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
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
an dthey 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 termsin 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 harassment.
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.
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