Re: need suggestions on handling a boss

Subject: Re: need suggestions on handling a boss
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2011 19:13:34 -0800

What you have is a boss who hasn't got the bandwidth to do all the work herself yet cannot let go of ownership because she is convinced that nobody can do the work as well as she can. Including you. If you've already had encounters like the one you describe before, by now perhaps especially you. Unless you get really lucky and she has a nervous collapse, gets hit by a bus or the ghosts of Xmas Past, Present and Future pay her a visit, you will always be behind the eight ball. You will never be as qualified as she thinks you should be, your productivity will never be as high as she thinks it should be and your knowledge of process and product will never be up to her standards (hers probably aren't either, but she's in denial).

Let me guess: she was the company's "Tech Writer #1," and carried the entire load on her back before you were hired?

Given the constraints you are working under, you will not meet your deliverable tomorrow, at least not to her satisfaction. I wish there was some Jedi technical writing trick we could share with you, but there isn't. Do the best you can, and if she doesn't fire you in the morning start a full-effort job search, because she will eventually.

Gene Kim-Eng


----- Original Message ----- From:

I have a sticky situation, and I don't know how to handle it. I get along
well with my boss, except when it comes to work deliverables. I never seem
to be able to do what it is she wants. Half the time, I don't think I have
enough information to do what it is she wants me to do.

For example, today I was to write procedures for a process that I didn't
really know except for one meeting that I attended. She said that I left
out half the stuff that we talked about in the meeting, but she didn't tell
me what it was that I left out, but that I was to give her another draft by
tomorrow morning. She doesn't want me to talk to the people who do the
process, because she doesn't want me to bother them -- they're busy. When I
ask her questions about it, she told me to put in what I knew and she would
fill in the gaps.

Of course, I wasn't given the material to prep for the meeting, so a lot of
what they talked about in the meeting went over my head.

I have tried talking to her about this before, and she told me that I was
argumentative. Or she just freaks out and then tells me to come to her if I
have questions, that she knows the process. Well, she is so busy, that I
can't get her to sit down with me. I mean, if she has to sit with me and go
over it, she might as well write them herself.

So now I have this major deliverable for tomorrow morning, and I don't know
what or how I am supposed to put it together.

I have written a lot of procedure docs before, but I always sat down with
the person, or went through the steps to do it on my own. I feel like I am
having to write it with being deaf and blind.

Any suggestions?

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