Re: Dealing with a challenging work situation

Subject: Re: Dealing with a challenging work situation
From: "Jane Bergen" <jane -dot- bergen -at- usa -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 09:41:37 -0600

Well, Anonfwd, the situation you describe is not unusual, but what you are
asking seems to be relief for the symptoms, not a solution for the real
problem. Your discomfort with your coworkers who fail to meet their
responsibilities isn't really your problem...that issue is about
accountability and clear delineation of job duties. Doesn't your company
have deadlines and deliverables in writing? If so, then the other writers
either have to achieve or face the consequences. If you are meeting your
goals, then so what? If nothing is in writing, then the company has the
problem, not you.

As for the boss who doesn't feel you're aggressive enough, why not ask how
he handles the SMEs? You might even learn something new. You might also
consider that the products for the other writers may be more complex than
yours, so they require more time.

Your question seems to be more about how YOU can deal with the situation,
not how to make it work. So I would say: Lighten up on your coworkers as
it's their problem, soak up all the knowledge and experience you can get
while you're there, and keep looking for something else. You've only been
a tech writer for a year and only with one company. You may find that the
situation there is pretty typical after all.

anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com wrote:
> Hi, Tech-whirlers. I'm hoping you can give me some
> insight into my situation.
> I have been a tech writer (first job doing this) for a
> little over a year at a company that manufactures
> scientific analytical equipment. There are three
> people in my group -- my boss, me and one other
> writer. We are each responsible for a product line.
> For each product, the group is supposed to produce a
> system operator's guide, system hardware manual and
> various component manuals.
> In the past year, I am the only one in the group who
> released any manuals. In that time, I released 33 new
> or revised manuals. By released, I mean wrote a
> change order to announce the manual(s). Our manuals
> are assigned their own part numbers, and this makes
> them controlled documents.

(details deleted for brevity)

> In addition, my boss has lately been making statements
> to the effect that he feels I am not aggressive enough
> in getting information from my SMEs. As you can
> imagine, this doesn't sit well, especially since I
> have not had any problems getting the information I
> need to produce the manuals.
(more deleted)

> I do plan to start a job hunt soon. I may have a job
> in a neighboring state, but it may take several months
> before it materializes. I just need to know how to
> deal with things here until that time.
> I'm old enough to know better than to expect
> fulfillment from any job. But I do feel like the

I think it's not unreasonable at all to expect fulfillment. If you don't
feel fulfillment, do something else. Otherwise your work will not be as
good as it could/should be.

Jane Bergen

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