Thursday, May 21, 2020

Working quietly and not liking instant messaging interruptions

I have a ton of content to put together for work. It's not difficult work. It's volume. I need to have my work done in over a week's time. I simply like to work quietly without any distractions.

I have a love-hate relationship with instant messaging. Getting messages from folks while I am doing a ton of work throws me off.

At work, we have two messaging apps. We use Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. I am only on the former because my boss does tabs on when people log on and off. It's sad, but it's a virtual punch card machine.

I work enough hours that I don't really care. I get messaged often, which I don't enjoy. I am the longest-serving employee within our group, so I have a ton of knowledge. Everybody thinks that their work is important. Meanwhile, they don't realize that they may be interrupting work that I am doing that is important to me.

I only log on to Microsoft Teams when I have meetings. I haven't figured out a way to block people I don't enjoy working with yet.

Anyway, there is one project manager who has rubbed me the wrong way for at least two years. I have told her countless times that I prefer e-mails than instant messages. The former gives me time to think. I also write back with details.

She can't absorb e-mails. She wants everything quickly and continues to communicate with me through instant messages. I hate all of that.

I let her know that I am super busy. I copied two of her colleagues who know just how swamped I am with work. They also happen to be my past and present project managers on my team. I let her know calmly that I have shared everything with her and don't have an answer on how she should communicate to folks asking about software delivery. I am simply the person who put the contents of a document together. Delivery of this document is out of my scope once it is published.

Meanwhile, she makes it such a big deal to call and instant message me. If my status says that I am offline and she can't reach me, it's because I'm offline. I don't know what is so unclear about that. If telling her three times that I prefer e-mails doesn't sink in, that's her problem.


  1. She is probably jealous of your competency and wants to annoy you.

    1. There is a lot of truth in that statement. She knows that I have the answers that she needs. She is good at annoying me with her incompetence.

  2. Well, I'll offer a suggestion for handling the project manager who is messaging you. My suggestion is to give her a specific time in the near future when you will get back to her. I'd make this maybe 10-15 minutes in the future. I'd just tell her something like, "Finishing up a task, and I'll get back to you in 15 minutes." This puts you in control of your time, instead of her. She will find it very hard to object to being put off for a short time. You might also mix in sending her a reply by e-mail after the time expires, especially if the reply is complex. My prediction is that she moderates her annoying behavior after you've done this for a while. She may just want to feel like she's controlling you, even if that's subconscious. But its your time, so you control it.

    1. Thanks for your suggestion. I like it a lot and it does put the control ball in my court. I like the delay factor, which should hopefully change her behaviour the more that I reinforce it.

    2. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.