My current position is within the IT department for a large company. My boss often asks me questions that I didn't expect and am not sure how to answer. The questions are often sudden, making me feel put on the spot, forcing me to give an answer right away.
One example is:
"What are you doing this afternoon?"
I'm not sure how to answer this because I don't schedule for what I'm going to do in a day. Should I ask my boss if he would like me to? Part of the IT position is tech support and a lot of what I may be doing depends on factors such as if a problem arises or if an update breaks a program etc. and is hard to estimate a time for. I also have some training videos to watch in the downtime.
Should I have replied "assuming nothing else comes up I have some training videos to watch"? Not only could I have done that but there were plenty of other things I could have been doing to prepare for future tasks.
What I did say was what I was currently working on. Should I ask him what I should be doing since he is the boss? In a nut shell there are a number of things I know need to get done and I'm not sure which I'm going to be doing after my current task or how long my current task will take.
Other questions asked regard problems with the building. For example a strange humming sound from an unknown source has been happening. My boss asked me what time I had heard the noise the other day. I didn't think I was expected to remember. What should I have answered? I gave a ball park estimate but then other people said "that's a different time than I heard it".
Maybe if someone could explain my bosses point of view/reasoning for the question I would better be able to answer him. I really am trying hard to work well with my colleagues.