Career-building Advice for Anonymous

Subject: Career-building Advice for Anonymous
From: Jason Willebeek-LeMair <jlemair -at- ITEXCHSRV2 -dot- PHX -dot- MCD -dot- MOT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 12:28:05 -0700

Dear Anonymous,

Okay. My previous replies were not helpful to you in dealing with your

My solution is simple,

Fix the problem with the SME first, then let your boss know there was a
problem and that you handled it.


1) It will keep your project on track, within budget, on time, whatever.

2)It will show your boss that you are more than just a grunt; that you have
people and problem solving skills.

How you fix the problem, as Elna pointed out, depends heavily on the person
and your company culture.

Here are a few tactics you might try.

You have to read the person's personality. Can they accept blunt
confrontation ("Hey, the info you gave me was crap!")? Some can, others
can't. For example, one marketer here became my buddy because he enjoys
blunt, "in-your-face" communication, and I gave him just that. The SME I
referred to in my previous post recoils at such communication so must be
approached differently. It is very much like performing an audience
analysis for your documentation, then communicating to that audience.

Ask people that also have to deal with this person how they go about it.
Experiment a little.

Now, the larger problem--bad info.

Instead of going to the Senior with the info officially, have you tried a
more unofficial approach. Wander the halls for a "chance" encounter and
say, "Hi, oh great Senior Engineer Person, I heard that the WidgetBuster3000
does this. Is that right? It seem to me that...." Leave Junior's name out
of it. You will create less animosity that way, perhaps even gain an ally
that may prove valuable in the future. Then, go back to Junior and say, "I
heard that the WidgetBuster3000 actually...."

Junior just might not have known that tidbit, or may have been working from
old info that changed. You may actually be doing Junior a favor by updating
his knowledge (and again, you may be making a friend that could be valuable
some day). At my company, the engineering departments NEVER seem to know
what the others are doing. I provide that info back and forth, and viola,
respect, admiration, allies, buddies, whatnot.

Remember, Technical Communication is not just about writing books.

Now back to my regularly scheduled crisis.

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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