[thechat] No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Jack Timmons jorachim at gmail.com
Tue Apr 7 06:16:22 CDT 2009

On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 10:19 PM, Matt Warden <mwarden at gmail.com> wrote:

> <snip>
> If you can't come up with a question or two like that, I would say
> perhaps there isn't as much of a difference in the two approaches as
> you think.

This is actually quite a funny coincidence, since I spent some time on the
phone with our sister office yesterday in an idealistic approach of "we
should open up communications between offices to help our CSRs", even though
it's an idea that's been pitched over and over again, and the power struggle
going on above my head keeps it from happening.

If my superiors don't agree with my approach after I pitch it, I let it go.
That doesn't mean I don't say anything in the first place. If there's
something going on that's SOP that I believe can be improved or just needs
to be gotten rid of, I mention it in a heartbeat. Servers, design, workflow,
CSR interfaces...I've been shot down enough times for me to doubt whether
it's worth it, but that usually lasts for a few days and I'm back where I'm

What if everyone gave up on the idea of fighting the good fight? Nobody
really cared about web standards, accessibility, etc?  You may have your
doubts, Matt, about whether or not it's worth it, but doing my best to
create better ways of doing things, and speaking up about it when I have an
idea is the closest thing I have to a religion. Am I a brash jackass about
it? I used to be, I'll admit, and sometimes I get the spiteful urge, but
I've cooled down now that I've got a herd of kids.
Also, my environment wasn't such that I -could- promote ideas in that
manner. We never had meetings before I took over, even though I recommended
it (and was shot down). All the improvements that came about were because I
took my own personal time to do it, and then showed them the results. I made
waves because nobody was willing to suggest to the current managers face he
might be wrong, even in most tactful of manners, whereas now I'm openly
called out if I have a bad idea. Making those waves is how things improve.
Is it worth the personal risk you mentioned? Sure, to me, so long as I can
show or teach someone a better way of doing things. If I can improve
someone's workload so it's not so hard, or speed a website up so
it processes faster, then it's worth it.

I apologize if I somehow came across as a blunt, heavy-handed, and as
tactful as George Bush around German chancellors. I can point that directly
to the fact that in my head I don't bother with being tactful: I think I'm
right, I think they're wrong, that's the point of the situation. If I'm
proven wrong, I am gracious enough to admit so, and to give the person who
proved me wrong my gratitude, since it's a learning experience.

I still believe the OP should continue on and not give up. The OP has, as I
can see, the same desires I do for doing "the right" thing, and I know how
hard it can be when the right thing gets thrown aside because of politics.
Mostly remembering that there be future situations my idea may work, and
that I can always try again usually help. Or, I can enjoy the wonderment
I'll feel when it's revealed to me exactly why the current way is best,
hoping it is, of course.

-Jack Timmons
Twitter: @codeacula

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