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I am a programmer. That's why I'm receiving a paycheck. I sit alone in a small cubicle and do my work. I don't do desktop support and I'm not interested in working closely with users. So my boss says to me today that I am being signed up for a FIVE day course in..... Microsoft OUTLOOK. You heard right. A five day course learning how to email. And the purpose of this? So I can teach classes to everyone at my job how to use Outlook. Am I a teacher? Nope. Am I a desktop support person? Nope. Do I want to waste my time and go through the stress of doing this? F-no. So I'm going to start looking for another job. I know some of you might say, "appreciate your job, and do anything you have to for the money." Well I worked very hard to be hired as a programmer, and the thought of doing these presentations causes me great stress and anxiety. What do you guys think? If you're a programmer like me, what would you do?

Edited by hotelsinger

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  • > What do you guys think? I think there must be a misunderstanding somewhere. Your boss' idea of what your job responsibilities and skills are, and your idea of that are definitely not the same. Maybe, as far as he knows, he hired an "IT guy", and if his idea … Read More

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    ddanbe 2,705   4 Years Ago

    > But then again, managers are not known for being smart.. quite the opposite. I agree! It was around 1985 or something. The first Macintoshes were installed in our compagny. Some days later my boss called me(me being the "IT guy") in distress! His mouse was not working correctly! I … Read More

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    > I am a programmer. That's why I'm receiving a paycheck. I sit alone in a small cubicle and do my work. That's an interesting description of a programmer. I *wish* I could sit alone in my office and do my work without having to communicate with the rest of … Read More

  • Thanks everyone who offered ideas about this. I spoke to the boss, and I was very open and up front about my concerns. He seemed perturbed at first, but went ahead and reassigned the task to someone more suited to it. The conversation was awkward and uncomfortable but in the … Read More

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    Dani 1,665   4 Years Ago

    Glad that worked out for you!! :) Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to post in this thread earlier (although I was meaning to), but my take on it was that you and your boss didn't have a meeting of the minds when it came to what your job duties … Read More

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What do you guys think?

I think there must be a misunderstanding somewhere. Your boss' idea of what your job responsibilities and skills are, and your idea of that are definitely not the same. Maybe, as far as he knows, he hired an "IT guy", and if his idea of IT is limited to using Outlook, then maybe he thinks it's part of your job description. On the other hand, maybe you thought your job description was to be a pure coder, when in reality you are expected to do more.

If you're a programmer like me, what would you do?

Get a meeting with your boss and try to clarify the confusion. Clearly, there must be a confusion somewhere, because nobody would think that being taught about Outlook and going to teach people about Outlook is a productive way for you to spend your time.

That said, if you are lacking in the "people skill" areas, then you might benefit from an opportunity to develop them.

But still, teaching Outlook is a real waste of time, it's a really extreme example. The fact that your boss even considered this to be a good idea (and worth the investment of time on an employee) makes me seriously question his intelligence. But then again, managers are not known for being smart.. quite the opposite.

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Great!
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But then again, managers are not known for being smart.. quite the opposite.

I agree!
It was around 1985 or something. The first Macintoshes were installed in our compagny.
Some days later my boss called me(me being the "IT guy") in distress! His mouse was not working correctly! I feared the worst things, untill I arrived at his office. He worked with his mouse upside down ...
@hotelsinger: I agree here with Mike that you should grab this opportunity with both hands to develop your social skills!
Remember YOU took lessons in OutLook, YOU are the "smart" guy who is going to spread your wisdom to make the dumb as smart as you!
I would even do it if I had to explain fairy tales I guess. The important thing is to develop your socials skills and diminish your fear of speaking before an audience. You even get paid for it! After that you can still apply for another job.

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I am a programmer. That's why I'm receiving a paycheck. I sit alone in a small cubicle and do my work.

That's an interesting description of a programmer. I wish I could sit alone in my office and do my work without having to communicate with the rest of my team or end users, but that's not realistic. ;)

So my boss says to me today that I am being signed up for a FIVE day course in..... Microsoft OUTLOOK.

Unless the training involves teaching a component that you wrote, I'd agree that it's outside the scope of your job description as stated. That's not to say that your boss doesn't have a different idea of what your job description is, so the first step would be to get clarification and work from there.

If you're a programmer like me, what would you do?

I'd probably do it for the experience and to help out the users, but make it clear to my boss that this is outside the scope of my job description. I might also try to negotiate a bonus of some sort and have my boss handle scheduling and schmoozing of lost time for the days I wouldn't be doing the job I was hired for.

The last thing you want is to be punished for doing what was asked of you.

Edited by deceptikon

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First let me say, thank you for the well thought out answers here so far, and future posts as well. I think the meeting with my boss is probably essential.

Unfortunately, this isn't really an opportunity for me to develop my social skills. I force myself on a regular basis to get up in front of audiences, and socially I always make a point to engage people and be social. I've become so good at doing that (not intending to boast here at all) that some people think I'm an extrovert. That of course, is far from the truth, and while I can certainly handle the aforementioned situations occasionally, being "trapped" in a room teaching classes is a whole new ball game. I've done it before and it makes me miserable, and I lose sleep, so its a no-can-do.

That's an interesting description of a programmer. I wish I could sit alone in my office and do my work without having to communicate with the rest of my team or end users, but that's not realistic. ;)

Yes, deceptikon you are quite right about that. The more accurate description is that while I'm alone in my cubicle, my cubicle is in a large room of cubicles filled with programmers, developers, report writers, etc. We do work together to some degree and I do have to work with certain key people in order to receive and understand certain issues that I'm employed to solve.

The new "Outlook" assignment, in my mind, is a bit of torture. Here's an analogy that describes my feeling on the matter: I'm being asked to take a week long course in learning how to tie my shoes so I can become the go-to person on shoe tying. I must then teach an army of 5 year olds how to tie their shoes, and whenever somebody's shoe comes untied, they will be showing up at my cubicle, sending me emails, and opening support tickets so I can help them tie their shoes. Now pretend I also have a shoe anxiety disorder. Lol, okay..not the greatest analogy, and I'm not saying that the people here are idiots because their not. They're smart people, but if you've ever been responsible for the kind of issus inherent in supporting email issues, you know that its a constant barrage of inanity.

Thanks again for letting me rant here. I don't usually do this, but I need to preserve my sanity.

Edited by hotelsinger: Grammar

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OK, me and I guess others understand you better now.
Why did your boss choose you among many others to do this "job"?
Does he just wants to annoy you? Does he wants to get rid of you?

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Did he choose you because everybody in the office kept ignoring his 100 inane emails every day, which led him to assume that you all had be be lacking some basic skill? So he picked you because you're an extrovert and love that sort of thing. Or was it due to his real feeling for you:

"Those who can, do; those who can't, teach"

Oops. Flippancy aside. 10 minutes in the ring (his office) with the guy should sort it out, surely?

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Thanks everyone who offered ideas about this. I spoke to the boss, and I was very open and up front about my concerns. He seemed perturbed at first, but went ahead and reassigned the task to someone more suited to it. The conversation was awkward and uncomfortable but in the end he seemed to agree.

Edited by hotelsinger

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Nice one
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Glad that worked out for you!! :) Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to post in this thread earlier (although I was meaning to), but my take on it was that you and your boss didn't have a meeting of the minds when it came to what your job duties entailed. He probably thought that you're a smart computer guy and could take over some of the IT responsibilities, I'm guessing?

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Yes, it was a case of me being the go-to guy at the office with a reputation for solving a wide range of issues, but there's a limit and I just needed to draw a line.

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Being the go-to guy is a good thing. Be careful not to close doors on yourself. You never know what might happen by saying "yes" to a request.

Edited by deceptikon

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That's very true deceptikon, but its also good to know your limitations and not take on more than you can reasonably handle. In this case it was also good that I didn't refuse the assignment. I slept on it a while then discussed my concerns with my boss, who changed the decision based on that.

Edited by hotelsinger

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I often take on more than I can chew (and deceptikon is my witness), and I "enjoy" having a bit of stress in my life from doing so. It ensures that I never get bored and I like the challenge. However, I think there's a big difference between being stressed because you're overwhelmed with how much work is in front of you, versus being kept up nights due to overwhelming anxiety because you have to do something that's nerve-wracking, scary or uncomfortable. In my mind, that's the good kinda stress versus the bad kind.

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Just responding a a couple of comments here...
Quality of life has to come into the equation at some point. Some people just live to work - most of us don't - we work to live. Most of us want to get on and be successful, but some sacrifices are just not worth it. Push yourself and always strive to improve, but know when to call it a day and put the lid back on. You can work yourself to the bone and one day you'll wake up and ask yourself where the hell did my twenties go? Or when the hell did my babies turn into teenagers? Or how many years ago was the last time I took my wife out on a date? If you find yourself asking any of those questions, you seriously messed up.

Anyway, if you like a challenge and have to do about a 100 different things that you're not qualified to do, try teaching :)

Edited by diafol

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