I am so tired from labouring on overdue projects that I am almost dead at my desk. While I am waiting for some files to upload, here’s my advice for new graduates at the start of their careers. Let’s imagine that you work for an ad agency or similar and your boss has given you some tasks to complete. Editing some short videos and writing a set number of short pieces of copy for a commercial client. Here’s what not to do. A helpful guide. Seriously, you need this.
- Especially on a short-turnaround project, you MUST stay in contact with your boss at all times. If you have 2 weeks to complete a set number of tasks and you are supposed to upload your work to the company server on a regular basis during that period so it can be reviewed and sent back for amendment, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES go radio-silent for a week at a time, fail to upload any work, fail to explain why and ignore your boss’s phone calls and emails.
- When the project has passed its official end date and run over by a week, and you’ve just started to realise that the reason your boss gave you 2 weeks to do this work is because that’s how long it is expected to take, do not leave everything until the end of week 3, then panic and complain ‘it’s a lot of work’. Yes, I know. Hence all the scoping out of project time frames at the beginning. We have those for a reason. When I said ‘it will take you 2 weeks to do this’, I actually meant it, as opposed to ‘you can bodge this together in 24 hours’.
- I have 16 years of commercial experience. You have 0 minutes of commercial experience. You are REALLY not at all in a position to decide when something is client ready, this is why you run it by me and you keep it running it by me until you’ve produced an item that a commercial client could look at without having a migraine or a stroke.
- Client-ready does not mean ‘I’ve had one go at this and I couldn’t figure out how to save files for further work, so you’ll have to regard this first draft by a complete amateur as a finished version’.
- Client-ready does not mean ‘I’ve amended this, however I’ve substantially ignored your instructions and only edited the parts that were convenient for me. Send it to the client, I’ve done this twice now, I don’t want to work on it any more.’
- Client-ready does not mean ‘I’ve labelled this file FINAL to indicate that I don’t want to work on it any more, so it must be final.’
- Client-ready does not mean ‘I can’t see anything wrong with it and I made a lot of effort so therefore I am RIGHT about it being industry-standard and you, my boss, are WRONG. Send it to the customer.’
- Client-ready does not mean telling your boss ‘but can’t you do it?’ No, that’s because you took money on the understanding that you were doing it. Not having a go at it or playing around with it but actually doing it.
FFS. Have you emailed or called your boss today, recent graduates? Call him or her now. They are probably waiting for you to communicate how you are doing.