Becoming the Pariah

The Engineer has found himself unpopular of late. Not the temporary “out of favour kind” either, but the more serious overtly disliked.

Considering the reasons for this and happening on the Badger’s latest post here, The Engineer starts to understand why.

The Engineer, you see, represents the Electronics and Software departments on the Senior Management team. The team as a whole is responsible for setting the direction of the business and deciding what developments take place.

This is often an intensley frustrating task. Meetings go in circles with no concrete conclusion, or worse reverse the decisions made before. More often than not it is the Highest Paid Persons Oppinion (HIPPO) which wins – regardless of whether it is right.

Worse still, The Engineer has witnessed the Abilene paradox in person, where decisions are made which are contrary to the wishes of those making them because they do not wish to speak up and rock the boat.

The Engineer refuses to be a part of this. If he thinks differently he says so. If he thinks somebody is wrong, he challenges. And most importantly if somone can justify what they’re saying he listens.

Yes, The Engineer learned long ago that many HIPPOs don’t like to be challenged in front of others. They tend simply to say “I’m the Boss” and force throught their agenda. Logical defeat in an argument simply isn’t considered, because in their own view they cannot be wrong.

The Engineer has found a few tricks over the years to counter this – primarily be prepared, and offer proof. Numerous times now, The Engineer has presented a quick and dirty prototype with the exclamation “you are wrong, here is the evidence”. Obviously looking slightly smug.

But here’s the thing, doing so can embarass others. Doing so repeatedly makes them look foolish. And continuing further makes you look like you’re not “a team player”, or doing it simply to spite. The fact that you are actually right is forgotten and trust of others is lost.

From the loss of trust to Pariah is but one simple step.

But one person’s Pariah is another’s Champion. The Engineer’s team do respect him precisely because he won’t roll over or give in to dodgy management pseudoscience and assumption.

So what to do? Give in an go along with his management colleagues? No, integrity won’t allow that.

The answer is simple. Embrace it – be the Pariah. Make others justify themselves. It won’t always be comfortable or easy, but The Engineer offers this reassureace – you’ll earn respect from more people than you lose.


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