While in law school, I had a professor stress to us the importance of creating a CYA file. CYA stands for Cover Your A**. The purpose of this file is to document your work so that if something goes wrong, no one can place blame on you for something that isn’t your fault. Of course, if you screw up, the CYA file will be no help, but if someone else screws up, a CYA file will help you prove that you did what you were supposed to do and blame lies elsewhere.
I hadn’t bothered to create a CYA file at my current job because I’m not working at a law firm where I have to worry about malpractice suits, so I didn’t think it was necessary. Without going into detail, recent events in my office coupled with conversations I have had with some people in power have made me realize that exactly what I need to do is create a CYA file.
What goes in a CYA file? Whatever you want. Some people simply keep a daily planner where they write down the tasks they have completed and the people they have contacted that day. The benefit of this style is that it’s great for your personal use. “How long ago did I give Bob that memo for review? Three days ago? Well, he should be done by now.” Another method is to simply save e-mails and files that are turned in, or a very basic log of communications.
One key point to keeping a CYA file is that you shouldn’t keep it in your office. Why? Have you ever seen someone get fired and escorted out of the office? I have. It happens. Someone boxes up your personal stuff for you and out you go. And what if they miss your CYA file? Same goes with keeping it on your office computer. The best thing to do is keep it in your home or on a flash drive that you carry with you at all times, depending if you go for the low tech or high tech route.
I’m just beginning my CYA file, so I’m saving some pertinent e-mails that have been sent in recent weeks and also starting a contact log where I detail what I discussed with which employees, when the discussions occurred, and the outcome of those discussions.
I hope this isn’t something that I need to use. I will take the blame when I make a mistake, but if I get wrongfully accused, you better believe I’m going to put up a fight.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.