Why You Should Blog about Work Frustrations (if you love your job)

1) First read this post by my career guru, Penelope Trunk, for clarifications about ever talking negatively when dealing with your career.

2) There is only one particular state of mind in which you should ever, ever blog about your work frustrations: while you love you job.  The reason for this is, if you love your job, you will be wise enough to censor your thoughts and not say anything too stupid.  If you're disgruntled already, then you'll let things slip that you shouldn't (unless you're independently wealthy and don't intend to go to work next week anyways).

3) I had a rough day.  This rough day is the catalyst for this particular post.  But here's the key (and here's why you SHOULD blog about it): thinking about what/how I was going to blog this experience led to something vital to my work life, career, and actual job responsibilities; it cause me to do a lot of introspection.  It made me analyze my work flows, the processes for all people involved, and what the next steps need to be for improvement.

In other words: by deciding to blog about my frustrations, combined with the fact that I truly love my job,  I spent more time being proactive and positive instead of being reactive and reckless.

So what's been going with me at work?


Last quarter, I released almost 150 pieces of content.  It was my first full quarter of working, and the results were way "over achiever" results; to use a cliche, I knocked it out of the park.  This quarter - which ends in three weeks - I've been unable to release any content.  Zero.  None.

The hold ups have been, effectively, completely out of my hands.  Basically the success of last quarter got people's attention and - as such - there was a scramble to attach some of the same processes we use for traditional media regarding workflow to the digital media assets I push out.  This makes sense; I want to play nice and have proper performas and market-competitive pricing.

So because we were successful, the attention was put on us and we had to pause for a moment to get those print media processes implemented.  However, because what I'm doing is still so new... getting those things in place were not nearly as important as some other projects (and rightfully so... they [currently] have a larger audience and revenue stream).  Which meant we had to wait.  And wait.

Until finally, the last working day of May, we got approval.

So, bursting with joy, I created an agressive release schedule that would see the nearly 300 pieces of content I have prepared have a stagger launch throughout the month of June.  But nothing happens.  Why?

More processes.  Even though we had recieved approval on the processes that we were waiting for... the work that goes along with that approval had yet to be done.  And still isn't.

It's no one's "fault."  I'm not attempting to trace anything to any particular person, nor would I want anyone to be implicated as the fault point.  The problem is a rather exciting/humbling one: I'm working faster than the processes can keep up.

So my actual dilemma is: how can I speed up/better prepare the external processes that I can't do.  I already do responsibilities far beyond my job description and responsibilities (I'm not just the digital media producer; I'm also the graphic designer for the cover images, the marketing specialist for the product pages and release posts, the web designer for the downloads landing page, the flash designer for the web page, the metadata planner, the original content creator, etc etc....), but I had to accept today that I can't do other people's jobs for them.

But I can make their jobs easier.

So, my three pronged attack upon my frustration at hand:

1) Develop a 15-month release schedule

That's right, I sent out documents today seeking initial approval to begin the digital media production process from July 2008 - September 2009.  This means that rights can get cleared ahead of time, ISRCs can be assigned (by me, of course), pricing can be settled, and I should have enough media conversion to last me until at least the end of this year.

2) Develop detailed status updates

Currently, we don't use Microsoft Project or Lombardi, or anything fancy and fun to keep track of where these are in the workflow.  Instead, we have an excel worksheet.  With little boxes we're supposed to put x's in.  It's in a folder on a server... and no one looks at it.

Moving forward, I'm going to be emailing weekly (hopefully) updates with a detailed report on where each title lies in regards to all the steps in the process.  Information and communication is key with this many products.

3) Become an internal Digital Media Evangelist and develop a team

Again: I can't do other people's jobs for them.  I have to find a way to get them excited about the work that I'm doing and the potential it has not simply to change our company, but to literally change the lives of our customers.  By mere virtue of my position, I am probably the most qualified person in our company to talk about how digital media is effecting the world and our customers.  I also have more knowledge about where we stand on different products (and what they are) than anyone else.

I have to find other people in the workflow process that are as excited about the opportunities as I am.  When there are so many processes beyond my control, I must have the support and enthusiasm of those who are working with me.  For right now I think it's just another product and just another point of data entry for many people.  I've got to find a way to make this as exciting for them as it is for me.