General Question

zarnold's avatar

How to ask for something (twice) without being a pain?

Asked by zarnold (695points) July 1st, 2008

OK, so at work I have a project which I have to get done before I move on to the really cool part of my job. In order to finish it, I need the sysadmin to set something up for me (root access is required). The problem is, it’s been almost a week and he may have forgotten, and my manager is starting to bug me about it. I don’t want to come off as rude when I talk to the admin because he’s a really busy guy (and I’m an intern working on a side project), and he seems pretty nice. So what I’m asking is, how can I get what I want without looking like a jerk? Thanks!

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7 Answers

lefteh's avatar

Drop him a note or stop by and see him. Just be polite about it.

“Hey, I know you’re busy, but I just wanted to make sure you didn’t forget about setting that project up for me when you get a chance. Thanks!”

Jax's avatar

Like lefteh said, drop by. Explaining a problem personally will often lead to immediate action. (Do this all the time) These things can be resolved in a matter of minutes.

marinelife's avatar

He is likely to have forgotten. If you ask nicely (acknowledging that you are aware he has other things to do) when he might be able to get to it, he will be OK with that.

That said, there can be bad folks in those jobs who view it as a power trip. I once worked for a start-up where that type of support was supplied by a woman. This woman jumped every hoop with a smile if any guy asked for something. With my needs and requests, she dragged her feet and was surly in the bargain. I tried nice, I tried patience, and I tried reason, but she was one of those people who just acted out worse then.

One day after I had to ask her for the second time to do something, and she was giving me the run around and telling me I could probably just fix it myself, I lost it. I just smiled very sweetly and said, “Chris, this is your job. You can take care of this in a few minutes. Now, if I have to figure out how to do it myself, it’s going to take a couple of hours. That will be a couple of hours that I am not doing my job, but, OK. Just let me go tell Steve (the big boss) that I won’t those financial projections ready for the board meeting, because you think I should set up my own computer. I’ll be right back. I walked out of my office (and went to get a cup of tea in the break room.) Amazingly, when I got back, the set up was done. We also never had one of those incidents again.

edmartin101's avatar

@Marina Way to go!!! These are the lessons certain people who just won’t get it need to learn

marinelife's avatar

@em101 And this time no ex lax required! ;)

zarnold's avatar

Thanks everyone. I talked to him and he had forgotten, but then he took care of it. Now I’m all set!

lefteh's avatar

Yay! Glad to hear it worked out for you.

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