IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Posts Tagged ‘Assertiveness’

Goodbye Big Black Box

Posted by IT Pilgrim on August 27, 2008

This is my official goodbye to the Big Black Box Computer Company, where I was contracted to until October. However, it all ended last Tuesday, abruptly. They gave me some crap about wanting someone with different skills, but I am not that stupid, I know the real reason. The real reason is one the employees, the Team Lead no less was repeatedly trying to physically intimidate me. At over 6 inches taller than me, and a big guy, he tried to use his size to push me around. I told him Exactly what I thought about such behavior, and contractor or no, under no circumstances was I going to tolerate it. So here’s my five quick tips on assertiveness, something I use all the time.
From Wikipedia:

Assertive people have the following characteristics:

* They feel free to express their feelings, thoughts, and desires.
* They know their rights.
* They have control over their anger. It does not mean that they repress this feeling. It means that they control it for a moment and then talk about it later in a logical way.
* They have a good understanding of feelings of the person with whom they are communicating.

For Assertiveness in the Office:

  • Use “I” sentences. Using “we” or “us” makes a much softer point, save it for when you are actually trying to be nicey-nice.
  • Stand-up straight and tall, no slouching or rounded shoulders. That conveys vulnerability.
  • Be crystal clear in what you say and what you want. Always try to stay on message and leave no wiggle room.
  • Say No occasionally. Rather than be the world’s dumping ground, say no to some requests, but try to pick something fairly reasonable if possible. Remember, clarity.
  • Use your voice. Speak up, especially you ladies and you very soft spoken gentlemen. There is a time to be quiet, but its not all the time. Make youself heard. Use those lower tones to convey seriousness.

I could probably go on and on for hours about it, and about how important it is to be assertive. Sometimes, its better to err on the side of aggression than to err on the side of doormat. The funny thing is, I did not learn assertiveness in school, or even in a seminar. Assertiveness is a skill you learn when trying to command a thousand pound horse at 40 feet away. So next time you are not sure, just think, would your attitude stop that horse before it ran you over?

Last, but not least. To Big Black Box Computer Company. I will miss your empty parking lot, empty, because no one ever shows up for work. I will miss your white male dominated buildings where the desks are great, if you are 6 feet tall. OK, I won’t miss you persay, but I will miss your great toys that almost no other company can ever afford, and the 3rd largest SAN in the United States.

Photos by by jepoirrier via Flickr and by -= ierkof =- via Flickr


Posted in Life in IT, Office Skills | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »