Re: Pleasing a Manager

Subject: Re: Pleasing a Manager
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 11:26:14 -0400

On Thursday 08 August 2002 11:08, Logan Jackman wrote:
> Years ago, in another galaxy, the technical writing
> manager told me to stop ALL work on "Project A" and to
> work solely on "Project B." So, I stopped all my work
> on the first project amd worked solely on the second,
> per my instructions.
> Three weeks later, I was called into the manager's
> office. The manager told me I was being put on
> probation because "Project A" was not completed in
> time for its deadline. The manager wanted to know why
> I didn't let them know I was not going to complete it
> for the deadline.
> My response was: "If my manager tells me not to work
> on a project, I assume my manager knows that I will
> not be completing the project."

Thus the standard admonition to CYAWAM.
"Cover your ass with a memo."

Or, in these more modern times... cover it with an e-mail.
Whenever I get any kind of change of direction or project
emphasis, or even after an informal meeting where a few
things were discussed, I write an e-mail saying:

"My understanding from our meeting, this morning, is:
a) blah-blah-blah
b) blah-blah-blah
c) blah-blah-blah...

These are my new priorities (or This is what I'll be acting
on), until further notice. If I've missed or misunderstood
anything, please let me know."

In addition to the bald facts, if I think that a consequence
needs to be pointed out, then I do that.

A copy goes to the people with whom I met, even if it was
just a "hallway conference".
A copy goes to my boss.
A blind copy goes to my home e-mail account. :-)
If any sort of correction comes back, I repeat the exercise
until there are no further changes or fuzzy areas.

This practice is akin to carrying an umbrella...

If you carry the umbrella, you probably won't even need it.
If you never do, then someday you'll wish you had.

By the way, nobody resents those e-mails. Other people
have taken up my example, for any meeting or discussion
that didn't involve formal taking of minutes and action


** DIR-ty DEEDS, and they're DONE dirt cheap. (Sing it,

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Re: Pleasing a Manager: From: Logan Jackman

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