how to tell an assistant, “just fix the problem!”

A reader writes:

Soon after I started, I hired a new assistant, Amy. She’s been here a few months. It’s going okay but I’m trying to figure out which of the following things are worth trying to fix with her, and which are just personal quirks and to let it go. She excels in other areas of the job.

1) Amy constantly tells you the process she is taking to fix a problem, instead of just fixing it. Example: I tell Amy to find out the status of X document. Amy calls Bob, who isn’t there. Amy reports back that Bob isn’t there and asks if she should keep calling around (yes). Amy calls Sue, who isn’t there, and again asks if she should keep calling around (yes). This happened yesterday literally five times while Amy called various people until she got someone. This is a daily issue.

2) She schedules a lot of meetings for me, and she said in the interview that she had experience with that. Well, she seems to get constantly stressed about it. I’d like to decrease her stress about this, but it is also a primary function of the job.

3) Frequently she has questions about the job or a policy that I don’t know about (and honestly don’t need to know about — for example, I don’t know how we order toner). When these things come up, I will say “I don’t know, ask Dave or Sue.” But she will continue to discuss what the problem is, even after I say this. I’ve started reiterating, “Again, I don’t know, ask Dave or Sue” and then walking into my office to keep working.

Since Amy started, I’m spending probably 45-60 minutes a day on these items. Suggestions? Since she is new, I’d like to start off on the right foot and she is doing great in most areas.

I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

{ 134 comments… read them below }

  1. Jessica*

    I wonder if Amy has worked for a micromanager in the past. I’ve worked for bosses that need to constantly be in the know about every move that I’m doing (including “I called Bob and he wasn’t available. Would you like me to keep calling?” level of involved) – it does chip away at the self esteem! If this is the case, it may take a little while for Amy to get used to the new environment or management style. Hopefully following Alison’s advice will finally sink in. (I realize this isn’t a solution to the issue at hand, but could be an explanation of why)

    1. Caramel+&+Cheddar*

      This was my exact thought and it’s so hard to undo the habits you’ve developed to cope with a micromanager. Hopefully Amy can.

    2. Ugh*

      “I called Bob and he wasn’t available. Would you like me to keep calling?”

      That’s not micromanaging, that’s closing the loop and it is important for a well functioning organization.

      1. Richard+Hershberger*

        I can imagine a micromanager who would take the initial instruction to be to call Bob, and calling Sue when Bob was unavailable to be an impermissible overstep. It is crazy, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          The worst are managers who micromanage some things and want no involvement regarding others. Calling Sue would be fine and expected for some things, but not others, and there’s no rhyme or reason to which tasks require constant check-ins. Great way to destroy a motivated employee’s work ethic!

          1. Lacey*

            I think most micromanagers are like this.

            They expect you to read their minds and know that they want input on every word you typed for a routine communication with a coworker, but also would like you to create and run a new company program without checking in with them once.

            Until they see the program and then they will be irate that you didn’t consult them on the font you used announcing the launch.

          2. JJJJ*

            Hands-off micromanagers are awful. I worked under one and I could never do/say/write anything right. One time, I took a question to my boss and was asked if I’d asked a coworker in on an adjoining team first (I hadn’t and got scolded for not taking initiative). So the next time the situation occurred, I asked that other team member to start with, and when my boss found out I’d done that (without asking her first), I got scolded for that. No-win.

            Fortunately I have a new boss (same job but new title/expanded responsibilities) who is helpful and supportive and all things nice.

            1. Philosophia*

              Thanks to JJJJ and all the other people who gave examples of exactly this sort of micromanagement, because for all the years during which I suffered from it (for cogent reasons, looking for a new job was not in the cards; fortunately the micromanager moved on at last), I felt very alone.

          3. Lucy P*

            I’m in a situation like that. They don’t want info, until they want info and wonder why I haven’t given it to them.
            On top of that, we deal with a lot of professional service provider (lawyers, CPAs, etc.) and vendors who are consistently lousy at providing what they were hired to do. It’s my job to chase after them and chase after them often, but not chase after them so much that it’s off-putting and we lose them.

            It may easier for Amy (and OP in the long run), if she were given a bit more input as to how far she needs to take the assignment if she can’t get in touch with whomever she needs to speak with.

          4. Rake*

            Oh my God, I didn’t even realize it until you put it into words but that’s exactly what a previous manager did to me. It was a constant back and forth from “why didn’t I start seeing the drafts sooner?” To “I don’t want to hear about this until your draft is final”

        2. Nep*

          50/50 on whether my boss would think that’s an overstep or an obvious solution I should have done without consulting him.

          Micromanagers are “fun”

        3. Ada*

          I had one of those. Do not miss it.

          One day she called me into her office and gave me the instructions “Call and ask if they can ship this package today .”

          Now, this was an important package that she really should have shipped out earlier and absolutely needed to be sent out that day. And the stipulations she gave didn’t impact cost or anything. So when the company said they could do as she asked, I of course went ahead and set it up. Apparently that was the wrong move. She lost it on in. She didn’t want them to ACTUALLY do what she asked. She just wanted me to find out if they *could* do it. Even though her request was quickly becoming the only viable option we had to get the package where it needed to go in the time we needed it to get there.

        4. Corgis+rock*

          Been there. Could only speak to a specific person about a specific topic. Speaking to anyone else was unacceptable even if it was information that critical for me to complete a task.

      2. SheLooksFamiliar*

        That’s not closing the loop, because nothing was accomplished. That’s ‘reporting back on my activity to keep you updated on every step’ at best. And it’s way too much input for any organization, let alone a well-functioning one.

        I agree with everyone else who thinks Amy’s behavior could stem from a micromanager.

        1. ferrina*

          Exactly. Closing the loop is “fyi, I’ve reached out to Bob. He hasn’t responded yet, but I’ll keep trying.”

          My boss is not a micromanager- I keep her updated on my progress in our weekly meeting, and beyond that, she expects that I’ll tell her if there’s something I want help with. If she wants to check that I am doing thing the way she wants, I’ll outline my plan of action and she’ll add comments. Then she’ll let me go my merry way. If there’s something that requires more than that, she flags that for me early on.

          1. Kevin Sours*

            And that’s not really *useful* unless the task is so urgent that you need to be reporting every delay. The purpose of an assistant is to take burdens off of someone, including the mental energy involved in knowing the trivial details.

            Of course that also means backing the assistant when they take steps on their own initiative and “handle things” is a different way than you might have personally.

            1. The Real Fran Fine*

              Yes to all of this! I don’t have an assistant, but I have three direct reports that I hand off assignments to that I don’t have the bandwidth to handle (and they know this). I’ve had to coach one of them to stop asking me if she should email people on things where she’s asking for something because that’s just a common sense next step. If you reach out to someone, they tell you they aren’t the right contact and give you the name of the right contact, of course you should contact the correct person, lol.

      3. I+went+to+school+with+only+1+Jennifer*

        That would be true if the task was to call Bob. But the task in the example was to get a status update on a document. Since she couldn’t get it from Bob, she needed to ask someone else, and if they didn’t know, she could ask if they knew the right person to ask. Eventually, she would have the answer that LW needed: the status of the document. (Who did or didn’t answer their phone is irrelevant to this question.)

        1. journeyofman*

          100% regarding who answered or not. And yet there are some managers that found out that “Amy” took the initiative and called Bill instead, it would be an affront that they werenʻt informed that it wasnʻt Bob who picked up the phone…

      4. hbc*

        No loop has been closed, because the task was “find the status of this document,” not “call Bob right now and get an answer from him in the next five minutes.” It’s okay for Amy to check back without the document status if she’s legitimately exhausted the list of people who might know the status or it looks like a timeline won’t be met, but otherwise, the process updates are worse than uninteresting.

      5. Just+Your+Everyday+Crone*

        The task she was given was “deliver me a status,” not “call Bob,” so the loop gets closed when she has gotten the information to provide the status, or if enough time has passed that she should have gotten it and hasn’t, at which point, “I’m still working on tracking down the info we need” is probably enough.

      6. Observer*

        “I called Bob and he wasn’t available. Would you like me to keep calling?”

        That’s not micromanaging, that’s closing the loop and it is important for a well functioning organization.

        If she worked for someone like you, no wonder she keeps on doing this. This is NOT closing the loop. If Bob were the only one she could call, that would be one thing. But he’s not and she’s ASKING if she should continue calling. That’s something one would expect the EA to know. Keep calling everyone on the list of people who might know. If know one knows / is available THAT’S when you let your boss know and “close the loop.” Not on a step by step basis, and you don’t ASK.

        1. Snoozing+not+schmoozing*

          Yeah, that’s almost “I typed the first sentence. Should I type the next one?” level of helplessness.

      7. Merrie*

        Depends on the job and the task. If your assignment is “do the task” not “get ahold of Bob”, not being able to get ahold of Bob can be legitimately followed by figuring out some other approach and telling your boss later, if you even need to tell them the details at all, which maybe you don’t.

    3. cats+and+dogs*

      That’s my first thought–Amy may not yet truly believe that her new supervisor is more hands-off.

      1. irene adler*

        I’m going through this now. My immediate boss retired and now I report to CEO.
        The difference is day and night.

        Old boss: I learned pretty quickly that no matter what action I took to solve a problem, it was wrong. Every. Single. Time. WRONG! If I did X, then I should have done Y. If I did Y, I should have done Z. IF I did X, Y, and Z. NOPE! WRONG! Should have done W. So, I learned not to do anything until I checked with boss- for every single thing. Lectured (or worse) when I did not do this.

        CEO: “Just take care of it. Call/contract whomever you need to. I’m good with how you solve the problem. Don’t let this slow down the works.”

        It’s a little scary but so far, no adverse repercussions. Even when I messed up something major that IT took 2 days to fix. Just learn the lesson and keep going.

    4. Lacey*

      Yeah. I would definitely say she’s worked for a micromanager.

      I worked for one for 8 months after 12 years working pretty independently and that really messed with my ability to think for myself.

    5. What the Jorts?*

      This. When you work for someone who micromanages like that, you eventually start to question whether you’re breathing in the correct fashion.

      According to my (former) micromanaging boss (I was his EA), I walked wrong, and I was not permitted to laugh at jokes that anyone told unless he decided they were funny. And that doesn’t even touch on how he micromanaged my actual work.

    6. Paige*

      Excellent point. Amy may also not know all the people who *could* help yet, which could be alleviated by sitting down with an org chart or listing teams and projects. That doesn’t make the behavior less annoying, just more understandable. She may also have worked where one or two people got angry if someone [junior] contacted them out of the blue. I have an assistant who is afraid if this; I try to tell her I will stand uo for her, and do, but it hasn’t totally solved it.

  2. nnn*

    Sometimes in these cases, it can also be useful to specifically tell the employee
    “You are empowered to solve these problems as you see fit, to consult with other people etc. without running it by me. You don’t need my permission.” or “You are the person with authority to schedule meetings, decide when and where they will be, etc.”

    1. Bee*

      You can also back this up by saying something like, “Every time you’ve asked me about next steps, I’ve agreed you had the right plan, so I know you know what you’re doing and trust you to take initiative there on your own.” It does sound like she last worked for someone who didn’t trust her!

      1. Chilipepper Attitude*

        Yes to nnn and Bee! I know to ask these things of my boss, but I’ve had managers who were micromanaging in all the ways and it changes you! One boss did not allow us to talk to anyone in another department without her permission if the convo was not required in our workflow as a step to take to solve a problem. I mean that literally! No talking!

        It is so helpful to spell out what she has the authority to do and that you trust her to do it!

      2. The Real Fran Fine*

        I second you and nnn. In fact, this is almost verbatim what I tell my direct reports, especially the one who was asking my permission to do her job all the time. She’s doing a much better job of thinking for herself now that I keep reiterating this, too.

    2. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

      I think also setting boundaries around that can be helpful. For example, I worked in an institution where I was reprimanded for talking to someone of equivalent rank to my boss, without going through her (which I get in many cases, but this was an easy quick question and I was already chatting casually with him, and my boss only found out because I told her that he had given me an answer).

      So, if there are people Amy should and should not speak to, making that clear is kindness – for example, “you don’t need to check in with me if you want to talk to X or Y groups, but please do before talking to anyone from Z, and please don’t approach anyone of Director rank without running it by me first.”

      1. ferrina*

        This is good advice. Letting Amy know where the line is will help reassure her that she hasn’t crossed it.

        Like Not A Racoon Keeper, I’ve had bosses that just expected me to magically know where the line was, then I’d get in trouble for crossing said line (my behavior was perfectly professional, it was just Not How It Is Done Here). It makes you paranoid.

    3. Middlemgmt*

      This. I managed someone who struggled with this a lot. She was excellent at highly detailed processes but if she came up on a roadblock that deviated she’d get flustered or if she had to plan the project (things she’d executed already multiple years in a row). What finally pushed her in the right direction was being very explicit like that. Saying “ you are empowered to figure this out. You are empowered to task other people on this. I trust you and I’ll back you.”

  3. e271828*

    Poor Amy! She’s trying to do her best!

    1. Some micromanager taught her to keep giving status updates like this. It may take time to break the habit; it’s reflexive. She is anxious not to be accused of failing to do as you told her.

    2. Is meeting scheduling particularly loopy and cat-herdy? Is she having to chase people down and getting pushback from them on the time or something? Are these big meetings or small ones? Scheduling meetings for other people can be absolutely exasperating if they aren’t flexible or cooperative. Do the meeting attendees have to meet LW’s schedule, or do they try to negotiate, sending her back and forth from one calendar and attendee to another?

    3. If Amy does not have an assigned person at the company to help with onboarding questions like “how do we get toner” or a written handbook or online policies & procedures document to refer to, give her that resource.

    1. Toolate*

      Very agreed with all points! Re: the meetings, I wonder whether she has a fear of a specific consequence or something going wrong, or whether it’s to do with that generalized anxiety you get when it feels like there are too many threads for you to keep track of

  4. 3lla*

    Inexplicably, some people actually prefer assistants to work the way Amy is working. She probably just most recently worked for one of them, and just isn’t calibrated for your preferences. The meetings thing will probably improve as well if you have an explicit conversation with her about how you like your meetings scheduled.

    1. voluptuousfire*

      Exactly. Did the LW sit down with Amy when she started to establish what’s expected of her? I’d gather not.

      1. Allonge*

        To be fair, I would not expect this much of a micro-management needed.

        Also to start with a ‘don’t ask me questions’ kind of message is really tricky to land just right – OP now has a lot more to work with.

    2. hbc*

      I dunno, I don’t think anyone appreciates saying, “I don’t know, ask Dave or Sue” and then having that person keep going on about the issue without asking Dave or Sue. That’s ignoring a pretty clear instruction.

    3. Reluctant Mezzo*

      I so hear you. I was constantly told ‘do things according to GAAP’ and when I did, it was wrong, because it was the way my former supervisor did things according to GAAP. She finally found someone who could read her mind…six months before she retired. I guess she figured her work was done.

  5. EGA*

    I have done my fair share of meeting scheduling (including for an executive that was hard to schedule for), and it frequently was stressful because everyone wants things done differently. Potentially a few things to think about or lay out for someone doing scheduling that can reduce stress:

    1. Block out everything on your calendar and even leave notes. For instance, if you plan to have two solid hours of focused work in the morning, block it on your calendar so your assistant knows not to put anything there. Or at your weekly meeting you can say something like, Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon are best for meetings this week, please prioritize those blocks
    2. Establish how many meetings in a row is acceptable for you/how long of a break is needed between meetings. Some people have little problem having 3 hour-long meetings back-to-back because it gets them out of the way, for others, that is too long to be focused in that way and want a minimum of 15 minutes between meetings.
    3. If an assistant doesn’t know already make sure they understand which meetings to prioritize. For instance, you are willing to be flexible about meeting times with a big client, or for large team meetings, but for another person you will make yourself less available (either because they are junior to you, or the meeting is just less important). That can help the assistant know how to configure meetings!

    Hopefully this is helpful for anyone who has someone scheduling meetings for them (or if you schedule meetings, maybe you can get someone to do this for you)!

    1. The Lexus Lawyer*

      This is really helpful.

      Some people like breaks between meetings, others would rather just do them back to back.

      I think this assistant has potential, but just needs some managing and empowerment.

    2. Mockingjay*

      Meeting scheduling is also difficult on the other end. I’ve scheduled meetings on behalf of a boss and required attendees pushed back unpleasantly or were completely unresponsive. Often there’s a power dynamic (perceived or real) between assistants and other team members, which can complicate completing even a minor task.

      But to advice for the OP. As others in this thread suggested, OP should empower Amy to make decisions and explain what to do to resolve problems and priorities. I would go a step further and check with the team (and other departments); remind them that Amy works on your behalf and people need to be as responsive to her as they would be to you for meeting and status requests.

        1. Lexi+Lynn*

          And based on comments from earlier letters, some people think you look at calendars and then schedule a meeting during an open time while other people think that you ask everyone first before scheduling. If the execs at this company have their own preferences, it would be a nightmare to get anything scheduled.

    3. Zee*

      Also OP – are you keeping your calendar updated with appointments that your assistant isn’t involved in? Last week, I tried to schedule a meeting with my boss. She responded “Tuesday isn’t good for me, I’m waiting to hear back from [big important outside collaborator] on when they’re available” and I was like… okay, maybe try blocking off a hold on your schedule then. Extremely minor issue as a one-off for a meeting that was just a check-in with the 2 of us, but if it happened a lot, that’d be very frustrating.

      Do you frequently ask her to move meetings that she already scheduled? Because that is SUPER stressful. And it can lead to whomever she’s scheduling these meetings with being nasty with her.

    4. GreenDoor*

      Best thing my boss ever did was give me scheduling parameters. There were three restaurants he would be willing to have coffee meetings in. He did not do lunch meetings. Nothing outside the city limits, and preferably in his district (he was a local elected official). I could break the scheduling rules to cater to four very specific people – everyone else had to work around his time. He pre-blocked out personal appointments. Business owners had to meet in his office. For citizens he’d go to them. No meetings after 6:00 p.m. (that was his family time), nothing on Sunday mornings (he was in worship), etc. Perhaps your assistant needs very specific parameters to be less anxious. If her job involves coordinating at lot of attendees, maybe a guideline about who is a “must be there” vs. who is a “nice to have there or can send a designee.”

  6. Eldritch Office Worker*

    Having only been there a few months stands out to me. They say it takes about six months to be comfortable at a job, and that’s for your average person. If this person is particularly anxious, or as others say has had bad managers in the past, that may even feel like a short period of time.

    I train my boss’s assistants, and I expect this level of detail for a few months! There’s a lot to learn, a lot of processes to take on, a team of grumpy executives to handle, and a lot of clients. While I don’t require every little thing to be run through me, usually it takes four or five months for the questions to really taper off and for someone to feel ownership over their role. Even then I expect a little bit of this to hang around for awhile.

    If you don’t have a designated person to train your assistant I might suggest it! My boss would never want to deal with this but it feels pretty routine to me.

    1. EverythingIsInteresting*

      This was my first thought as well. She hasn’t been there long enough to feel entirely comfortable yet. And maybe there are some people who are difficult to work with or hard to reach. The larger the organization, the harder it can be to know whom to go to for what, who their backups are, etc. This early on, to make it seem like a problem might be counterproductive. I would really try to cut her some slack for a while longer.

    2. I+am+Emily's+failing+memory*

      I wonder about this too. I’ve onboarded a couple of new direct reports in recent years and I found that I went through this with all of them at about this point in time – where I was increasingly wishing they were more self-sufficient after 3-4 months under their belt.

      But when I would honestly self-interrogate where that feeling was coming from, it was really more about me getting weary of being needed so much, and not so much about where the employee was at. Each time I was getting annoyed I’d argue with myself internally about whether it would be the right move to tell the employee to bring me fewer questions and make more decisions, or if I’d be depriving her of needed support prematurely, and ultimately I’d decide to give it a little more time before moving to that option.

      In all 3 cases, by 6 months in it was no longer an issue – each of them became reasonably self-sufficient by that point without it ever having to be a specific conversation nudging them towards it – just providing regular feedback in our 1:1s, explaining the rationale behind my answer each time they asked me how to proceed on something, and supplying them with lots of previous work samples and any applicable guidance documents whenever I assigned something. The issue in each case was simply that I got tired of being asked for help a couple of months sooner than it was realistically reasonable to take away.

  7. Caramel & Cheddar*

    Jessica mentioned above that Amy might have worked with a micromanager in the past, and I wanted to add to that that this can absolutely impact the ability to schedule meetings and make it seem harder than it is. When I worked under a micromanager, everything was a priority all the time, so no matter how creatively you juggled the schedule to fit things in, you were wrong.

    I was much younger and much less assertive then, so what would have been helpful to me (especially when I was new) was to tell me how you wanted me to prioritize the meetings. There are some things you like to think you can assume — e.g. if Sansa the CEO needs to meet with you, then that takes precedence over your meeting with your direct report Robb — but spelling that out anyway could be a kindness.

    When you’re busy enough to require an assistant that spends a lot of their time managing your schedule, it’s also helpful for them to know that *you* know it’s a lot. My micromanager just kept piling things on as if she had 48 hours in a day; hearing from her “I know we’ve got X, Y, Z coming up but we’ll need to drop one of those so I can fit in Arya” would have been much appreciated.

  8. CheetoFingers*

    Has Amy been given resources to fund these things out on her own, or is she expected to ask around until she finds someone who can help? If the latter, that sounds like a nightmare for her. I’m not sure about the advice until we know more about the onboarding/training process.

    1. Allonge*

      Find out what? That when your boss tells you to ‘ask Dave or Sue’, you ask Dave or Sue?

      Also, in my experience, great assistants are able to ask around until they find out things. Obviously there is a learning curve there, but after six months?

      1. Hard at work*

        Great assistants have a clear idea of where their autonomy on the job begins and ends. This employee clearly doesn’t have that yet.

        Like many others here I’ve worked in offices where the expectations would vary widely depending on the personalities currently on staff. The range was between “let me see your outgoing emails for approval before you send them” to “Whatever works best for you, go with it, as long as all the steps are getting done”. And this is all in the same department, just different groups of people. Of course I can work with either set of expectations, but first the boss has to give me a clear view of expected behaviors. Not on a case by case basis, but a more big picture view.

        1. Allonge*

          I don’t think it’s realistic to expect that a boss sits you down on your first day and talks to you until she explains everything you may ever need to know before you ask questions (I am fairly sure this is not what you mean but it’s what it sounds like, so I am not sure what your point is).

          Everyone, everywhere in a new job needs to be able to ask questions, and adjust their behavior based on what they hear. No matter how toxic your previous workplace was, no matter how much you were micromanaged, how traumatised you are – it’s not possible for anyone to succeed without asking questions (and then following the instructions).

          Now if OP never said, in those 45-60 minutes / day that she wants Amy to call Sue, then Bob, then Laure until someone responds and Amy has an answer, instead of coming to OP between each of these steps, that is a problem. But if Amy is just not hearing that, like Amy is not hearing ‘go talk to Dave or Sue re: toners’, then Amy may well not be able to do this job.

      2. inko*

        It’s been ‘a few months’, which to me sounds like fewer than six. I suspect this assistant is at the point where she’s starting to get her head around the job but she hasn’t yet absorbed the kind of institutional knowledge that will make this stuff easy. The personalities, how certain things tend to work in reality, what the pecking order actually is, who is helpful and who is irritable, who you can afford to push back on a little bit and who will kick off or be uncooperative. So she’s running plans past the boss to make sure her ideas aren’t way off the mark.

        I agree that asking whether to phone the next person if Dave doesn’t answer is a bit silly, but also the boss didn’t say ‘ask Dave or Sue’, she said ‘find this out’. Assistant is checking that she’s asking the right people. If she gets a few more months in and still wants reassurance about every decision, that’s probably a bit more serious, but I wouldn’t assume at this stage that she won’t be able to find her feet soonish.

        1. inko*

          Ohhh wait, I just found the ask Dave or Sue bit. My bad, I was thinking of the part where she’s phoning people and asking every time.

      3. CheetoFingers*

        The boss didn’t say “ask Dave or Due” until prompted, they said “find out about X document.” If the admin has only been there a few months, thats not enough info and suggests maybe there needs to be training or resources. Having been an admin, I know that asking random people will get you in hot water when part of your job is navigating personalities and work-styles. People get annoyed, question your judgment, etc. So IMO great assistants work smarter and don’t waste time polling the office for who knows about a document when their boss can provide more context. I think you’re being a bit unfair to Amy, honestly.
        Now, it could very well be that the admin has the context or a contact sheet, etc., but since those details weren’t in the letter it’s okay to raise the question. I also want to be fair to OP in case all of that has been provided.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      One of the things we provide new hires is a contact sheet for the various departments and the contacts for things we need frequently (like, need to schedule a meeting with Big Boss, here’s her assistant’s name/info). With that comes expectation setting, including that we’d love for them to take a swing at X, Y, Z things first, but A, B, C things should come to a supervisor or department head.

      The most resourceful assistants are the ones who can put two and two together – we need toner? Is there an office manager or an office supplies department or even an IT department? Those might all be good starting points, but the average newbie needs more than that (hence, the contact sheet).

      1. CheetoFingers*

        I have done this for my directs as well-I think it’s a great idea (if OP has not already done so)!

  9. Sbc*

    Discuss with her that if she is going to bring you a problem, you want her to present her proposed solution. Then you can just agree to it (or not if her solution has flaws). Once you know her solution to a particular type of problem is correct, you can then direct her to keep doing that in the future without asking you. You can also direct her to write down directions for frequent situations and review those, then direct her to the document if she asks you for input on that type of issue in the future.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      And maybe do have one-on-ones where she can ask you questions about how to do things. She can save her questions for those meetings.

  10. Stargazer*

    Amy is a phatic communicator, aka, relationship builder, and OP is a functional communicator. This is an old letter, but the problem of relationship builders clashing with functional people is everywhere. Neither is wrong, and the solution is for both parties to give a little. One way for functional communicators to see relationship building communication as less burdensome is to remember that having good, collegial relationships is part of your job. You don’t have to spend 45 min/day on it, but 10 min won’t kill you.

    I am mainly functional, so I don’t have any advice to phatic communicators to make being cut off easier to take.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      With the caveat that I’m a functional communicator, I don’t really see Amy’s behavior as relationship-building. The relationship builders I work with tend to try to connect personally or through mutual work interests or complimentary skills. They are not showing up at my desk to update me on every step they take forward or backward on a give task (probably because most of them know that annoying the crap out of someone does not build relationships).

      Amy would drive me nuts; the whole point of having an assistant is to take things off my docket, not create a situation where it takes less work for me to do it than to get her to do it. I don’t mind chatting briefly about her weekend, her kids, her pets, her professional aspirations, etc. to build a relationship. I cannot with, “The first thing I tried didn’t work, do you want me to try something else?” No, Amy, I’d like you to give up, I didn’t REALLY need the TPS report.

  11. Jennifer+Strange*

    I went to find the original letter and there was actually an update! Link to original (which links to the update) in the comment. Sounds like a frank conversation was needed (and as others have surmised she had previously been micro-managed).

    1. L.H. Puttgrass*

      I don’t know why I didn’t see this when I posted the link a little lower down (probably stuck in the same moderation queue).

      FWIW, I think that the LW being a deputy director and Amy being an executive assistant is important context. So are the facts that the LW has only been in that job a year and that the previous assistant had been there for ten years. The LW arrived with an assistant who had already been trained. She probably knew where all the bodies were buried (and how to order toner). Suddenly the LW needed to train a new executive assistant on how best to work with the LW’s own style.

      I don’t suppose there was ever an update to this one?

  12. Tesuji*

    Honestly, #3 makes this entire post suspect.

    Either she’s been given enough information that she should be able to deal with all of the issues the LW raises, or LW is just expecting her assistant to read her mind. #3 makes me infer the latter.

    Obtaining office supplies is such a basic level task that, unless Amy is just flat-out incompetent, it sounds like LW has set her assistant up to fail.

    1. Just+Your+Everyday+Crone*

      I don’t understand your comment–what is the mind-reading involved? The manager gave her the info she needed–ask Dave or Sue–and didn’t complain about that but about Amy continuing to discuss something the LW knows nothing about.

      1. Tesuji*

        To me, “what do I do if I need office supplies” is such a basic issue that I’d expect it to be covered really early in the process of getting the assistant up to speed with how the office handles things. That sounds like a core part of her job, and way below her boss’ paygrade; she should never have needed to ask her boss in the first place.

        The fact that she had to go to the boss for something this simple makes me think that either (a) she’s really bad at her job, or (b) the orientation/onboarding for this employee failed to include even basic information like this.

        If it’s the latter, and the assistant didn’t get basic information about how the office works, that makes it sound like the LW is just assuming that the assistant is magically going to know things, which is setting her up for failure.

        1. Allonge*

          But people forget things, or don’t really internalise what they hear, even in the best designed induction, all the time.

          It’s normal to have questions about how to do X. It’s really strange to ignore the answer your boss gives you about asking D about how to do X..

    2. Allonge*

      How is saying ‘I don’t know, ask Dave or Sue’ setting Amy up to fail? I mean, yes, OP could be an evil mastermind in an organisation that has neither a Dave nor a Sue, but other than that?

    3. hbc*

      I don’t understand why that item is suspect. In my mind, that’s the most objectively bad thing for an assistant to do.

      “We need toner, how do I order it?”
      “I don’t know, ask Alice or Dave.”
      “It’s just crazy that we’re so low on toner, it would really be inconvenient if we ran out. I need to know how to get toner.”
      “…Agreed. Sounds like you should go ask Alice or Dave then.”

      No mind reading needed after the second sentence–toner info will not be forthcoming from this source.

      1. Sarah*

        So I read that as ordering toner not being something she has to do, so she’s wasting her boss’s time asking for minute details on something that… doesn’t matter for her job?

        1. Allonge*

          Toner ordering does not matter for (or at least is not part of) OP’s job. Amy is the one that needs to sort out replacing a toner.

        2. hbc*

          It could be vitally important that toner arrive, and that she become familiar with the ordering process. It’s just that OP has zero information on how it’s ordered–other than who might have further information. Having made that clear, the assistant is wasting both their time by discussing it further.

          I think some people are under the mistaken impression that bosses know every detail about what happens under them because they’re in charge of everything that happens under them.

        3. Lizzianna*

          I don’t read it that way.

          It’s important for there to be toner.

          OP hasn’t memorized the toner ordering process because that’s not a key part of her duties. OP would have to spend time digging through her files to find the info, or would have to call Alice or Dave. That’s not an efficient use of OP’s time, so she wants her assistant to do the digging or make the phone call.

          It doesn’t mean it’s not important, it just means that OP figuring it out isn’t the most efficient way to get it done.

          It’s not unusual, especially in government, for employees to get broad portfolios as they get higher in the organization, and it’s unreasonable to expect them to understand the detailed process of every task that every employee in their organization is responsible for.

  13. SwampWitch*

    Assistants aren’t slaves and neither are they robots and if you treat them like a human instead of a cypher for your perfectionism I guarantee they’ll perform well. Dang I hate the mild anti-assistant vibe this column has sometimes.

    1. Allonge*

      Assistants are not robots indeed and therefore have less than perfect days once in a while. Pointing this out and asking for a possible solution is not anti-assistant!

      1. The Real Fran Fine*

        Right. If anything, this site has always made a point of saying that great assistants are worth their weight in gold and champions treating them with respect.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      The OP writes “Since she is new, I’d like to start off on the right foot and she is doing great in most areas.”

      Alison says “communicate clearly and check-in frequently like you would with any other employee”

      Commentariat says “sounds like she has some work trauma, been there”

      Where is anything like you describe happening?

    3. GythaOgden*

      I’m guessing you’re perfect then, since you (and some other people) seem to be assuming LW is acting this way because she’s not trying to work out how to deal with a very tricky interpersonal issue but because she wants to torment someone lower in the pecking order. People don’t write in here for your entertainment, or to pillory themselves so you can chuck rotten fruit at them. They write in because they need to be able to handle a situation with delicacy and genuinely aren’t sure what to do.

      LWs are human like the rest of us, with the added issue that if this is the kind of response someone who recognises there’s an issue and wants to run it by a neutral party, people stop writing in. It’s why it’s in the commenting rules to take LWs at their word, and why the phrases ‘it takes one to know one’ and ‘what goes around, comes around’ spring to mind — if you treat people like they’re guilty until presumed innocent, then yeah, it’s going to come out in this way and not in the manner of extending grace to a fallible human being trying to mesh with a mindset she doesn’t share.

      Imagine if you had a similar problem and whether you would be ok with this kind of hostility in the comments section or from Alison, and act appropriately when you comment.

  14. marvin*

    I am intrigued by cases where someone is perpetually stressed out by a core element of their job even when they have plenty of experience doing it.

    I used to manage freelance editors and I was amazed by the number of people who seemed constantly appalled and borderline offended by the mistakes they were finding in the manuscripts they worked on. I mean … yes, there are mistakes, that is in fact why you’re being paid to fix them? (For what it’s worth, these were usually just standard spelling and grammar errors.) I can’t understand why anyone would choose a job whose main component apparently gives them so much angst. So I can understand why the letter writer is at a bit of a loss about that.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I think stressing and venting are different.
      Yes, it is our job in the public library to help people (often the same people) over and over with how to use the alphabet or the copier! But we do still need to vent.

      And most of our venting is about things like patrons wanting the book that was on one of the displays last month and the cover was red. Common sense will tell you we don’t know what the red book from last month could be! But, sometimes one of us will know just what the patron means!

      Anyway, it can help to vent. I like to follow Alison’s advice and not let it go too far. I do think some of my coworkers vent themselves all the way to stressed.

      1. marvin*

        Maybe part of the disconnect for me is that I’m not a venter, so when I got regular phone calls to complain about an author’s poor understanding of commas, I really started to wonder what they wanted me to do about it.

        I think the calculus does change a bit when there is an aspect of your job that is generally known to be aggravating. I can see the value in bonding over the fact that it sucks but everyone has to do it. But when someone constantly complains about very routine parts of their job, it does make me wonder what is keeping them there.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          You sound like my husband. I am absolutely a venter, but he’s not, so sometimes he’ll have to check in and be like “do you…like? your job?”. And I do. But I am also someone who bottles things up until they explode and venting that steam is incredibly helpful – especially since things usually seem less serious once I say them out loud.

          1. marvin*

            Fair! Although I do still think it’s weird for freelancers to direct this venting to the company that employs them if they truly don’t want any action taken. Maybe they could set up some kind of support group to complain about how no one respects the Oxford comma anymore.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              Ha! I can see why that would feel weird, but I oversee some contractors that my company employs and they definitely complain to me about my company so it doesn’t land oddly to me. More IT stuff than commas, generally, but regardless at least they feel heard.

              1. Eldritch Office Worker*

                (As an aside my aforementioned husband is an English teacher and he HATES the oxford comma. Maybe he could come to the support group and cause a stir.)

                1. marvin*

                  Interesting! I am fully indifferent to the Oxford comma but I normally see most of the passion on the pro side.

              2. marvin*

                Yeah, I think it probably lands differently based on the nature of the complaints. I would understand if they wanted to complain about the mail being slow or an author being difficult or something frustrating like that, but when I would get a series of increasingly frantic calls about how a document’s styles were set up in a slightly disorganized way, it was hard not to let that influence whether I thought that person would be able to cope with a truly difficult project. But since I would never think to vent about something like that, I most likely took their complaints more seriously than they were meant.

                1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

                  Nod. Some people bottle complaints up and some people don’t. I’m kinda shocked by people who want people to take drastic action ( quit your job) after minor complaints ( there’s too much paperwork)

  15. Mrs.Hawiggins*

    I have to agree, there’s been a micromanager in the past somewhere, and that can really warp your next set of processes at your next job. It took me a long time to finally create my own “shop” as I call it as an assistant, because I’ve worked for all types and there’s no one size fits all – some want you to handle it and know when it’s done, some come in asking why they haven’t heard anything and it’s BECAUSE you’re handling it. OP alludes to the fact that Amy is really good at other things, so with some smoothing out, she can overcome this too. One of the best things you can hear as an assistant is, “I trust you to handle it,” or, “I know you can handle it.” It may scare some, but it may also be more inspiring than you think. However to keep coming back to a boss about how to get toner when they have clearly said or directed them to someone else, that needs a tune up either on Amy’s part or, the people who need to train her to know.

  16. Quinalla*

    All the sympathies OP! Just last week had an issue and could not resolve it myself so I went to our support group for assistance. The person assigned is like “Yup there’s an issue!” with nothing further. I was so mad in the moment, I came to you folks because I need the issue FIXED, I know there is an issue and even what they issue is. I don’t need confirmation (though I did expect them to confirm the issue), I need it FIXED. I had to go back to a different person who then told me how to fix it so at least that was something. Ugh, so aggravating.

    But yeah, you need to address it like any other work issue. And I agree with other posters she may have worked for a micromanager in the past. I wouldn’t bring that up, but its good to have in the back of your mind that these behaviors that are odd/annoying to you may have had good reasons to develop. And remember what I always have to remind myself: Feedback is a gift. And if you want to frame it a little differently, I’d go with “Now that we’ve been working together for a little while, I wanted to talk about some things I’d like to do a little differently.” and then make sure you have regular one-on-ones so you can have times to check in to see how things are working for both of you. Make sure to ask her for feedback too, you may not be able to change, but if you can – it is great to work as a team!

  17. Lola*

    Re: #3 – It can be incredibly frustrating to be in a job where you’re supporting someone and you don’t know how to go about doing so. SOMEONE has to show an assistant about things like ordering office supplies and other office logistics tasks and frankly, I think it’s on the LW to point Amy towards those resources up front and not wait until she has to ask. And it wouldn’t hurt the LW to know some of these things anyway, in case Amy leaves or is sick, etc.

    While I’m not an assistant, I work in a very large organization and frequently have to track down info from other departments. My boss was key in helping set me up with contacts in our org who would know more information, even if she didn’t know the info herself.

    1. Allonge*

      OK, seriously: how is ‘I don’t know, ask Dave or Sue’ a wrong answer here?

      Is it that OP should have explained about toner acquisition (which is not her job and which she does not know about), just in case Amy remembers until the toner is actually out? Can Amy only be expected to talk to Dave or Sue after a master class on toner purchasing?

    2. L.H. Puttgrass*

      The original post (see my comment below) has more detail about this, but the LW is a deputy director and Amy is an executive assistant. I can see the response to “How do I order more toner?” legitimately being, “I have no idea; my previous assistant always handled that. Maybe ask the other executive assistants?” There’s a certain category of questions—like how to order toner—that peers are much more likely to be able to answer.

      Part of being an executive assistant (I assume; I’ve never had one nor been one) is knowing that your boss is busy and knowing what needs their time and attention and what doesn’t. How to get more toner seems like it’s pretty firmly in the “not” category, IMO.

      1. Bee*

        Right, I think I might ask my boss that kind of question once, to see if she had any preferences, but if the answer was “I don’t know and I don’t care,” I’d take all office-function questions to the other assistants first.

  18. L.H. Puttgrass*

    The original version of this post has a lot more detail and a few of the particulars are slightly different in this version. For example, in the original, the assistant is an executive assistant to a deputy director—which is a job that calls out for greater autonomy, IMO.

    I’ll put the link to the original post in a reply.

  19. Keymaster+of+Gozer*

    I have, not quite an assistant but an ‘Assistant IT Manager’ who does do some of the meeting organising, ordering supplies stuff that I don’t have time for – as well as some techie stuff. I’ve had 3 different people in this post over my years in IT and found that like with people in general their flaws are very different and need different couching.

    The one who went full Malcolm Tucker (REALLY over controlling and downright nasty) got told to rein it in. He’d come from a place where you had to be that kind of jerk to get anything done. I do not run like that.

    The one who checked with me every minute if he was doing the right thing (which you really can’t do in IT at these levels) had come from a place where he’d never been able to do these things without management approval. A fairly short ‘I don’t shout at mistakes, and what’s more nobody here will’ conversation and him seeing that we don’t bite peoples heads off for messing up occasionally worked.

    The last guy, he just didn’t work out in the end. He never improved, never did anything right, scheduled meetings with me to discuss how to schedule a meeting, took a lot of time off and finally admitted he just wasn’t happy doing this kind of work. He went back to programming.

  20. Kindred Spirit*

    “Obtaining office supplies is such a basic level task that, unless Amy is just flat-out incompetent, it sounds like LW has set her assistant up to fail.”

    #3 is a basic task, but the process can vary a lot… some purchases go through the PO process, others can be ordered without additional approvals through a master contract with an office supplies vendor. Or, in the case of the toner, it might be part of the services and maintenance contract with the company that sold or leased the copier.

    Amy is afraid to make a mistake. LW might review scenarios and solutions with her so she feels more confident, e.g., “If you have a question about “x,” Sue or Robert can help. If you have a question about “y,” ask Andrew or Teresa.

    1. Bernice Clifton*

      Or the toner is on back-order, or automatically gets ordered and shipped when it’s low, or the assistant got chewed on for buying the wrong item before or because someone who uses the toner thinks it wasn’t ordered or shipped quickly enough.

  21. another+govt+agency*

    OP here – this was me a few years ago. We work at a government agency where it is nearly impossible to let someone go. If we could have, we would have. She reported to me and my boss, and my boss tended to ignore the problems.
    A few things did get better when addressing them directly, but overall it wasn’t a great fit. Some of this was also a tone issue – and she may be hard of hearing (she was very loud and her tone of voice could sound aggressive, when it wasn’t meant to be aggressive). So we would get comments from external people she dealt with too. Also oddly she felt rude filtering our calls… which was such a huge part of the job. She found a different job (not as an assistant) and left right late 2019.
    Learned a lot, and we made a better (but still quirky) hire for our current assistant. Also, I got MUCH better about delegating and being very direct, i.e. I trust you, please handle XYZ, and only come to me if there’s an issue. With the new assistant, we structured many of those job duties like that from the start and it has been so much better.

  22. A_Pound_of_Obscure*

    One thing I rarely see in suggested responses and solutions is to ASK the person who is the subject of the letter. Asking more questions in response to a question can be very effective in many scenarios, rather than telling someone to do something differently. I agree with everyone who has suggested Amy probably worked for a micromanager in the past, but why not ask her? By doing so, LW could show interest in Amy’s way of thinking while also establishing and illustrating they trust her to perform everyday job duties independently. “From what I’ve seen of your work so far, you are doing a great job, but I wonder — Have you worked for micromanagers in the past? I hope you know I’m not like that and I trust you to solve simple problems like this on your own, but is there something you would like me to do differently so you’re comfortable doing that?” (Of course, that last question assumes LW would be willing to make reasonable changes to help Amy get comfortable with independence, and it’s not clear they are actually willing to do that.)

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I think Alison suggests that quite a bit, actually. But in a case like this I don’t know that it matters a ton. It also feels weirdly diagnostic of the situation. I feel like when Alison does suggest this, her language is more like “you tend to give me a lot of the process details when I’ve told you I trust you to take care of things, what’s going on there?”

      I have done this with new grads because it’s easy to see the patterns repeat “is this the first time you’ve really struggled to pick something up?” “is the pace of this environment getting to you?” “are you worried about inconveniencing someone by asking for help?” but even then I don’t love doing it unless they can’t word the issue themselves.

  23. KC*

    As a former assistant/EA, sometimes it’s helpful just to be blunt. “Just figure it out” was some of the best advice I got from a former boss on how to solve a problem. He would shut me down when I started asking questions–he only accepted updates on any actual movement. It forced me to be more resourceful! Sounds like Amy doesn’t know yet that she doesn’t need to check in every time she take an action; she just needs to show you results.

  24. Formerly+Ella+Vader*

    It’s interesting to read the update, because I had a different theory explaining Amy’s behaviour, and it sounds like I was wrong in this case.

    When I ask someone to accomplish a task, and they come back with “I tried and it didn’t work”, sometimes I think they want to either

    – get feedback on whether it’s normally this difficult to arrange a meeting, or does the difficulty mean that we should wait til after New Years or the call needs my authority behind it to make people commit. They are thinking that I might change the instruction if I knew how many roadblocks they were running into. Because I do want people who work for me or with me to let me know if I ask them to do something I think is simple and straightforward and it’s not. And if they’re asking the question about something I was expecting them to need multiple phone calls or iterations with, that tells me I need to prepare them better next time
    – let me know how hard they worked on it, because for them it seems like a hard thing that will impress me. It might not actually impress me because I was expecting them to need several calls or whatever, but it still might be useful information. Like when someone tells me they spent hours typing in all the totals to the new Excel sheet, I would say, hang on, you know you can do that with SUM and formula-dragging and a pivot table, right? Let me show you/ask Janis to show you. You shouldn’t ever need to do that.

    So if I had a person doing this, I might try front-loading a bit more perspective, like “Keep working on this until you can get the meeting set up – but if you don’t have it done by the end of tomorrow, then come and talk to me about what you’ve tried and what else we can try.” or “I know this is more confusing than the ones you’ve worked on so far – I want you to learn to do these, so keep a list of all the things you aren’t sure about, and I’ll go over them tonight. Let me know in the note about how much time you spent.”

  25. Rain's Small Hands*

    I wonder if Amy is not comfortable interrupting other people to ask questions or get help. I called Dave and left a voice mail, I don’t want him to get the voice mail, spend time getting me the information, and also interrupt Sue’s day. A similar thing with scheduling meetings, you are imposing on someone else’s time.

    Making sure that she understands that when performing tasks for the manager, she is acting with the authority of the manager – therefore, you shouldn’t interrupt a senior VP on behalf of a manager, but you can interrupt a manager on behalf of a senior VP (who then might task one of their lower level people with getting you the information). Its ok to interrupt Sue or Dave – as long as they are lower in the pecking order than her manager – for specific tasks (not just to be a pest).

    And if she is getting the exasperated sigh of “why are you bothering me” from the people she is asking for information from, she may be having this reluctance confirmed. And meetings that you stick on someone’s calendar which result in a flood of rescheduling requests make you start to question your sanity.

    Good admins learn to wield the power of their boss like a set of nunchucks. But it can take some getting used to having that power.

  26. Flowers*

    Could have sworn my boss wrote this about me – I’m 4.5 months in and while he and everyone immediately said he’s “not a micromanager” it took me a while to really absorb and understand that. But it does help that he has been patient throughout this and that he truly is “easy” to work for – and he’s given me good feedback so far so that helps me a lot.

    Part of my confusion is that my previous job was very process-oriented. There was a written process/guideline for everything and a big part of managers/supervisors’ job was to have these broader conversations with new hires until they got the hang of everything. Here (and I suspect most places) that would be considered too much handholding. BUT if you missed or didn’t follow their ever-increasingly complicated process, it counted against you in reviews.

    But even before all the processes were put into place, my boss (who was eventually VP) was a huge micromanager. it worked well when she was an individual contributor early on in her career but at some point – if you’re criticizing someone’s use of font in an internal email or staying late to “spy on” how interns behave (when there’s a whole department that actually manages those interns) thats extreme micromanaging IMO

  27. Lizzianna*

    I 100% agree that Amy has probably worked for a micromanager and needs help resetting her communication. That level of detail sounds exhausting.

    That said, I have a couple words of caution.

    First, it seems like sometimes people are sharing that level of detail because they want it to be seen how hard they’re working. As a manager, for people who need positive feedback, it’s important to find a way to build that into your relationship. My office manager is like this, so I make sure I set aside some time during our weekly one-on-ones where she can just list off everything she’s working on, and whether anything is more complicated than it should be (like, I asked her to get a status report, and 4 out of the 5 people she called were out of the office, so while it should have taken 10 min, it ended up taking up an hour of her day). This may be Amy’s clumsy way of trying to impress upon you that her job isn’t always as simple as it may appear from the outside. This is especially true if she’s replacing someone who’d been their for years. I remember going home from my first job in tears because I kept being compared to my predecessor, who’d been in the job for 15 years, and I just didn’t understand how I wasn’t able to meet even half of her output. So I probably overshared with my supervisor so he understood that I wasn’t slacking, that the work was legitimately taking the time it took. (It turns out she couldn’t say no, so would just work unauthorized overtime. I eventually found out she’d consistently worked 60-70 hour weeks, and I was dutifully sticking to 40-45 (my max before I had to get overtime authorization), which explained the discrepancy).

    Second, it is important to have at least a general understanding of what your folks are spending their time on. The vast majority of people I’ve worked with are professional and hard working, but I have come across one or two people who were more than willing to let me believe that a task took all day, when really they were finished by lunch time and spent all afternoon on a personal side project or napping or just not working. If you know that ordering toner involves a quick email to the approved vender, yet they seem to have been working on the order for days, that may be worth asking some questions about. I would probably say, “I don’t know, ask Sue or Dave. If it ends up being a major ordeal, let me know so we can make sure that’s factored into your workload.” Don’t micromanage, but understand enough to know if you’re assigning a 10 minute task or a 10 hour task.

  28. Jo-El*

    I had an employee like this who was brand new. I finally gave a directive that I wanted XX done. Do what it takes to get it done and we can talk about once the task is completed and see if we can, together, find a more efficient way.

Comments are closed.