What Would You Do with a Writer WHO TRIES TO GET YOU FIRED? (WAS: What Would You Do with a Writer Who Can't Write?

Subject: What Would You Do with a Writer WHO TRIES TO GET YOU FIRED? (WAS: What Would You Do with a Writer Who Can't Write?
From: "Gillespie, Stephen (Contractor)" <Stephen -dot- Gillespie -at- Persnet -dot- Navy -dot- Mil>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 08:17:13 -0500

Well, we've had so much fun yesterday, thought I'd put a diff spin on this
one ...

What do you people think I should do with a colleague (Bozo) who had done
his best to discredit my competency and work ethic, would like nothing
better than to see me gone? (BTW, Andrew Plato - we're BOTH former
presidents of our local STC chapter, so have fun with that one! ;-)

I work with a long-time associate (nee 'friend'), whom I actually referred
to his current job here (ironic huh?). But early last summer, I found that
his attitude was increasingly uncooperative, even hostile, as evidenced by
'snippy' replies to emails (about work). When I could tolerate it no longer,
I simply forwarded the last snippy reply to our manager, with a request for
him to "take care of this, please."

Case closed? - wrong! To my surprise, next I know, I am called in for a
one-on-one with the manager, who to my disbelief is projecting the entire
situation on ME. When I protested that I was not the one who had the
attitude (did not send the unprofessional emails), I was yelled at, had a
finger wagged in my face, etc.
I have NO IDEA where this displaced loyalty/protectionist attitude on the
part of the manager comes from.

During the meeting with my manager, he also related that the colleague had
been "checking my work since early 2002 (shortly after I started here),and
had told him "I was incompetent" (as an editor), and was here "only hoping
to coast out a few years to retirement" etc.

Well, folks, been a LONG time since I've had that experience (yelled at,
competency questioned etc.), so of course I escalated the issue to upper
mgmt, since the problem was now between my manager and me. Long story short,
I was fed the typical mgmt line ("you obviously have a chip on your
shoulder", "you've got to figure out some way to get along" etc.).

Of course, I documented everything (and reported it to HR).

Bottom Line: I told the manager that the guy obviously is NOT my friend;
nevertheless, I can work with ANYBODY (without being 'friends'). And I have.
And my relationship our manager seems to be improving this year. But passing
the other guy in the hallway, in the men's room, wherever - he ain't even

Would anyone have handled this differently?

Steve Gillespie

-----Original Message-----
From: Diane Newbury [mailto:dnewbury -at- execpc -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2003 12:11 PM
Subject: RE: What Would You Do with a Writer Who Can't Write?

This one clearly struck a lot of people as being all too familiar! :-)

I think we've all worked with at least one Bozo Writer or
What-You-Do-Isn't-Important Manager.

As a contractor I make sure that I avoid all politics. As someone else
said - that's definitely one of the perks of freelancing. I actually had to
leave one place because the manager to whom I reported was trying to MAKE me
participate in the political games that he played. Told me to go watch
people and report back to him on what they said or did?!?! I tried to
gracefully duck this for awhile, but he grew more insistent until I felt my
reputation could be put in jeopardy -- at which point I found a graceful way
to terminate my contract early.

When confronted with a situation where the client is asking for something
with which I do not agree (with the exception noted above) -- I will try
once to persuade them to my viewpoint and then I will do it their way -- no
further arguments.

I also make sure that my work stands on its own. I don't clean up anyone
else's work, unless they're doing the same thing for me (i.e., trading
self-edit duties when there's no one else to do it, etc.).

Additionally, I keep copies of all of the written directions, edits, etc.
that I've received until well past all review cycles. I can't tell you the
number of times over the years that people have said "who told you to do
that?" and I was able to show them who. Can't tell you the number of times
that it ended up being the person asking the question. Of course, I again
strive to be gracious about it.... :-)

Have a good day all --
Diane (here in sunny, but nippy Wisconsin)
Newbury Consulting LLC

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