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Unprofessional people and the oxymoron effect

Why is it bad to have colleagues like this and how to deal with them?

Posted in Czech it out!, Workplace, Career, Personal life

The first time I heard the word oxymoron was during a job interview in 2010. We were talking about my skills and how it was my previous job when he asked me if I had some difficulties here in Prague, while working. At that time I said that I didn’t notice anything so drastic but, yes, I had some problems. At that time thought it could be culture related since I am from Brazil. When I described which problems he said that I was facing a common oxymoron around here. I asked what is it and he gave me some examples. The last example was “Czech professional”.

Disclaimer: I am not targeting any nationality, but as I live in Prague the percentage of local oxymoron is higher. For sure someone living in a different country will see this pattern in a different nationality.

Oxymoron, if you don’t know, is when contradictory set of words appear in the same sentence. Like civil war, noisy silence, living dead, seriously funny and so on.

The problem I was facing was related with people who were thinking they own the office space and you would break the status quo. We all know people like this, no matter the place in the world they come from. I have 2 examples very vivid in my memory:

  • A person who goes beyond his/her job description and gets activities from other people thinking it’s doing something good, but then blames others when things start to be problematic because of his/her own proactivity (“this was your job!”);
  • A person who treats the office like his/her home and takes everything personally (“I’ll not do anything for him/her because he/she screamed at me last week”).

Of course, there are situations where both examples are in the same person.

When people behave as mentioned above the office starts to become a toxic place. And it’s easy to notice: The team leader (or manager) only needs to pay attention on where is the bottleneck. Sometimes, in some projects, a bottleneck is caused by performance of 1 or more team members. But in a toxic office the performance is not the issue, but the person itself.

If you want to recognize this behavior you should pay attention to:

  1. Self-proclaimed office stars (“Nothing would work without me”);
  2. The one who makes himself/herself busy by getting tasks from other colleagues, and blame them when something goes wrong;
  3. A person who takes everything personal in the office;
  4. The classic apple polishers.

How to deal with them?

If you are not a team leader or manager I’d recommend you to report it. The leader should be responsible for this kind of conversation. But, still, it’s difficult even for the leader as it doesn’t depend only on him. The person should be willing to understand the issues and change. Not everybody has enough self-awareness and also not everybody would be willing to accept that he/she is part of the problem. But as we say back in my country, there is always an old shoe to a tired foot. Which means this person might be a perfect fit in another department or company.

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A short story about my return to Czech Republic

What happened in this month of hibernation after my arrival?

Posted in Czech it out!, Personal life

Hibernation. This is what defines what I was doing during the last 30 days. No, I wasn’t in deep sleep like bears… I meant that I toke some vacations from myself in order to make some analysis of the environment here in Czech Republic as I needed to get back on track. And since I spent 6 months in Brazil you can imagine how different these countries are…

The first thing I’ve done after arrive was to get a new notebook. My old one now belongs to Alena but she doesn’t seem to get along well with it. It seems that she has created a kind of bond with her old machine but, after some time, she will accept the change. I hope :)

Another thing I’ve started to do is to try to move a bit more. And since I have a Kinect at home I started playing Your Shape: Fitness Evolved often, in addition to walking outside. I have to confess: The first week was very painful but now everything seems fine. And I feel a bit more alive, less anxious and with better concentration. Maybe I am going to write few articles about this soon. A huge maybe because sometimes I really need an extra motivation for exercises. But I guess my current 91kg are very motivational...

Then we have Windows 8 RTM releasing! Since I am an MCT I could get it on August 15th via my TechNet subscription. How does it feel? Is it amazing? Do I like it? Well, I am going to write kind of review about that in few days but the answer is: I love it! But stay tuned for the review.

So far this is everything what happened during the last weeks. Yes, I know... I didn't do anything so much interesting since I spent 99% of my time at home. We have even planned a short trip to Belgium but, unfortunately, we couldn't go.

Ah, of course... I have started looking for a job while waiting for 2 great things which might happen in few weeks. Whichever seems better (money + environment), I will pick it. But let’s see. Whatever happens I will post here. But probably all recruiters are on vacation around here or, which could be worse, there are really few .NET positions around here.

Stay tuned!

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Carrer move: From .NET Developer to Microsoft Certified Trainer

When the crisis comes it's time to make a career move. That's why I went to the education field!

Posted in Czech it out!, Career, Personal life

There were some changes since the beginning of the year. From the moment that Europe got hit really hard by the crisis I was wondering about my next career move. There was a very low demand of .NET Developers last year and some HR managers even suggested me to move to Java since its demand was much higher. But I didn’t and still don’t want. Nothing against the technology itself, it’s just that I love the Microsoft stack.

Also, if we talk about place to live, Czech Republic isn’t such a friendly country as people might wonder. Don’t get me wrong, the country is wonderful. But if you don’t speak the language you will get into troubles with very simple things. Ok, there are some websites like expats.cz which helps a lot but you can check with any foreigner living in Prague: Czech people seems to complicate a lot their lives over there.

So, the first change was my return to Brazil. Not for life, but for just 6 months. The reason was the crisis – which I have mentioned above – and also invitation from my friend to come to São Paulo and work in a training center with him. Technically I would come to “save his life” as he prefers to teach Database related topics but lately was teaching.NET stuff. As result I am working with him as a trainer at Ka Solution, which is the largest Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Learning Solutions (CPLS) in Latin America, since January.

As second change I became Microsoft Certified Trainer. Check the details on how to be a MCT here.

I am enjoying quite a lot this routine of trainer. I would say that the main difference between a trainer and a developer is the level of stress. While the developer is constantly under pressure the trainer’s life is much more relaxed. The trainer has, of course, a huge responsibility since he is the one who will share his knowledge with others creating, then, a new set of developers per class.

Of course, I am aware of this responsibility and I guess I am doing well.

Another difference is the money at the end of the month. As developer, generally, it doesn’t matter how much you work as you will always get the same money. As trainer I feel it’s quite fair to get some coins according to the amount of classes I get. If I work a lot, I get a lot of money. If I work less, I get less money.

Until this moment being a trainer is financially advantage for me.

I have to think about my next move. As I am not planning to quit the education area I guess an English speaking country would be quite interesting. England and Ireland are some of the obvious choices. But we will see.

Stay tunned!

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Czech Republic might get hit by hurricane Andrea

Funny... I ask for snow and I get a hurricane...

Posted in Czech it out!, News

I just saw a link on Facebook about a hurricane which will hit Czech Republic today.

The article says that the winds are going to reach 126km/h in the region of Ústí (north Bohemia) while, in the rest of the country, the wind speed might reach 75 to 100 km/h. It also says that higher places can expect between 10 and 50cm of snow.

Hurricanes in this part of Europe aren't so common. According to Wikipedia most of the hurricanes that happened here were on the European coast and didn't make so much damage. Probably because they are already weaker when they get here.

Besides, they are usually formed in the late summer when the difference of temperatures between the air and the oceans are higher than normal.

Now, let's think: Taking in consideration the closest ocean we have here (North Atlantic) and the season of hurricanes (between June and November) I don't know if we can call that a hurricane. But maybe Al Gore was right about the global warming.

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