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Do I Really Not Care? Or Only Want To Not Care?

September 21, 2022

 “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit”
– Harry Truman

I don’t need to be right. I really don’t. At least I don’t think so. I hope not.

Some people care. And they care a lot.

I’ve worked in IT for a REALLY long time. I’ve got computers older than some of my coworkers. I don’t like to code. But, I know a little. In fact, after 35 years in the IT world, you end up knowing a little about everything including how to design code.

We needed to exclude a particular item type. I explained to my team how to do it. Basically scan the input and if that particular item type is detected, flag it and exclude it.

A senior Program Manager didn’t agree.

We shouldn’t hard code it. We should simply define it in our data library and then we can exclude it.

He was VERY insistent. And he was also wrong. I knew he was wrong. But, he really wanted to be right. And he was my supervisor. What would you do?

Okay. Let’s talk to Terrell and let him design it.

Terrell was our Senior Developer. You know what Terrell said?

We have to hard code it. We add items to the data library on an ad hoc basis. We can’t know when we might receive that data type.

Terrell didn’t know that I’d suggested something very similar. My supervisor didn’t mention it again and neither did I.

Earlier I had explained to Terrell how we had agreed to design a feature. Terrell didn’t remember the conversation. And so, in his mind, the conversation didn’t happen.

No, Rodney, I pay particular attention on calls and I would have remembered that!

You know what I said?


Later I talked to my supervisor about it.

You know, Rodney, I think you’re right. I remember us talking about that. I think Terrell is wrong.

Did he mention it to Terrell? Of course not. And neither did I. It didn’t matter who got the credit. At least it didn’t to me. It certainly did to him.

I take a lot of calls with Terrell. I was training our client on a part of product. They asked a question that I was 90% certain on the answer. I sent a facebook PM to Terrell.

They can do that process multiple times, right?

I’m honestly dumbfounded that you don’t know even these simple features of our product. That’s unbelievable.

You might read this and think, “Geez, Rodney’s kind of a wimp.” I don’t see it that way. I don’t need credit. I don’t care if I get it or not. I wish Terrell didn’t think I was an idiot, but there is nothing to be gained by arguing with him about it. And if you ever find yourself considering the phrase, “I’m not as stupid as you think I am,” it’s probably best to keep that unspoken.

The point is to get the job done.

But, here’s the real cost. I’ll continue my job, because despite my supervisor and Terrell’s opinions, I’m good at it. The client certainly thinks so. But, will I feel a sense of loyalty? Will I feel a sense of pride and belonging?

Nope. I’m not that much of an idiot.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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