I’ve had it.
I really have.
It’s hard to take pride in your work when – at every turn – you have people opposing your efforts. It doesn’t help that people either have no fucking idea what you do or think that they could do it better themselves.
To clarify: my job is to make the content on our website better. No, more than that, to make it the best it can be.
So when you want to rush through a brand-fucking-new page in less than one business day under the dubious premise that our website is ‘non-compliant’ due to the non-existence of an entire page simply about the outcome of a judicial review, after expressing my apprehension to the Demand Manager I was willing to suspend my disbelief long enough to edit your shit content penned by none other than our legal team. And, yes, I’m going to fix bad grammar. But I’m also going to make this document a helluva lot easier to read. If I can say in one word what the legal team said in six, then I will. If that pronoun you have at the beginning of that paragraph there has no obvious antecedent, then I’m going to fix that too.
And I’ll tell you what I’m not going to expect from you. I’m not going to expect you to copy me into an email that you’ve sent to my Content Producer, my Demand Manager and some other person I don’t know but can only infer is important (as his department within the business appended to his name in this email suggests) that instructs my Producer to put the content up on the website without the editorial amendments.
I’m also not going to expect you to think you know how to do my job. Because you don’t. And you certainly are in no place to suggest that the editorial changes don’t make any significant impact to the content. Of course they don’t make any significant impact to the content! How many times have I told you that, especially when it comes to editing copy passed down to me from Legal, I will never in any way compromise the original meaning of the content! That’s my job! It’s what I’m here to do! If I went through and changed a bunch of shit around, put in some of my own personal thoughts and inserted some swear words for good measure, we’d have a pretty rubbish website, indeed.
I used to work as an editor for the nation’s oldest and most respected legislative encyclopaedia.* I’ve told you this. Probably five times now. You can trust I know what I’m doing when it comes to legal text.
I’m here to make the copy better, not worse! Please understand that. Please.
Oh, yeah, and by the way – I’m also not going to expect you to come to me at the end of the day saying, jk, this actually doesn’t have to be up on the website today. It can wait until Tuesday, lol. after I’ve stayed late to approve your new, less-crap (thanks to me) page, thereby missing the massage I had myself booked in for that night.
Because that will really piss my shit off.
So about a week ago, I had a conference call with a PR representative about editorial practice when it comes to working with journalists. It nearly turned into a conference call with shit slinging all around had I not taken the higher ground. Long story short: I refused to sign off a page she wanted on the website because she thought editing meant proofreading and therefore went behind my back and told my Producers not to be taking in my amendments to articles we’re getting from a freelance journalist (‘Much like the situation you just described above, Larissa?’ you might ask. Yes. Just like that). Apparently, these articles should come across my desk and I should add some commas and fix the typos. Exclusively. My boss and I maintained that journalists are used to being edited (especially bad ones) and that her suggestion otherwise and qualms with my amendments were unwarranted and meddling. Her shit wasn’t going live.
We reached an impasse. The PR rep accepted that the only way she was going to get things published on the website under my watch was to accept my changes. We were good. We had an understanding.
So at the end of last week, I beat the latest article submissions into submission (my job), wrote some headlines that were missing (also my job) and passed them on to the appropriate person.
Based on the paragraph that followed in the article, I wrote the headline: Why look to preserve wealth rather than accumulate? But, because the PR rep had already accepted she wouldn’t question my amendments to the article, she figured she’d question my copywriting. Alpha shit.
The heading does not read right. Is a word missing? Perhaps ‘Why you should look to preserve wealth rather than accumulate wealth?’
I fired back a missive: Blinded her with grammar-science. Told her the original was perfectly acceptable – particularly for a heading – but that if she was really concerned we could add the missing pronoun it to the end. Had a little dig at her (headlines are short and snappy, not long and bloated; ie, your recommendation is rubbish).
I refrained from suggesting she reconsider her choice of closing punctuation, however. I am a big person.
* * * * *
And there you have it – I’ve had it.
No more compromising. No more bullshit.
Now marks the beginning of my reign of editorial terror.
Fear the fury.
*And I left that by choice to work here. With you.