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I just started a new job. I have had very little exposure to a lot of people, and I am working remote.

I am a contractor and the company I'm working for doesn't give us access to the ticketing system so I was told to reach out to this individual "Rob" to help me gain access to "XYZ Slack Channel". This is the first time I've ever reached out to this guy.

I hit him up on slack:

At 12:18 I say: "Hi Rob"
At 12:49 he replies: "Hey there"
At 12:50 I respond: "Hey Rob, I need to get access to the XYZ slack. Do you know how I can gain access to that?"
---no response---
At 1:11 I respond again with: "Manny suggested I reach out to you."
---crickets---
It's now 2pm and there has still been no response.

I know everyone's busy, but this seems like a long time to be waiting. Is there something wrong with my approach? If I don't hear back by end of day I will send an email. But I'm just trying to figure out if there is something wrong with the way I am trying to talk to this guy. How would you handle this interaction to get what you want?

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From what I can gather you do not actually know Rob, and never actually met him. You were told by a different co-worker to get in touch with him.

I do not think your approach is correct. If Rob does not know who you are, then demanding that he grant you access to a system is improper. Rob could be trying to protect the system by not granting or talking to someone who simply requests it. Even if the chatline is internal to the company, Rob could be protecting it due to concerns of insider threat.

With that said, at this point your conversation has derailed. I would discontinue the chat approach and go with a phone call or email. I would get in touch with the original person who suggested you to contact Rob and ask for Rob's email address. Email Rob and cc the other person. Start it with an introduction of facts, "Hello Rob, my name is X, I work for the ABC project. I am trying to get access to XYZ and got your contact info from <insert person cc'd>. Can you help me on the process of getting access? Thank you."

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  • That's great advice. Thank you!
    – Tim Dunphy
    Mar 2 at 15:12
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    I see it in a different way. Tim didn't ask for the access, he asked how he can get the access. I don't think Tim made a mistake here.
    – musialmi
    Mar 4 at 11:26
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    @musialmi: The issue this answer addresses isn't the specific question, but the lack of justification (who the OP is, who told them to contact Rob, ...). And just to prove the point, the vast majority of "hacking" is social engineering, done specifically by talking to people to get information that appears harmless, like OP is talking to Rob. Especially with no connecting info on who referred OP, that makes it suspicious. If you've ever been targeted by a phishing attack at your company, you'll notice that OP's approach smells exactly the same.
    – Flater
    Mar 5 at 8:57
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First of all, remember that chat is an asynchronous medium. Perhaps Rob went to lunch right after your request. Maybe he has meetings. It seems like "I waited two hours" to you, but your request is nowhere near the most important thing in someone else's life.

Secondly, make sure that he didn't see the request and just give you access without saying anything - someone busy might do that. Try to join the channel and see what happens.

Finally, follow up time to time balancing being overlooked with being pesky - next I'd ask him midafternoon "Or is there someone else I can ask to do it?" and then send email at the end of the day, unless there is some business critical reason you need in there Right Now (tm), in which case you go back to Manny promptly to get guidance.

On a related note, your communication with him was overly chatty and laggy on your side. (It's only been 1 hour since you actually got to the darn point and asked for slack access.) That interrupts the recipient multiple times. You should have hit him up with one chat message reading something to the effect of “Hi Rob, I’m Tim, I just started here on X team, good to meet you. Manny suggested I reach out to you to be added to XYZ slack. Could you add me or point me at the right person? Thanks!” Pleasant but immediately containing your need and the context.

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  • Yep! That all makes sense. Thanks I'll do that.
    – Tim Dunphy
    Mar 1 at 19:53
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    And also, how long you wait depends on how urgent something is. If you're twiddling your thumbs waiting for a response, you should really go back to your manager ASAP and let them know you're blocked. Otherwise self-manage, and pick up a different task. Mar 2 at 12:09
  • I thought Chaos was a ladder.... ;-}
    – Neo
    Mar 4 at 15:02
  • From 12h50 to 14h, he's probably eating. It seems quite obvious.
    – Echox
    Mar 8 at 9:02
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How would you handle this interaction to get what you want?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Since you just joined the company, and presumably this person doesn't know who you are, some sort of introduction would be helpful.
  • Instead of asking "do you know how I can do X", let them know that you already spoke to someone (Manny) who asked you to contact them to help you to be able to do X
  • All of this information should have been in your initial communication instead of being sent with a 20 minute gap.
  • This should probably have been sent through email instead of a chat, with Manny copied.

Other than that, all you can do is wait. I've worked at companies where 2 days was a normal response time. Maybe your current company isn't that slow, but it could be slower than what you are expecting. Just wait a bit for now and if you don't receive any more responses in chat, try following up through email and copy Manny.

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    Good point on explaining who you are, Rob may be following up with someone else asking "who is this joker and are they really allowed access to that channel?" and also giving all that information in one go instead of trickling it out.
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 1 at 19:46
  • Ok, that's helpful. I'll keep that in mind in my future dealings with this guy and others over chat.
    – Tim Dunphy
    Mar 1 at 19:53
  • You should also in the future, say "hi" but also ask if they are busy. This way they can tell you if it's a good time for them to have a chat
    – Donald
    Mar 1 at 20:04
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    @Donald It's ways less time invasive to just dump the actual query rather then ask someone to try to figure out how they want to respond to such a vague question. If a task is trivial, you may be able to do it quickly, but if it's a large task, I may be too busy to do right now. Mar 2 at 12:07
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By all means, just ask the responsible manager for guidance and help.

You're new, and you're a contractor, which means that you don't [yet ...] know anybody and nobody [yet ...] knows you. "These things, too, shall pass."

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  • Thank you very much.
    – Tim Dunphy
    Mar 5 at 1:33

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