Alpha Dog

We recently hired a copywriter. I didn’t make the final decision, although I handled all of the preliminary interviews; he is to work under me. He had a very good portfolio of ad-agency stuff, but no web experience. He claimed to be good at working under pressure. And so we hired him.

Since then, I have had to deal with whining and complaints on an hourly basis. He wants to work on paper, and actually said that he needed someone to do his data entry (!?!) for him. He revises and revises and revises. Hey, this isn’t War and Peace. This is an ecommerce website. It’s going to change on a weekly basis. Work needs to be competent, fast, and done online, on the actual goddamn computer. Not on paper. If there is copy that needs doing for roughly 5000 products, you can’t agonise over every single word. You do the work, you do it fast, you do more than you think you can humanly do, and you don’t whine about it. That’s what they pay us the big bucks for.

He recently went over my head, to my boss, because he felt that he was rushed and over-worked. I flipped. I’m handling five thousand things that are not in my job description just because someone has to do it, I’m documenting bugs in the tracking system, I’m preparing images, I’m doing goddamn photography myself, for gods sake, I’m managing users on the new system and handling paid inclusions and search marketing, I’m fixing JSP templates and all the broken/ugly areas on the site. And I have to wrap this guy’s ego in cotton wool?

We had a showdown this morning. Polite, professional and to the point. I told him that not only does he have to do the work, he has to do it online. There will be no data entry people to help. He has to deal with the changes, as there will be a lot more of them. He was not happy, and made it clear all day that he wasn’t happy. But I think we have a clearer understanding of just who is alpha dog.

And if he translates “alpha dog” as bitch…well, well. I can deal with that. As long as we know who is who.

5 thoughts on “Alpha Dog”

  1. I cannot imagine anyone at a NEW job, who wants to KEEP the job whining and complaining so much! Sheesh.

    Congrats on the civil showdown though :)

  2. Yes, I was a legal secretary for a long time in a former life. You learn to professionally and politely tell someone to go stuff themselves fifteen different ways. It’s a skill that occasionally comes in handy. :)

  3. And if he translates “alpha dog” as bitch…

    I must say, was he actually LISTENING during any of his interviews? Jeez! He is (I hope) on a probationary period. If so, I would definately discuss his unsuitability with your boss. Maybe you could get someone else? Possibly someone with less experience, but qualified might be more enthusiastic?

    In any case, I hope your chat sorts out his attitude. Moaning isn’t a good sign though. Firstly, it means he’s a ‘moaner’ and that won’t change (especially if you say the stress will only get worse). Secondly, once he gets ‘settled in’ he might just moan more. (urgh)

    Best of luck though with ‘training’ him. ;) And you thought you just had Kip to deal with.

  4. My thoughts, exactly. As he settles in, he’ll get worse, not better. It’s miserable to deal with someone like that. :(

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