an 'outsider' any more. You are now just a 'problem' that the team needs to 'deal with' --- just like hundreds of other problems they have to deal with while they indulge in the act of building stuff.

You are no longer a partner in crime.

You are this pompous prick the team needs to 'take care of' or handle.

By indulging in the mere act of passing shit from your manager to your team; you go from a team member --- a friend --- a partner in crime --- to a being a problem that the team needs to deal with; in one simple and easy step.

Of-course; there is no secret builder's meeting where they officially denounce you as a pompous prick and a problem they now need to deal with.

It all happens with silent clicks-and-ticks in the minds of builders as they observe; watch and draw their own conclusions from what they see.

As smart and sleazy as you might try to act; depending on what you might have learnt from your past experiences; be rest assured; a tightly knit team of builders will have tools and mechanisms for finding out if you're a part of the team; a genuine supporter or a random outsider who is going to run at the first sound of trouble.

During my early days at Multiplitaxion Inc, we worked with quite a few of these bull-shit passers.

We had a name for them --- we called them "mail servers"

All they did was take a flame mail from a vice president, change a few words here and there and passed the message on to the rest of the team. We did their shit cleaning for them. When the shit was cleaned up; they took our emails, added a few more words to make the message as vague as possible and passed the message along to the vice president.

During my early days at Multiplitaxion Inc, I've been with a team where we've lost track of the hours or days spent at office; we have also seen an instance where one of the individuals actually ended up having a physical nervous breakdown followed by a hospitalization; because of the amount of shit was thrown on our backyard.

Did we die?

Heck, no.

All that happened was simple --- we got stronger.

Our bonds as a team grew deeper.

As far as my life is concerned; most individuals from those times, including the builders and bullshit passers have gone their own ways.

We meet every now and then; accidently; in a cafe or a restaurant.

As strange as it might sound, even today, the presence of a colleague from an old time who happened to be a bullshit passer, in the same cafeteria or restaurant makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

On the other hand, let the restaurant, have a team member, a builder or a partner in crime and I would have changed my table faster than you can think. Before you can realize, you will see us laughing and talking about the times when we went from "we're screwed" to "we made it" --- together.

In all probabilities; you will; almost invariably see us giving each other offers to join the organizations we currently work for; because working together again; is something we look forward to.

After all, who doesn't like a partner in crime, watching over his back and giving him cover fire on the battle field especially when you are building remarkable and fun products together.

If you're a young and budding manager; who accidently landed with a team of builders; you can take all your shit and pass it over to their backyard. Be rest assured; they will clean it up for you; before you even notice. There is just one tiny consistent backside to doing this however. You will go from a manager; to a problem passer; to being the primary problem of the project in on simple step. 

The next time you are having a bad day --- remember --- if your boss is a pompous asshole -- it is not your team's problem.

Letting the shit run downhill; is clearly not a 'management style' that works; specially when you are working with a team of genuine builders.

Of-course; you're having a bad day.

Of-course the sky is failing.

Having said that; at the end of the day; if they find out the magnitude of the 'badness' of your day --- you are not a builder --- just are just a bullshit passing whiner and just one of the countless problems your builders have to deal with when they indulge in the act of building stuff.

Have you worked with a manager who expected your team to work harder by forwarding a flame mail from your boss over to your team?

Have you worked with a manager who gets a strange perverted kick in ordering your team to stay late?

Have you worked with a manager who prefers to go home and get a 'status update' in an email while the rest of the team works late night?

Have you worked with a manager who thinks that he can get more output by pushing the team harder?

Have you ever had a bad day just because your manager is having a bad day, dear reader?

Discuss.

Note: This article is a part of a Work In Progress Book. To Read connected articles read the Builders At Work category of this blog.