Friday, 22 March 2013

A deadline is a deadline, not a guideline !

I never stop counting my lucky stars that I am paid to do a job that I would probably do free of charge (if I could afford to do so). In a world where so many people are stuck in jobs they dislike, to be paid to work at my hobby is a real privilege. 

Because I enjoy what I do, I think I work longer and harder than many, and because I love my work, this reflects in the outcomes. But it's not all sweet smelling roses. Every job has it's irritations, but for me the worst aspect of all is dealing with a small number of local government candidates who are incapable of respecting deadlines or following the simplest guidelines. And chatting to Labour and Lib Dem colleagues, I know this problem isn't unique to Conservatives.

Why is it, when you give your candidates two or three weeks notice of a print deadline, and send them regular reminders, there is always one or two who take no notice whatsoever and produce their copy a week late?

Why is it when you inform them the space on the leaflet for their Dear Resident letter is sufficient for 150 words, they send you 250 words and expect you to edit it for them ?

Why when you ask for a photograph to be portrait do they send you one landscape, or insist on sending their Dear Resident letter in the third person, or worst of all - send you paper prints of photographs when you have asked for jpgs?   And why is it that the candidates who cannot follow simple requests for their printing deadlines are the same ones who cannot follow your instructions on how to complete a nomination paper, or actually turn up on the appointed day and time to hand over their completed papers for delivery to the ERO.

Up to recently, I would make myself ill and on the point of exhaustion, running around trying to accommodate every candidate, which is a big ask considering that some years I am Agent for 160 of them. Not this time.  All my CC candidates received very detailed (but simple) guidelines about what they had to provide for their leaflet, and by when.  Fourteen of them did so, with no problems whatsoever. One, despite regular reminders, decided it could wait and went on holiday without sending anything I requested. No doubt he thought I would happily add to my workload and inconvenience others who had done as requested by delaying the print run for his leisurely return from ther sun. He will be returning to a bit of a surprise; the leaflet has been printed and his personalised sections have been left blank. The printer has assured me that it can be overprinted - but this will be at his expense, not ours!

Perhaps I am being too harsh, but I honestly don't see what I should cause myself additional work and anxiety simple because a candidate (who is the beneficiary of my work) cannot respect pre-agreed deadlines.  Similarly, I don't see why other candidates should be inconvenienced due to the actions of one.


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  2. Not too harsh at all. However I fear the route of the problem is a lack of suitable candidates. Still amazes me how few people think about running for office. Such a shame. Goodluck with it all!