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Whenever

Do you ever get this at your work?

“Hey, [your name here].  Can you do X?”

“Sure.  When do you need it by?”

“Whenever.”

When, exactly, is “ever? ” Are we talking by the end of the day?  By the end of the week?  What?

It’s worse when they give you multiple whenevers.  Which ever is first?  And woe unto you if you prioritize incorrectly:

“Why haven’t you done X?!”

“I was working on Y.”

“Nevermind that.  I need X now!”

Ever is now now?  And if you need it now, I should have done it before.  So, when you ask me to do X, I have to do have already done it before, so that it’s ready now?

You can see why I’m confused.

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5 Responses

  1. i learned years ago when developing help desk software for a bank if you ask people what prioriy their issue is, it’ll always be critical.

    there is a star trek lesson (one of many i have learned) that you always multiple how long it will take to get a task done by at least two, if possible, three. someone asks for something at noon that will take one hour, you tell them you can have it done by three. then you do it in an hour and suddenly you’re the man that works miracles.

  2. they say its part of the job, but what they don’t say is that its the worst part of the job.

  3. A friend told me, it’s never how many plates you’re spinning, it’s how many fall.

    I know exactly what you’re talking about. Whenever I get a big “A” thing to do, a big “B” thing to do, and a little “f”, they look at A and B, then yell at me for “f” because I’m still working on the first five.

  4. My personal favorite direction to completing a task is “as soon as possible.”.

    The soonest possible completion may actually be AFTER I’ve already done all of the other things I’ve been told to do first. Unless, of course, you’re prioritizing the new task BEFORE those, in which case the definition of “possible” becomes altered.

  5. It’s never whenever. I’m still not totally in the habit of “never make assumptions”, and still get stuck in this exact situation cuz I forget to ask for a real deadline.

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