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I asked my boss whether I could look at some data that she collects from our registry. She initially asked whether there was a problem, but I replied that I just thought it would be interesting to look at. She never replied. I feel so foolish when this happens, and I can't go back and ask her again -- I feel that her silence means that I should back off.

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  • So does "it would be interesting to look at" really mean " It will help me take your job" or "it will help improve the performance of the company"? If you are not clear...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 24 at 6:09
  • Is any of it personal data?  If so, there may be security/GDPR/privacy/etc. implications in giving someone access.
    – gidds
    Commented Apr 24 at 13:28

4 Answers 4

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Look at it this way, "Interesting" just isn't a reason for someone to deviate from their tasks.

Next you time you go back, be compelling. If you have a hypothosis, elevator pitch it. It is OK to say afterwards that it didn't pan out. Simple is fine, something like "I would like to check if there is xyz and that would be useful".

Let your boss know that you're thinking of ways to make their job easier and that you're not a loose canon.

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She initially asked whether there was a problem, but I replied that I just thought it would be interesting to look at. She never replied.

You said that "it would be interesting to look at". You did not say that there is a serious issue and you need to look at the data.

Therefore, she thinks that this is not the most critical task right now (while she may be very busy with other high priority tasks).


I feel that her silence means that I should back off.

Maybe, you are right.

It is not a good idea to keep bugging your boss on a non-critical issue when she is very busy with other important tasks.

You can wait for a few days to see if your boss replies to you.

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    I don't think there needs to be ‘a serious issue’ as such — but yes, OP would be much better off providing some sort of business reason, whether that's because they suspect a problem, or they think there may be an opportunity for process improvement, or even just that it may give them a greater understanding of the business and help them do their job more effectively.
    – gidds
    Commented Apr 24 at 13:31
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Giving data access to an employee that doesn't need it is non-trivial.

This is not a trivial ask, but your reason is basically as trivial as it comes.

You should think through what you're asking and how you present it. "It might be interesting" is not a good reason. Frame it around something more concrete.

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I feel that her silence means that I should back off.

I suspect your feelings are correct.

Might want to let this one lie dormant for a while.

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