Need advice for how to perform well as a client liaison
I’ve always been in a client-facing role but this is my first time working on a government contract. My title is business analyst but they unofficially refer to me as a liaison. The job description stated that I would spend 1 or 2 days at our government client site every week, and the rest of the time in our HQ office. My company is the contractor and I’m a W2 full-time employee with them. Not truly consulting, but I’ve been here for about six months now and it feels very consultant-like.
I have 20 years of software engineering background and nearly 10 in an analyst role, so I’m a senior level analyst. I have a lot of self-initiative, but I feel like I’m struggling a bit here and need some coaching. The person I report to here started the week before I did, has no prior management experience and her answer to everything is “I don’t know”. And she lacks follow-up, so I am not getting any help from her. Also, nobody here provided any on-boarding training and my requests for someone to show me the software we’re supporting are always met with “just read the user guide”. Coworkers at my level who have been here longer aren’t interested in helping the new people like me. I have to figure out on my own if they are meeting with clients and ask to be included. So it’s a sink or swim environment with zero guidance on what I should be doing. Fortunately (or not, and this makes me leery) there’s also zero pressure to perform.
So what I would like to ask help for specifically, is this idea of spending a couple days a week at the client’s site “liaising”. They got me the security access so I can come and go as I please from the facility but no place to sit and no access to the (classified) network. I tried to be a go-getter for a couple months asking everybody and their dog how I can get a desk assignment there and came up empty, so I stopped trying, figuring that if they want it badly enough management will make it happen. So I haven’t been going to the client site, but I think I really should start. Like given the environment I’m in, I shouldn’t slack off just because they don’t give two figs.
Okay, so let’s say starting next week I’m going to the client site. I suppose I’ll set up my laptop in the cafeteria or perhaps at a cluster of tables in the lobby. Not a problem. I’ll see if there is a guest wifi and if not maybe I can tether my laptop to my cell phone, and at least get unclassified email that way. But as to the liaising part…. I can imagine that I would spend a few minutes each