My friend/boss gave me a side project to do but didn’t tell me quite everything I needed to know in order to get it done. I tried doing what I could with it, but in the end I failed to deliver the results he wanted (he actually used the word “failed” several times).
The theme today is communication. What I was supposed to do was figure out what I needed to finish the job properly and communicate with my friend/boss so that he could either provide what I need or direct me to who can help me. My failure with my assignment today was not only a failure to do my job but a failure to communicate.
As my friend/boss was telling me about my lack of communication skills, I recalled my days as a graduate student. I always feared going to see my advisor. Nothing I ever did was good enough; I either didn’t do enough work or what work I had done was trivial.
As a result, I tried to avoid my advisor whenever possible, and our communication was kept at a minimum. When I was forced to meet with him, I was afraid to tell him what I had worked on, because I was afraid he would say I was wasting my time.
I’m doing the same thing again. Whenever my friend/boss asks me what I did during the day, I’m always afraid I’m going to say the wrong thing. I don’t properly communicate with my friend/boss because I’m afraid he’s going to be upset with me. I realize now, though, that he’s going to be more upset with me if I fail to deliver what he needs and didn’t come to him earlier when he could have helped.
Something else my friend/boss said today (that is and isn’t related) is that he has very high expectations of me. He said that when he gives people assignments, he usually gathers all the necessary tools he thinks they need and just tells them to do it. For me, though, he expects more. If he just gives me his end goal, he expects that I can think and research on my own to figure out what I need to achieve that goal. It’s flattering, I suppose, but it’s also a lot of pressure.