It had absolutely nothing to do with the language barrier, it was this guy’s fucked attitude. I’m multilingual (anh cũng nối tiếng Việt được),I’ve been in three long term relationships and none of them spoke English as a home language. The other foreigners in the group …oh hell this is a tangent.

“Language barrier” doesn’t cover the guy talking loudly and harshly enough to make my ears hurt, “language barrier” doesn’t cover him changing the logic of the API I mentioned without saying anything nor responding to questions about it, “language barrier” doesn’t explain his “forgetting” the branch name he himself had spoken only moments before, “language barrier” doesn’t justify his insisting on doing a screen share when he had nothing to show on the screen, but keeping me from looking at code or GitKraken because I had to look at a screen where I could neither scroll nor select. “Language barrier” doesn’t excuse his starting to reformat my code into his preferred unreadable crap because he found legibility offensive.

I gave this guy a lot more benefit of the doubt than he deserved and he squandered it all. I was scrupulously polite to him even when I felt like wringing his neck, I was scrupulous about the basic courtesies please and thank you when we had to work directly together, as we had too far too often because he insisted on a conference call to resolves ee-SHOOS that even a very junior person should have needed no help on.

I am very communicative; I double as a technical writer and I knew from the first day on this project that we were going to have to work together more closely than usual because they weren’t working from a spec (MAJOR red flag) and testing was ad-hoc. Under more ordinary circumstances I would have turned down the job over there being no spec, but I wasn’t doing software at the time and I like cryptography work. And the project manager was a likeable guy.

The other members were mostly of the same nationality and were soft-spoken and diligent.

As for my role in this I have been commended many times for social skill at working with others, particularly with the Windows Shell team on Windows 7, a notoriously touchy group who were infamous for not liking outsiders telling them how anything had to be done. It wasn’t me.

And wasn’t any language barrier.

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

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