Managing People: Never Easy
I’m not a manager in terms of title but on a day-to-day basis at my job I am in charge of up to 10 freelancers. It’s a wonderful aspect of the job, I get to talk to them about the projects (proofreading and .html epub ‘fixing’), most of them are or were in the publishing program so we have a great deal in common and we’re all in the same boat: trying to get into the industry.
The opportunity is fantastic, and although the pay isn’t amazing most of the freelancers express a sincere excitement to the process and we always encourage teaching and expanding their knowledge in any way we can.
I like managing them, keeping in touch and answering questions. Why just yesterday I created a lengthy walk-through on how to create a TOC and meta TOC in Sigil for our epub’s and quit a few thanked me for the walk-through and have already started including it in their work. It’s is probably one of the best introductions to a management position I could imagine.
But with the sweet comes the sour. And when you manage people you have to manage the problems. It would be unprofessional and disrespectful to relay any specific issues but this morning I had to tell an employee to find new work. It was not fun and I did not like it in the least. But when managing people you have to do just that: manage them, and if they are unmanageable or not meeting the goals required it is best for you and them that it’s said and dealt with.
I at first went online looking up standard policy as in this profession there is a high turnover rate, most freelancers leaving us instead of the other way around. Standard policy was cold and cruel so I started approaching it my way, which was not clear, and probably misleading in some way. So I turned to my mother, who despite not being a ‘manager’ manages people everyday.
She helped. Helped me understand people don’t always need the traditional helping hand, that although kind I also need to be clear, firm and unwavering in my decision and that I should prepare for a bad reaction no matter how kind, clear, understanding and friendly I may be.
The message is delivered and I still don’t know how I feel. I’m not comfortable with the uncomfortable, and I expect the worst in all cases. But I did my job and that is why I am in this position.
I don’t have any real advice if you’re looking for it. I don’t know if I’ve been fair really, and even if I think I have the employee may not. All I do know is that managing people has it’s up and downs, and someone has to look out for everyone even if it means they are the ones to say the hard things.