Post # 1
HI bees! I have a situation I’d like your input in. A bit of background first, I work in communications and marketing in a rather big office. Anyways, I was forwarded an email from my boss to help this one girl edit this document to be sent to our potential customers. In short, the document was horrendous. Abbreviations showing up mid document without an explanation or prior mention, sentences with no subject or purpose, stringing five sentences into one by separating the sentences with commas, etc… We’re not even going to go into the grammar and spelling….
She was very defensive and didn’t see anything wrong with the document when I tried to get clarification on what does something mean. Her default answer was “I don’t think it matters as long as the whole document conveys the message” or “The minor details are not important because there will be someone there to explain the details.”
My boss had to intervene because well, the content didn’t make sense and there was no way you could publish something like that. When my boss forced her to explain the meaning she had to refer to the email and notes her boss gave her to GUESS the meaning of whatever she wrote/copypasted. She came back later rushing me to finish which annoyed me, but I brushed it off.
When I asked her the next day to clarify the final details, she came over and was pretty much rude. Folded her arms across her chest, rolled her eyes when I asked a question, tapped her foot like she had better things to do than her job. I tried calmly to explain that its my job in editing to nitpick the details because if we send stuff out to our customers that had errors that it would look bad. If we sent stuff that was so long-winded and difficult to understand, why would anyone, especially a customer bother to try to understand it?
Bees, what should I do? Was I in the right not to call her out then and there for rolling her eyes? There’s a chance I might have to work with her again so I’m looking for advice on how to deal with this. A part of me wants to call her out the next time because if I don’t do something, it almost means I’m condoning this sort of behavior. She thinks there was nothing wrong with her work (or perhaps her behavior since she chose to behave as such) so there’s no point pursuing an insincere apology. Should I tell my boss what had happened to alert her in the future?
Post # 2
Let it.go for now, but if you have the opportunity to review her, elaborate there about her unprofessionalism. Or, if your boss ever asks you about what happened, then you can tell the boss who then may deal with it. I would be a professional as possible and put any and all communication in email form to her so that way there was proof in case she ever tried to claim no one told her what to do.
Post # 3
The one thing I will not do is deal with unprofessional people….period! So let me ask a question. If the document had gone out the way she wanted it to who would’ve gotten the blame if one of the higher ups had a problem with it? Most likely she would’ve tried to throw you under the bus and that’s why you don’t simply let crap like that go. It comes back to bite you in the ass. Please have a convo with your supervisor about this person and what needs to be done should you need to work with her in the future. She/he’s already aware of this person’s work, having had to force her to respond so its best to have a plan in place in case ish hits the fan. It doesn’t need to be anything more than making sure your supervisor has your back.
The good news is eventurally her lack of professionalism and poor work ethic will reflect badly upon her
Post # 4
I know this sounds snarky, but I’m asking seriously- how did she get her job in the first place? TBH she sounds like an under-qualified entitled brat. Your boss is already aware of at least some of her shortcomings since you were asked to step in and help her. If I were you, for now I would say nothing unless directly asked for feedback from your boss. But if there is a recurrance of rude and unprofessional behaviour &/ or you’re expected to provide assistance, mentoring to her again in the future, I would speak to your boss about her uncooperative, unprofessional attitude.
Post # 5
Does this girl report to you? Or are you her superior or anything? If not then I don’t really think it’s your place to reprimand her for things like rolling her eyes, although that would infuriate me too. I would definitely keep your boss in the loop about the low quality of her work though, because that sounds horrendous. You could lose business because of her sloppiness. Also having to spend this much time correcting her shitty work and going back & forth with her on it is just unproductive and a waste of time for all parties.
1) Ask your boss if you can just reject content from this girl the next time it comes to you in such bad shape, and make her rewrite it and resubmit. I am an editor for a content marketing firm, and if something comes to me that is truly horrific and unreadable, I just hit the “decline” button with a note saying why this is unacceptable, and it goes back to the original writer and they try again. It’s not worth my time to try to intuit wtf this person is saying if it’s that bad. I have no problem rewriting the occasional paragraph or two if I understand the underlying point the writer is trying to make, but when it becomes a total guessing game, no, that isn’t my job, and my boss fully supports me in just declining the content and asking the writer to resubmit it.
2) If #1 isn’t an option, you could firmly but politely say something like, “Look, it’s my job to edit this document and make it as clear and accessible for the audience as possible. If I don’t understand something in here, neither will the audience, and that will hurt our business. Our content needs to be straightforward and easily digestible – that’s why I am asking you to clarify these things.”
Post # 6
averria : I would handle this by going over what you changed and why you changed it with her. Do you have notes for staff who are not in communications/marketng as a sort of how to guide? I know our comms section dose (on the intranet), so maybe that is something to sort out or refer the staff member to if they already exisit.
Your job/part of your job is to edit documents but does her job include that? Was this her first time trying to do this? Was she thrown into this blind by her boss? I think those are important considerations especially if she doesn’t seem to understand the process of producing a public document. She may have been flustered and felt like you were making her seem stupid for her document or didn’t understand the importance of public image if it isn’t usually part of her job.
Post # 7
I appreciate all your inputs, bees. Part of the reason I’m quite hesitant to rock the boat is because I’m still relatively new. I’m concerned my boss hasn’t known me long enough to completely have my back if that makes any sense. That or I don’t know my boss well enough to know if she will have my back or not. I don’t want to be that coworker that comes in and causes trouble within the four months of being on the job.
RobbieAndJuliahaha : Believe me, I had the same thoughts running through my head. I’m serious when I say this, I can’t tell if she is really delusional to think its okay or she doesn’t really care about her work (ethic).
Post # 8
j_jaye : tiffanybruiser : When she came over, I wanted to go over the changes and clarifications and explain WHY it was necessary…. It was when I got the eye rolls about it being a “minor detail” and “not that important as long as they get the whole meaning.”
No she doesn’t report to me. I can’t necessarily turn her stuff down to begin with either because my boss was the one that asked me to help her out.
Yes there is guidelines on our intranet. There’s a whole website worth to be exact. I don’t mind doing the compliance stuff since it is not critical that she knows everything, but we’re talking about it not even sounding like English. I don’t think you need any company manual for English comprehension if you have graduated grade school.
Her reasoning is the specialists will understand what she’s talking about (even without the subject/noun in some sentences). ?????? I’m not equipped to argue with reasoning like that!
Post # 9
averria : She sounds young. And annoying 🙂
Can you or your boss speak with her supervisor about this? I would send back the copy in track changes so she can see the edits that were needed – this time – and refer her to the Intranet guidelines. Your boss should be on your side since you’re trying to uphold the standards of the organization. This is the type of performance they were presumably looking for when they hired you, so I wouldn’t worry too much about making waves, unless this girl is the daughter of the CEO or something. Just remain polite, clear, and professional. I’m not sure what to suggest about the eye-rolling and attitude, but I agree with PPs that it’s worth mentioning when she has a performance review.
I told a young colleague once that she should cool it with the eye-rolling when an (admittedly annoying) older colleague of hers was giving her a bunch of grunt work, but that was more in the spirit of professional guidance. I told her she could vent to me about it at happy hour but it would hurt her career if people saw it in the workplace – it didn’t affect me or my work directly and I liked her so I wanted to help her out.