Saturday, November 14, 2015

Two things that will always lead to terrible work

For a couple years, I bitched. About tiny budgets. Tight timelines. And people who got to judge my work when they clearly couldn't tell a dime from a dollar.

I'm not sure when, but eventually I realized that none of those things were my enemies. Tiny budgets taught me scrappiness. Tight timelines made me focus. And all those idiots? Sometimes they said some pretty smart stuff.

But there are two things I've never found an answer for. Two things that continue to jack me up. If you have a solution, I'd love to have it.

1. An inconsistent decision maker: Some of my clients have bosses and part of my job is giving my clients the tools they needs to sell our work up through their organizations. I am OK with that. But when the person in charge refuses to state clear goals and a consistent vision, we're all doomed. My client will get sick of the culture of confusion and quit. Our work will be an over-budget patchwork of compromises. And I'm going to spend months racking up billable hours chasing my tail.

2. A shifting timeline: Let's say we're working towards a Friday presentation. If we get a call Monday asking to move that presentation to Wednesday, we're hosed. We don't have time to reallocate resources. We don't have time to do any vetting of our ideas. The client ends up with a brain dump that looks like junk because it is.

And as much as I try to explain to clients why they need to nail down their bosses and quit deleting days from the calendar, some of them still do it. And I try to understand their pain and help them out because we're all in this together. But the work suffers. And my guess is that if you went through all the things I've ever done in my career, you could guess what was overseen by a marketing director with clear expectations. And what was created on the fly, responding to confusing emails, moving deadlines and imaginary drama.

No comments: