In any job, you want to earn the trust and respect of your boss. But let’s turn that on its head a bit today, shall we? We’re going to explore the things people do that make bosses hate them. Read on…
Today’s question is from Arthur Y., who asks, “I just started at a new job and I’ve been hearing some rumors about the person who came before me. Apparently, he did a terrible job and the boss hated him. Any tips for how I can avoid a similar fate?”
The easiest tips for making your boss happy with your work are to work hard, stay engaged, and keep learning.
But let’s look at it from another angle: What did this previous copywriter do that elicited your current boss’ “hatred”?
Here’s exactly what to do to make a boss hate you.
Missing deadlines is the height of irresponsibility. You’re given a deadline at the beginning of a project, and it’s up to you and your design partner to build your schedules to hit it.
Now, what if the deadline is too tight? Speak up! Sometimes there isn’t any wiggle room, but often there is. No one can know that a deadline is too much of a challenge unless you tell them.
A tight deadline is no excuse for missing it.
Don’t Ask Questions
If you want to tick off your boss, leave a kick-off, creative review, or, really, any other meeting with unanswered questions. And then, when you need to reflect these things in your work, guess.
No one knows what goes on in your head but you. It’s not up to anyone else to figure out what you’re not understanding—unless you tell them.
You have every opportunity to ask questions, and people want you to ask questions to make sure the work turns out well.
If you avoid asking questions, guess at things, and the work turns out wrong or unusable because of it, you’ve just wasted a lot of people’s time.
Avoid Your Designers
A great way to make your boss and your coworkers angry is to avoid your design partners like the plague.
The best work comes from close collaboration between writers and designers. So if you’re the kind of writer who likes to hole up in your cubicle, send your copy when you’re done writing it, and avoid any human contact, you’re going to pose a big problem.
Get up from your desk, go over and sit down with your design partner in front of their screen to merge the design and copy.
Don’t make your designer guess your intentions or have to try to cut copy him/herself because you can’t be bothered to collaborate.
Often in creative reviews, key stakeholders will make suggestions for what copy should say.
And often this is because they don’t know that it’s better to explain why what you have isn’t working than to try to fix it themselves.
A sure sign of a lazy copywriter is one who writes down this suggested copy and always uses it verbatim.
Sure, some times the key stakeholders will suggest copy that’s perfect. And when they do, feel free to use it.
But if you use their copy every time, you’re clearly not putting in the effort to think through a project and come up with the best result.
Phone It In
When you’ve been at a company or working with a client for a while, you get to know the kinds of copy that usually get approved.
When you fall back on what you know your key stakeholders will be okay with, you miss the opportunity to challenge yourself (and your brand) to find even better copy.
It’s a trap that’s easy to fall into, and it’s always the mark of a copywriter that needs to reinvigorate themselves in their job—or to move on.
Your job is always to find the most effective copy, and that’s rarely going to be the easy copy. Stretch yourself to be better instead of going the path of least resistance.
Your turn! What other mistakes have you seen copywriters (or other professionals) make? Let us know in the comments below.