How do you deal with being the person who doesn't get it?

A few days ago, I posted a "Rant" about key personnel on projects who don't get it. This was an immediate response to an encounter with a specific customer.

I genuinely believe that our lives are not governed by the events that occur, but by our chosen responses to those events. It is through our choices and actions that we exercise some illusion of control and help to temper the chaos around us.

I am in the midst of a personal revelation that I am struggling with.

I am a poor customer service provider.
I always have been.
When I rely on teammates who are excellent at it, I flourish.
When I take on the role myself, I fail.

I dig computer programming. It just makes sense to me. I enjoy learning new languages and techniques. I love creating things. I am made for this vocation; this profession; this lifestyle. I am passionate about it. I want to stand in front of rooms of people and tell them all about it. I want to write books about it. I want to learn and learn and learn and learn. I want to hone my craft. I want to kick ass. I want to be surrounded by people who feel the same way. People who value the same things, share the same passion, and want to make a difference in the world. People who are more passionate about TDD than they are about their favorite sports team. People who think hanging out with geeks writing a program that nobody will ever use is way f'n cool. People who would rather walk away from the money and the customer than compromise code quality to meet a deadline and get a buck.

I don't suffer fools well. Right is right. Team comes first. Quality is sacrosanct, but perfection is perversion. Collaboration requires hard work whereas Cooperation simply works. You're either on the team, or you're not. Roll your damn sleeves up, make your contribution, take a stand, own it with the rest of us, or get the F out of the way. I can't stand people who want the glory, but can't get their hands dirty or be bothered with little things like details, rational thought, or reality. 

These attitudes; this righteousness; my outlook. It makes me a good developer. Put me on a team with like minded people and we'll crank it. But I am not a good candidate for managing the customer relationship.


I lead teams well. I deal with customers poorly. I don't expect to change much. I've had this sense of passion and justice all of my life. And, frankly, I like it.

So, yeah, the customer didn't get it. But neither did I. I think I get it now. Or at least I've learned a lot and perhaps grown a little. And I feel okay about me right now. That's something I've been struggling with for a few months.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, I feel your pain... Stick to your principles. Be the idealist. Be that lemming that says "Hey, it's f'n stupid that we all jump off a cliff." Do what you know to be right, and let the chips fall where they may.

    A wise man once told me that so long as you stick with facts, always tell the truth (no matter how distateful it may be), and do what is truly in the best interest of your customer, the rest simply doesn't matter.

    Then again, maybe I'm not the best person in the world from whom to take advice on this subject... ;-)

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