As I have explained, half of my duties have changed departments. I don’t want to be too specific, but on the weekends I had a whole different job other than my main job of writing for entertainment. I was still writing on the weekends, it required someone with knowledge of AP Style and a less creative writer’s mind.
However, my weekend job has been moved to advertising. The woman who does this during the week has been permanently moved to advertising. She has the next few days off so I am covering her shift. The corporate company that owns my newspaper felt it necessary to cut out the end of the assembly line. I used to turn in my work to copy editors. Now that is considered unnecessary. Bad move. Corrections have to be run more often and that takes up costly space.
Anyway, about my first day in advertising. (If you are in advertising, please do not take offense, this was just my experience in my specific office, I am not trying to stereotype or offend.)
The advertising and classifieds department is on a whole different floor. When I walked in, I was stunned immediately.
There are four times as many people working in the same amount of space as the newsroom. Too say the least, it was a bit crowded. Every desk was half or a quarter the size of the desks in the newsroom. Almost every single person had on a headset and was talking rather loudly (to be heard over the others) and typing fast and nonchalantly. I asked a question to a random stranger with a headset and got a blank stare then a response of, “Pitbull puppies ready in time for Christmas?” I asked what that meant and stood there for longer than I want to admit before I realized he was looking right through me, as if I wasn’t there.
Several minutes later I find the desk/cattle trough that is now my new location. The woman sitting there was apparently waiting for me. She hands me some papers and attempts to explain how to do the work. I looked at her and feigned interest for what seemed like forever before I could get the word in that I already knew how to do this.
She told me there were two others that are being trained right now, they have some of the workload and walked away.
I tried to organize my desk, pile papers together and figure out what the hell was going on in the middle of this noisy and rude environment.
I worked for about an hour before I decided to find my “helpers”. I wish I hadn’t. These helpers are designed to work in advertising, where you leave everything the way the consumer wants it. Not so, in my work. Corrections for grammatical errors and more needs to be done.
I peeked over the shoulder of one of my helpers and couldn’t hide my gasp. They were actually making my job harder. I would have to go through their work as well as double-check mine at the end of the day (since there were no copy editors anymore.)
One of them turned around at the sound of my gasp and I smiled. I asked them politely enough to finish the one they were working on and give the rest to me. They looked relieved and obviously had other work to do. They turned back around without another look at me for the rest of the day. The day got worse, with the combination of another paper’s work now done at my desk.
Then it got better. My co-worker, another writer from the newsroom came down to help. We were out of there 2 hours after the deadline, attempting to straighten out all the kinks.
No one in advertising knew what they were doing. To be fair, this was sprung on them as much as it was us, with little time to prepare. But what a God-awful day. I can only hope Saturday will be less eventful.