Dec 23, 2006

Resolving Workplace Conflict: An Exercise

Got a great e-mail the other day from a former ePrizer who saved this document:

We are currently in a state of flux here at ePrize. The schism of the DT role into Technologists and HTML specialists has been a source for confusion, consternation, and concern.

The following is an example of dissent among the ranks. Please read through this carefully:

Is this your fabulous writing? “Functionality--Viral Error -- I am unable to refer friends, apparently. Being given a butt ugly page that has two headlines and two sets of body copy that says I'm missing either my friends name or friends email. That text is VERY awkward as it should be either "Friend's name / friend's email" if they've referred one friend or "Friends' name / friends' email" if they've screwed up more than one. We don't have the ability to check this so I would recommend rephrasing those headlines.”

Yes, that's mine. The Butt Ugly gave me away, I imagine.

I'm going to type this and not say it out loud for your benefit: Don't ever feed stuff like that to the PMs. Ever.

LOL! What part was objectionable? The functionality assessment or my concern about apostophes?

I hate to break it to you, but I'm not laughing about it. I'm sick of your charade. There's a fine line between constructive criticism and attacking someone's work. And you continually cross it and aren't taken to task for it. Don't ever do it again.

Woah, woah, woah. What's the criticism? I'm so not seeing what the problem was. No charade intended -- please explain your complaint to me as if I were completely in the dark -- because I am.

Well, I'll use the Sony promotion and this as my examples. The words you use are completely uncalled for. "butt ugly", "WTF," etc. You need to watch how you say thing, because they are easily misinterpreted and it's going to take you quite awhile to live down the Sony e-mail.

If you're going to harp on older mistakes that I felt have been rectified, we'll never get anywhere. Is there such a thing as Tabula Rasa to you? That "butt ugly" comment was aimed at the HS, not the Technologist.
As we both know, the HS is the person in charge of the "prettiness" of a promotion -- I am 99% sure that this page was not complete -- nor was the promotion -- when handed to me for review. That was a way to call big attention to it for the HS who worked on it next to get on it pronto. Not a personal attack on you. Or a professional attack on your work.

Whoever said everything was an attack on me?

You're acting that way. The "charade" statement. When I write to my team, I use very brusque language. I was unaware that the "butt ugly" thing would be assigned to you -- you need only worry about the functionality, I would think.

It's assigned as a technologist task in the breakdown.

And I'm responsible for that how? Again, sorry if I offended -- that comment was not intended for you but for whichever HS was assigned those changes -- even if it were me.

I'm sure that the PM assigned it to you due to the functionality issues, not breaking it into parts as it should have been. I'll be sure to phrase any functionality problems in a nicer tone.


  1. What is the nature of the conflict?
  2. Has this conflict been resolved?
  3. How could this conflict have been avoided?

There's no doubt in my mind that the "conversation" documented here is real. I'm just not sure that the questions that followed it are. It was presented to me as if it were a worksheet of the conversation with three follow-up questions. My comments are the ones here in italics. The rest came from the word doc I was sent. Sorry, tough to communicate this via the limited formatting.


dizgruntled said...

I like this post, really I do...but even after re-reading it a few times, I'm missing something. I think the bold and non-bold text is a IM conversation between two eprizers (while they were employeed at the company). But then the last comment by nolimits has me at a loss, I mean, help me out, do you believe this to be a 'true' account, or a 'fake' account? Sorry, maybe too much egg nog last night...

NoLimits said...

Diz, I tried to to some de-obfuscation in the bottom paragraph. Let me know if that helps. No doubt it's a true account but that it was an "exercise" may have been fake. I think I know who one of the participants was but can't figure out the other.

Ghost of ePrize Past said...

Was that Sarah Keenley or Scott Barker as the bolded voice?