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Help.

INTJ, female, old enough to know better.....I've been a successful freelancer but now I have a boss. No, it's even better than that: I have TWO bosses, each at different organizations I do some work for. Both of these guys are about 15 years older than me, and want to 'help' me. One is a misogynist ISFP (I've known him for years, this is plain as day). The other I'm not sure about, but colleagues say he likes to micromanage. Both of these guys fairly suck at what I do.

This week, both of them indicated they wanted to meet to give me feedback. They want to 'help' me improve.

Sigh....

Background: I work in a highly creative field, and there is absolutely no one right way to do my job. Additionally, my end-users are extremely satisfied with my work methods. So, if either of these guys is hell-bent on telling me how I need to do my job, it's a problem inside him. My job is a leadership role, and I spend hours upon hours studying/learning/seeking how best to do it. I have a short list of teachers who I can call upon to help me when I can't figure out something on my own, and these teachers are well-known in my field. Neither of my bosses could even remotely hold a candle to any of them.

I think they both want to coach and mentor me. Be my teacher. Whatever.

What I'd love to do is give both of these guys a classic INTJ withering glare and explain that they are in no position to mentor me.

The truth I know: a wise person can learn something from everyone.
Another truth: I won't succeed in my career by bitch-slapping every idiot male who tries to teach me.

I need a little wisdom here, folks. Tips, tricks on how you keep your mouth shut in the face of stupid people? This field is ridiculously male-dominated. How can I be gracious and seem 'open to new ideas and collaboration' without giving them the pleasure of seeing me as 'the cute little woman playing at what we do'?
 

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Hmm. Research up tact and diplomacy? The sort where they leave being happy despite you having no intention of taking on board what they say unless it is quality?

It is negotiations meeting PR.

May as well learn the skill before the confrontation rather than a long time afterwards, I suppose.
 

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I need a little wisdom here, folks. Tips, tricks on how you keep your mouth shut in the face of stupid people? This field is ridiculously male-dominated. How can I be gracious and seem 'open to new ideas and collaboration' without giving them the pleasure of seeing me as 'the cute little woman playing at what we do'?
oyvey. you like the tough ones, don't you.

i'm not sure of advice, but i have the sympathy/been-there's/co-whinging all down. it's bad when you have someone determined to teach you something, or their lives are hollow. those types tend to shove you into the 'learning' position whether it fits you or not, just in order to be able to dispense wisdom at you.

one thing that sometimes works, kind of, for me, is doing a kind of judo-ish move. let me see if i can describe it clearly. they come at you with their piece of insulting-but-necessary-to-their-existence advice, and you take it, sidestep, and pull them further in the direction of that same move, until you've dragged them out of their depth. then you let them go gracefully, smile nicely at them and pretend like you don't know you've just ninja'd them.

example:

pissy little incompetent with a hitler complex at the next desk: lily, when you test the new radio button, don't forget you have to test the use case of turning it off as well as turning it on.
me: thanks, good to remember. hey, while i have you, do you know which database table they put it in? i've been poking around back there and . . . i'd like to validate the save all the way down to the record itself just in case there are cacheing issues.

basically, if someone's going to try patronizing me, i try to figure out a sneaky way of making it hurt. i want them afraid of trying their bullshit on me so they will leave me alone. it works as aversion therapy although i'm afraid it's not going to stop them taking an aversion to you. the only way that you're doing to stop that is by kissing their butts in the style that they want their butts kissed.
 
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Repeat what they say, except start with "You think I should..."

You are not promising you will do it, only showing that you listened.

And that gives you time to actually think it over and decide what advice to ditch and what to keep.
 
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I second the "smile and nod" approach. I also use: "Thanks for your input. I'll take it into consideration."

Then keep doing what you've been doing. Often times these types of people don't actually care if you implement any of their suggestions. They just want to make themselves feel special by imparting their "wisdom" onto someone else. You're not going to change their mind on anything, so don't waste your time/energy trying to debate them. Let them have their 15 minutes of specialness and then move on.

If they happen to actually offer you something useful in the process, that's just a bonus.
 

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Butting in here a bit, but I've been a victim of the "you're too ignorant to understand my grand master plan" thing from my INTJ (that wasn't meant to be insulting. I was, in fact, too ignorant to understand his grand master plan, he wasn't being arrogant, just realistic). And I can tell you what would really have made my giving him advice a much more constructive experience, without him having to change his plan:

(do this very calmly, don't attack them) Listen to their suggestions, and show them clearly in what way that would be less efficient given your goal and way of proceeding. Basically "unravel" your Ni vision for them, show them patiently step by step how it's all coherent and thought out in your mind. If it is in fact the right way to go, you'll have no trouble showing it, just think about how you could explain it to someone who has no understanding of how you proceed. You don't have to comply to what they're saying, just not be rude in showing them that you have thought of the right way (if you attack them for being wrong they'll tense up and refuse to see it, but if they're presented with non threatening facts and ways of implementing that are just obviously better than theirs, they'll back off. Unless they're really idiots?)

I mean I know it's counter-intuitive for you guys to go out of your ways to please others but it might make your long term work experience a lot easier if you take the time to do this just once so they no longer feel like they're outside an impenetrable shell? Because that's sort of what makes people feel insecure.

Please tell me if you don't think this makes sense.
 

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Help.

INTJ, female, old enough to know better.....I've been a successful freelancer but now I have a boss. No, it's even better than that: I have TWO bosses, each at different organizations I do some work for. Both of these guys are about 15 years older than me, and want to 'help' me. One is a misogynist ISFP (I've known him for years, this is plain as day). The other I'm not sure about, but colleagues say he likes to micromanage. Both of these guys fairly suck at what I do.

This week, both of them indicated they wanted to meet to give me feedback. They want to 'help' me improve.

Sigh....

Background: I work in a highly creative field, and there is absolutely no one right way to do my job. Additionally, my end-users are extremely satisfied with my work methods. So, if either of these guys is hell-bent on telling me how I need to do my job, it's a problem inside him. My job is a leadership role, and I spend hours upon hours studying/learning/seeking how best to do it. I have a short list of teachers who I can call upon to help me when I can't figure out something on my own, and these teachers are well-known in my field. Neither of my bosses could even remotely hold a candle to any of them.

I think they both want to coach and mentor me. Be my teacher. Whatever.

What I'd love to do is give both of these guys a classic INTJ withering glare and explain that they are in no position to mentor me.

The truth I know: a wise person can learn something from everyone.
Another truth: I won't succeed in my career by bitch-slapping every idiot male who tries to teach me.

I need a little wisdom here, folks. Tips, tricks on how you keep your mouth shut in the face of stupid people? This field is ridiculously male-dominated. How can I be gracious and seem 'open to new ideas and collaboration' without giving them the pleasure of seeing me as 'the cute little woman playing at what we do'?
I usually use "I'll try" as it doesn't imply "I will". Then if I don't think it's a good idea, I'll gladly fail at it and admit failure for this and that reason to best justify my point of view without saying "fuckoff" from get-go. This is my polite "fuckoff" and it usually works.
Also, another thing that worked for me even when I was young was to proactively go ahead and ask them like "Hei, I had this idea, bla bla, what do you think?" This usually stops the need to tell me what to do because these people just need to feel important, by asking them if it's a good idea, usually what happens is that they wont confirm it to you right away, but will come back later with your idea and say "Hei, I think we should do this".
 
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I tend to use the agreement frame at work. For example if someone tells me that their way to do a project is really effective and I disagree with it I'd say something alone the lines.

"I agree that you said that your way is effective in your opinion and I would like to add that it will be done in accordance of my original plan"

Then again there are cultural differences. Above works here quite well as people are not so hell bent on the "ranks".
 

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Without specifics I have no idea how to help you deal with a situation.

But, if you're out to have some fun ask them complicated questions very seriously, as if you're expecting them to help. Ask them to demonstrate for you in situations you know they will mess up. If they aren't using enough Te, ask them "how?" Force them to explain how their advice will improve the situation. Most of the time they won't be able to explain the 'how' and back off.

I understand that you're asking how to take advice, but in reality you just want them to back off.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Fabulous advice!

I'm sorry for the radio silence. First I got sick, then I had all the make up work. And, after reading so many good and kind suggestions, I was overwhelmed....my inner NF kicked in and I kinda sorta needed to disappear. Sorry :-(

Boss #1, the ISFP, forgot all about it, so I have some breathing room for now.

Boss #2, who I used to work with and we were good colleagues (but the boss/employee thing was just not working At. All.....) we met for coffee and chat yesterday. I deliberately scheduled it for off-site, at a coffee place on my home turf. That gave me the equal footing to be confident and not feel defensive.

It went great! Things are so much better now. Whoohooo! I will follow up with specific replies as to how I was able to use your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Smile and nod. Smile and nod. Then show them- in a very polite manner- your innate awesomeness.
When we first met at the coffee place, it was a little tense. He was dreading the meeting too. I had "smile and nod" on loop in my brain, and by 10 minutes in, the smile part had become habit. By then Boss had already visibly relaxed a bit.

Repeat what they say, except start with "You think I should..."

You are not promising you will do it, only showing that you listened.

And that gives you time to actually think it over and decide what advice to ditch and what to keep.
This was also on loop in my brain, so I'd say this instead of objecting. And you made me realize that I do need time to think things over. I hadn't realized how much this affected our interaction, but I was able to tell him upfront that I often feel like I'm on the spot. Kudos to him, he recognized this as me just having a different style, not a defect he needed me to correct.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
oyvey. you like the tough ones, don't you.

one thing that sometimes works, kind of, for me, is doing a kind of judo-ish move. let me see if i can describe it clearly. they come at you with their piece of insulting-but-necessary-to-their-existence advice, and you take it, sidestep, and pull them further in the direction of that same move, until you've dragged them out of their depth. then you let them go gracefully, smile nicely at them and pretend like you don't know you've just ninja'd them.

example:

pissy little incompetent with a hitler complex at the next desk: lily, when you test the new radio button, don't forget you have to test the use case of turning it off as well as turning it on.
me: thanks, good to remember. hey, while i have you, do you know which database table they put it in? i've been poking around back there and . . . i'd like to validate the save all the way down to the record itself just in case there are cacheing issues.
I. LOVE. THIS.

The video was great, but trust me, you'd already painted a great picture with the judo references :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I second the "smile and nod" approach. I also use: "Thanks for your input. I'll take it into consideration."

Then keep doing what you've been doing. Often times these types of people don't actually care if you implement any of their suggestions. They just want to make themselves feel special by imparting their "wisdom" onto someone else. You're not going to change their mind on anything, so don't waste your time/energy trying to debate them. Let them have their 15 minutes of specialness and then move on.

If they happen to actually offer you something useful in the process, that's just a bonus.
This is a Great Truth of Life. Thank you.

I'm not sure Boss was keen on lingering over coffee, he's Mr. Efficiency. But I drew out the conversation, and I think he was surprised by the novelty of someone actually listening to him. He'd express an idea, and I'd ask questions that made him dig to come up with more words and ways to express it. I don't think people usually draw him out like that, but he was starting to get into the ability to have '15 minutes'.

It kind of felt like a basketball game--if I could slow the tempo down to my speed, I'd control the boards (evil grin ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Butting in here a bit, but I've been a victim of the "you're too ignorant to understand my grand master plan" thing from my INTJ (that wasn't meant to be insulting. I was, in fact, too ignorant to understand his grand master plan, he wasn't being arrogant, just realistic). And I can tell you what would really have made my giving him advice a much more constructive experience, without him having to change his plan:

(do this very calmly, don't attack them) Listen to their suggestions, and show them clearly in what way that would be less efficient given your goal and way of proceeding. Basically "unravel" your Ni vision for them, show them patiently step by step how it's all coherent and thought out in your mind. If it is in fact the right way to go, you'll have no trouble showing it, just think about how you could explain it to someone who has no understanding of how you proceed. You don't have to comply to what they're saying, just not be rude in showing them that you have thought of the right way (if you attack them for being wrong they'll tense up and refuse to see it, but if they're presented with non threatening facts and ways of implementing that are just obviously better than theirs, they'll back off. Unless they're really idiots?)

I mean I know it's counter-intuitive for you guys to go out of your ways to please others but it might make your long term work experience a lot easier if you take the time to do this just once so they no longer feel like they're outside an impenetrable shell? Because that's sort of what makes people feel insecure.

Please tell me if you don't think this makes sense.
This did make sense, and thank you for 'butting in'. I *always* appreciate INFP advice because I am usually confound by NFs, yet I feel compelled to treat all of you well and kindly :)

Anywho, I took your advice. I described my plan to him. Boss has been wanting me to be a different kind of leader, and thinking me weak and ineffective because I am not a dictator. I started by outlining what I thought was my primary objective at the job (he confirmed it) and then described how I was going about accomplishing it. I had genuine excitement and enthusiasm all over my face as I described the long hours and hard work I've been putting in to that goal, and how I was using various techniques ('weak leadership' techniques) to accomplish it. Boss sat back, shook his head, and flat out admitted how amazed he was that I have already transformed things with my technique. "I don't know how you're doing it, but it's great" was what he said.

So, you're right! Drawing him in and sharing my super-master plan was the way to go. I totally sold him on it, and now it appears he feels we're on the same page. By the end of the meeting he was much more comfortable. So was I--able to thank him genuinely for ideas he threw at me that I hadn't yet thought of.

THANK YOU!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Without specifics I have no idea how to help you deal with a situation.

But, if you're out to have some fun ask them complicated questions very seriously, as if you're expecting them to help. Ask them to demonstrate for you in situations you know they will mess up. If they aren't using enough Te, ask them "how?" Force them to explain how their advice will improve the situation. Most of the time they won't be able to explain the 'how' and back off.

I understand that you're asking how to take advice, but in reality you just want them to back off.
Oooooo, I can use this with Boss #1. This is the guy who does the same work I do, but doesn't prepare or take a thoughtful approach. It would be so easy to find a technical question to ask him, and then keep pressing by digging into the arcane information he should know but didn't bother to learn. It will dawn on him that it's less painful to keep his distance.

Very much like @lilysocks judo move!
 

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Rephrase part of the advice in a more succinct fashion so they feel you are totally "with them"
Add on some obvious extrapolation to make it seem like you're thinking about it
Use subtle eye contact for reassurance
Tune out
Repeat 1x if male 2x is female 1.5x for gays, likewise.
 
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