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Day 18 - Stuck in the Friend Zone

Discussing anything on THWACK even tangentially related to time-travel is tricky, because there are many members with both strong opinions on temporal mechanics, and passion to defend them. Add in the loose confederation of Back to the Future timeline wonks, and things get really interesting. But throwing caution to the wind, both for comments and unintended butterfly effects, I’ll state for the record I would go back in time and pay a visit to my younger self. I’d step into a portal and go back to sophomore high school me with one simple bit of advice: don’t get stuck in the friend zone.

I’m assuming I’m not the only now-grownup technologist who back in the day hung out with co-ed peers, was regularly introduced to their friends, and got invited to a decent number of parties. But while I was generally conforming near the safe-middle of the normative social curve, I also encountered a disproportionate tendency to end up a cherished and irreplaceable platonic best friend. Apparently speaking the way I wrote the previous sentence did not automatically stir romance, and further steered budding relationships into the friend zone. Also not helpful? The express route to what’s now known as ghosting, the parental kiss of death: “He’s so nice, when will you two go out again?” After a couple of years, that became pretty confusing and disappointing. How could offering me—my best, open, and excited by the world of ideas me—not magically result in hearts, flowers, and unicorns?

Open the Time-Portal

If I could go back, I’d offer specific advice which has turned out to be also surprisingly valuable in a technology career.

“Hey me,” I’d say to myself.

“OMG dude, will I really become that that old?! Ugh,” I’d reply to myself, genuinely curious.

“Hopefully you’re going to get a lot older than this… but listen. I’m here to get you out of the friend zone.”

“You mean get US out of the friend zone. Your motives here, though technically external, are actually selfish,” he’d sarcastically reply.

“First,” I began, “you need to back off the dictionary, professor. Adults eat that up, but it makes you look like a dork.” Young me would grimace while conceding that point, and I’d continue, “And second, when you get friendzoned…”

If I get friendzoned,” he’d interrupt.

“Sure. On those incredibly rare occasions you might get friendzoned… you must be honest that you really want to date your friend, or the inevitable dissatisfaction is on you.”

“But she says I’m her very best friend, that I’m like her brother and she can’t afford to lose me. She said that might happen if we go on a date-date,” he’d admit, with big, earnest, say-it-ain’t-so eyes.

“Yeah, that’s the thing. She’s saying that because she does mean it. She really, really likes you, but what you don’t know yet is she likes you so much that if offered a choice between certainly losing you now as a friend because the relationship is unequal, or taking a risk and perhaps building something more… she’ll likely take the risk. And yes, they’ll be some nervous and sad moments, but in general, that gnawing feeling of unfairness, of inequity considering your interest and effort will go away,” I’d conclude. At that point, young me would need a pocket knife, LEGO motor, LEDs, or some other tactile distraction to run some analytic CPU cycles and burn down the work queue. It would have been a lot to hear, especially from a gray-haired version of your future self.

“I’ll take it under advisement,” he’d finally say after a long sigh. “And, you should get on the SPF, so we don’t get wrinkled.”

“Is that how timelines work?” I’d ask over my shoulder, turning to step back into the portal.

“Ugh, that’s on me too??”

“Yep, but if you must choose only one, don’t get stuck in unequal relationships. You can do better than the friend zone,” I’d reply, and disappear into a puff of un-smoke.

Returning to This Timeline

Thinking of this logic exercise now, perhaps I’m projecting current career advice back into my adolescence. Because while the friend zone seems to be a frequent hazard as geeks come of age, it’s relatively harmless compared with its adult analog: the dutiful admin stuck in IT. The job friend zone is real, with serious side effects like a seven-digit lifetime income deficit, stress related illnesses, and worse, enormous missed opportunity cost.

So how does that happen to grown-up, otherwise logical humans? Despite the warm fuzzies paranoia and conspiracy theory brings to social media, businesses are not actually out to get you. Bosses don’t wake up thinking of new ways to torture us. We are not in the Good Place. But even though good management is (usually) trying to find work-life balance, or at least intends to when there’s time, how often do we find ourselves being offered the job friend zone?

Instead, IT might be one of the last careers that remember pensions. Maybe if we just work hard enough, if we’re loyal enough, if we can just hold out... everything will naturally work out. Management will notice we haven’t seen a real raise in five years, training budget will magically be released, or we’ll go on vacation and not get a call about the network. And it may well be that the job friend zone is our own creation—an unfortunate byproduct of striving to be good and believing that everyone else will too. Fortunately, realizing you’re in the job friend zone isn’t too difficult.

How many times have you heard one of these?

  • “You’re the strongest member of our team, but we can’t promote you now because you’re too valuable in your current role.”
  • “Love your enthusiasm – so many great ideas! We don’t have budget for that, but let’s see at the end of the year.”
  • “I hear you, but how’s your team development coming along? You need to demonstrate great management skills to take on that technical role.”

Ugh.

My advice for admins in that situation now is the same as it would have been to me as a high school sophomore:

“I know you like me, and don’t want to lose me. But if you don’t help me follow my interest to be the best I can be, then I’m walking out the door, and you’ll lose me for sure.” But don’t take my word for it—ask around. Especially in this job market, you’ll find lots of tech pros who broke through their managers’ reluctance to get back to delivering their best work, having the greatest impact on the businesses, and often getting seriously better comp.

We’re drawn to IT because we honestly want to please, to fix the unfixable, to keep the lights on no matter what, to know we’re heroic while eschewing accolades. It’s a calling. And it’s easy for management to mistake our significant flexibility and patience for submission or at least advantageous resignation. So sometimes we have to sit ourselves down to receive difficult advice: “Same age me, don’t get stuck in the job friend zone.”

47 Comments
Level 11

Simple advice, but one that takes years to learn.  Know your value, and dont be scared to roll the dice and take a chance.  But make sure it's a calculated risk, weigh up the odds and probability, then make an informed decision.

Many times I have been in this situation, stuck in a role because "You're too good to lose".  So I went and found another position in another company, then went back to my company, and showed them my value.  It's then their choice to promote you, increase your salary, invest in you.  Or lose that valuable asset to a competitor or another company.  This may sound calculated, and it probably is, but it's a big bad world, and only YOU can look after YOU.  Loyalty only goes so far, so use it to your own advantage.

On the time travel point, going back beyond where the first time machine was invented would be nigh on impossible, as it would create a paradox

MVP
MVP

"Know your value"

Simple words but it can make a big difference. It took me a few years to realise that I should have moved on from an earlier career choice but things were a lot better once I made the leap.

Level 10

If timetravel would be possible some time in the future.... Wouldnt we already know now? The future timetravellers would go back and tell us, right? Hmmmm...

MVP
MVP

For me I got burned by the friend zone because of my own fear.

When I was in High School there was this beautiful girl in my youth group - lets call her Cindy, because that was her name. Cindy had beautiful long hair, beautiful face and attractive figure - add to that a great personality and smart there you have the whole package. Cindy and I were friends, but I liked her more than that - but was afraid to pursue her. What if she said no, what if that hurt our friendship, what if other people found out that she rejected me. Yes, all silly, but most of us have been there - if not with  a relationship maybe with a work decision or the purchase of a major item (how many people really, really wanted the red sports car, buy bought the gray SUV instead because of what the family might think) At any rate I never asked her out and life went on. I went off to college and there met a girl. When I came back to town (engaged) and saw Cindy's mom she said "Aw, Cindy always wanted you to ask her out." Oofda - if only I'd known, if only I'd stepped out - if only I hadn't feared. I don't know if I'd have wanted anything to turn out any differently (my engaged became my wife and is the best person I've ever met in my life) but it does make one question how we allow fear to keep us from things.

Would I go back and change that - probably not, I wouldn't be who I am today, and I'm happy with me. If I could try going through life all over again, yes, I'd probably try that path.

Level 14

Bravo.  I can remember being told each one of the 3 friend zone statements from bosses at some point in my career, in many different ways as well.  We just have to keep trying to break the cycle and escape the "job" friend zone.  One thing that I've found is, if you have sincere management, and you're able to take something off of their back, you can at least get one foot out of the door of the friend zone. 

On a side note, have you ever thought that time travel is certainly real in the future, but our future selves keep traveling back in time to make sure that we never discover it to avoid impending doom for all? 

Great advise.   The worst thing i think people hear is you are over qualified.  Really?   If the person is there applying or interested in a position, has the skills, what's the problem.  We can not as leaders be afraid to hire, promote, or change a role because we are afraid they will move on or out grow or even provide too much competition for our own selves.   We should want the best of the best working with us and for us.   You as leaders are only as good as your weakest team member.  

having been in both places friendzone and professional zone, i can relate.  i tried the aggressive approach and although i did get the girl a time or two, the job's not so much.   I did find someone willing to take a chance on me, and I didn't squander it.  I took the opportunity to learn, grow and gain any wisdom i could.  Professionally everything you do has a benefit to you, learn more, do more, and don't be afraid of moving on to move up, if you really want to. 

Level 10

Absolute true words patrick.hubbard​!!!   You are spot on about the friends in life and at work.     Life has to be made the way you want to be instead of being lead down by a path where friends dictate where they want you to go.

Level 10

The Friend zone

Level 15

This reminds me of a quote from a book I read in the 90s (which has since become a decent movie) The Perks of Being a Wallflower

People accept the love they think they deserve.

In both personal and professional, this holds true a LOT more than we care to admit. Because admitting that we are active participants in the discomfort, and sometimes pain, around us is, well, uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

Level 12

I keep my personal and professional life separate. I was hired to maintain the network and security of our data, not make friends at work.

Level 12

So as a musician, I don't always catch on to the lyrics of songs because I'm usually listening to the details of the music.  Sometimes it's years before they hit me....and after reading this post, Billy Joel's "Moving Out" for a weird reason came to mind....so I looked up the lyrics....and 3rd verse nails the conversation that you need to have with your management when they no longer see your value:

You should never argue with a crazy mind (mmm)
You oughta know by now
You can pay Uncle Sam with the overtime
Is that all you get for your money
If that's what you have in mind
If that's what you're all about
Good luck movin' up
'Cause I'm moving out
I'm moving out

Level 14

The decision to move on is a tough one.There are reasons... all valid.... some obvious and yet others subtle.

Sometimes it is based on money, other times position, but most of the time it is appreciation.

Being respected is great..... being appreciated is even better. A simple " thank you" or "nice job" goes a long way.

Something else to consider.... what works for you in this area works for those on your team... We are people not robots.

patrick.hubbard​  nice job with this...

For now, I'm comfortable with the relationship I have with my job. It's casual, not too serious, yet satisfying... a 'fling', if you will. Moving into a serious relationship with my career would most certainly guarantee better compensation, but I'm careful not to let my work relationship get in the way of my personal relationships. My wife and I have made the decision to live on less so that we can spend time and grow together, and we couldn't be happier!

Level 15

Whoa!  This article struck as serious cord.  janobi comments are spot on as well.  We all enjoy the challenge of making everything work and for me the synergy created from implementing technology and people to solve problems is my greatest joy.  But, there needs to be a balance.......

Level 13

Ahh.. Would I go back if it might change something now? Not at all.  

Level 13

Stinks that in tech we generally like most of what we do. Always makes you second-guess a move, even obviously good ones.

I love this one!

Especially because it addresses matters of the heart that are dear to mine.

The answer to this should be clear and obvious to all, and it is to none.  Potential couples may never happen, may only involve attraction on one side, to our loss.  But greater tragedy may happen if attraction on both sides exist, yet is not communicated.

That's really what we fear isn't it?  Both like each other, both are too shy to show it, and two ship pass silently in the night.

What a great opportunity for timelines to merge or diverge!  If only we could see those timelines from above and look at their forks and analyze what caused a new timeline to break off from an existing one.  Perhaps it's as simple as demonstrating one's feelings toward another.  Perhaps it's overcoming shyness and insecurity--putting one's heart one the line and risking embarrassment.  Nothing risked . . . nothing gained?

On the other hand, I was trained by society to be less risky, to not be demonstrative--especially when I did not recognize that my actions would be received well.  No one wants a suitor they don't find desirable, and unwanted attention can bring dire consequences.

Perhaps the simple solution is to offer a kind word, a smile, a flower and a card--attention in a non-threatening manner that shows willingness to back away if that attention is not welcome. 

Then one steps into the friend zone or worse, the unwanted zone. 

How to know? 

There's an interesting analysis of characteristics recognized as potential mate material on the internet.  It discusses such things as height and income as leveling factors for breaking out of the friend zone.  A person may welcome advances from a taller suitor more readily than from a shorter one--until the shorter one is revealed to bring home an income $160K greater than the taller competitor, at which time the scales are levelled again.   It seems the study finds a provider capability is a subconscious factor in some potential candidates.

https://www.google.com/search?q=study+showing+height+and+income+for+a+potential+mate&rlz=1C1GCEU_enU...

One can't necessary fault the idea of having a partner whose proven their ability to provide for a good home, no matter that person's height.  Or that a good-looking taller person may outcompete a shorter person.  Somethings we can't control.

Maybe a good step back in time, accompanied by appropriate and timely advice, could make a difference between two lost souls and a happy couple.

Level 13

This. In the end, our lives are the sum of everything we pay attention to- it's what we take with us. And as geeks we generally do a good job with technical bits. I'm not saying we don't need to pay attention there*, but attention at home, with the little peeps, our partners, parents and friends, enriches us in a way that work cannot.

* But don't jeopardize paying your mortgage

Level 13

You've hear my DevOps joke right? "Nobody 'does DevOps' just like nobody 'does love'. You change your behavior and who you hang out with and surprise! You're in DevOps" Though that couple always needs counseling.

Level 9

Definitely some of those "if I'd only known this when I was younger..." ... Great points!

Level 9

Honestly, I'm in the middle of this right now.  Answering the phone at all hours.  Responding to help desk tickets in record time.  Giving everything I can to keep things moving and users productive.  What do I get in return?  Nothing.  Basically told there is no advancement no matter how much I improve processes and show initiative.  No love for IT here.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.

You know, patrick.hubbard​, your words ring true for me...more than I want to admit!  Before I launch, just let me say "thank you" to you especially for providing leadership and focus for this group of talented folks we refer to as THWACK.  As has been stated many times, I'm sure, in business, "We could do it without you but it wouldn't be NEARLY as much fun!".

Anyway, I empathize with everything you said above, Patrick.  I spent much of my Middle- and High-School career in this dreaded abyss of nothingness called "The Friend Zone", only back then we didn't really have a name for it.  I have always been more in touch with my feminine side (not quite a Metro but close!) and have been able to cultivate deep, non-sexual relationships with women more so than many "typical males" my age.  That innate quality earned me a lot of "friends who were girls" but not many "girlfriends".  This is WAY too much information but I can count on one hand (plus one finger) the number of different women whom I have, uh, "known" (in the Biblical sense) in my life.  I know that sounds prudish but it speaks to the hesitency I felt, throuhgout adolescence and early adulthood, in moving OUT of the "The Friend Zone".  Having said that, my "number 6" has been my wife, now, for 21 plus years...proof that even an introverted guy like me can find true love and happiness!

Looking back at the pock-marked, totally introverted me of the late 70's and early 80's, I cringe to think about how things would be if I had not matured, "grown into my paws" so to speak, and become the man I am today.  Yes, I still prefer "rom coms" to "shoot-em-ups" and I cry at reality television.  But that's just who I am and I make no apologies for it.  I think the greatest leaders have always been able to mix a sense of empathy along with strength, even though Christopher Pike said, "Command and compassion is a fool's mixture."

I also wanted to mention, Patrick, that the irony of your comment:

But even though good management is (usually) trying to find work-life balance, or at least intends to when there’s time,

is not lost on me.  I think everyone, management included, always has good "intentions"...but we all know the saying about the road to h.e.l.l. (for those that don't, it is, "The road to ____ is paved with good intentions.") meaning that what we "intend" and what actually comes to fruition are often two different things.  My motto is: Think straight, talk straight, act straight.  The closer we can get our outcomes to our intentions, the better off this world will be.

I am hearkened back to the words of the incomparable Ghandi, who said:

"Keep your THOUGHTS positive, because your THOUGHTS become your WORDS.

Keep your WORDS positive, because your WORDS become your BEHAVIOR.

Keep your BEHAVIOR positive, because your BEHAVIOR becomes your HABITS.

Keep your HABITS positive, because your HABITS become your VALUES.

Keep your VALUES positive, because your VALUES become your DESTINY."  - Mahatma Ghandi

I thank you again, Patrick, for shining such a favorable light on those of us awkward, shaky, tremblilng youngsters of the past.  And to those who are in "The Friend Zone" right now, I think there is the promise of a bright future..if they just, "Make it so!"

Great advice and a wonderful read. I really enjoyed the parallels with the Friend Zone. I will throw on the following advice.

Be prepared to have that fierce conversation​ with your boss(es) on your future and be prepared to receive and, most importantly, acknowledge critical feedback about yourself. How you respond to said feedback will speak volumes about your EQ down the road. This journey out of the zone may not be a short one for you.

Also, those job friend zone examples that patrick.hubbard​ provided could also be a manager's nice way of telling you he/she doesn't feel you are ready yet. Remember this, there is no amount of over-compensation of technical skills that can make up for a fundamental lack of soft and/or people skills. All managers dread the following email...

Dear So&So,

  I wanted to bring to your attention an incident that occurred between your employee and...

Yes, it's valuable advice.  I watched nearly twenty Network Analysts come and go here over the last sixteen years.  In a few cases they picked up better pay, or equal pay for less hours and/or less responsibility--which they counted as a clear "win."

Some cases were what we call "cakeless exits."

They ask me why I stay.  I guess I've learned "the company way"?

Company Way, How to Succeed in Business, Robert Morse - YouTube

why we do IT:

We’re drawn to IT because we honestly want to please, to fix the unfixable, to keep the lights on no matter what,

because of this.

Why IT can hurt us

We’re drawn to IT because we honestly want to please, to fix the unfixable, to keep the lights on no matter what,

because of this.

just like I have commented on some of the last few day's write-ups: "it's about the balance of all things together..."

Level 13

The "no friend Zone"....  The jerks from high school are still jerks. 

Level 13

  Love the cakeless exit reference.  I'm going to have to file that one away for an opportune moment.

Level 13

So true both from a relationship perspective as well as professional.  There are a few times I've been in the friend zone professionally, but once I learned my lesson I only did it when it suited my interests at the time.  Although the breakup can be painful (I was read the riot act the last time I unfriended the company) I haven't regretted it once.

Level 12

Excellent way of expressing this advice. When friend zoned by a romantic interest you have roughly zero chance of becoming anything more, and every time I have been told I'm too important in my current role for a promotion the promotion doesn't even come when I am interviewing for jobs at that level.

Level 10

Don't forget to tell your younger self that to help not getting trapped in the friend zone treat your fiend/s that you don't want to be trapped in the zone with better than a friend - that can work wonders.

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Level 12

I don't do what I do to make friends.

I bet you're a hit at the holiday office party. lol

It's ironic, but it's a fact of life that if you resign or retire you get a cake and a party. 

If you're let go, there's simply a notification to your peers that you're no longer employed here.  No harm, no foul.

And no cake.

A younger "me" would have definitely advised the "much-younger" me to take the initiative and risk much to possibly gain much.  The "more-mature" me is very happy with his wife of 40 years, and can only imagine Murphy stepping in and laughing at a younger-me making mistakes, perhaps getting divorce multiple times, regretting those decisions.

It's at that stage where I wish to watch from a separate track from on high, analyzing each decision in the tree, each potential choice and mistake or success, and each long-term ramification.  It's fairly useless to imagine what relationships might have been, but I've done that.

Best to follow the advice of Oscar Gordon.  If you don't know him, there's a fantastic few hours ahead, and I envy you your first read of Robert Heinlein's Glory Road.

Interesting take patrick.hubbard​ as I did not often hesitate make my feelings known when I was younger. The sad part for me was that I was looking in the wrong places. I heard from a woman friend of mine that there were other girls in High School that would have been happy to date me. Yet I was so fixated on the people I liked I didn't notice. That continued to be the case for me thru college. I got stuck in the friend zone a lot but it turned out okay. I had some difficult times because I was blind sided in my first marriage relationship, as I mentioned in other posts. It blew my confidence out of the water. Nothing was certain when it came to interactions with others. I still had close friends but nothing much more until I met my current wife of 27 years.

I can certainly see parallels in my career. I have always been one to move on to new opportunities for money and adventure. Yet when I leaped for a new adventure 11 years ago I took a cut in pay and moved my family. It ended in disaster, totally unpredictable, to us anyway. I had never been fired before, always rose to challenges and at least was considered a top performer. Now 10+ years into my current job, which required yet another move, I am seriously concerned I am in the friend zone. However, this time I am the one who only wants to be friends. I give a lot of time and my best at this job, but something is different with my investment in the company itself. I didn't feel that way when I got here but over time they have worn away my enthusiasm. I like what I do, I will do what it takes to make sure the company's IT infrastructure is operational, but I do not feel invested in its success. Partly because when I got here some of the challenges set out before me were ones I had dealt with before in my career. Taken classes, learned how to solve the issues, and basically had the experience. When I put forth solutions they where too bold, to dramatic a change, and a host of other reasons why not to move forward. As time went on it happened often enough that I just stopped presenting things. I am not quiet when we discuss options, but I am not proposing bold things here any longer. It doesn't mean I can't be creative in solving problems, but it certainly isn't bold or innovative. Perhaps it is just that this is the longest I have been at any one company and everything old is new again just with a shiny new coat of paint. It is time for some new adventures - but what?

asheppard970​ your whole story sounds so much like mine. I still tell young men, "You say you like women and wonder why they don't like you? How much time do you spend paying attention to what they like?' Even today as a happily married person I still pay attention. When you can strike up a conversation about french manicures or discuss how the fabric drapes and why that color isn't really looking good on her. It helps start a conversation. Then you can get into other things like music, literature, sports, politics, religion. If it is important to you to have relationships with anyone you can't ignore what is important to them. Who knows where your next good friend is going to come from.

Tom, I could not agree more with your comments.  You mentioned music, and how we should be interested in the other person's (male or female) likes and preferences, and that reminded me of a couple of "typical male" things.  One is a bumper sticker that I have seen on more than one pickup truck around Northern Colorado (if you don't know, Greeley is a "cow town", not just because the JB Swift plant and feedlots are here but also because there are a lot of, uh, Cowboys (yeah, we'll go with that instead of Jeff Foxworthy's non-PC moniker)), which says:

"Driver picks the music and shotgun shuts his pie hole"

The other were some lyrics from Def Leppard's "Let's Get Rocked" from way back in the 80's:

"I'm your average, ordinary, everyday dude

Drivin' with my baby, to get her in the mood

She's dialin' through my radio and I'm-a ready to make my move

But what she got ain't Rock And Roll and it really blew my groove

It was Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven

Yeah, it makes me wanna SCREAM

Bach, Tchaikovsky, Violins

Uh turn it off! That ain't my scene.

Well I'm sorry girl, here's my confession:

'Spose that rock's out of the question?"

Another great piece of advice I heard, once, was this: Be interestED, not interestING!

I think we should get together, Tom, and discuss how many times the cuff on the pant should break... 😉

I was trained by society to be less risky, to not be demonstrative--especially when I did not recognize that my actions would be received well.

Truer words were never spoken, Rick.  Perhaps you've seen the below prose and, if not, I pray it gives you - and others - some degree of hope and comfort.  I wish that my middle-school aged self had not only heard this but taken it to heart:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Level 17

Wonderful post!

I would add that the career friend zone isn't as easy to walk away from as a dating friend zone. You can't walk out the door of your company without a soft landing spot somewhere else.

Level 8

So true, simple advice indeed. Things do not always fall into place on their own.  We must give it a little push or simply take a leap of faith to shape our path.  Confidence, self-worth and assertiveness are good tools to have; unfortunately, not all of us have those tools handy when we need them. Sometimes it takes time to build courage to make decisions and become assertive, have confidence to choose make the best decision without second guessing yourself.  

Or cuffs or no cuffs! Plus Vivaldi has some really nice pieces, and if Def Leppard liked it rougher than listen to Wagner!

OMG!!! Good ole Richie Wagner!  I have played "Ride Of The Valkyries" one too many times in my life! 8-|  That dude was he-ea-vy (literally and figuratively).  And I agree, "Four Seasons" is always fun to play and listen to.  I dated a lady back in college who was a Violinist, and she tried (sorry, but it wasn't a success) to play AV's Violin Concerto in A Minor...tough, tough piece but fun if your last name is Perlman or Zukerman!

Level 9

Like many of my fellow decent guys, I have been in the friendzone several times. Most of those times were because I was too scared to ask that hardest of questions; "Will you go out with me?" Six of the toughest words in the English language when you don't want to hurt anyone. Sometime you just have to make the leap and live with the consequences. That applies to many things in life...

MVP
MVP

conversely - as a manager its important to not be "that guy" that people keep leaving

Level 14

The work one is so true.  After University I worked for a major computer manufacturer.  I got great annual reviews, saved and made the company millions and always got double digit pay rises (ok 10% of not very much still isn't very much).  After 7 years it all came to a grinding halt.  New management were inept and tried to change stuff we knew worked and made us good money.  They wouldn't listen and things started to go very wrong.  Naturally we got blamed and there was no money for pay rises, training etc.  I saw the light and left.  Move forward 20+ years and I was working somewhere where management were very toxic, gave themselves big pay rises but there was nothing for us.  They even tried downgrading job descriptions (which were tied to pay grades) so we would get a pay cut and tried extending working hours.  I left and took my current job for a £20,000 pay rise and where it seems I am appreciated.  The two contractors who were brought in to replace me at my last role have subsequently left too.

Sometimes you really do have to look out for yourself.

Level 20

Hmmmm that's an interesting thing to say...

Level 20

I'm in this situation right now!  It's hard to say what the outcome will be but I totally get where you're coming from Patrick.  Part of the problem for me is we're thousands of miles apart.  She lives in DC and I live in the Valley of the Sun in AZ.  Neither of us can or really wants to move right now.  After living in the desert the thought of moving back to where there's much snow at all gives me the chills.  So, like it's been for a few years now, I'll visit but I'm not staying.

About the Author
I'm the Head Geek and technical marketing director at SolarWinds, (which basically means I'm an mature geek in the services of the product team). When I say geek I mean Geek, with extreme prejudice. I started writing assembly on my Apple II, got a BITNET email account in 1984, ran a BBS @ 300 baud, survived X.25, abused Token Ring, got some Netscape.com JavaScript award love in '96, and my hack flight notification service still backs aa.com. Along the way in various jobs I’ve been a developer, SE, PM, PMM, and now principal evangelist. (Let us all join hands around the server.) Over 10 years at SolarWinds I’ve hatched our online live demo systems, managed the SolarWinds Certified Professional program, launched the Head Geek program, helmed SolarWinds Lab and THWACKcamp, and these days I’m focused on the hairball that is Hybrid IT, Cloud, DevOps and helping IT admins learn new skills not just to manage increasing complexity, but accelerate their careers. I’m always looking for new and more fiendish ways to use our products- just like our customers. And when I have a few spare minutes I fly a little when the weather is good.