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Got roped into "newsletter" team at work. Don't like it...

So there is a push for more communication in my office, and one of the "action items" is a group newsletter. somehow i got nominated. i don't really want to be involved, but i'll take one for the team... anyway, so my piece is a "tech tip" since i'm half IT and half accountant. So i wrote a 390 word thing explaining vlookups. the lady running the team (the "editor")said it was too long. so i shortened it to 258. still too long, she suggested briefly explaining what it does, then a link to my longer article explaining how to do one.... part of me is like: i might as well just tell them to google it...either give me a word limit, or chop it up yourself. the rest of me wants to bow out of the newsletter altogether as it looks like shit, is 99% stupid, and i honestly don't want to be involved.

ever had to be in a group at work that you didn't want to be? is there a professional way to get out of it?

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    So there is a push for more communication in my office, and one of the "action items" is a group newsletter. somehow i got nominated. i don't really want to be involved, but i'll take one for the team... anyway, so my piece is a "tech tip" since i'm half IT and half accountant. So i wrote a 390 word thing explaining vlookups. the lady running the team (the "editor")said it was too long. so i shortened it to 258. still too long, she suggested briefly explaining what it does, then a link to my longer article explaining how to do one.... part of me is like: i might as well just tell them to google it...either give me a word limit, or chop it up yourself. the rest of me wants to bow out of the newsletter altogether as it looks like shit, is 99% stupid, and i honestly don't want to be involved.

    ever had to be in a group at work that you didn't want to be? is there a professional way to get out of it?

    "Sorry I'm not even sure who nominated me, but I have no interest in playing back and forth and continuing working on this newsletter article for you."

    No matter what you say and how you say it, it's going to come back on you for not being a team player. But sometimes you have to not be a team player when your teammate keeps acting like Lucy yanking the ball away from you when you go for the kick.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    PantshandshakePantshandshake Registered User regular
    Or, just do a 'meh' job until the newsletter inevitably stops being a thing your overlords feel should be tying up valuable time.

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    LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    I've never been in this situation, but I would say that the best course of action is to stomach it for now, and just wait it out until they get tired of doing it (probably in a couple of months). This way you don't come off looking unprofessional or not a team player by quitting.

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    JusticeforPlutoJusticeforPluto Registered User regular
    Just ask for a word limit. Or explain that you cannot cut any more content while still giving quality advice.

    Or go to the editor and ask for clarity upon what they want.

    Or just opt out. But then you risk looking like a non-team player.

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    ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    Ask for more specific guidelines about what they expect from you. Hope they give them to you. If not, suck it up and wait for it to die.

    Then stretch it out for use on a resume for the future.

    "Facilitated the education of co-workers through a team newsletter" or whatever jargon you wish to apply to the situation.

    Make chicken salad out of chicken shit, as they say.

    PAFC Top 10 Finisher in Seasons 1 and 3. 2nd in Seasons 4 and 5. Final 4 in Season 6.
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    HollerHoller Registered User regular
    If it were me, I would take her requesting me to just phone it in as permission to phone it in.

    Ask her for a word limit for all contributions going forward, and if she insists that that is beyond her capability, restate what you are going to be doing to her and have her confirm right up front that what you are doing for this newsletter from now on is: writing two to three sentences about a topic, then giving a website. If she confirms that that is what she is looking for, just do that and don't put even a hint of additional thought or effort in.

    Is it stupid? Very. Is it a pointless waste of resources? Yup. But spending a minute writing three throwaway sentences is probably going to be easier than trying to look like a team player while quitting the team activity, and less of a waste of time than continuing to try and make useful something that sounds like it was designed to be an exercise in futility.

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    tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    I'm in the "phone it in if that's what she's asking you to do" camp, because that's what it sounds like to me. It sounds like she wants you to basically LMGTFY without the snazzy animation, so I would take that as permission to: explain what the resource is, what it's useful for in the office, and how to learn more about it.

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    MagellMagell Detroit Machine Guns Fort MyersRegistered User regular
    I think it's almost impossible not to phone it in with the word count limit you are being given. Unless you make the tips completely meaningless. Next time send in something about remembering to save your work.

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    JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    How is vlookup a tip?

    "Use the combination of the Alt and Tab keys to quickly change through program windows." That is a tip.

    . Simple, one sentence.f you can boil vlookup to one or two sentences it can be a tip, but it is an advanced usage of a program so good luck with that.

    Keep it simpler.

    and I wonder about my neighbors even though I don't have them
    but they're listening to every word I say
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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    I agree with JebusUD. Keep it to some simple tip for browsing or Office. "F9 to refresh Outlook." Bam! Could be a little longer but some quick shortcut.

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    DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    Here's one: "Holding the Alt key and then pressing D-F-F will add filters to your spreadsheets"

    Wow
    Such contribute
    So teamplayer

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    MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    I was in one of these email newsletter things, and I hated every single edition. I don't suggest doing a half-assed job because you never know where future opportunities could come from. In my case, after I quit that job, I was offered a contract to keep doing the newsletter freelanced. I charged them a bunch to do it.

    I suggest to deal with your editor via email. This way, you have a record of your production timeline in case things went south. In my old company we called this CYA, Cover Your Ass.

    Save yourself some grief and stop writing long articles. If I were you, I'd write very short "tech-bits". Things like 5 top keyboard shortcuts or adjusting the font size on your browser are simple and easy to write. If I were you, I'd also let users generate ideas for me by closing with "got any tech questions? Email the Dr!"

    If you write 4 of these on monday, you're done for the rest of the month.

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    WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    Ya , never underestimate how low end a tip has to be to be something someone doesn't know in the office. I used to just tell people ~ was the "any" key

    Steam! Battlenet:Wisemantobes#1508
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    illigillig Registered User regular
    don't purposely fuck up the work assignment - i know it's 'volunteer work' but all too often that kind of extra curricular crap becomes the deciding factor in much more important decisions like promotions or better jobs.

    and i'd second the super simple one sentence tip instead (like the ones listed by other posters above). every week, blow their minds by letting them know that Alt+PrntScrn only takes a picture of the current window, or that Win+Arrow will align windows so you can very quickly put two documents side by side (this one is truly amazing to folks for some reason)

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    ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    I am in the camp of try to do the best job you can, you never know who is looking.

    It sounds like your definition of a tech tip and the editors differs, maybe she is looking more for something like what was suggested above. A quick 1 or 2 liner... "flip back and forth between open windows with Alt+Tab."

    Also, never underestimate how poorly the average person understands how to use their computer.

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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    The best thing about being roped into a work newsletter is that after a couple of issues at the most, no-one gives a flying fuck and management realises it was a stupid idea and a waste of time and money, and so the newsletter dies in a fire.

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    SunDragonSunDragon Registered User regular
    edited October 2013
    Yeah, used to do these, like everyone else, not fun. Much like you I started with longer things(though not quite as long as yours), and got little feed back. Eventually I cut it down to stuff like "Did you know if you are out of the office and want to check your voicemail do these steps...."(and other simple shit I thought was just common knowledge) and I started getting positive feedback. Eventually the whole news letter died out a few months later and I didnt have to worry about it again.

    SunDragon on
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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    yeah sounds like i should simplify things, and get more bite size. ugh. will do!

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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    If it's longer than a paragraph, they'll have trouble manipulating it in Publisher anyway.

    Phone it in. It won't make any difference in the long run.

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    Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    instead of something useful, now people will learn how to jump to the end of data. (well, still useful, but... durr)

    mods, feel free to close! thanks everybody!

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