Re: FWD: Dealing with a challenging work situation

Subject: Re: FWD: Dealing with a challenging work situation
From: Jo Baer <jbaer -at- mailbox1 -dot- tcfbank -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2001 13:32:22 -0600

I agree that it's time to look for another job. In the meantime, I suggest doing
what tech writers do--document. Look over your letter, and pick out the major
concerns you stated. For example, does the company recognize the value that you
and your department provide? Are your "extra" projects recognized? Why is the
boss concerned about your interaction with SMEs? The fact that you have a review
coming up may actually prove to be an opportunity to assuage some of these

Take these concerns, and others you may have, and use them as the basis for
documenting your accomplishments for the year. Write your own review, in other
words. Don't just list the manuals you've produced or the marketing pieces
you've written--tell WHY each one was important to the company, possibly
including a statement about why that product is important to the company. Write
a paragraph on specific ways you contribute to your department. If you think you
work well with SMEs and are getting sufficient information from them, include
that information in this paragraph. It can serve as a starting point for a
discussion without seeming confrontational.

Include a paragraph on your goals for the next year, including things you need
to improve. This shouldn't be like the answer to the stock "greatest fault"
question in a job interview..."I'm just too much of a perfectionist (smile and
lower head demurely)." It should be honest. Well, don't include that your goal
is to get out of that company ASAP; that degree of honesty isn't going to help
you here!

(My co-workers who read this list will recognize this as something we're
required to do every year. Typically, our manager bases our reviews on what
we've written.)

Take this document with you into your review. Depending on what your boss has
written, this may open up a helpful discussion, or you may want to ask to have
your document filed with your review if the two differ radically.

One thing that made an alarm go off in my head was your statement about doing
marketing writing and other work for the company "on your own time." Depending
on how permission was granted for those projects, your boss may feel that you've
sidestepped him or show disloyalty to him. Also, it seems to me that it's all
company time, not your own, unless you made some arrangement to work outside of
normal hours on these other projects. Just a thought.

Finally, how your boss and your co-worker do their jobs isn't your concern, as
hard as that can be to live with. You have to do work that makes you proud to
say you did it, and bail out if conditions beyond your control make your
workplace intolerable.

Best of luck!

Jo Baer
Senior Technical Writer
TCF Financial Corporation
Minneapolis, Minnesota
jbaer -at- mailbox1 -dot- tcfbank -dot- com

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