Someone to do the "donkey work"? (take II)

Subject: Someone to do the "donkey work"? (take II)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: Technical Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, David Downing <david -dot- downing -at- fiserv -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 05 Mar 2009 11:29:42 -0500

David Downing noted: <<Okay, so it may well be that it's better to
just do the donkey work yourself for practical and budgetary reasons.>>

Although I was one of the folks who strongly suggested this, it's also
appropriate to take a large step back and ask when my advice might not
be appropriate. The obvious counterexample is that when performing the
donkey work keeps you from completing your more urgent
responsibilities, you need extra hands to get _all_ the work done.
It's no longer the case that the work might somehow seem to be
"beneath you", which is implicit in the phrase "donkey work" (i.e.,
even an ass could do that job).

Given that you're basically irreplaceable for doing certain tasks
(i.e., nobody else has the requisite skills), it makes sense to hire
someone (or obtain volunteers from another group) to do the donkey
work. The important point is to sell this to your manager in terms of
"I only have time to do priority A; you'll need to find someone else
to handle priority D", not "I'm too important to do this" or "you'd be
wasting my skills on this lame-ass job". Both the latter may be true,
but it won't win you any friends if that's the impression you give. <g>

Geoff Hart (
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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Re: Someone to do the "donkey work": From: Downing, David

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