Project idiots…

So, by now, the whole of Vox is aware that my degree is wrapping up, and that it depends on a team collaboration in which we build a piece of software for a client.

Well.  Throughout the whole thing, we've had a team member who just hasn't pulled his weight. (If you're reading this, you either know who you are, or you're going to get told by 3pm today in front of the Lecturer-In-Charge, with whom I've had a number of conversations about you.) His name is Ben.  I know a few Bens, so no, this isn't the one who forgot me recently, this is another one.  He has had 0 assignments left for his semester for the last week.  Every other team member has at least 1 and probably 2 due this week.  It's a part of why I haven't been blogging recently (expect that to change after Friday, when boredom will set in really quickly.)  now, recently, we figured out this guy was useless. I actually can't remember if I've blogged about him or not yet.  I've emailed the lecturer a couple of times asking for some advice. 
Well.  We (foolishly) said (nicer, but it's basically what we said) "well, you've done -no- implementation, here's a chance to do some documentation and regain some marks.  Would you be happy to do the general user manual?" 
"Sure, no worries" says Ben the Terminally Lazy.
"Cool, you need to do this this and this"
"No dramas"
and we were set. the rest of us actually had some time to work on our assignments since Ben was doing things.  Thursday rolled around.  "So, what have you done?"
"this this and this" says Ben.
"Cool, can we see it?" queries my lovely self in the sweetest, most non-threatening voice I can muster
"I'd have to go home to get it" responds Ben.  My urge to kill rose.
"Ok, well can you email it out when you get home?"
"oh, I don't know that it's ready tonight to send out" urge to kill: rising, subtext: I've done nothing.
"All I want is something so that I know what sort of material we're supposed to produce"
"Yeah, no worries"
"so can you send it out tomorrow?" Says I.
"I reckon"
and the conversation ended there.

Friday rolls around: nothing.

Saturday: nothing from ben, but Darren has produced templates because he was so sick of waiting, and a response from Ben saying "we don't need to use templates beacuse tehre will still be formatting differences and we'd need to reformat them anyway." at 12:30AM on Sunday I send an email asking for something so that I can take a look at to see what Ben wants us to write since he's collating the General User Manual.

An email came through to me (and me alone) at 11:08 AM Sunday morning with just over a page of text, a significant proportion of it bullet points. none of which I would deem sufficient for submission.
I forwarded this on to everyone since I worked out that I actually had nothing that I needed to contribute to that manual myself. then at 11:57AM, he sends out another one with a couple more paragraphs.  It was obvious that he'd been writing it that morning so he'd have something to send.

and eventually, I got the Times that Ben wanted me to use to update the project schedule.  He'd broken it up into sections. and his highest time was for presentation!  (I think I may have ranted about ben not wanting to come to an important meeting before)  He almost didn't come to the really important meetings about the presentation where we produce the thing, and it's only because I was nasty and said that it was disloyal, disrespectful and hurtful of him to decide not to come to what was arguably one of the most important meetings of the semester that he came!  His highest time! 2nd highest? meetings. yep, you heard me, meetings. I was appalled. I was disgusted. I was horrified.  and then I read the time he put down for the first instance of "user docs/manuals" 75 minutes.  my voice went black, and I did Death's voice. you know the one. THE ONE WHERE HE TALKS LIKE THIS.  I said something along the lines of "I'M GOING TO KILL HIM!"  and I continued reading.  I found User Manuals: 475 minutes.  Better. It would of course have been lovely if we had seen anything at all that suggested that he'd done anything like that much work.  On seeing those times, I started printing things.

  • The "manual" he sent to me
  • The "manual" he sent to everyone else
  • The email Darren said that he was sick of waiting. (Darren's single section was longer than Ben's "manual" by the way)
  • The Times that Ben sent me
  • The email where Darren tells me that he doesn't believe there's a template.
  • The email where Ben says that there's no point to a template.

I figure that will give me plenty to talk about in our management meeting at 2.40pm Monday 15 Oct.

and right now, I have something to say to Ben:
"Dear Ben,

This is going to shock you.  You're used to me being a nice person who is easy to get along with.  And, by and large, I think (I definitely hope) that you're right.  I mean, I'm a bitch, for sure, but who isn't?  This letter, however… This letter is a result of me being so nice and easy to get along with.  I didn't rant at you for not doing your work when I probably should have.  You've seen that I can play dirty, tweaking emotions when I need to.  Right now, I need to rant, I need to play dirty.  I need to write something so that if you ever do read it, you'll understand how I feel. I need to at least write about how I feel about you before I see you tomorrow.  So that when I see you in that management meeting, I don't absolutely blow my stack and lose all my professionalism marks.  With that said, here is what I have to say.  I know it's not pretty, but it's the truth.

I don't know what you thought project was going to be like.  I knew it was going to be hard work, and chew up a lot of my time.  That's why I didn't take an extra (overtime), completely optional unit in second semester even though I wasn't already failing units multiple times over. I would never attempt to do that uni load and work 2 jobs.  I actually quite liked you at the start of the year.  I figured you were a good student and a decent guy.  I don't understand how you can spend so much on uni tuition and not put in the effort.  I don't understand how you can be happy just failing. 

What I do understand? I understand that helping you pass cheapens the degree I'm working fucking hard to get.  I've already had one person pass for a qualification based almost entirely on my work.  I am not doing that again.  I understand that you need to get 45% of your internal mark to pass this unit, which is a core unit to obtain a computing degree.  I understand that you have done almost no work this semester, and there is virtually no tangible evidence that you have done anything.  I understand that your Work Product Pay Packet will be as close to Zero as I can make it and still have a clear conscience.  I understand that I am not going to sit idly by while you cheapen my profession.

What you need to understand?  You need to understand that in my eyes you have failed. You didn't pull your weight, wouldn't tell us you weren't doing things, and every time we bailed you out because it's better the devil you know, and we were understanding of workloads and stuff.  Well, no more.  As far as I'm concerned, your individual marks will be nil, nix, nada, zilch.  I don't know that I'll ever be gutsy enough to say this to your face,  but in the year I've known you, you have become contemptible to me. 

I'm sure you'll enjoy repeating project and making some other team miserable.  Thinking about that almost makes me want to let you pass.  It's not an experience I would wish on anyone.  But then, I wouldn't wish you on an employer either.

I'll see you around, I'm sure, because I start Honours next year, and you're still going to be around."

I'm sorry, everyone.  That venomous type/rant/vent/cry has saved me from actually going psycho on his arse, I think.  (I'm still not going to risk it, I'll leave the sharp objects in my locker before the meeting)  I hate feeling like that.  I hate feeling like I'm dishing out what people deserve. This post may not be pretty… but it's true for me.

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2 thoughts on “Project idiots…

  1. In the immortal words of me.. "Well, it IS project"..It's frustrating I know but it's almost over. You know all this shit started in week 2 of a more than 26 week project for me.. at least you're 3 days from the end. Hang in there. I love you.

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