9th circle of IT hell: Tech-pro treachery
Description: An icy wasteland, filled with lost souls desperately clawing at the knives in their backs
People you meet there: Disgruntled employees, work rivals, any geek with a grudge
Howard says he once took a senior technology architect job with a major hardware maker that was coveted by "Bob," a less experienced employee in another location. Bob then attempted to cut him off at the knees by obtaining the RFP for a supercomputer for a major client and keeping it a secret -- even from the head sales rep.
"He thought he could do it himself and thus prove he should have gotten the job instead of me," says Howard. "But Bob was in way over his head. So he began blaming me for why the project didn't get done, when I didn't even know about it."
One week before the design was due to be submitted, Howard learned what had happened. Fortunately, Howard says, his own boss saw through the scheme immediately. Bob was asked to produce all of his email communications about the project. When he couldn't, the jig was up.
Howard says he had to spend all of his Labor Day weekend working on the project and fixing Bob's errors.
"I was able to bring in the design on time," he says. "But Bob had to leave."
How to escape: It helps to have a good manager on your side, says Howard. But you still need to cover your assets, keeping all your emails and your boss in the loop. If it looks like treachery is afoot, pick up the phone or go to your nemesis's office to professionally confront them -- don't do it on email.
"Small people with large egos act like giants on email because they don't have to face anyone," he says. "If you talk to them on the phone or meet with them, they have to be their real size."
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