Monday, October 8, 2012

Architecture doesn't always mean having to say you're sorry

Because a coworker has been traveling a lot lately, I've been answering questions for the intern working on her project.  This young man is learning more about healthcare,which is somewhat new to him as a project type, and he's learning more about our office's standards.  Several times a day, this bright, eager young man approaches me, taps on my desk and says, "I'm so sorry to bother you..." and then asks me a question about healthcare planning or how we do things at our firm.  I always reply, "Oh, no worries, ask me anything!" but I'm not sure he understands that I really mean that.  Because I do.

I've said many times on this blog that architects would rather you bother them twenty times a day with questions than suffer along in silence. I cannot strees this enough, even if you have several years of experience: if you are learning something new, working on a new project, working with a new person, whatever, never apologize for asking questions.  You have the right to information tht helps you do your job, no matter how basic or self-evident that info might be.  If you're worried about interrupting people a dozen times, then you may want to work as far as you can while compiling questions, then interrupt once with several questions--that's fair.  But never apologize for asking for information that helps you get your job done.

Another intern asked me a few questions regarding our upcoming reviews.  Those questions included "What should we expect for raises?" and "What do we do if we think we should have gotten more of a raise?"  The email from this intern ended with an apology for being "maybe too forthright."

Again: don't apologize for asking questions that affect your job and indeed your wellbeing.  Questions about money, job description and tasks, pay rates, and job security can affect someone's ability to concentrate on (and care about) their work.  Regardless of what field someone works in, a person should know two things: what their job description is, and what the pay typically is for that  job description.  Never apologize for asking for information tht affects your wellbeing.

People are understandably hesitant to be seen as pushy or rude at work, especially when the economy isn't exactly on fire and a new job would be hard to find if they were somehow to lose the job they have. However, there's no need to apologize when you ask for information that you need to do your job and to assess how well you're doing it.

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