Boss unhappy with recent work

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 2
923 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I’m a Technical Writer (not quite the same, but I feel you with the project juggling and the extensive research!). We have one-on-ones with our supervisors, but we also have meetings where all of the writers gather with the supervisor to bring up any wider-ranging issues. Is a larger meeting like that an option or something you can suggest? As tactfully as possible, I’d try to communicate to her that although you realize your work’s quality has slipped, you aren’t the only one having difficulty with the current workload.

Also, based on what you said, it seems to me like you aren’t getting very clear critiques. If that’s the case, I’d ask for list of things to improve (and the corresponding ways to improve them) that you or your boss can document. For example, if she says your work needs to be done more quickly, then you can document how quickly she’d prefer it done, work on that, and see if there’s been any improvement at your next meeting. Additionally, if you’re trying to address specific failings, then you and she can brainstorm the specific ways in which they can be fixed. Since you are so overloaded, it’s also possible that her expectations aren’t realistic, so brainstorming solutions might help her realize that.  

The good thing that you have in your favor is that she used to be happy with your work and she knows what you’re capable of. I’d personally frame my conversation with her as “I want to be back to how I used to be, so please help me figure out how I can achieve that.” 

Post # 3
2417 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

What issues have you faced that you are considering bringing up with her?

Post # 4
994 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

I’m a copywriter too, and have struggled with some of the things you’ve mentioned: long hours, poor direction, impossible timelines, etc. I think when a project is kicked off and you can see it heading in this direction, it’s better to go to your boss and bring up your concerns about the project BEFORE you get into trouble with not being able to do the assignment well. Deflect the blame back to where it belongs before it becomes your problem— put it back on the team who is supposed to be providing you with the correct information.

In the case of the critiques that have been brought up, I would make sure she gives you concrete examples of these failings so you know exactly what she is referring to instead of some nebulous “you don’t communicate well” line. Once you know exactly what went wrong, you’ll know better how to address it.

Post # 5
936 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

What issues have you faced?..


Anything wedding related I would not mention at all and get a grip on it. Weddings are not a family emergency or anything health related and therefore should not affect your work at all, if you find wedding planning over whelming then I suggest toning down your wedding, hiring a planner or having your Fiance help a lot. Wedding is one day.. not worth loosing your career over and should be done after work hours.

I suggest you ask her for more detailed critique and have points to counter what she said ask for examples etc. She hired you for a reason and loved your work before so I am sure this is something you two can work on together,

Post # 6
751 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

I’m not a copywriter, so you’re welcome to take my suggestions with a grain of salt, or disregard completely. 🙂

If other members of your team are having some of the same issues, I would try to organize a meeting with everyone, and your supervisor, so you guys can get on the same page. That might not be possible, but if something’s affecting everyone, there’s no need for you to suffer alone.

Be proactive–talk to your boss before she schedules something with you. If you’re having struggles, or are having trouble working with unclear guidelines, that’s the point at which you should go to your supervisor; if it’s to the point that she’s contacting you, it’s basically the equivalent of not understanding the term paper but handing it in anyway, and then feeling frustrated with your professor for giving you a C. Talk to her throughout the project as needed, and you’ll get a better “grade.”

Ask for examples of ways that your work isn’t meeting expectations (like specific, hard copy examples), and have your boss clarify to you specifically what you could have done differently. When you get the next project, do some preliminary work and then ask your boss to review it to make sure you’re on the right track. I know that seems nit-picky or even remedial, but it might go a long way in her book.

Also if you ask your boss for examples of things she’s dissatisfied with, be ready to professionally and concisely explain your side, but don’t grovel. That’s a terrible word, sorry. Not grovel…just, don’t try to justify how much you love your job and want to grow with the company. Lots of people love their jobs but aren’t good at them (and I don’t mean you, I just mean, that’s not a worthwhile point to focus on in your meeting).

Express to her your desire to learn as much as you can; let her know that you were working based on your understanding of the project, but that clearly y’all weren’t on the same page. Then continue to pick her brain about ways you can improve. I don’t think any boss would take it as negative if an employee asked for examples of their mistake, clarified from their own viewpoint in a sincere way, and then asked for help as to how to improve. That’s a good thing, in my opinion. I’m happy when my employees do that.

Don’t bring up your wedding in any meeting with her. Just focus that internally–get a solid grip on the planning. If it’s stressing you out, delegate some stuff or hire a planner if you can, but it shouldn’t be stressing you to the point of affecting your work. 

Good luck to you! I know it’s stressful to feel like you’re falling out of good graces even if it’s the slightest amount. Hang in there. 🙂

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