I feel that I've been put in a tough spot and I'm not sure if I handled the situation in the best possible office-etiquette manner. Instead of talking directly to a CW, I went through my boss simply because it just didn't sit right for me to tell CW how to do his job. (Actually, Boss approached me at the onset of this problem, before I could decide how best to handle it.)
BG: CW (Mark) and I don't work in the same office, in fact his office is out of state. I've never met him nor have I worked on a project with him before. However he holds the same position that I do. I do not know his talents or work history. The only contact we've had has been quick e-mails "Would you please send me this file" type of thing.
Part of my job is layout and design of a monthly company magazine (a glorified newsletter) which has a distribution of close to 30,000 readers. It is a big deal and I take strong pride in my work. I work on the front half of the magazine (feature stories) and, until recently, Kathy worked the back half (employee events, awards, community involvement.) Kathy was located in yet a different state and retired a few months ago.
I do have to admit that I am an anal-perfectionist. While Kathy did a fine job, there were things that I privately questioned concerning her layout. However I bit my tongue because I never thought it was my place to tell her how to do her job
. If the Editor was happy? So be it. I'm not going to stir the pot and step on toes just because of my personal thoughts as to how the job could be done better.
(Trust me, this thought is pertinent to my post.)
When Kathy retired the back half of the magazine was turned over to Mark. I assumed that Kathy gave Mark some sort of tutelage as to design requirements/rules, etc. Or at the very least Editor would have had a meeting with Mark to explain the ins-and-outs. (Editor and Mark work in the same building.) endBG.
The first issue (January) that Mark worked on the magazine, he sent his final layout to Editor, my Boss and me. I was flabbergasted. I thought "Do you really
think these pages are ready to go to press?" Honestly? It looked like something a freshman in HS would do when first learning page layout design.
Apparently Editor thought the same thing and contacted my Boss. Since it was a tight deadline Editor asked my Boss if I would be able to quickly re-work the back pages. Which I did and the magazine went to press before the deadline.
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.Question #1
: Should I have taken it upon myself and contacted Mark in order to, somehow, try to politely explain everything that he did was wrong, extremely sloppy, and in no way publishable? (I wouldn't use those words, but again, I was stuck as to how to work-etiquettely approach Mark with this.)
The same problems arose with the February and March issues of the mag. I was asked to re-do the pages that Mark worked on. I know that I take pride in my work, so I'm assuming that Mark feels the same about his work.Question #2
: I feel bad for Mark because I re-did his work, without consulting him. If you were Mark and saw the published magazine completely different from the way you designed it, wouldn't you have negative thoughts? However, I did what I was instructed to do by my Boss.The Kicker?
: We (Mark, other graphic designers in his group, my Boss, his Boss, Editor and their UberBoss) had a recent phone meeting where I was surprised to find that Kathy nor Editor never gave Mark any sort of tutelage.*
Mark's comment that really put me off was: "This seems more like a simple desk-top publisher type of job and not a graphic designer job. Why are we doing this?" Editor piped up and said "We thought this would be a good opportunity for your group to get company-wide exposure."
With the insult that Mark gave with his question, I have absolutely no desire to mentor Mark. Question #3:
Is it my place to mentor Mark? Or is this something that I should leave up to the Boss'?
To the desk-top publishers out there, please don't take offense. I started out as a "simple
" DTP before I found the love of graphically designing a printed page. I found his comment degrading all of us DTPs that strive to do a good, artistic job to be extremely insulting. DTP and page layout is not just slapping words on a page.Question #4:
What is the best work-etiquette way to handle this situation?
*The culmination of that meeting was that I was tasked to mark-up the last .pdf of his pages that he sent to everyone. Boy, did I mark it up! But I was polite and used phrases like "Please don't do this" or "Maybe try that" then sent it to my Boss so that she could edit if need be.