I often times encounter a lot of time management issues. Working the eight to five at the office, we are given a grace period of 15 mins everyday for a total of “no strings attached” free late of 60 mins or an hour every month. I can say, the company that I am working for is understanding! Understanding of the fact that traffic jams in Metro Manila is a real drag. Even though I am aware of the time I am needed to be at work, I still usually come up late.
Blame it on the never ending digging of Maynilad water/drainage pipes, the stop at every corner-passenger hogging-overloading Jeepney drivers, plus a sprinkle of some road mishaps and there you have it Philippine streets. The leading cause of my tardiness. And I am not blaming it all on the traffic, at times I am the culprit. I simply woke up late.
Then there is also this interesting concept of your time vs my time. As a graphic artist, I am usually at the beck and call of clients/editors/ad agencies etc. While I am ready to comply with their needs, they almost always have a hard time with time itself, that gets both parties in trouble. To be clear here are a few examples:
Ex 1. TRANSFERRED TARDINESS: Me and Editor at a deadline day at the office.
Me to editor: So, I will be expecting the edited materials by 1:30 so I can revise the layout by 2:00 and you can final proof it at around 2-3:30, give me the go signal to print, then we send it to the printers by 4:00
Me: Okay. ( in my mind everything is under control.)
fast forward to 2:30 I haven’t head a peep from my editor. So, I call him.
Me: Hello is Editor there?
Office mate (who happens to pick up the phone): He just arrived in the office, maybe he is out for coffee.
Me: okay. (patiently waits.)
It is now 3:00 and I follow up on my editor again.
Me: Hello Editor! can I have the revisions now? because we are lagging behind schedule.
Editor: I am looking at it now, will call you back once its done.
It is now 4:00 and I follow up again.
Me: Hello Editor! Is it done? we need to send it to the printers about now.
Office mate (who happens to pick up the phone): Oh sorry pal, He is not in the table.
Me: where is the editor?
Office mate: the editor has some guests, sorry.
It is now 4:30 and I am fuming.
Me: blankly staring at the email. Then at about 4:40 I get the first part of the revisions, I still have to input it into the layout and get it to be proofread for the final time. (My office hours ends at 5:00.) Go figure, how am I going to do that much in a impossible time frame?
by 5:30 I send in the corrected layout. By 6:00 the editor is out for another cup of coffee.
6:30- the editor reads the revised layout. edits and asks for changes in the design.
7:00- I send the latest revised layout and wait for the proof reading to give me the go signal.
8:00- still nothing.
8:30- A writer gives the go signal. Guess where the editor is?! The Editor is out of the office.
9:00- I go home.
The next morning I fill up an overtime form. Results in 4 hours of overtime.
Me: places the form on my Supervisor’s desk.
Supervisor: why took so long to accomplish the task?
Me: I have to wait for
that slug, lazy ass of an editor.
Supervisor: you should follow up on him.
Me: I did. Maybe you could tell him.
Supervisor: okay. because we are not wasting company money on unnecessary overtime. I am sure this can be done faster.
Supervisor then talks to editor, editor straightens up a bit, editor get resentful at me for ratting editor out.
In the end I lose. and the editor goes back to what he does best. Delays.
Why editor does it? just because editor can, and editor is much higher than Graphic artist. Editor gets Better pay.
Oh, there is also this issue of errors in the work. Typos/grammars that are wrong get blamed on graphic artist. Just because the graphic artist is the last to hold the material. They didn’t think it was because the work was rushed. Editor gets away scoot free. Graphic artist get a memo. I get sad, vent out by eating out and get fat, rant about my problems to my friends resulting in late sleep, wake up late, go to work late. get memo for being late.
So tardiness is sometimes transferred tardiness.
Ex 2. DISAPPEARING GHOST/DIFFICULT PEOPLE : Me and Ad agency representative.
Time is: 9:30am
Ad agency representative: We need a layout for this product, conceptualize fresh and young feel in the layout. We need this before lunch.
Me: okay, will work on it. will send two drafts before lunch.
around 10:30, I send the drafts.
Ad agency representative: Merge the two layouts in one, and make it mush more chaotic to look fresh and fun.
sends in the revised draft at 11:00
Ad agency representative: Why did you move the photos, it looks messy. make it straight.
sends in the draft with straightened pictures 11:15
Ad agency representative: Give the layout more play! (irritated voice) crop some photos and tilt some!
sends in the draft with straightened/cropped and tilted pictures 11:25
Ad agency representative: (irritated voice) It looks messy. Give it a orderly feel!!!
Me: okay. But you said make the layout conceptualize fresh and young feel. I made it tilted to look more dynamic and fresh.
Ad agency representative: (irritated voice) Just do what I said. send it now, we are so late!
sends in the draft with all stick straight pictures. 11:30. by this time I have done 3 revisions to the layout already! and each is drastically different!
Ad agency representative: (irritated voice) you just don’t get it! I said fresh and young! this looks so rigid!
Me: you said to make it look orderly.
Ad agency representative: (irritated voice) orderly but not this! make it fun!
how do i make it look fun? place a huge FUN word on it?! gimme a break! ….
sends in the draft with straightened/cropped and tilted pictures the one I sent last 11:25.
how about that?
Ad agency representative: (irritated voice) this will probably have to do. Wait for my call after lunch.
The Ad agency representative didn’t call back the whole day and the day after that. Till three days after.
Ad agency representative: (cheery voice) remember the layout? we have a few corrections and it will be okay.
Me: okay. (while trying damn hard to recall where I saved the files)
Ad agency representative: (cheery voice) will send in the revisions in a while.
Me: okay. Will wait for it.
The Ad agency representative emails a minor revision at 6:30 way past my office hours (8-5).
The next morning;
I sent the layout with revisions.
The Ad agency representative didn’t email/call back the whole day and the days after that. Till a week after.
Ad agency representative: (cheery voice) we have another project do a elegant/feminine layout for us.
Me: okay. But may I ask about the last project we are working on?
Ad agency representative: (fake surprised voice) Oh dear! are you not informed? it was canceled.
cancel my ass! I just wasted my time listening to your crap and doing all those revisions for nothing!
Oh, what a pity.
Ad agency representative: (cheery voice) So, I will explain this new project….. yada yada….
The what?! that’s it? no apology or anything? you caused me to be delayed in my other projects or I could have just have a more relaxed pace of time those days but I did cater to your call, and now you need me again to do your bidding? So that you can make another ever-changing concept revisions again? Damn.
So Graphic artist being late for the ever-changing layout not acceptable, while ad agency representative cancels without a warning is okay?!
So you just wasted my time, and made my life harder than it is. Can I kill you now?
I have a lot more stories of this nature, I have only shared the most bloody two. The Mañana Habit- or the concept of Filipino time.
Here in the Philippines, 20 minutes late is considered early. Being late is acceptable at times fashionable, more so if you hold a place of position. In my opinion it is some sort of power tripping. I am always frustrated whenever I would attempt to schedule my work flow, people would mangle it up/ never show up and other people who could help simply did nothing/or close to nothing to assist/help me in getting our work done. It’s annoying, frustrating, and very difficult to understand, but for many people here in the Philippines, the concept of time and their own concept of time will never match up. Still, I remain hopeful that one day Filipino people, especially in the workforce will understand that having business/workflow run on time is key to success. Being on time also makes you look professional and that is always good right?!
To remedy this problem I always set my schedule an hour early when dealing with pesky editors/ad agency representatives/etc. So, I don’t get too worked up when they are late for lets say 45 mins. But even with this an hour earlier schedule, Guess what? They are still late.