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Just want to say I agree with Tara's observations.
Lest I be perceived as an inhumane, unbending, uncompassionate
(de-compassionate???) ogre of a manager, please note my original list of
time-wasters (which got snipped in subsequent posts) included blatant
qualifying words such as "excessive," "consistently," "every time," and
"constantly." I included those words for a reason--because these types of
activities are OK in my dept. in moderation, or, as pointed out in other
responses, used as signals to deeper problems that need further attention.
As Tara aptly pointed out, balance is the key.
Phillip C. Wilkerson
Manager of Technical Communications
Allen Systems Group, Inc.
> From: tara -at- BARBER -dot- CTEXT -dot- COM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: Wasting time??
> Date: Friday, April 04, 1997 10:15 AM
> >>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
> >>do to get the job done.
> >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
> >being perceived as professional.
> Ah, one of the finer lines we have to walk. I agree with both of you.
> Creative people need recharge time, and sometimes the best way to do
> to give your subconscious a chance to work out a problem without the
> interference of your conscious mind, is to do something totally
> I don't mind a certain amount of web-surfing, or chit-chat, or other
> brain-noodling. Especially in the case of a modest amount of
> can do you a lot of good; my group has the best team spirit in our
> uniformly good relationships with other company employees. That's stood
> *very* good stead as far as getting cooperation on our projects.
> But such stuff is like nitro-glycerin. The right amount can support your
> heart. Too much can blow your head off. Finding the right balance is
> and that's why, without being too obvious about it, I monitor my people
> they use their time. If I think someone's going a bit overboard, a
> comment has been all it ever took to get them back on track.
> You're also both right about the need to look for danger signals, in the
> of contantly slipping deadlines, excuses, too much misuse of time, etc.
> it's a personal problem, I try to see if there's some way that I or the
> can help. If the problem continues, than it's a judgement call, based on
> situation and the quality of the employee. And it's never easy.
> But we employ real people, with real lives and real problems, and it's
> well, on more than one occasion, to try and bend a bit when one of my
> in crisis. It's better for all concerned to help a good employee over
> rough spots than to lose them, one way or another, and have to start over
> someone new.
> Still, the *worst* I ever got burned by an employee was by one who kept
> nose to the grindstone and rarely socialized. I was a new manager at
> point, and since her early work was fine, I thought that meant she was a
> dedicated worker and didn't need more than token supervision. When we
> getting her final work back, I found out how wrong that perception had
> The memories are still painful, but I learned from it.
> In parting, I'll leave you with a story my grandfather told me, and that
> tried to remember over the years.
> A company president had hired an efficiency expert to hone his company's
> operations. They were touring the building when they passed an office
> man was sitting, leaning 'way back in his chair, feet up on the desk and
> behind his head.
> "Did you see THAT?" squeeked the efficiency expert.
> "Yep," said the president.
> "Well, aren't you going to say anything?" said the expert.
> "Nope," said the president.
> "WHY NOT!?" screamed the expert.
> The president stopped and gazed calmly at him. "Son, that man once had a
> that saved this company three million dollars. And as I recall, when he
> that idea, his feet were exactly where you saw them today."
> Tara Barber
> Documentation Manager
> CText, Inc.
> Since my opinions belong to me, anyone stealing them deserves what they