Re: Wasting time? (was:novelists part II)

Subject: Re: Wasting time? (was:novelists part II)
From: Stephen Victor <svictor -at- HOUSTON -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 08:55:52 -0600

Susan W. Gallagher wrote:
> Well, I've managed to stay out of this discussion so far, but now I
> have a question that I just have to have answered. When you're
> managing the creative process, how can you tell when an employee
> is wasting time? I mean, I assume (Will) that you *can* distinguish
> between a true waste of time (defined as when the employee is truely
> *not* doing anything work-related) and what I refer to as "screen-
> saver activity" -- that is, keeping the hands and eyes busy while
> the brain is processing a particularly sticky problem. So, I'm
> curious. How do you do it?
> Enquiring (managerial) minds wanna know!

And I wanna know, why do you care? As long as the work is getting done,
does it matter if they're twiddling their thumbs or surfing the net?
Writing in all its varieties is a creative act, and writers move in
mysterious ways, their wonders to perform (to steal a phrase). The best
managers understand this and trust their writers to do what they need to
do to get the job done. The "crack the whip, keep their noses to the
grindstone" attitude (which I'm not accusing you of having) doesn't seem
terribly professional to me. It might be appropriate for drones stamping
out widgets, but I don't think it's a good idea for people whose jobs
require initiative and self-discipline.

On the other hand, if you think writers are drones stamping out widgets,
then by all means crack the whip. I'll just add you to the growing list
of people I wouldn't consider working for. :) (JOKE, not flame!)

There's my contribution to the creativity thread.


Stephen P. Victor Phone: (713) 513-2552
Technical Writer, Software Training Fax: (713) 513-2019
Schlumberger GeoQuest svictor -at- houston -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com
5599 San Felipe, Suite 1700
Houston, Texas 77056 USA

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