General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Re: Mentoring a CW without stepping on toes. UPDATE #17, #21 #36 #39

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katycoo:
Stay out of it.  Do only what you are asked to do.  The Editor will raise with Mark whatever needs to be raised.

You can, however, raise with your boss the additional work and ask about what is being done about it.

Zizi-K:
As someone who has worked in and around graphic design, and who is kind of a perfectionist when it comes to visual production, I feel your pain. I wonder if you couldn't enlist technology to help you with your problem. What about creating templates or style sheets that clearly spell out what is and isn't acceptable (or typical/usual) for the newsletter? Or some kind of 'best practices' guideline? Perhaps with some templates, Mark wouldn't have to start from scratch and would have less opportunity to be sloppy?

blarg314:

I don't think I'd really call this 'mentoring' - what you really want to do is haul a coworker up to the point that they're doing acceptable work, which is quite different.  So that means that you are under no obligation to save Mark from himself.

I can think of a few things you can do, though.

You could ask the boss if he would like you to write down a guide to standard format for the newsletter (or maybe create a template for the format, depending on how you do the newsletter). That way, if your boss does decide to take Mark to task, you've got some input into what he's being told.

Second, as this has happened three times running, I don't think it would be out of line to ask your boss if this is going to be a regular part of your job. If so, I think it's reasonable to request that you get the documents to fix earlier, so it doesn't interfere with your regular work.

You may want to be a bit careful, though. If they decide Mark's work is totally unacceptable, you may get the whole newsletter to produce, which may not be what you want.

TootsNYC:

--- Quote from: Zizi-K on April 07, 2013, 09:48:59 PM ---As someone who has worked in and around graphic design, and who is kind of a perfectionist when it comes to visual production, I feel your pain. I wonder if you couldn't enlist technology to help you with your problem. What about creating templates or style sheets that clearly spell out what is and isn't acceptable (or typical/usual) for the newsletter? Or some kind of 'best practices' guideline? Perhaps with some templates, Mark wouldn't have to start from scratch and would have less opportunity to be sloppy?

--- End quote ---

I had those same thoughts as well--templates, etc.



And I agree w/ Art:



--- Quote from: artk2002 on April 07, 2013, 07:50:23 PM ---This is definitely something that a boss should be mediating. If you have to do emergency rework on this again, that affords you a good opening. "Boss, this is the third/eleventyfirst time I've had to redo Mark's work at the last minute. This is cutting into my productivity in getting the TPS report out. What can we do to fix this situation?" This lays out what the problem is; most importantly, it highlights the cost of continuing. If you just (un)happily go off and fix the newsletter, the boss really doesn't see the cost.


--- Quote from: jpcher on April 06, 2013, 02:33:10 PM ---I did not contact Mark. Again, I didn't feel that I was in the position to tell him that his layout really, really sucked (no, I wouldn't have used those words. But not being a teacher, I didn't know how to politely approach Mark.) I felt that it was up to the Editor or my Boss to contact Mark's Boss in order to explain the situation.

--- End quote ---

While I agree that you should not be coaching Mark unless that job is delegated to you, there is something that you could be doing here. When you do the revisions and submit them to Boss and Editor, make sure that Mark is copied and that you give a list of what changes you made and why. Make sure that Mark sees the "thank you" that you should get in response -- the point being that you get the Editor and/or Boss to endorse the changes you made, giving them far more force than if you just fixed things hoping that he'd notice that the final product isn't what he submitted.

In fact, I would say that you must copy Mark when you submit your revisions. That's just professional courtesy. Make it clear that Boss or Editor asked for the revisions, though.

--- End quote ---

jpcher:
Thank you all for your responses.

There is a template and style-sheet set up. Prior to the last phone meeting, I went through the previous file that Mark was working with and "fixed" a few things. I also verbally explained (during the meeting) what some of the styles were to be used for.

Editor called me this morning and said that, if I wouldn't mind, he would send off the .pdf mark-up that Boss and I made directly to Mark and see what happens. He requested corrections to be made early a.m. tomorrow.

Editor also told me that many of the mark-ups that we made were things that he has been requesting Mark to do since the first month. To no avail.


Waiting to see what Mark does with the mark-up . . .



To everyone that said I should copy Mark on any changes I make along with the reasons why those changes were made . . . that's an excellent thought. I'm not sure why I was hesitant to do this, but going forth I will make sure that I give positive comments and be suggestive as to how his layout might be improved.


For what it's worth, I really wouldn't mind taking up the whole magazine. This 36-40 page spread is kinda like my baby. I really, really, really love working on this, but I will not belittle someone else's work (I will not say Mark can't do the job) unless he completely shows himself to be unwilling to learn.

I do want to help Mark, but I was concerned about stepping on his toes.




Your thoughts have been extremely helpful.


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