I work in a small office with three managers, ten analysts (who report to the managers), The Boss, me, and some admin/operational staff. Part of my job is to coordinate the pieces of a big report that my colleagues write. We are almost finished. Throughout this process there has been a clear and persistent pattern: the analysts get their stuff done on time and within the required word count. The managers get their stuff done late and requiring subtantive edits to get it down to size, and even those pieces are largely written by the analysts.
Suffice it to say the analysts aren’t thrilled, and it didn’t take me long to realize that their complaints were quite valid.
At this point we are almost finished the project. There are about 6 pieces remaining. The substantive work is all long done, these are fluffy bits (introductions, summaries, etc) of no more than 500 words each.
All I do is coordinate. I do not have the knowledge to write it or else I’d do it myself.
So a few weeks ago I said to my boss “Can you tell me who to follow up with for these pieces?” and he said Manager B. (B is a senior manager who has been here for years. I started here in an entry-level position in February.) So I sent the list of the pieces needed to Manager B, two weeks ago, and told them I needed them by tomorrow (Friday July 27). We had a bit of correspondence about it (and copied my boss, who is also B’s boss).
Considering these are the last 3000 words on a 70 000 word document, I didn’t think it would be too much trouble. 6 summaries of 500 words. All you need to do is clip three sentences from the main text, add a fluffy sentence at the beginning and at the end, and send it to me. And you have staff! You can assign it to someone! But this manager has a reputation for claiming others’ work as his own.
So yesterday I asked B for the status of the pieces. Honestly, I felt like a fifth grade teacher nagging a kid for his homework. He hemmed and hawed and wheedled and whined and moaned and said they wouldn’t be ready by Friday.
Then I ran into another co-worker, C (who reports to B) and mentioned it to him. He told me that, two weeks ago, B had contacted him to ask him to look up some information for one of the pieces I am waiting for. C responded with the requested information right away; all that was needed from that point was to put a few words around it and send it to me. (The only reason I know about this was a random hallway conversation, so for all I know there could be other pieces that he’d gotten his underlings to half-write for him, sitting in his inbox.)
So B just comes in to give me a nice long excuse about why he doesn’t have his homework done. Whine whine whine. We’re busy working on next year’s report. I’ve had a lot of phone calls. I don’t know why we’re doing it this way this year. Moan. Whinge. Complain.
It’s embarrassing. Honestly. He’s twice my age and probably makes twice my salary. I was not asking him for the moon, I was following up on a request that his boss made of him, to do something which anyone else in this office could do half asleep. He’s just lazy, and he’s just putting in time before retirement, and he knows I know it. It’s disgusting.
And of course the boss is away. I’m copying him on all the correspondence so he knows what’s going on, and I’m getting increasingly frustrated with him too - it’s his bloody manager, he should make him do his job!
Grumble. Office politics. At least I’ve got a cool stapler.