What is Technical Harassment?
In our complex technical environment there are many opportunities
for a competent technical individual to be the subject of technical
harassment. Sometimes it can be so subtle that you may not even be
aware you are being harassed. Worse yet, you may inadvertently
technically harass another person by accident.
Following are some guidelines to help you determine if you are
being technically harassed.
- If you are repeatedly asked the same technical question you may
be the victim of technical harassment. While it is most common to be
asked the question repeatedly within the same conversation, some
instances have been identified of habitual technical harassment.
Habitual technical harassment is not uncommon and has been known to
exhibit group tendencies where members of a group may ask the same
question repeatedly. Untreated, these instances of group technical
harassment can continue for years.
- If you are asked a technical question by a non-technical person
and they do not write your answer down it is likely the question is
frivolous. Most non-technical people are not capable of remembering a
true technical answer for more than 30 seconds.
- If you are forced into a discussion where a person uses more than
three (3) buzzwords in one sentence the person is most likely a fake
and you are the unwitting victim of technical harassment. One note of
caution, competent technical people have been known to inadvertently
use buzzwords after reading mindless drivel like PC Week or LAN Times.
If the person has been known to use more common technical terms in the
past such as "stuff" and "things", they are most likely victim of
computer magazine brainwashing.
- If during a troubleshooting session a person uses the term
"trick". For example "maybe we could trick the database into
thinking it has been updated". This is a sure sign of technical
- If a person explains that a needed feature will be provided by a
vendor and that person is nontechnical then you are at risk of being
technically harassed. If you believe that person, you have definitely
been technically harassed, if you don't believe them you have only
been technically annoyed.
- If when trying to resolve a technical problem with a product from
a vendor and you are instructed to call the salesman that sold us the
product you are being set up for technical harassment. It is a common
reaction for a non-technical person when they have purchased technical
equipment to call another non-technical person. The dialogue between
two nontechnical people usually provides some sense of comfort that
they aren't the only ones who are confused.
Page written by Matthew Darwin
2,793 hits since September 20, 1997