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My computer crashed again, and now I have to call down to the IT specialist to come to my office and bring it back to life. I don't like dealing with him because he is surly and condescending. It's like he takes pride in making all of us feel like fools. What should we do?

Employees who carry a chip on their shoulder, or in this case a computer chip on their shoulder, need to be given some guidance and coaching, even if their technical work is excellent.

If you have already tried to improve the situation with the specialist, such as by discussing the working relationship with him and providing him with thanks and appreciation when due, you and your peers should discuss the matter with your manager. It may well be that the best approach is for your manager to call the specialist's manager.

One way to resolve this situation may be through training. It sounds like the IT specialist could use some training in human relations, communications, and even how to train others. And, you and your associates could just as easily profit from some computer training. In addition, it would probably be helpful for employees from your department and IT to get together for some team-building sessions.

In the meantime, try to be as cordial as possible with this individual, and make sure your own expectations are not interfering with the way you treat him. If you expect trouble with him, your own actions may cause it. In fact, if you expect trouble with a computer, your own actions may cause that, too.

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