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RE: Technician having to play politics

Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2003 09:29:06 -0800
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Paula - I think this is the DBA's quandary. By nature we are really good technicians, and we enjoy being really important to the organization, and like to be paid well for our efforts. But sometimes the baggage is that we need to communicate to non-technical people and this can be a problem. Recently my wife had some minor surgery and afterwards the surgeon came out and explained it all to me. He was really into describing some aspects of what he'd done and it suddenly struck me "is that what we sometimes sound like to users?".

   The most revealing book I've recently read is an oldie "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. This is very close to what Rachel's response. To save you some time, here are the nuggets I gleaned from this book:

  1. We all tend to justify ourselves in our own eyes. We are the hero of our own movie. This is why trying to say something critical to someone usually the response isn't "Oh my gosh how could I have been so stupid?" No, the normal response is more to think "that big idiot doesn't realize how perfect I am."
  2. Really care about the people you work with. When people really feel you care about them, your relationship is likely to be much better. I think technical people are particularly vulnerable in this area. We are often accused to treating people like we treat computers. When we need information from someone, we simply walk up, and request the information. Sometimes people feel "used".

Dennis Williams
DBA, 40%OCP, 100% DBA
Lifetouch, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2003 2:29 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

Dear Ann (hehe),

Previous to this assignment I have been considered to be principled about technology but reasonable and pragmatic. At this assignment I was given a big send up and there were some real insecurities already in-place from people put into high-level IT jobs without any real IT experience. I was told to take a proactive role (at first) and I did but I feel that this has only caused more resentment - plus I am not the best e-mail writer in the universe and e-mail can lead to miscommunications. Now, I look back at the last 3 years and realize that unconsciously people hear me with a certain perspective - miss know-it-all, technical geek -B*. Outside of my job I am considered patient, team-playing, caretaker type. I realize that the one thing I need to do is use this opportunity to hone my personal skills and I am not a person to easily give-up (worked one place for 10 years, married high-school sweetheart, dedicated wife, mother, daughter of elderly parents). However, with a bad start and the last 3 years of dodging more personal missiles then I can think of (including being personally insulted in meetings with users - something I would never do to another) I don't know what to do. The IT market is pretty stiff and right now I have 2 small children, a husband and elderly parents relying on me and my income. Sometimes I feel that what I am feeling could be somewhat due to the tightening market and insecure overall economy and the fact that this particular organization has not had a strong CIO for the last 7 years - leading to more emphasis on political positioning (wow - learning much more about politics then I ever wanted to know) and that I am not alone. This environment I have used to temper my standards and responses, got Oracle OCP after holding out for 8 years, heck considering to write a book on the IT government industry - kind of a parody in light of P.J. O'Rourke. Please understand that not everyone in this environment has these issues. In otherwords, I am not Schizophrenic feeling everyone is against me. However, this environment is not balanced and so the moderate, objective voices seem to get lost in the storm. So I am trying to find a way to turn this whole thing around - I believe there is one person especially who is at the heart of this. Others have reported this as so. I do not wish to cause this person any harm. I just want to turn this thing around without having to get another job. I would like to see a win-win. My dream is to work with other technical professionals to development products of lasting quality that really address business needs. I have something significant invested in the users here, the technology, the other technicians and management. Any ideas/advice?


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