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 
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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