Sunday 19 September 2021

Showing courtesy to others' time

My time is not yours to usurp

It is a strange lack of awareness to see people who need something yet expect you to work around their agenda to fit their schedule, the demand on your own free time given no consideration and it is not about compensation, but just respect and courtesy.

In most of my computing career, I have been self-taught, I can understand that I could sometimes think aptitude, capacity, and curiosity are so widely distributed for anyone with sufficient discipline, determination, and drive to acquire the skill they need. Then again, I have my inadequacies and roadblocks, I work to overcome them even as the difficulties mount.

Then I am always available to help people especially on technical matters and to those I would hope a seed grows into a tree bearing more fruit. What I find difficult to help is the absence of growth over a period of time, and it is as noticeable as day is apart from night.

Hollow barrels of technology

I recall taking a taxi ride and the driver had a Mastering Windows NT 4.0 in a Month book as he suggested he will be joining us in the IT field very soon. Now, I had no idea of his abilities or ambition, but the prospect of earning £25 an hour in the late nineties had some appeal to many, they swotted the exams and snagged opportunities through agencies placing tyros without depth in companies that needed critical skills.

They never got their contracts renewed if they lasted the 3 months before destroying or breaking something. That is not to say I am faultless; I have done some seriously stupid things at work that should have walked me out of the door but for people who managed me to excuse them knowing they have had their own moments too and there was potential in me.

The number of times I fielded calls from people in panic clueless of what to do and when being guided never improved on what they have learnt. Sadly, they still exist and many of us slightly more knowledgeable as burdened with their inadequacies to help keep them in their jobs. The fact that the Internet is awash with solutions that anyone can find is they knew what they wanted to do and had the inkling to pursue it is beside the point, they never try nor understand.

My weekends are mine alone

I do not work weekends, I devote that time to my own development and life, I have constantly refused the urge for others to usurp my weekend time. In my 26 years of contracting, I have probably not worked more than 10 weekends even where the rate is double or triple the daily rate.

This situation was a mess from the start, he had bluffed his way into a role that was way beyond his capacity and so far, I can see no development or growth in the 5 or so hours of my weekend that were taken to address some issues months before. I also doubt the references for learning and development I gave were exhausted. I was annoyed and frustrated, but bit my tongue.

Earlier this week, he called to ask for some of my time and expertise in the weekend. I offered Saturday was doubtful about Sunday and asked questions about what we were to achieve. My responses when answered asked for the Sunday that was not available along with excuse that a hospital appointment, I was unaware of for the Saturday took longer than expected. At which point as demand for Monday was made to which I will not answer.

I am not here to help people who will not help themselves and take no consideration of others because they think their requirements and needs mean the world revolves around them. I will choose the time I am available just as I considerately work around the time others can offer me. A patsy, I am not.

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