Isn’t it time for brainwashing?

    Friends, you need your brain. I have a good friend who, in my opinion, needs help from the brain. But he will never agree to this. He does not think at all that something is wrong with him. This is his position: "I believe that everything is fine with me."

    However, sometimes implicit doubts about his own position slip through his words or messages. Especially in the last couple of years - I do not know what is connected with. Perhaps with age (he is 34 years old).

    He works simultaneously as a team leader, department head and programmer. A kind of playing coach. He is the best employee in the company. The best leader, the best team lead, the best programmer. Literally so - he figures out the code the most and best of all, at the same time manages to train and lead the best team of the company, and I don’t know how, but he manages the department that includes this team and two others. In short, the guy in his board.

    I will now describe to you his symptoms that I have been able to see (I have known him for 15 years). Perhaps some of you will give me practical advice. It was for me, not him — he knows nothing about this publication, and he won’t do anything with himself. And I, perhaps, can somehow influence him. For convenience, I will call him Sasha.


    Sasha can accept any opinion and uphold it as his own. It is precisely any opinion, and not any side - it is not about running from camp to camp in a dispute. Although, this happens.

    What is important: he does it consciously, openly, as if playing a game. It was from him that I learned that this method is called "Devil's Advocate." By the way, he said a couple of times that he would like to be a lawyer, but the devil pulled to go to study as a programmer.

    In any dispute, the conflict in which he is involved, he chooses the party, not based on his own opinion on the subject of the dispute. It seems to me that he is choosing the side that has a weaker position - so, it would seem, it will be more interesting to win. He once said that he looks about the same way at the World Cups, which the Russian team does not play at - includes the match, estimates who is weaker and cheers for them.

    Especially infuriates everyone when he begins to change his position to the opposite, when he begins to win. I chose the weak, helped with the argumentation, sees what is flooded, and changes shoes. Says - stop it. I changed my mind. And begins to prove the opposite point of view.

    I think these are either symptoms or harbingers of schizophrenia. It is impossible not to value your own opinion so much as not to have it at all. Or, as an option, he is so confident in his own opinion that he does not consider it necessary to even pronounce it. If I myself find myself on one of the sides of the dispute, then I get the feeling that Sasha is playing with us, like a teacher with children in a kindergarten. If I had not known him for so long, I would not have been able to work with him - this is a form of mockery of adults.

    There is, however, an obvious advantage - there is nothing to catch him, as they say. How to catch what is not? At work, sometimes it happens that a person is condemned for his opinion. I personally saw how an opinion was fired, especially if a person insists on it. And you’ll catch Sasha’s horse-radish - there’s nothing at all.


    Here, it seems to me, everything is obvious, but suddenly I misread the symptoms. As far as I know, guilt is when a person blames himself on behalf of others. Those. there may be no real guilt at all, and people don’t even think about Sasha, but he feels guilty.

    His guilt is always on the same topic: "I work poorly, I can do better." I remind you that he is the best employee of the company. This is confirmed by figures, and the opinion of subordinates, and the opinion of colleagues, and the opinion of management. But he is constantly dissatisfied with himself.

    If it happens that he had a bad day — for example, he was dragged to meetings, and he did not manage to make planned targets for tasks (which he set for himself), then he is terribly worried. He sits down at the computer, and unless sparks fly. The keys knock furiously, coffee goes mug after mug, gnaws several pens in a day (recently switched to toothpicks), smokes cigarettes without even noticing it. And angry. Himself.

    If you turn to him at such a moment, he will speak in a guilty tone. Although, I have nothing to do with it - there is definitely no fault before me. But it seems to him that everyone around him blames him for something. And he fulfills this duty, plowing like a horse. True, he never lingers at work - he has such a fad, he takes a child from a kindergarten.


    Sasha is terribly intolerant. But at the same time he never swears. It shows that he lost his temper, but he won’t scream, he won’t hiss through his teeth, he’d better go for a smoke or pour another cup of coffee.

    Its intolerance is very easy to cause. For example, to demonstrate that you do not care about anything related to work. Not all the work at all - if you don't care about the corporate party, then Sasha will shake your hand.

    But if you don’t care about the quality of the code, reuse, performance, reaching the goal of the task, delay, monitoring the life cycle, falling productivity, then Sasha goes into intolerance mode.

    But the easiest way to anger Sasha is to demonstrate a lack of professional interest. Moreover, strictly within the framework of your specialty and position.

    If you are a programmer, then Sasha will not be able to endure when you are not interested in understanding something. When you quit and say that it didn’t work out, and you have to stop. Sasha generally believes that the main character trait of a real programmer is an inquiring mind. Probably because he himself is.

    Inferiority complex

    Sasha always strives to become the best in the environment in which he found himself. Actually, that's why he is the best in the company. Wherever he finds himself, the scenario is always the same - Sasha determines the criteria by which people are compared here, and begins to creep up in the formal and informal ranking.

    He was the best student in his first grade. Then, when the teachers in the fifth grade noticed that he was frankly bored, he was transferred externally to the sixth, and he finished two classes in a year. In his second grade, he also became the best. The last two years he spent in the best lyceum of the city, and there he became the best. Moreover, since it was the best, most difficult class of the school (with the letter "A", mathematics and computer science), then we can say that it was the best in all parallels.

    Then there was an institute where Sasha became the best again. There was work further, and everywhere he behaved the same way - crawling and crawling upstairs. But in his work, as a more flexible environment than school and university, he came up with a new feature - the creation of his own coordinate systems.

    He came to a new company - at first it becomes the best on a generally accepted scale. Then he thinks up his own - he starts up some projects, development, efficiency improvement, new goals and metrics, and crawls along them already.

    Between these competitions, he rests just a couple of days. He sat, smoked, reflexed, and crawled again. He always, at any moment of time, competes with someone, although nobody but Sasha has anything to do with these competitions.

    It seems that the inferiority complex in its purest form. Just as in the case of guilty feelings, the reason for its occurrence was invented by Sasha himself. After all, everyone is deeply indifferent to whether he is the best or not. And he behaves as if everything around him is only doing what they value him and watch him.


    Sasha very often seems inadequate. It manifests itself in the fact that he is fanatically, stubbornly trying to achieve the goals that he set.

    Any adequate person, after one or several unsuccessful attempts, throws the target. But Sasha - no. Even if it takes years to achieve the goal, he will stubbornly bang his head against the wall.

    What is important - he is not just trying to do the same thing, in the hope that this time it will work. No, he constantly changes approaches, seeks new solutions, sometimes pauses “to think”, but then invariably returns to work on the goal.

    Unfortunately, his inadequacy is fueled by statistics - he manages to achieve goals. There are a couple of long-term construction projects that last for many years, but they do not apply to work - for example, you cannot quit smoking in any way. Everything else, one way or another, sooner or later, is realized.

    It would seem, what for it is necessary? No one needs the goal anymore - they all abandoned, forgot, and do not even remind. No, Sasha will crawl on. Silently, stubbornly, driven, apparently, by his guilt. And when it turns out, he will come and say - they say, remember, there was such a goal? That's all I did. People are very surprised, especially if they know Sasha recently.


    Sasha is like a tumor - it gets bigger and bigger all the time. Not weight is growing, but influence. Not by itself, but purposefully.

    Sasha is always small in the area that he occupies, in all reasonable senses. He hates the boundaries and rules that he is enforced. If they gave him a command to manage, then he will try to capture another one. Then more and more. If he was ordered to keep records of work in one system, and that does not suit him, he will knock out the right to make changes to the system. If they do not give rights, he will still get out (see its inadequacy) and find a way to get out of the restriction - as a rule, he creates his own system, secretly double-counts, and then rolls out his version and convincingly proves that it is better. And the whole company goes over to the scheme he proposed.

    If he got into a company that loves bureaucracy, then for Sasha it is like a red rag for a bull. He will ruthlessly destroy all the bureaucracy that affects him. It’s not easy to walk and whine, that is engaged in nonsense - he will come up with a plan, some kind of cunning, to level out bureaucratic procedures. It will show in practice, with figures and experiments, that the bureaucracy seriously reduces efficiency, and, as a rule, they believe it. And if they do not believe, then inadequacy will not let Sasha stop - he will come up with some other way.

    John Silver

    The trait is rather unpleasant. I’ll briefly recall who John Silver is — a character from Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, a one-legged pirate. He communicated with people in a special way - piece by piece. He will come to one, and he will say one-on-one - dude, you are my best friend, I can trust you alone. Then - to another guy, with the same approach. As a result, everyone considers John Silver their friend.

    Sasha, of course, is not so polar, but there is a certain similarity. Sasha likes to establish personal contact with a simple goal - that a specific person treat him well. He finds an approach to everyone. He will talk with one about alcohol, with the other about cross-stitching, with a third about motorcycles, and a fourth about parenting. Let me remind you - Sasha is not a seller, for whom such behavior, in general, should be the norm.

    As a result, Sasha has many friends in any company. Of course, these are not real friends - Sasha does not even meet with them outside of work. An 8-hour day is enough for everyone to consider that Sasha is a great guy.

    And then Sasha uses this to achieve his goals. First of all, for changes. When Sasha at some general meeting proposes some new project, then he already has a personal agreement with each of those present. For each, he has already found a profit from achieving this goal. And each person stands and thinks that only he has one agreement with Sasha, only Sasha agreed with him, and they almost wink secretly at this John Silver.

    This feature is somewhat out of the general row - the previous ones probably formed your opinion about Sasha as a geek-introvert with a bunch of complexes. But, unfortunately, Sasha is a complex subject.


    Sasha is usually angry at tasks that cannot be resolved. He does it consciously - he has such an instrument of self-motivation. Sasha often takes on the most complex and risky tasks in any project. From which, alas, it follows that Sasha is angry almost always. Like a hulk.

    He told a couple of times that he was taught to be mad at a task in training - he was engaged in weightlifting in childhood. When a young athlete can’t take the weight, or perform the required number of repetitions, they told him they were angry with the barbell. Imagine that she is your number one at a time. And tear it!

    So he is angry at the task. He does not just solve them, as the majority does - calmly, confidently, measuredly, in steps. He rushes to the task, like a berserker at the enemy, and does not retreat until the task falls. After the victory, he becomes completely happy for a while - this can be seen with the naked eye, because Sasha smiles out loud and cannot stop doing it.

    He sometimes even takes tasks from programmers when he sees that they have “sailed” - they are ready to give up, lose, back off the task. Sasha says - let me tear her! This process is pretty fun to watch, so programmers are happy to agree. Sasha grabs the task, like a dog throwing a bone, and tears it.


    Sasha is a terrible but kind troll. He knows how to troll very subtly, but at the same time, without offending or humiliating a person.

    He said that he did not always know how to troll subtly. He used to pen like a bulldozer, regardless of position, age, social status and gender. Because of this, he experienced constant career difficulties - few were willing to tolerate this even from an intelligent specialist.

    Then he learned to use trolling for the good (well, he thinks so). Basically, he uses it to “awaken” a person - to show shortcomings, errors, directions that a person does not pay attention to, too carried away by any one topic.

    Sasha himself considers trolling a necessity. He says that if a person simply indicates a disadvantage, he will resist. But trolling, with innocuous humor, does not cause resistance. True, I do not agree with him - when he trolls me, he hits me in the most painful place. I try to pretend that I was not offended, and then I worry and get angry for a couple of days - Sasha defines my problem so precisely.


    As you understand, Sasha is a rather valuable employee for companies, because he motivates himself. Personally, it seems to me that he is doing it wrong - through guilt and an inferiority complex. But employers are only happy.

    Of course, they set goals for him, and he, like a mad dog, rushes to achieve them. But he sets most of the goals for himself, and the management simply notifies them.

    But the further, the more Sasha bothers me. I thought for a long time that he would burn out at work. But Sasha is an interesting guy, and all the time he is fond of some esoteric practices that cheer up, and when he comes to work in the morning, he is always “overloaded” - as if the load of excess obligations that Sasha himself had not hung on him.

    The portrait, as you see, turned out to be quite complex, heterogeneous. It would be easier if Sasha was just a stubborn introvert geek too keen on his job. Or, if he were only John Silver, I would not bother you - you never know how someone builds relationships with colleagues.

    What bothers me is a mixture of qualities, very strange, in my opinion. Such a cocktail cannot get along in one person. Something is wrong with him, but I do not have enough knowledge to understand whether I need to worry or not.

    What do you think?

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