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I'm on digest so just getting this message today. It may not help with your current predicament, but possibly for future incidents.
Your situation with your boss sounds bad. It sounds like she's a very stressed individual and doesn't handle it terribly well and is projecting a lot of that on you. Here's a couple of things to consider:
Her directive about "not bothering" SMEs is likely a result of her personal interactions with them. She may have found that they don't have time for her to ask them questions, and that could be as simple as an interpersonal thing. I would think back to that meeting and recall if anyone said, "If you need any more information, let me know." They may be just saying that, but if they said it, then act like they meant it. Call them or email them or use your inter-office IM client (if one is installed and approved) to contact them. You may just need a couple of steps and they may be able to give that to you in a five-minute IM chat or phone call.
Also, I would suggest in the future that when you have such meetings with SMEs from other departments in the future, take your business cards and trade contact information with them. And when you do, ask them (politely) for the internal documentation they have created on the process. If you are writing for customers, they may have development notes or process notes (or a power point slide show) they have used to share information internally, and you can add this documentation to your own notes that you take at as source material for the documentation you create. With all this, when your boss gives you an assignment, then you will at least know where the holes are in the process and what you need more information to complete. From your description it sounds like you weren't given any documentation or paperwork in the meeting you attended, and if you didn't make an effort to get this either during the meeting or immediately after, then that's probably something you should start doing on a regular basis so you will always have that available. After all, nobody's going to know what you need to know if you don't ask them.
Finally, others have talked about starting a job search and that might be necessary, but I'd also look in my company employee manual and see what the procedure is for handling communication issues with a direct supervisor. You may have an HR representative for your building or department that you can contact on a confidential basis to explain what's happening and they can tell you what resolution steps are available to you as an employee. But I'd use caution--ask for help in what strategies you can take to better communicate with your boss and not ask what they can do to make your boss communicate better with you. One makes you appear to be a team player, the other makes you just seem whining, combative, and demanding.
In any case, good luck!
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2011 20:48:52 -0500
From: Kari Gulbrandsen <kkgulbrandsen -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: need suggestions on handling a boss
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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.
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.
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.
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. Well, she is so busy, that I
can't get her to sit down with me. I mean, if she has to sit with me and go
over it, she might as well write them herself.
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.
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.
End of TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 74, Issue 6
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