Re: Wasting time??

Subject: Re: Wasting time??
From: Phillip Wilkerson <phillipw -at- ALLENSYSGROUP -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 12:03:17 -0500

In all fairness to Susan, I think her question is legitimate. As a manager
of 9 people, I can tell you I'm concerned about how my people are spending
their time. That is, frankly, my responsibility as a manager. While I'm not
a micro-manager or a "crack the whip" type, I let writers know that company
time is for company business. Here are some of my indicators that people
are spending their time inappropriately:

Writing projects are consistently late, with no real explanation as to why.
Writer has to work excessive overtime, staying late or coming in on
weekends, on projects that don't need that much time.
Writer spends more time researching the interesting facets of the
FrameMaker icon bar than writing.
Writer is constantly frustrated by PC problems, personal problems,
etc...anything to keep from working.
Writer is constantly up and about in the dept., talking, visiting, etc.,
yet when asked about projects--"Oh, I was just getting to that..."
Writer spends more time on the phone/on the fax/at the printer than
writing.
Writer spends more time fussing with loading/tuning the software than
writing about it.
Writer spends more time in your office/other writers' offices than in their
own office.
Writer is constantly asking for time off to run errands or is consistently
late coming back from lunch, leaving early, etc.
Developer's consistently complain about the writer's lack of attention to
detail, missed deadlines, etc.
Editorial reviews of the writer's work consistently uncover sloppy work or
egregious errors that could have easily been caught.
Every time you approach the writer's desk, they quickly close the window
they are working on or cover up papers.
Every time you approach the writer's desk, they are browsing the web.
Every time you approach the writer's desk, they are not at their desk.

Yes, I care about how the technical writer's who work for me spend their
time. Why? Because I care about the quality of the documentation that
represents the company. I also care about the writers and their work habits
being perceived as professional. No, the company is not my life, but to me,
integrity still means--an honest day's work for my employer. I expect
integrity of myself, as well as the employees who answer to me.

Phil

Phillip C. Wilkerson
Manager of Technical Communications
Allen Systems Group, Inc.
Naples, FL
1-800-932-5536
http://www.allensysgroup.com
http://www.asg.net/docweb/index.htm
phillipw -at- allensysgroup -dot- com

>>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.
>
>Regards,
>Steve
>
>--
>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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