Raising an issue with my manager
August 14, 2019 12:29 AM   Subscribe

I want to write to my manager and raise a grievance which I have. I’ll explain it to you (see inside) and I’m hoping you can help me with some language to raise it with him, in writing which is clear, comprehensive and fair. Warning – it’s long!

My grievance is that I receive contradictory instructions on how I should complete my work. I work as part of a hierarchy, where Janette is my supervisor, Sam is next in the chain (my manager) and Alex is above all of us (he manages about 30 people). Jack (at the same level as Alex) and Elise (at the same level as Sam) are key stakeholders who I work closely with. A key part of my role involves drafting documents, usually using a template, which is then cleared by my hierarchy. Sometimes Jack and Elise also have input.

Today I wrote a minute, using the detailled template provided. Janette said that another section in our Division had done a very similar project already, so I should ask for the minute they had done. I got it and it had been signed off by the relevant delegate (Brad, who is at Alex’s level) already this financial year. I used some wording from that minute and followed their approach to part of the structure, which was in keeping with the original template. Janette reviewed the minute and made comments, and I addressed those comments and sent it to Sam for his review. Sam criticised the wording I had used as being repetitive and using weak arguments and said the structure was confusing, because he didn’t understand that the second amount of funding cited was part of the first amount, which was given as an overall total. I could not find the template (have found it since) but showed him the other section’s minute, where they used that structure, and he said it was a bad example and was unclear, even though it had gone through Alex to Brad and been signed off.

So the contradiction is that Janette told me to ask for the other section’s minute, but when I used it, Sam was critical of their approach and it essentially made me look bad to him. Janette did not pick up any problem with the structure or wording sourced from the other section’s minute.

I also wrote a letter today. Someone in an organisation we fund resigned, and I am responsible for writing a letter thanking him for his service. Elise works closely with him, so she suggested some points I could cover. I put them in a draft letter and ran it past her and Janette. With some changes from Janette, they were both happy, so I gave it to Sam to look at. Sam crossed out the paragraph which reflected what Elise had suggested.
So the contradiction here is that Sam and Elise are at the same level – whose ideas am I supposed to take on? Whose approach should I follow?

I feel like I can’t do my job properly, because no matter what I do, I can never please all of my stakeholders. Some, like Sam, are harder to please than others, like Elise, but that doesn’t seem fair on Elise to never have her ideas adopted, just because Sam is more demanding. I feel like I can’t win, because following my supervisor’s instructions or using the template inevitably leads to criticism and changes from Sam later on. I want to get it right, because I have a need to feel like I am achieving something in my work, and I want to do well, but not being able to provide Sam with what he wants leads him to think I am an idiot. He has said he thinks I am not suited to this job, and should get another one, and I am trying (but I also want to prove him wrong).

TL,DR: My manager issues instructions which contradict what my supervisor, a template or other, more senior managers have asked me to do or at least agreed to for someone else in the organisation. How do I raise this with him in writing?
posted by EatMyHat to Work & Money (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don’t understand the difference between janette and Sam. Who is your actual boss? It sounds like it’s Sam? But it sounds like you’re getting his input and desired output too late, getting guidance from everyone else except him and he isn’t happy with the he results.

I don’t think this is an issue to be resolved by a letter. Do you have one to ones with him? If not, ask for “a quick chat about work expectations”. Say something like: It seems like lately I haven’t been providing work that meets your expectations. What I have been doing is getting input from various stakeholders to guide me. For example (*briefly* describe the two stories. BRIEFLY.) But it turned out that wasn’t quite the right way to approach things to meet your requirements. Is there a different way I should have approached these assignments? How can I get a better idea of how you like things done before the next time?
posted by like_neon at 12:52 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I’m not clear on the difference between your supervisor and your manager but my inclination would be to address this is a conversation with your supervisor. “Sometimes I get contradictory input from Sam and Alex. How should I handle that?”
posted by bluedaisy at 1:00 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


So sorry not to be clear - my supervisor Janette is my first line manager, she directly reports to Sam, but he also interacts with me in a managerial way, like giving feedback on work that I have done together with Janette.
posted by EatMyHat at 1:51 AM on August 14


Oh, you're here answering questions! Okay, a few quick ones:

- Do you think the writing is a big part of why Sam doesn't approve of your work? In some organizations, this level of rewriting would be no big deal. It wouldn't be a big deal to tell Sam "oh hey, I put that in because that's what Elise suggested."

- What's your boss's relationship like with Sam? Does he respect her?
posted by salvia at 1:57 AM on August 14


I see. Then this is a chat with Janette your actual line manager. She needs to get HER alignment with Sam right.

So again, explain the two situations and how you tried diligently to get the proper stakeholders involved but the outcome still did not suit Sam. Ask her “how can we make sure we get Sam’s expectations understood during these projects? I’m concerned that my work has not not been meeting his requirements and it’s reflecting on my performance in his eyes.”
posted by like_neon at 2:00 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Salvia, to answer your questions:
I’m not sure why Sam says I’m not suited to the role, though he did say it pretty early (about 6 weeks) after he started as our new manager - it felt like he didn’t have enough evidence to go on.
Sam and Janette have a good relationship as far as I’m aware - he says she is a very good manager and he has her back all the way as far as I’ve seen.

I have tried telling Sam why I put something in/where it came from but he just tells me to do it his way regardless.
posted by EatMyHat at 2:17 AM on August 14


I'd like to point out that this is your third question about them (Janette?) rewriting your work and like your fifth or more question about work. It sounds like this situation really isn't good for you. And/or that you have work-related anxiety. People should probably read those for additional context. [Edit: Sorry I didn't see your reply before posting this]
posted by salvia at 2:21 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


1. It sounds like your biggest problem is that your boss's boss doesn't think you're good at your job. (You kind of buried the lede.) So to your question, "Sam and Elise are at the same level – whose ideas am I supposed to take on? Whose approach should I follow?" The answer is Sam: you're in his chain of command, so you want to please him. It's his job to manage your department's relationship with Elise. You want to tell him that she gave you that paragraph and ask if you should circle back to her about editing or cutting it.

2. Managers are just people. Think pragmatically -- don't think "how can I do this Right?" Think "what will make Sam (and ultimately Alex) sign off on this?" There is no absolute right and wrong here; in your world, What Sam Wants is what you're shooting for. This comment explained this on a previous question. Nice as it would be, they simply can't supply you with a universe in which you receive perfectly consistent direction, e.g., a universe in which Sam agrees with Elise's points.

3. You want to deescalate things and make things the smallest deal as possible. You want these mistakes to blow over quickly, not become the subject of Very Serious Meetings or (god forbid) a written plan for improvement.

4. In some organizations, doing multiple re-writes as things go up the chain of command is the norm. There was some discussion of whether the re-writes reflected on you or not in a previous question. Maybe Sam rewrites everyone's stuff.

Option 1: The easiest solution is to follow her direction and get her to protect you. Do the work to her specifications, and ask her to run it past Sam. You could even be clear that you feel concerned about his lack of confidence in you, and that if she feels the letter is good, could she please be the one to run it up the chain and explain its genesis.

Option 2: If she's ineffectual, your only hope is to focus on pleasing Sam. You could try to get his direction as you head in to writing assignments, and it would be great if you could study what he likes and what he changes.

I think it's difficult to outline specific next steps without really understanding the conversations you've had with her to date, but in general, I'd start with her. And remember that you want to keep things minor, so I'd just ask "it seemed like Sam did a fair bit of rewriting..." and see what she says. Make sure not to come across as defensive, too -- all this could seem like "it's not MY fault, it's YOUR fault." What you guys need is a solution to efficiently produce documents that Sam wants.

Best to you.
posted by salvia at 2:35 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


In my experience you will have as many opinions on this kind of thing as you have reviewers and that is not a reflection of the quality of work but your reviewer’s preferences and pet peeves.

And just because you are told to leverage work somebody else has done and that work was approved by somebody does not mean that it was good or that the approver isn’t going to change their mind later. Unfortunately you’re working with people and people will people.

So one way to approach that is to provide your best version and to try to anticipate questions or concerns and add comments for the reader. For example here, your comment could be „@Jeannette, I have lifted this from minute x as per our discussion, but it seems to be a bit unclear in respect of y, my suggestions to make that clearer are in tracked changes.“. That does two things, it shows you are taking on board specific requests and it shows that you have the best end product in mind, so you take ownership and make easy to implement suggestions. It is their decision to accept or reject those suggestions.

And it is quite conceivable that they make a decision and the next review level reverses that decision and things go round in circles a few times and you may have a final version that is closer to the first draft than anything else. So it is good practice to always keep all versions of everything.

As to your question, don’t put that in writing as grievance. Highlight specific contradictions verbally as you write documents or revise them so people can get on the same page.
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:46 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


not being able to provide Sam with what he wants leads him to think I am an idiot.

Simplify. Do your work the way that Sam likes to see it done, and screw the rest of them. Don't raise a grievance. Ask Janette informally for some guidance if you think she'll be helpful, but you don't want a formal process here. It'll just give Sam even more ammunition to use against you.
posted by rd45 at 2:54 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Talk to Janette about the process of edits.
Track changes and put in comments about where text came from.

If Sam is the hardest to please and his edits aren’t ever challenged by anyone else, just do what he says and try to incorporate his stylistic and structural suggestions into all writing.

Also: getting edits often feels like people are attacking you personally. They aren’t. They’re just trying to make stuff better. If you can find a way to keep your feelings about this tamped down you’ll find this part of your job a lot easier. You don’t need to have much of a personal stake in these documents. Think of them as objects - you’re just changing the color of the object because the boss wants it to be green. Don’t worry about the different opinions - this is what editing is about. Not everyone sees the same problems and they’re all working to try to get a task done and make the document better.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:05 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I guess what I don’t understand is why make the edits if the work was perfectly good to start with? It must be something I’m doing wrong. Its true i am heavily invested in these products but that is a feature of me wanting to please and to be good at my job - i see that as a feature not a bug! That’s why I find it so hard to keep my feelings down on this - my work is such an important part of who I am.
posted by EatMyHat at 3:50 AM on August 14


Having multiple editors is a recipe for frustration. It may not be that there’s anything wrong with your original; others may just feel the need to have had a hand in it. Just be as accommodating as you can and try not to get your own ego wrapped up in it.
posted by lakeroon at 4:34 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


In my experience with editing, there are two kinds of changes: corrections (this fact is wrong, this is not grammatically correct, this is misleading) and style changes (the editor prefers things this way, it doesn't "ring" properly to this person's ears).

The former is a set of things you can usually do something about--learn the rules or double check the data. But the latter is just a preference. So you might get better at mimicking someone's style, resulting in fewer corrections, but the voice of the piece in their head is always going to be different from yours. And if you're dealing with multiple editors, then they are, obviously, also changing each other's work, not yours.

Your job is not to write a document, it's to compile a document from all their input. And Sam has the last, ultimate input, so you get everyone's opinion, put 'em together, and Sam makes it what he wants it to be.

Edits are not always mistakes. With this crowd, you can no more create a perfect document than you can pick a flavor of ice cream that they'll all feel like eating at exactly 2:00 this afternoon. You can only take what you know, come up with the best option, and hope to give them something to work with. If this non-black-and-white outcome isn't okay with you, this might not be the job for you.
posted by gideonfrog at 5:30 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Some, like Sam, are harder to please than others, like Elise, but that doesn’t seem fair on Elise to never have her ideas adopted, just because Sam is more demanding.

It speaks well of you that you even think of that, but that is really not your problem to solve. Elise is higher up in the hierarchy than you are, so if she's got a problem with Sam overriding her input, she has to confront Sam herself. But I suspect it's quite possible that Elise just genuinely doesn't care that much because
a) the changes in question are just not that mission critical, the foundation is solid and these minor tweaks don't matter much one way or the other, so if it makes Sam feel important, why not humour him and do it his way
b) she's a lot less invested in the outcome because she doesn't consider writing the perfect thank-you letter her top priority and feels she's mostly paid for being good at other things.

Of course good writing may well be your top priority and the thing _you_ are mostly paid for, so it may be not possible to just adopt Elise's attitude. But I think you'd be perfectly in your right to streamline this whole process and focus on humouring Sam, just so you can move on to the next task as quickly as possible. If that leads to overall worse quality, because Sam has an inflated sense of his own competence and frequently changes perfectly fine stuff for the worse, just so he can feel he had an impact, that's something for the people at his level/his superiors to adress. Nobody will die if that memo/letter is not quite as good as it could be. Be economical with your energies.

Some further tipps to preserve your energy:
Give up this idea you might ever get it right at the first try. Sam probably needs to find fault with something or other, so he can see his own contribution.
Also, if possible, give up the idea you can ever win Sam over. His negative opinion of you doesn't seem to have affected his colleagues, who seem mostly satisfied with your work (and clearly couldn't please him either; so they probably know to take his criticism with a grain of salt). It's wise of you to look for ways to get away from Sam, because who needs that sort of energy in their life, but how much does his opinion matter really, if he hasn't yet managed to get anyone to share it?
Take pride in your work, but focus on the process, not the outcome. You can control the part you play in the process, but this is a team effort, so you don't have any control over the outcome. Take pride in being reliable and conscentious, and willing to incorporate feedback, etc. Let go of your vision as to how the perfect deliverable would look like.

I agree with other posters who advised against addressing any of this with Sam in writing.
posted by sohalt at 5:30 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


guess what I don’t understand is why make the edits if the work was perfectly good to start with?

Some people just need to get their fingers in everything. Sam may be one of those people where you could plagiarize an entire memo in his own words and he would still change a bunch of stuff. Find out if he does the same thing if Janette wrote the original memo or if he only does it to you. That might mean there is a problem with your work or it might mean Sam has a problem with you personally. If he does it to everyone, the problem is likely with Sam.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:31 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


So the contradiction here is that Sam and Elise are at the same level – whose ideas am I supposed to take on

the person by whom your work is going to be ultimately reviewed.

I got it and it had been signed off by the relevant delegate (Brad, who is at Alex’s level) already this financial year. I used some wording from that minute... Sam criticised the wording I had used as being repetitive and using weak arguments and said the structure was confusing...showed him the other section’s minute, where they used that structure, and he said it was a bad example and was unclear, even though it had gone through Alex to Brad and been signed off.

So the contradiction is that Janette told me to ask for the other section’s minute, but when I used it, Sam was critical of their approach


there are a whole bunch of things you're calling "contradictions" that are just people disagreeing with each other. Their comments are not all of equal weight because they're not all directly above you in a linear chain (and it sounds like they are not all equally correct with equal reasoning behind their preferences, either.)

Sam is not obligated to think this other minute is well-written if it isn't, even if someone else told you it was -- it would be a contradiction and a no-win situation if Sam was the one who'd told you to use that as a model, and then he turned around and said it wasn't good enough this time. but it wasn't him who picked it out for you, so why shouldn't he find fault with it? It doesn't matter if Brad signed off on some shit if your ultimate superior doesn't like it. It isn't your fault, either, you weren't told it was a bad model until it got to Sam.

but if your work's going to Sam, not to Brad, and from Sam up to Alex, not to Brad, and you don't have direct contact with Alex, Sam's judgment is what you follow.

If Sam and Elise are equals who are both in your chain of command and who disagree, that is for them to resolve between them and that is the only place where I would bother bringing their disagreement to their own attention directly.

p.s. as a former mid- to upper-level editor, in but not of a chain of middle managers like this, tasked with mediating between writer-researchers and jittery upper executives, the person who got their way was the one who cared the most about the little details and projected the most angry confidence about how right they were. that was usually me, except for when I decided it was good for my job security to let it be a director. it was virtually never the writer-researchers. workplaces are different, but if you have the option of stepping away and letting other people fight it out between them, take it.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:48 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


I guess what I don’t understand is why make the edits if the work was perfectly good to start with? It must be something I’m doing wrong. Its true i am heavily invested in these products but that is a feature of me wanting to please and to be good at my job - i see that as a feature not a bug! That’s why I find it so hard to keep my feelings down on this - my work is such an important part of who I am.

I think people have been trying to work with you on this in previous questions and I get why you keep having to ask it. I would encourage you to read this book. Two misconceptions from the above:

1. That "perfectly good" is a state of anything at work. It's not. There are a few easy-going managers and directors and VPs who accept this, and organizations with strong processes to prevent too much back and forth...but in many if not most cases, the vast majority of people who review work see it as their job to provide feedback that changes the work. If they just said "yup, great," they would not sleep well at night. You should expect changes and variable feedback. Reset your brain here.

2. That being so heavily invested emotionally makes you a better producer of work. Being invested in doing a good job is fine and great, I am too. But as far as individual pieces of work go, if you invest too heavily you're likely to get perfectionistic, misunderstand expectations or hold onto expectations in the face of changing information and priorities, and create drama (whether just for yourself or within your organization.)

I think what you're missing right now is that being good at your job right now is not about getting each piece right at the start; it's about getting better at navigating your organization's feedback process, which is a little chaotic at the end of it where your boss's boss tends to change things. Work to accept that with grace, and learn each time, and in a year you may find that you're very comfortable with the expertise you bring to your phase of the work...wherever that is.

I've worked in media and marketing and I've had very, very hands off bosses, and very hands-on but clear bosses, and bosses who had to change everything, sometimes very last minute, just because of their gut. In each case, I tried to produce the best value to the organization by providing my feedback and expertise at the right time, and then just get a product out the door that my boss felt good about...because ultimately s/he was on the hook for it to senior management/the bottom line/the readers. Me too, but to a lesser degree.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:00 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


Well, I started to write a whole thing out, but then on preview sohalt, queenofbithynia, and warriorqueen said it all and better. Read their answers and think about them long and hard.

Adding my voice to those saying having some conversations with Janette about how to produce work closer to what Sam may want could be useful but for the love of god do not put your complaints in writing to Sam directly, especially if your relationship is as troubled as it seems to be.

That’s why I find it so hard to keep my feelings down on this - my work is such an important part of who I am.

OK, sure, but pretty clearly your job is not to produce perfect work from the beginning. It's to produce the foundational work which will then be refined by people above you. You seem fine with Janette refining things, but not with Sam doing so. Some of this appears to be a clash of personalities with Sam, but some of it does seem to be that you are having a hard time grasping that sending work up and down the ladder as various supervisors weigh in on it can be an entirely normal practice.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:40 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


It's important to emphasize I think that it is not at all your job to manage the trade-off between Sam and Elise's views. Putting that tension on yourself will cause you no end of stress and annoy Sam, legitimately, since he is your boss and can handle that himself. If Elise or Jack has provided input during the drafting process, leave a note in the document specifying that and Sam can do what he wants with it. Not your problem whatsoever. Your job is to provide material for Janette and Sam to work with. You are not the author of this document, you are assisting the author. When the final product goes out after Sam's changes, the style issues are not attributable to you. Factual issues may or may not be if you have more on the ground knowledge, and you should highlight those issues if Sam wants to change them so he is not caught off guard by a factual error. Janette should be helping you get the work in shape for Sam's review, and you should talk to her if you feel you are getting actually negative blowback from Sam (actually negative as in 'bad at your job' rather than 'here are my edits'. The latter is not negative feedback, its standard procedure.) You only need to contest the edits if there's an objective error that could cause later issues for Sam or Janette, and even then you should do so in a way that still makes it clear the final decision is their call.
posted by lookoutbelow at 8:35 AM on August 14


I guess what I don’t understand is why make the edits if the work was perfectly good to start with? It must be something I’m doing wrong

Where you are wrong is in your premise that your job is to produce a final document. Your job is to prepare a draft and it is not final, until the last person in the chain has approved it. So frame it as that. If you work with people closely and for a long time you can get to a point where changes are going to be minor but you shouldn’t count on that.

For example I am reasonably senior and I wrote a key document Thurs/Friday last week. It was reviewed by my direct boss who had only a couple of small points because we have worked together on a number of projects so I tend to get close to what he wants.

I incorporated his changes. We then sent the document to three of my boss’ peers Friday afternoon, they all had comments that I implemented on Monday morning.

We then sent it to another group for approval. They have so far not even read the document but provided verbal feedback this morning in the form of questions they’d like to discuss and I spent all morning incorporating that information and circulated that again to boss and his peers.

I again got feedback, we had an 80min call as group with the approvers, we added legal counsel to the call to answer some of the approvers’ questions because they are in another jurisdiction. Based on the points raised in the call I am now going to rework the document again.

In addition, we received additional information after the call so I now have to re-run all the numbers as well and rework the section of the document that deals with the numbers. All the other changes were wordy/soft factors that support a conclusion.

Let’s be very clear, the conclusion is unchanged through all these iterations. And my initial draft was pretty good. I fully expect to get excellent feedback for this project. My boss made me work on this part of the project because he knew this process would be very painful and he knew he’d at least get a decent first draft from me, allowing him to focus on the political battle to get approval. I was even offered a role on another project on the back of this, as yet unfinished, document.

But my reviewers raised good points and as we need to have an extremely solid basis for this decision and get buy in at various levels it’ll take however long it takes. I fully expect to go through 2-3 more versions before it gets approved formally Friday afternoon. Such is life.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:59 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


"I feel like I can’t win..." Yes, that's the main take-away. You can't win; you will be tossed about like a political football, but as long as they don't ask for the money back, just pick a path and go with it.

In the case of the thank you letter, I'd keep Elise's paragraph, and if Sam complains, say you weighed his *suggestion* but went another way. Decisions must be made real-time and everyone will get some wrong and some right (by people's differing metrics of wrong and right). They're letting you keep your paycheck, right? When you walk out the door each day, just let all that fall off your shoulders and stay in the building.
posted by at at 11:52 AM on August 14



I guess what I don’t understand is why make the edits if the work was perfectly good to start with? It must be something I’m doing wrong.


Hey there I'm a communications professional who has worked at the highest levels of comms before you end up in management. This is something that happens all the time.

People often feel that because they speak English that their are comms experts, leaders often feel that they don't add value unless they change something. Sometimes they do add value ;more often the amount of time spent on minor wording far outweighs the attention readers will give it. It's unlikely to be you.

Your first draft should never be your last. That is a failing in the process. Changes should be expected. The trick is having an agreed-upon, efficient approvals process so there is not a lot of back and forth (which it doesn't sound like there is? Goodness I have gotten up to version 30 on a deck I was working on one, nightmare).

It can be annoying when people make lots of pissy little changes for no real reason, and it's fine to privately feel pissed about it. But don't feel pissed at yourself. Versions is how the process works.

I get it, I too have perfectionist tendencies and a pronounced fear of "not measuring up" in a work context. I hate it, and feel that it's done almost nothing good for me whilst causing me a lot of stress over the years.

My advice is write down a proper approval workflow, get sam, jannette, Elsie and whomever to go through it with you and sign it off (pro tip the best way for managing approvals from multiple stakeholders is to get them in a room together and work on it "live". You'll be shocked at how fast consensus emerges).

You may need a few different workflows depending on the importance of the comms, that's fine.

Start following the work flow, and the structure and built in feedback might resolve some of the anxiety.

The other thing to make sure is that the brief you're receiving is clear, and that youre understanding it. To resolve issues in this area a simple briefing template can help.

Best of luck,
posted by smoke at 2:11 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


In cases like this with a lot of hands involved, you can often save time with the following general procedure:

- Announce in an email, cc all of them, "I'll be writing [thing], any thoughts, inputs, preferences?"
- Print any responses you get. Take them into account. Write the thing. Obviously do your best work, but keep in mind this will not be what gets published. Don't feel bad when it's not.
- Send another email when the draft is done saying you'll be routing it around for comment. Again, cc everyone.
- In reverse seniority order, ultimate decider last, pass them a hard copy in a folder WITH the initial email suggestions tucked in. If they won't accept a hard copy, have them email you comments, then print those.
- Here's the money trick - do not revise it between each person. Give the next person the whole folder with the previous comments in it "for additional comments".

You'll still have to go through a couple of edit cycles, but them being able to see that they're fighting each other really really helps cut that down. As a bonus, Big Boss gets to see the quality of what YOU wanted to do in the first place.

This might also work with "track changes" visible electronically, but I don't have as much success with that.

If all else fails, call a meeting. Get them in the same room at the same time and let them "fight each other" (this is called "come to alignment" in manager-speak) in front of you. It's not your job to align your bosses with their bosses or play kill-the-messenger.
posted by ctmf at 4:39 PM on August 14


more often the amount of time spent on minor wording far outweighs the attention readers will give it.: Somewhat disagree. Often wording choice signals certain euphemistic shorthand things to certain groups (senior management, industry insiders, etc., but hopefully not just one person's imagination), just like international diplomatic messages and press statements. Sometimes the person doing the writing doesn't realize that and thinks they're supposed to be writing in standard English where all words have their dictionary meanings. Sometimes that's ultimately harmless, but sometimes it's a disaster of leaving a subtle impression on the reader that doesn't align with the literal text. Guess which one lasts longer, the feeling or the memory of the literal text?

Which is to reinforce, don't worry about edits. They happen, and it's only because everyone wants to put out the best product and no one person is likely to get it just right by themself.
posted by ctmf at 4:51 PM on August 14


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