RE: 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: RE: 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: Rose -dot- Wilcox -at- pinnaclewest -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 11:07:37 -0700

Yes, I would've handled it differently.



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.">>

I would've handled it differently as early last summer. I do have some technical writing colleagues and friends that I have had problems with on and off through the years. If I felt close enough to the person, I would've directly gone to him and asked him what the problem was and let him clear the air. You never know when you accidentally step on someone's toes, and, by giving him the opening to vent, I might've found out then and there what the problem is. I might've had the opportunity to explain myself and clear up misunderstandings. Or maybe even learned something. After all, if I unintentionally offend someone and I work with them, I am truly sorry that the offense occurred.

If I didn't feel close enough to the person, I would still apply kindness towards them. Often when I apply kindness, people's attitudes soften towards me. Even if I never find out what the original problem might've been, they can't continue being mean to me without feeling guilty, and they find it in their hearts to be kind back to me.

Secondly, I would never have forwarded the correspondence without trying the two things above first. If I tried one or both of the techniques above and the situation didn't improve, I would go talk to my manager face-to-face, explain the situation and my feelings about it, tell my manager what I had tried to do to solve the problem on my own, and then ask my manager for suggestions on how to deal with the situation. If my manager requested the emails, then I would forward them. If my manager had lame suggestions, I nonetheless would try them and report back what happened (unless they were "jump off the bridge" suggestions <grin>). That way if the manager's ideas didn't work, I could at least report back what happened.

I have NO IDEA where this displaced loyalty/protectionist attitude on the
part of the manager comes from.

There is sort of an unwritten law in business. You don't escalate personal problems with another person to management unless you try to solve them yourself first. Also there may be hidden political ties that you are not aware of. Trod with care!

<<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, this is a clue where the problem started. Your colleague may also be in the wrong if he didn't give you feedback on your perceived shortcomings directly. Perhaps your colleague has difficulty with communication. It sounds as if your colleague is passive/aggressive. Rather than telling you directly what the problem was, the person told your boss -- but only after you did first. If you had interrupted their passive/aggressive behavior with the invitation to communicate, it may have saved this escalation of the problem. Maybe not, but that's one reason I try direct communication first, whenever possible.

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.).

I think if I were you, I lie low for a while, be pleasant to everyone, work hard and do my best, and wait for it to blow over. Amazingly almost everything eventually does blow over. At times, my enemy of the past has become my ally of the present as well. In the future, you and your colleague may become friends again, even with these problems in communication. Or it may be that the relationship is completely ruined, but you don't have to be ruined by it. Chalk it up to experience and live by your principles.

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

I actually think that is good, but unless your colleague or manager become aggressive, drop it there. It's good to CYA though... always.

<<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

Let sleeping dogs lie. You are probably lucky to not be close to him anymore...

Okay here is a crazy thing I do that has helped me in the past. YMMV. I say positive affirmations for myself, so sometimes when I have a problem with someone I say, think, and project positive thoughts about him. For instance, you and this guy probably differ on editing questions, but the guy at least *cares* about editing. I would think, "So and so is a great editor". I would go so far as to even do "untrue" affirmations such as "So and So is my friend and supports my career totally". I know it is crazy, but it has worked for me. Somehow people seem to pick up on my vibe. They seem to feel my friendly positive attitude and start liking me in spite of themselves.

Then I have created an ally for myself. In this economy, this skill of mine -- creating allies -- has been invaluable towards my continued employment. Believe me, I have tons of conflicts and pain in the workplace, but there is no reason to make it personal. Each person I believe is trying to do their best, even if they hurt me and/or don't agree with my definition of best. I do avoid sneaky and manipulative people as much as possible, so maybe you are better off not being close to this guy, but even a distant but more friendly relationship would improve the quality of YOUR life. So consider trying "positive thoughts" if you are as crazy as I seem to be. :-)

The bottom line to me is to live by my principles. Working hard and producing quality are part of my principles, but so is being a strong but loving human being. As Henry James said, "Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind."

Rose A. Wilcox
CHQ, 17th Floor
Tranz1 QA/Documentation
Rose -dot- Wilcox -at- PinnacleWest -dot- com

Last chance to order RoboHelp X3 and receive a $100 mail-in rebate,
PLUS free RoboScreenCapture and WebHelp Merge Module. Offer expires
4/30/03! Order here:

Help celebrate TECHWR-L's 10th Anniversary starting this month!
Check out the contests at
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday TECHWR-L....

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Previous by Author: Visio to PDF Printing problem
Next by Author: DocBook "calloutlist" element
Previous by Thread: Re: Supplier would like to buy our translations: what to charge them
Next by Thread: RE: What Would You Do with a Writer WHO TRIES TO GET YOU FIRED?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads