General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

*when* are you coming over to my desk?

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I'm going to have to change my tactics, because twice this week I've gotten burned.

When I'm working on a project, sometimes I need input from the person in charge of it. And occasionally I get that input by having them come over to *my* desk and look over my shoulder at the computer screen.

So on Wed., I called a project head and said, "I'm almost done, but I need your help with this. Can you come over?" She said, "sure," and then I waited. And waited. I was hungry, but I didn't want to go to get something because I thought she'd be there any minute. I got distracted with a few piddly things while I waited, and then I called her and left a message saying, "I'm waiting on you."
    About 20 minutes later, or more, she comes by. I said, "I was waiting on you," and she said, "I had to go through my emails." (She'd been away between the holidays.)
    I didn't say anything (maybe I should have, but I was too crabby and hungry to trust myself), but I thought, "you couldn't have told me that when I called? Then I could have gone and gotten something to eat instead of staying here."

Later in the week it happened again--I called someone and said, "Can you come help me with this?" and she said sure. So 10 minutes later I send an email saying, "here's what I think will fix it." I wait 7 more minutes, no answer, so I walk over there.

I'm going to start saying, "How soon will you be able to get here? Will you be able to come right away?"
I know they have lots of stuff to do, but so do I. And I'm happy to wait--I'm actually good at being patient. But I'd like to know.

What do you think of the new plan?

And am I right in thinking it wasn't particularly polite of them, to not say, "sure, in about 15 minutes," or "I'm got to go through my email first." Or to call once they realized how long it was taking.

Yes, please ask if they can come now or will be by later.  "I'm finished with X.  Are you available to come now?"

If someone doesn't give me a time frame, I am assuming they are leaving it to me to come when I want.

Your requests for assistance never indicate that you need them to come now.  So, why would you expect them to drop everything right away and come help you?  Unless there is a time demand, my assumption is that your request is for you to come when it is convient for me to come, based on my personal workload.  If you want to know when they will come over, that is legitimate, but you need to ask that, and not assume they are coming right away.  I'd envision a conversation like this:
"I'm up to X section of project B.  In order for me to go further, I need your input on Y. Can you come to my desk to review this with me?"


"Great! Thank you.  What works for your schedule?  I don't want to be too pushy, but I can't go forward on this project until we meet.  Thank you."

hmm, that's interesting.

I sort of though that there was an unspoken timeframe--right away. Stuff normally moves through my own department pretty rapidly; we're the last in the chain.

And I guess I also was acting under the assumption that if the weren't coming right away, they would say. That "can you come by my desk and look at this thing I'm currently working on, and have open on my screen" means "pretty promptly."

Maybe make the immediacy of your request more explicit, while acknowledging that if "right now" is not convenient for them, can they let you know when they can come look at the project.

"I need your input on X project, and think it would be best if you can come by my desk and see the widget-in-progress - would you mind coming over now, or let me know what works for you?"


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