Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維 (webcowgirl) wrote,
Web Cowgirl 衛 思 維

Lessons I've learned as a tester, or: on being a running dog

When I am interviewed for a testing job, over and over I'm asked a question that breaks down to "How do you handle dealing with prima donna programmers?" Sometimes they're just referring to people who are uncooperative; sometimes they're talking about people who can be downright hostile. I've been telling people for years that I have learned to try to build good relations with all of my coworkers so that when the shit hits the fan I'm ready for it, that the friendships I've carefully established help provide a bulwark against tantrums. I have seen over the years that frequently anger, aimed at me, is just letting off steam, and because I am The Lowly Tester I have been chosen to be the unfortunate focus for someone else's bad mood. In interviews, I tell people that I've learned over time to distinguish between the person and the situation, and to not take things personally when tempers flare.

And yet ... I was contacted this week by a guy who was the build guy at a company I worked at some four years or so ago. This is only the second time he's contacted me - but it's clear that he sees me as someone that he was friends with when we worked together. But even though I remember that he liked me, all I can think about was the time he raged at me because the problems he was having with other people he worked with had finally got to him. I could see that he wasn't angry with me as he frothed and his face turned red and as all of the vitriol poured out of his mouth, so I didn't just yell back at him or say anything inflammatory (go me, I've learned how to control my own temper), and yet ... what he did scarred me. I see his email just slowly making it into the pages of mail I received and not getting answered. What does this say about me? Should I just have yelled back at him? I can tell people that I've learned to deal with this stuff, and yet it's clear that at some level it still upsets me. I'm guessing it's kind of working on a "once bitten, twice shy" level, that I've been conditioned to avoid the source of stress even if I haven't realized it's happened. Thank goodness that where I'm working now this has only happened to me once.
Tags: testing
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