Friday, July 04, 2008

Introverted programming: Office Kung Fu - art of The Crouching Master

It is nice to work for a good company. It is enviable to be respected by your colleagues and respect them in return and looking forward to the next workday. A fat paycheck would top this off and make it your dream job.

But beware the Office Kung Fu masters. It will take just one to contaminate a healthy collective. As soon as you detect the following main stances of Office Kung Fu, it is time to master them yourself. When the Big S hits the fan, your survival may depend on these very moves: Deny, Blame and Take Credit.It wasn't my fault but I have a pretty good idea...

Deny - the main defence stance. Distance yourself from any failure, even potential one, which is not (and especially if it is) your fault.
A simple "it's not me" defence is too low-power. You may need to practice higher techniques: phrase "I don't think this is OUR group" will likely recruit others to fight on your side (The Summoning Block). Master the swift transition to the attack, do not give your opponent any time to regroup.

Figure 1: Master blocks the accusation and demonstrates readiness to put blame in return.


I have four reasons why these three individuals should be held responsible...Blame is a crashing attacking blow. Be the first to point fingers. Don't hesitate even if the accused is another Office Kung Fu Master - he/she has to first repel your thrust and his/her responce can be easily depicted as a personal attack on you, the very person who cares about the company so much. The Leech Spree is an example of an indirect attack, which can be executed by a phrase like "Somebody changed this file". This will ignite an avalanche of blame. Be careful when blaming groups - the other Master may use the Summoning Block against you.
Figure 2: Master prepares to attack three people at once and his blame is supported by four sound arguments - very powerful Blame By Authority attack.


Take credit - powerful shift-of-power move. Don't cut others any slack. They will rob you of your (or their own) success behind your back, so hurry up and claim it first. Successfully applied, this attack will strengthen your position while weakening the opponent. 
We fixed that build!I hate to brag, but...Precede blaming attack by taking credit first, thus multiplying the destructive effect (The Tsunami Swoosh). On the contrary, you can emphasize your value to the organization by putting the blame first and taking credit immediately after (The Slapping Blossom).

While novices can use a highly energetic version (Fig.3), a true master prefers the carefully calculated move (Fig.4) which is likely to bring a lasting recognition (The Humble Ploy). 



The highest art of Office Kung Fu is to combine all these techniques within one sweeping motion: "It is not me, it was Nick's fault but I successfully fixed the problem.".

Deny, blame and take credit - and you'll never go home without a promotion.


Chris Barrow said...

Wow this cool stuff. Children will be born in your name. Buildings will be erected in your glory. Office Kung Fu will be discussed at the water cooler with will become legend.

Michael Goldobin said...

Oh glory!

Vinitha said...

so Panda is apporpriate for u.

Michael Goldobin said...

That's right. I will probably have a special post on different developer personalities, from "code monkey" to the "code panda", "code raccoon" and "code skunk". "Code octopus" sounds good too. "Code viper". "Code mosquito". Somebody, stop me.

"Code sloth".

Vinitha said...

stop koala Coder :-)

Chris Barrow said...

code butt...

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