I was reeling at how it went down with my previous stint. To move on properly, I needed some answers. I had my suspicions. I left it at that. However, it came to a point that I needed to push for answers. So I pushed for it. I needed to know who was influencing the major decisions in the company. How things were being communicated within the team.
To make things worst, the working relationship devolved quickly from ‘I value your work’ to ‘I don’t see the value’. I had different feedback from different people. One said he didn’t really think my work was of value, another said that he liked my work. I also wanted to find out why my views weren’t really taken into much consideration.
Two weeks after leaving the company I was going to do contracted work for them. Firstly, I couldn’t be writing high quality articles for the same rates. The articles are long formed, researched driven, local SEO based and brand driven. I increased the rates. They said no. It eventually devolved into a ‘I don’t see the value’ argument to poor selection of topics choices and an inability to ‘see their point of view’.
Ironically, the company is adopting my style of branding after I left:
- Consistent voice editorial voice
- Explicit/implict reference to company values, ideas and products
In fact, I was the one pushing for it when I joined? So you’re fucking welcomed?
Pushing for Answers
I needed some answers. I texted the top brass. I needed answers from him. Even during my employee days, there wasn’t any clear team communication. For a 3-4 men full time team, I was only getting feedback and directions from one individual. So it turns out, my gut feel was right. The majority of marketing decisions (at least on the digital marketing end) was decided by one individual.
There were alot of discrepancies in their entire editorial, marketing process as well. Not to mention double standard.
If I suggested an idea, the idea will be put down. If the upper brass suggests an idea, the idea will be accepted. It’s a political game. For a company that prides themselves on writing articles on having ‘skin in the game’, they aren’t too bright when it comes to understanding politics and vested interest.
Firstly, I had no vested interest in disagreeing or kicking up a fuss. In fact, it may just look bad on me. However, employees have always a vested interest to agree with their superiors: likeability.
So I went straght up to the top brass. I pushed for answers. I stated out my arguments, passionately, in the form of long messages.
I got a one sentence reply:
‘If you always think you’re right, then whatever anything said doesn’t amtter at all’.
That answer pissed me off initially.
However, I felt a certain sense of relief. I found answers I needed to find. It’s a weakreply. If you want to reply, you should argue your point, instead of deflecting it into a personalized statement. I wasn’t personalizing my arguments, I stated out in long form messages on my why I felt this way and argued point by point.
Of course, texting isn’t the best form of medium, however, it surely doesn’t grant a one sentence reply.
I felt a sense of relief because intially, I thought I wormed my way out on a golden opportunity to grow with this company.
One of the buying points of working for them as an employee is that I could get mentorship and experience from working for a million dollar company. However, with such a response from the top brass. I don’t think they could have mentored me any further in my development.
There are a couple of things was clear:
- Such a response from such a leader isn’t someone worth mentoring under
- I was doing things in the company I was already good at: copywriting. Their offer intially was that I got to do things I was poor at.
- I didn’t really learn much aside from understanding some marketing and business workflows. (I ended up helping them improve some of that) Over all, I didn’t really get much other than that.
Secondly, I absolutely hate it when someone says they don’t see value in my work. This is despite having results on the back end (lead generation and an increase in conversion rates in their sales channels) I don’t think it was personal. I think it was more of: I don’t see value in persuasive copywriting. Keeping it simple, succinct.
If you’re working with people that don’t see any value in your work, or you. Yes, you may get paid well, but you’re going to sacrifice self esteem. It’ll chip away day by day. This is one of the reasons why I left.
Lastly, my time was efficiently allocated during my employee days. They hired me in an creative role. The majority of my writing was accomplished in the morning. There’s research citing that you can only produce deep work for 3 hours a day. After that, it’s all diminishing returns. I also observed that I ended up watching cat videos after lunch.
The travel time was approximately 2.5 hours every day. It wasn’t a 9-5. It was a 7 to 7. One of the buyer points of working for them was that after a 2 months probation period, I was allowed to work ona. more flexible basis.
Yes, I was willing to play ball and demonstrate that I had discipline and commitment during the first two months. However, when I requested for a clearer timeline the flexible working arrangement, they questioned my commitment.
I had also two different reponses:
- ‘The fact that you’re asking for this shows that you lack commitment.’
- ‘You can try working from home on Wednesdays’.
Their team weren’t even coherent in their response. Eventually, you’ll figure out who wears the pants in the relationship. They went with first statement. That pissed me off. That’s a judgment on my character and my values. Look at the work I’ve accomplished in the first month. I don’t think that displayed a lack of commitment.
In hindisght, I could probably played the game a little better. I was accomplishing my work far ahead of time, meeting the KPIs and still managed to squeeze out some time to work on my own projects. I could have gamed the system a little more. Yet, I just went full on non political mode and told them: this is dumb, I’m wasting my time, I’m wasting your time, why not let’s be more flexible about things?
Okay, I got my answers. I am still pretty fucking angry when the value of my work is questioned. I also am quite angry that I wasted so much time and effort in trying to better their processes (which they adopted after I left) and I wasn’t appreciated.
However, what can I say? Perhaps it wasn’t even a good fit right from the start.