Researcher Allows Annoying Ph.D. Student To Set Herself Up For Failure Before Committee Meeting
There’s nothing wrong with asking your colleagues for help. That’s one of the benefits of working with other people — you can share knowledge and foster a collaborative environment that promotes learning and professional growth.
So when Reddit user Incandescent-aioli, who works in academic research, was approached by one of their teammates asking to fix her code, they happily obliged.
However, the woman wasn’t happy that they over-delivered and was too stubborn to see that her script needed the extra touch. So Incandescent-aioli allowed her to set herself up for failure at the upcoming committee meeting.
This person went above and beyond to help a Ph.D. student fix her code before an important committee meeting
Image credits: Árpád Czapp (not the actual photo)
But she didn’t like that they over-delivered
Image credits: Incandescent-aioli
Image credits: Zhivko Minkov (not the actual photo)
Instead of using our coworkers, we benefit more from getting along with them
According to leadership expert Scott Steinberg, generally, when colleagues ask you for help, it’s a compliment. Most likely, they consider you to be good at the job.
But as this story shows, exceling at it can be a blessing and a curse. So you need to learn how to establish and enforce boundaries in order not to get taken advantage of.
“Doing so doesn’t always come naturally to those of us who aim to please and be liked,” Steinberg wrote. “Certainly, we all want to help our colleagues out. But it’s important to remember that we are all operating with limited time and resources. Actively encouraging peers to be more proactive is a must in the modern working world, especially if you’re playing with a tight schedule.”
Before telling them ‘no’, you can still offer the coworker some guidance by asking them questions such as:
- Have you tried X/Y/Z, by chance? (Googling it, checking this market research report, checking in with the IT, team, etc.)
- What do you think the best solution is? (You might offer additional prompts as needed, including, “Is this something HR might be able to help out with,” or “You might find answers to this on our online employee learning portal”)
- Have you tried running it by [insert individual, department, or team name here] yet?
- What is the client/team suggesting?
I hope it goes without saying that you shouldn’t rely on manipulating your colleagues in order to get through your own assignments. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota confirmed that close friendships increase workplace productivity, mainly because buddies are more committed, communicate better, and encourage each other. Plus, according to a global study by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), interpersonal work relationships have a sizeable and significant positive effect on job satisfaction of the average employee as a whole, as relationships rank first out of 12 domains of workplace quality.
So it’s in your own best interest not to annoy everyone around you. Hopefully, the Ph.D. student will soon realize this.
Image credits: Redd F (not the actual photo)