A recent experience of being in a writing slump got me thinking about just how transparent we should be with our bosses regarding our workloads and our productivity--especially when we're not performing at our best and especially when the economy is bad. When it comes to your boss, there's honesty, and then there's too much information, and your job security may depend on you knowing the difference.
Last week I fell into a writing slump. My writing became labored. Painstaking. The end result of this slump: It took me two days to write a simple, 700-word story about women in IT. I should have been able to crank out that story in a matter of hours, and in two days, I should have produced at least two articles, not one.
I debated whether or not to tell my boss about this slump. On one hand, I believe in being honest with my boss about my work and my performance. Most days, I send him e-mail updates to let him know what stories I'm working on that day.
On the other hand, if I told my boss about this writing slump, I worried that I'd be turning something that would ultimately wind up resolving itself in a day or two into a bigger deal than it needed to be. I also worried that 'fessing up to this slump would be like admitting weakness. After all, I'm a writer. CXO Media pays me to write (and edit) articles for CIO. So if I have no output to show for myself after a day of work, it doesn't reflect very well on me. And since my boss is keenly aware of all of the content being published, including who's producing it and when, he doesn't really need me to tell him when I'm not producing. He's like Santa Claus: He knows when I've been bad or good.
In the end, I didn't tell my boss that I was in a slump. I just wanted to get my writing done rather than dwell on the fact that my writing wasn't going so well.
The whole experience made me wonder just how transparent we should be with our managers about our workloads and productivity--ESPECIALLY when we're not performing at our best and ESPECIALLY when the economy is bad and companies are considering layoffs. (I'm not saying my employer is considering job cuts, by the way. I'm just speaking in general.)
To answer that question, let's examine some potential pros and cons of being very transparent with our bosses.
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