Re: need suggestions on handling a boss

Subject: Re: need suggestions on handling a boss
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 21:03:19 -0800

On 12/6/2011 5:48 PM, Kari Gulbrandsen wrote:

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.

I agree with the responses I have seen to you so far. Your boss is insecure about her job and she is making you the scapegoat.

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.

I had a manager at a state contract that was working in an obsolete position. He would get projects together and then sabotage his own projects so he could start them over again. His goal was to keep working for five more years so he could get full retirement. His friend had reached retirement level but stayed on so this manager would not lose his job. Your manager seems to be doing some sort of internal sabotage.

If your job can exist without her, then you need to make sure that you keeping accurate records of your work that somebody either in addition to or other than her reviews. Do you have a status report of some sort that goes to somebody else without your manager "tweaking" it for a management report?

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.

That does sound like a set-up.

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.

Document your questions and ask her to answer them or to let you know who can answer them. You need a paper trail of these encounters. Your boss sounds frightened and there is usually a reason.

Well, she is so busy, that I can't get her to sit down with me.

Is she busy or trying to look busy?

I mean, if she has to sit with me and go over it, she might as well write them herself.

Begin a habit that after every meeting, whether a group meeting or a meeting with her, of emailing her with the bullet points of what it is you are supposed to do. Begin with, "Thank you for meeting with me [or having me attend the meeting] today to discuss [the project]. I have prepared a list of tasks that I am to complete for this project and I would like you to review my list for accuracy and completeness. My list of [1-10] items follows. [bulleted list of tasks." If you have more than ten tasks, then your team is either not having enough meetings or you (or the project manager) is making your job too big. You should really only be dealing with about five things between meetings.

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.

You have cut this a bit close. Try to get your tasks together and complete each one to the best of your ability. Document each task, how you have completed each tasks, and issues you had while completing each task. At least you will have some sort of paper trail for your work. Do not let this task of documenting your tasks get in the way of your work. You need to put together a decent document.

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.

Your manager has some problem. Either she has a problem being a manager or she has some problem with you doing the work.

Any suggestions?

Update your résumé and find another job. Managing the manager is not part of the technical writer job description.

Lauren


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need suggestions on handling a boss: From: Kari Gulbrandsen

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