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ought to managers all the time “personal the message,” private information within the background of a coworker’s cat pictures, and extra — Ask a Supervisor


It’s 5 solutions to 5 questions. Right here we go…

1. Ought to managers all the time “personal the message”?

It’s evaluate time at our firm. I’m not a supervisor, however was included on an e-mail from our VP about “proudly owning the message.” They don’t need managers saying, “I might have promoted you, however it was turned down on the VP degree” or “We needed to advertise you, however our funds wouldn’t allow us to.” I labored at one other firm with an identical “personal the message” philosophy. What do you consider that? As a supervisor, I discovered it exhausting to do, and there have been instances the place I felt my supervisor was additionally coping with these conditions and didn’t really “personal the message.”

It relies upon a lot on the scenario. There are managers who take the simple manner out by blaming administration above them/budgets/different components when in actuality it was their determination (totally or partially) or no less than they don’t disagree with the choice they’re conveying. It’s simpler to say “administration wouldn’t approve the promotion” than “I don’t suppose you’ve earned it.” That’s an issue; a part of administration is giving candid, forthright suggestions, and it’s not okay to keep away from that.

Alternatively, generally it’s true that the choice was out of the supervisor’s fingers. That’s rather a lot trickier. Managers shouldn’t domesticate an us vs. them vibe with their groups vs. administration, they usually do want to have the ability to converse for administration as a complete. However on the similar time, workers should know the reality — and if the reality is one thing like “your work isn’t being acknowledged at ranges above me and that’s not prone to change,” they actually should know that to allow them to make good choices for themselves. So I feel the communication out of your VP must be extra nuanced.

2. Private information within the background of a coworker’s cat pictures

My firm has a Slack channel the place workers share cute photos of their pets. One in every of our govt assistants employed earlier this yr, “Shannon,” ceaselessly shares pictures of her three cats, who prefer to lie on her desk. Typically Shannon’s laptop screens are within the background of her cat pictures and, with just a little zoom-in, you possibly can learn every part on her display screen. Since Shannon’s job is planning occasions for our management, I’ve been capable of see the eating places and motels the place our execs or board members can be occurring what dates. In a single case, I’ve clearly seen the non-public deal with and telephone variety of one in every of our board members. Solely people in our firm Slack can view this channel, and I don’t suppose anybody would do something nefarious with this info, but when I had been Shannon’s boss or one in every of our executives, I might not need information like that so public.

I’ve debated sending Shannon a sort e-mail pointing this out, since she may merely not take into consideration what’s within the background of her cat pictures. However I don’t work instantly along with her and even know her properly, and I’m afraid my message would appear nosy or impolite since I don’t suppose this behavior has precipitated any issues (but). Ought to I say one thing, or ought to I “let sleeping cats lie” and let it go?

Say one thing! It shouldn’t be a giant deal to kindly level it out. You may say, “I like seeing your cats! I needed to say that in a number of the pictures, for those who zoom in you possibly can see every part in your display screen, which you in all probability don’t need for privateness causes, particularly while you’ve acquired board member contact information up!”

3. Listening to an sick coworker within the lavatory

I just lately acquired promoted and have my very own workplace. Yay! My new workplace shares a wall with one in every of our bogs. It’s normally not one thing I discover (aside from occasional flushing) and I principally tune it out, however twice within the final 24 hours I’ve heard somebody grow to be what feels like violently sick within the lavatory. I can’t actually ignore it and have to depart my workplace when this occurs or I can even be sick. Along with that, I’m apprehensive about my coworker! I feel I’d know who it’s; I’m no less than assured about which division the coworker is from. I don’t know what to do now. Nothing? Will it simply cross? Ought to I carry it as much as the division supervisor? HR (looks like that might be an excessive amount of)?

I’d solely point out it within the context of asking for a white noise machine or one thing else to assist masks sound so you possibly can work. I too used to work proper subsequent to a rest room and, imagine me, white noise is the best way to go.

Past that, although, anybody utilizing the toilet deserves to keep up the well mannered fiction that no matter they’re doing in there can’t be heard exterior of the room. Whether or not somebody is sick or pregnant or having a response to one thing, they deserve privateness round no matter’s occurring.

4. Ought to I refuse to edit AI-generated content material?

I’m a copywriter and editor. I’ve constructed up an ideal clientele over time and developed a specialty in writing consumer-friendly content material about advanced subjects through which accuracy is crucial (suppose insurance coverage or healthcare).

One in every of my long-time shoppers can also be utilizing one other agency for content material growth. Nice with me; I don’t have time to jot down reams of lengthy type items for them. Nevertheless, this different agency makes use of AI to generate, or no less than help with creating, content material. Invariably, it incorporates factual errors and weird language.

So the shopper asks me to evaluate it, and I repair the copy. An authentic sentence may say “400,000 annual llama groomers counseled this comb for its praiseworthy proficiency in knot administration,” and I right it to “4,000 llama groomers endorsed this detangling comb final yr.”

Right here’s the issue. A) I’m fairly certain this different company prices way over I do for this horrible work. B) I’m involved that I’m unwittingly serving to the AI-using agency to refine their course of. C) I simply hate AI on precept; not solely is it destroying inventive professions however I feel the tip consequence can be dystopian horror, as within the brief story “I Have No Mouth and I Should Scream.”

However hey, that’s simply me! My dilemma: Sooner or later, ought to I refuse to do this sort of work? Or hope that in stating its deficiencies, my shoppers will keep away from AI content material era? Or simply acknowledge that that is an inevitable business change and adapt accordingly?

I wouldn’t need to edit AI copy both! It’s completely professional to determine that’s not a sort of service you present. However there’s additionally not one proper reply; it’s a private determination, relying what varieties of labor you might be and aren’t involved in doing.

When you do determine to cease doing it, you possibly can merely say, “I needed to let you realize I’m not going to be obtainable to edit AI-generated content material; having executed a few of it now, I’ve realized it’s a really completely different sort of writing and enhancing than I get pleasure from.” If you would like, you possibly can add, “I additionally suppose AI-generated content material isn’t an ideal factor for customers due to XYZ,” however that relies upon very a lot in your relationship with the shopper.

Caveat: any time you flip down work, you’re encouraging the shopper to construct relationships with different writers. Over time it’s doable they’ll ship them a number of the work you do need, and also you’ve acquired to be okay with that risk.

5. Consumer appreciation presents

There have been just a few posts these previous few weeks relating to worker presents and, as a enterprise proprietor, I agree that time and money off are by far essentially the most universally requested. Nevertheless, what about shopper appreciation presents? We need to say thank-you to our shoppers on the finish of the yr however we’re caught on what to do. Nobody desires a mouse pad, or one other water bottle with our emblem on it. By the tip of December, we’ve had extra cookies, sweet, and sugar than we care to confess so we don’t need to add to the pile. What do you and the readers take into consideration a present card to an area restaurant group? It falls extra within the “cash” class and a dinner out appears like a pleasant thank-you, however one thing about it feels off when speaking of shopper appreciation. Final yr we despatched Rocketbooks, which had been very properly acquired, however we’re having a tough time considering of one thing new. We’ve executed just a few net searches and scoured the brand swag catalogs and are nonetheless arising empty-handed. There’s a cause so many places of work get packing containers of candies and cookies at year-end, they could be much less personable however a lot simpler!

Consumer appreciation presents are robust. Time and cash off aren’t choices the best way they’re with workers, and it’s very exhausting to seek out one thing that everybody will like … which is how so many individuals find yourself again at meals. Let’s throw this out to readers.

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