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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Your Mom: Selective Exclusion (A Rant)

   
Author Topic: Your Mom: Selective Exclusion (A Rant)
Alcon
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I'm a software developer working at a very large company. I work in cubeville hell. I share a cube with two of my coworkers. It's not a big cube. We're right on top of each other. I can turn around and easily see one of my coworker's screens. The other all I have to do is roll two feet and I can see his. The same goes for them and mine.

These two coworkers and I are three members of a four man software development team. (Not including our boss). We work together. All day. We frequently have to talk and consult. It's a pretty intimate working relationship as working relationships go.

I don't know if I would go so far as to call them friends. While we have much in common (we're all varying flavors of geeks) there's also a ton of stuff we disagree on. We generally get along well enough - at least I feel like we do. We get riled up at each other occasionally - but that's bound to happen.

We're right on top of each other - the three of us. If any one of us is talking, the other two are listening. It's impossible to do otherwise. When one of us talks on the phone the other two have to make a concerted effort not to eavesdrop. I generally make said effort and try not to interject. They do not. And it's not unusual for me to wind up listening to their commentary any time I talk on the phone. Sometimes it's useful if they have advice to give, other times its obnoxious (such as when the person on the other end is Shelly). I don't complain though, because I know we're on top of each other. And if I need a truly private conversation I'll take it out of the cube.

However, they will frequently start conversations with each other. About personal stuff, about work stuff, about whatever. I can't help but hear. Usually I'm working and only half hearing it, but sometimes I'll hear something that catches my interest. I'll turn around and attempt to join. Nearly universally, as soon as I turn around they stop talking and look at me and ask "what's up?" If I respond that I'm merely attempting to join in the conversation and request clarification on something I've heard they respond with variations of "none of your business" usually phrased more along the lines of "your mom". I could hear the whole bloody thing! I heard most of it, just not the part I wanted clarification on! If they really didn't want me listening, why not take it out of the cube or have it over Sametime (our IM program)? When it's a personal conversation I suppose I understand, I'm not really their friend. Fine. But a phrasing more along the lines of, "I'd really rather not share this with more people, it's personal." would be far more mature, and would be deeply appreciated, rather than simply ignoring me or responding with "your mom".

And when it's a work based conversation, their refusal to include me has more than once been to their detriment. For example one of the conversations was around whether or not a particular piece of code had already been written. It had, I'd written it. But neither of them was aware of this. They were about to rewrite it for a different purpose in another section of the software. I over heard something that caused me to wander in - I suspected they were talking about a piece of code I'd already written. But my requests for clarification were ignored. If I hadn't persisted, interrogated and eventually dragged out of them what they'd been talking about (mostly by figuring it out and telling them what I knew), they would have rewritten a piece of code that they didn't have to. It would have taken a couple of days - I know, because it took me a couple of days to write in the first place.

It's frustrating to not be friends with your coworkers. But that's fine. We disagree on a lot of things, and I'm a transitory. I came in the summer, and I'll be leaving either in a month or a few months after that.

But the manner in which they exclude me in infuriating. If they really wanted a private conversation, there are multiple ways that could achieve that. The fact that they have an, essentially, public conversation - and then exclude me only when I actually express interest and do it in the most obnoxious of ways is infuriating. And often causes me to lose my train of though. First the conversation distracts me, and then their reaction to my distraction just leaves me stewing and unable to focus.

*sigh* This is a scattered rant, I know. This just happened to me again - for the umpteenth time. And I had a really good and productive train - which has now been completely derailed. I've resisted ranting about this on Hatrack for a solid eight months at this point, and I guess I'm just getting sick of it. It would have only taken a second for them to give the more mature and polite version of "It's none of your business" or three minutes to explain what they were talking about and fill in the bits I'd missed. Or they could have easily just skipped the whole darned thing by actually holding the conversation in private.

Has anyone else ever had experiences like this? How did you handle them? How did you keep from going insane?

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TomDavidson
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Noise-canceling headphones.
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Alcon
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Then I get stuff thrown at me when they actually do want to include me.
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TomDavidson
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Well, that's okay. Just also wear thick clothing.
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Alcon
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[ROFL] Considering what they have at their disposal to throw, and the lack of wisdom they have displayed in selecting their projectiles... maybe I should consider chain mail.
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TomDavidson
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I guarantee you that if you wear chain mail and enormous headphones, your work situation will improve.
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Kwea
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lol

And if it doesn't, bring a sword to match. I bet they will be more polite that way, at least until security arrives. [Wink]

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Alcon
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*sigh* My coworkers are children...

Three of them are trying to install a piece of software they were supposed to demo for a meeting.

Current rate of 'your mom': 3 per minute
Current rate of 'that's what she said': 2 per minute

They've been at this for 20 minutes. I need a new job...

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TomDavidson
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Or noise-canceling headphones.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
*sigh* My coworkers are children...


I heartily agree. LOL

Seriously, how old are they? They must really resent you.

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Alcon
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Or noise-canceling headphones.

This was while we were in theory working together to accomplish this. This wasn't just hanging out in our cube. It's not just the patter that bothers me. It's that the maturity level of the people I have to work with is so low it makes me feel like I'm working on a group homework programming class project in middle school again [Frown]
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Nighthawk
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
*sigh* My coworkers are children...

Three of them are trying to install a piece of software they were supposed to demo for a meeting.

Current rate of 'your mom': 3 per minute
Current rate of 'that's what she said': 2 per minute

They've been at this for 20 minutes. I need a new job...

Might I ask how long you've been a software developer and how many times you've worked in a "programmer shop"?

The above is par for the course, and very typical of an informal software developer environment. Heck, I hear "that's what she said" at least twenty times in a given day. I work within arm's reach of three other developers; there are ten of us in one room.

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dabbler
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you don't enjoy a greater degree of trust and comraderie with them because you think they're childish. They probably don't see you as fun. And if you aren't comfortable using their lingo then there isn't really a good way around it.
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Alcon
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quote:
Originally posted by Nighthawk:
quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
*sigh* My coworkers are children...

Three of them are trying to install a piece of software they were supposed to demo for a meeting.

Current rate of 'your mom': 3 per minute
Current rate of 'that's what she said': 2 per minute

They've been at this for 20 minutes. I need a new job...

Might I ask how long you've been a software developer and how many times you've worked in a "programmer shop"?

The above is par for the course, and very typical of an informal software developer environment. Heck, I hear "that's what she said" at least twenty times in a given day. I work within arm's reach of three other developers; there are ten of us in one room.

That rather makes me despair. Those jokes weren't funny when they were popular when we were kids, and they're even less so now.

How many places have you worked in where you've found this to be par for the course?

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Xavier
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I'm a software developer, who has worked in a few different shops, and it isn't par for the course in any shop I've been in. I don't think I'd have much tolerance for it, to be honest.
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AchillesHeel
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Thats pretty sad, I find more intellectual conversation at my conveniance store than you do in an office building filled with educated proffessionals. And most of that is with ex-cop/military working gas station security.
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fugu13
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I work among a fairly young group of co-workers, about half of them software developers, and while occasionally "your mom" and "that's what she said" jokes will be made, I can go weeks without hearing any.
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Samprimary
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We play an inverse 'your mom' game. You jump on the infrequent opportunity to sound like you're making a your mom joke which is unintentionally complimentary, as an intentional parody of people who unironically make bad your mom jokes.

EXA:

A: What do you do these days?
B: I go to college.
A: your mom goes to college.
Crowd: oOOOooOOOOOOOOooo

feigned stuttering-to-act-like-you-are-a-person-making-the-joke-while-being-dimly-aware-that-you-can't-make-the-joke-make-sense-in-your-head-but-you're-just-doing-it-out-of-habit-anyway earns bonus points for convincing delivery.

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Ace of Spades
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"Your Mom is so white all of her kids have the same father."
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Samprimary
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hmmmm
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MattP
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I've seen that in some programmer shops and not in others. Even different sub-groups within the same group can have dramatically different social dynamics. Where I work now we've got everything from the hermit that doesn't say anything to anyone other than occasionally smacking his keyboard and shouting "idiot!" at some mysterious coding offense, to the "that's what she said" guys that confine most of their off-color humor to lunch and foosball in the break room. When the different personalities come together there is some attenuation of more extreme behaviors.

I do think it's unrealistic to expect everyone else to change their social dynamic in order to adjust to your sensibilities.

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vonk
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You have foosball in the break room?! Best job ever.

Also, as to the OP, I would wait for the perfectly unwarranted and digustingly applicable time to throw out a "That's what your mom said."

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Ace of Spades
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:

They've been at this for 20 minutes.

That's what she said.
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scifibum
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I hallucinated posting in this thread 2 days ago.

Samp, I am also a fan and artisan of deliberately inapt and inept 'your mom' jokes.

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Nighthawk
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
How many places have you worked in where you've found this to be par for the course?

At least three.

quote:
Originally posted by vonk:
You have foosball in the break room?! Best job ever.

We have a Wii and a XBox 360.
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TomDavidson
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You know, when I was a decade younger, I was amused and entranced by the way some companies treat their programmers like idiot savants or unruly teenagers: free drinks, cots and games in the break rooms, deliberately informal social culture that's almost entirely insulated from management, etc.

But the older I get, the more I resent this. For one thing, the companies tend to abuse these relationships; they make themselves parents -- or even "bros" -- to presume upon your time and goodwill. They are aware of the fact that they are patronizing you, even if you aren't.

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Nighthawk
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I'm OK with that. [Razz]

I think that's just the company realizing that most hardcore programmers are also social outcasts, so they give them an environment they can relate to, fell comfortable in and be productive in.

My company doesn't give us soda, but we do get beer at 5pm on Fridays.

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scifibum
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I'd take a salaried job where I get some inexpensive but enjoyable perks in exchange for my goodwill and a lot of free overtime, if the alternative was enduring the kind of petty exercise of authority that comes with a lot of hourly jobs where the relationship is a lot more straightforward.

But it'd be even better to have a company recognize that my time and effort should be bargained for in a straightforward manner, while working at a professional level where my supervisor isn't forced into micromanaging me.

I work at a company with a lot of silly little patronizing perks, actually. I don't let the free sodas make me feel more obligated than I would feel without them, though.

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