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I hate my tech lead....

kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Ok, there is this guy who works with me, who has been at my company for few more years than me, but he is relatively new to Java. I don't like him at all, he is rude, uses swear words, and makes jokes at other's expense. Also, he does not like Java and says so in very harsh terms at meetings etc. Most people think it is a joke, maybe it is, but I don't see the humour. He and I were on the same level, when he threatened to quit the company and so the higher-ups decided to make him a tech lead. I don't mind that at all, but it seems like I might be working under him on the next project, and I hate it, hate it. What should I do? Grow up and realize that life is like that, and just go with it, or let my superiors know that I am not comfortable working with him?
[ September 28, 2005: Message edited by: kayal cox ]
kayal cox
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Originally posted by Sania Marsh:

You got to learn something, you will find such people everywhere. You have to learn to deal with them.


After some thought, I think that's what I am leaning towards too... but the next few months are gonna be a real test of patience...! I am worried that it's gonna take all the joy out of coming to work

But if he ever says anything that directly hurts me, he is gonna get it. Now that's not a good attitude, is it?
Sania Marsh
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Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
I can suggest only one thing, whatever you do, just don't hurt yourself.
Jason Cox
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Joined: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 287
I've been in a similar situation in the past. I had steeled myself to just weather the storm. As it turns out, there were more reasonable people in some of the higher-up positions that recognized I was making the best of a bad situation. I ended up being recognized for working well in a difficult environment, a fact that is probably going to help me in an upcoming assessment.

In the meantime, I no longer work with the people that caused me so much grief, and likely will never work with them again. So I'd say that in the end it all worked out to my benefit.

Though at the time I was miserable and couldn't imagine going another day. Perseverance paid off in the end.
Anand Prabhu
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Joined: Dec 19, 2003
Posts: 299
My suggestion for you is not to take an impulsive decision. Though he may be your lead, he needs you very much to get the job done. Stick around and see how it goes. If it is unbearable, you can try moving to other projects if possible within your company. Else, you can try somewhere else. Many a times, the higher-ups will soon see who does the core work if they deal with b*** lickers. It is possible they may feel uncomfortable with him and promote you.
kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Actually he is not really a totally bad sort. He has guided one project to a good, on-schedule delivary.
It is just that I find his character really obnoxious. It is more of a personal disagreement rather than a professional one.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Sania Marsh:

You got to learn something, you will find such people everywhere. You have to learn to deal with them.


No. I don't work with people like that. Good people are always in demand. If you have a bad work enviornment, find a new one.

(One of the reasons I like smaller companies is because I can meet most if not all the people and can make sure they are who I want to work with.)

--Mark
kayal cox
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Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

No. I don't work with people like that. Good people are always in demand. If you have a bad work enviornment, find a new one.

(One of the reasons I like smaller companies is because I can meet most if not all the people and can make sure they are who I want to work with.)

--Mark


But my work enviroment is otherwise not bad Mark. My company is great, my pay is good, and more importantly I am considered a valuable member in my team.
I just can't decide if I should say No to that project without even trying to work it out with him, or if I should put in some efforts to try and work it out.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by kayal cox:


But my work enviroment is otherwise not bad Mark. My company is great, my pay is good, and more importantly I am considered a valuable member in my team.
I just can't decide if I should say No to that project without even trying to work it out with him, or if I should put in some efforts to try and work it out.


My other point was that you don't have to tolerate it, you can choose to do so. :-) For me, the people are the number one factor in deciding my job.

As to your specific issue, it depends a lot on corporate culture and interpersonal dynamics. If you're a large organization, you should be able to talk to HR about it. You could also transfer to different projects. Depending on your relationship with your manager, you can talk to him/her about the situation and ask for options.

--Mark
Billy Tsai
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Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
tell the director about it


BEA 8.1 Certified Administrator, IBM Certified Solution Developer For XML 1.1 and Related Technologies, SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCDJWS, SCJD, SCEA,
Oracle Certified Master Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect
Vikram Kaul
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 29, 2005
Posts: 1
To start with, such poeple exist at almost all places, only the number varies depending on the organization.But it would be a sin if you "grew up and realized that life is like that". Beware of taking an impulsive decision, but by all means get proactive in dealing with this problem rather than being a silent witness to it.

I had faced a similar problem back in my last company ........ most of the tech leads that I had to work under did not deserve to be in that role .......... their contribution on the technical front used to be zilch ....... all they did was maintain documents and allocate work to others ........ and the worst part was that they did not think there was anything wrong in it ......... as if tech leads are not supposed to contribute "technically" ........ ( in comparison your guy seems to be better ....... you have mentioned that he has guided atleast one
project to proper delivery ........ I can't imagine my tech leads doing that ) ......

Your worst fear that you will loose all the joy of going to work can very much come true ..... it happened with me ........ each day I had to force myself to report to work ......... I did not quit right away since I had made the mistake of signing a service agreement with my company ........ I quit just sometime back ........ quit the very same day that my bond expired ........ ofcourse I did not quit due to one single guy ......... I quit because the whole bl**dy organization was full of such people ........ I knew there were better places waiting for me ....

The way I see it ....... if you are uncomfortable working with this guy at the same level ...... it is going to be difficult for you to work under him .... So go ahead and let your superiors know ........ but make sure that they are the types who can understand your problem and can do something about it ....... ( remember , they are the same people who promoted this guy of yours ....... ) ....... you have mentioned your company is great and you are considered a valuable member in your team ........ so things should work out ......... but if they don't .......... quit ........ quit asap rather than quiting later
when disillusionment has set in .......

By the way, if you somehow decide to or have to work under this guy,if he
says anything that directly hurts you ( as mentioned by you ), I suggest give it to him in the face.That surely won't be a good attitude for most companies ........... I certainly would consider that attitude good.
Sachin Mehra
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Joined: Jan 07, 2005
Posts: 77
I agree with Mark. Even though I say that don't act impulsively, but don't be tooooo patient either. Chances are that situation won't improve. People who lick....remain there and you wld always crib about the system.You won't feel interested in your work and then chances are he might get something to nail you.

If you are in large organization, try to get into another project/division/location whatever. But if you are in small setup and chances are that you would have to work with the guy, its better to leave as soon as you find opportunity. Trust me....waiting won't help.
Jason Cox
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 287
Mark,

Unfortunately when your a consultant you don't always get your choice of who to work for.

Though I agree with the general sentiment, as I would not put up with that kind of behavior at my parent company. Since they are generally good people I have not bothered to look for other employment. At least the clients are temporary.

The reverse can be true as well. I think my current client manager may be spoiling me.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Rob Aught:
Mark,

Unfortunately when your a consultant you don't always get your choice of who to work for.



I don't follow. Obviously, some organizations have more options than others. As an indpendent consultant you have a lot of choice. If you work for a larg firm like a Big 4, you also have a lot of choic, since if you're unhappy, you can talk to your manager and they can work to move you and bring in a replacment. It's only if you're working for a small company with limited resources and projcts that you have little flexibility--but that's true whether or not it's consulting.

--Mark
Jason Cox
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Joined: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 287
Hmmm....good point. Though I don't know if my company is "Big 4". Maybe one of the top ten.
Sania Marsh
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Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Here is a question - have you ever tried to mention what you don't like in your lead to himself? You could try to do that as a joke or in some soft manner.
Like, for example, softly ask what's the problem with java, why he hates it so much...
If he turns that against you, you have a good reason to talk to management.
kayal cox
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Originally posted by Sania Marsh:
Here is a question - have you ever tried to mention what you don't like in your lead to himself? You could try to do that as a joke or in some soft manner.
Like, for example, softly ask what's the problem with java, why he hates it so much...
If he turns that against you, you have a good reason to talk to management.


No, I have not tried to talk to him. It's partly because of the situation and partly because of me. Till now, I have not had the need to report to him, and as long as I was his equal, i just did my thing, taking care not to step on his toes. And another problem is, I am just a little bit scared of him. He has the gift of the gab, you know the kind of person who always has a prompt witty sharp reply. I am not so fast, and English is not my native language. So I try to avoid sparring matches. I have my first meeting with him today. I am just gonna be my usual self and see how that works. But if he says derisive comments about Java or Java applications, I will follow your suggestion and just ask him what his reasons are.
Vladas Razas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 02, 2003
Posts: 385
Either,

a) talk to management
b) talk to guy
c) find another job
d) live with it
e) forget it.

This is the list of possible options. I bet your tech lead does not care about your feelings. You are the one who is having a problem. So make decision and don't return to this question anymore.
Vladas Razas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 02, 2003
Posts: 385
Grow up and realize that life is like that, and just go with it, or let my superiors know that I am not comfortable working with him?


No... Life is what you make it.
Vladas Razas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 02, 2003
Posts: 385
I'm a tech lead, and I care about feelings of my team
What makes you think his tech lead does not care?


I had kayal's tech lead in mind.

On the side note: is tech leading useful? Every programmer has to be responsible for his work. If we have bright person with skills going around and fixing or bitching everyones else code, that is waste of time. Both lead and programmer. Everyones program up to their skills and experience. There will be better code and bad code. I've been tech lead myself on few projects. But also I was tech leaded. Now I don't think this practice is really effective.

Unless this is a management way of saying "we know you're good, we want you to have better salary and better title to show you our appreciation".
Prema Chakravarthy
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Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 91
I am a tech lead now but I only agreed to it because
#1. I seem to estimate and finish projects better than some others. So, my job now is to help them rather than to control them. (I work for them, not vice versa). I am not their manager.
#2. I plan to do this one more year and go get an MBA. So, I need the interaction and some leadership back ground. That is what I ultimately want to do.
Jayesh Lalwani
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Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
I always thought that having a tech lead is important for design and code reviews. Typically, a tech lead is in charge of low-level design, reviewing other programmer's code, providing technical assistance to other programmers and general fire-fighting. Usually, in small teams, the Architect is the tech-lead, but when you have big teams you will have an architect that does overall design, and there will be multiple teams with one tech lead per team. In case of multiple teams, the tech leads act as contact points between the teams. In most teams, the person who wears the tech lead hat wears a developer hat too.

Tech lead is not responsible for requirements analysis, although tech leads do provide feedback regarding feasibility of the requirements, and impact of requirements change on performance/maintainibility/etc/etc. Converting requirements into functional specifications is the analyst's job. However, in some places, the architect is the analyst too. I could see that in very compact teams, one person doing the architect, analyst and tech lead's job, but I think that person should be called "architect" and not "tech lead".

Also, Tech lead is not responsible for other people's work. The tech lead is responsible for his design, code, and reviewing code. If there is a defect in someone's code, tech lead is not responsible for it. Tech lead might be called in to fix the code at the 11th hour. Project lead is responsible for all the code. Project lead is also in charge of schedule and distribution of work. It is pointless to make tech lead responsible for all the work, because tech lead doesn't have a say in who does what job when. If your manager is making you responsible for other people's work, it is fair that you should have the power to say how the work gets done.

In large projects with multiple teams, where there are so many developers that it is not possible for the manager to take care of each developer, the team lead acts as a liason between the team and the manager. Because tech lead works day to day with the developers, the tech lead is person who is most familiar with each developer's style and shortcomings. So, the tech lead is suppossed to provide feedback to the Project lead regarding how each developer can be improved, and when the manager is messing up, the tech lead is in a position to suggest improvements to the manager. It's a really precarious position. Everyone has to trust the tech lead, including the developers and the manager. That's why it is not wise to make the tech lead accountable for all the code. If the developers see the tech lead as "the boss", then they might start tiptoeing around him, and if the developers don't trust the tech lead, then there's no point in having a tech lead. In kayal's case, if there are more people like her who don't trust the tech lead, then the tech lead is not going to be too effective.

I've been the tech lead in my previous job for 5 years. I love the position, because I get to work with everyone, and also get my hands dirty in the code.

Sania, If you are responsible for requirement analysis, design, guiding other developers, and coding, you should give yourself more credit. You are doing the Architect's job, not the tech lead's. If you are being held responsible for other people's work, then give yourself even more credit. You are the almost the Project lead.
Roger Chung-Wee
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Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
You are effectively the project lead. I suspect that you have lacked assertiveness in allowing the project lead to dump his responsibilities onto you. If so, you should do some assertiveness training.


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.3, SCBCD 1.3
Jayesh Lalwani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Sania,

Yes, it sounds like you are partially playing the role of the Project Lead. I sense that the main source of frustration is that you are being held responsible for people that you don't trust or don't have control over. Ideally, the person who is given responsibility for other people's work should be able to set training goals for those people, and make hiring/firing decision. If you are being held responsible for other person's work, then you should be able to say whether you want that person or not. Now, practically. no manager gets all the employee that she ideally wants. However, you should be having some measure of control over who gets to join your team.

Project lead doesn't have to understand technology. Project lead doesn't even have to completely understand the requirements(although it's better if she does). I have worked in a project where a senior QA person was promoted to Project lead, and I was the tech lead under her. I was analyzing all the requirements and coming up with the design, and she was distributing work, and tracking the progress of the project. It worked adequately. The project got delivered. What a Project lead *must* do is set goals for the team, and ensure that the team members meet the goals.


I'm responsible for on-time delivery of the project and for every single bug after project goes into testing, is anything is wrong, I'm the one who will be contacted and held responsible for fixing it.


Ok, there is a differrence between the person who is called in to fix a high-priority bug, and the person who is held responsible for the bug. I would expect the tech lead to be called in to fix critical bugs, even though the bugs are caused because of code written by someone else. However, that doesn't mean you are being held responsible for that bug. Am I making sense? You might be called in to fight the fire, but that doesn't mean that you are responsible for starting the fire. This part of the tech lead's job sucks a bit, because you get called in at the 11th hour


Now the saddest part: I was given all this work when I was a developer.. My salary has not been raised by even a penny since I'm given all this load..
Thinking to talk to management..

Think of it as learning experience. If not Project Lead, you are getting experience as an Architect. You should talk to your Project Lead to clarify what you are responsible for, and if you are truly responsible for other people's job, then you need to ask for more power within the team. It could be a simple case of misunderstanding. If you truly want a raise, you can ask for it, or in the worst case, stage a walkout like kayal's tech lead.
[ October 02, 2005: Message edited by: Jayesh Lalwani ]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
(Kayal, if this wander too far off topic for you, let me know and we'll start a new thread.)

Arging about what a tech lead does is silly. That's like arguing what a consultant does--there's no one right answer.

Some tech leads are simply senior developers who have a special title. Others are like architects, who are responsbile for leading the overall technical direction of the product. Some are responsibile for choosing the technologies used. Others might be a mentor to junior team members. Still others might be more project managers, and may have less of a technical background. I'm sure they are plenty of other types.

We don't hvae standardization of job titles in our industry. To argue about roles for a given title in light of this is an exercise in futility. The only context in which this might make sense is if Kayal defined what the role is at his company and how is tech lead does or does not fufil those requirements.

--Mark
kayal cox
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
(Kayal, if this wander too far off topic for you, let me know and we'll start a new thread.)
Nah, my question is kinda answered, and I have decided on what I am gonna do. You guys can go ahead with your discussion.

At my company, a tech lead does do some amount of coding, but he is also more of a "facilitator". He gets in touch with business lines for clarifying requirements, shakes out deployment issues, escalates other problems, does some effort estimation, and if it is a really big project/team does some work allocation too. He would typically be more experienced and technically strong in wide range of topics, but in my case, I do not think it to be so.
kayal cox
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 19, 2004
Posts: 376
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Kayal defined what the role is at his company
--Mark

.. her company..
[ October 03, 2005: Message edited by: kayal cox ]
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Sorry, I was get lagged and on 5 hours of sleep. :-p

--Mark
 
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