My friend, let’s call him Myrddin, is the smartest man I’ve ever met. His knowledge of languages, computers, mathematics, literature, popular culture, games and every other topic imaginable is expansive, to say the least. And the other day, he got fired and I’d like to tell you why.
Myrddin began working for a local company that did internet marketing. Basically, more than anything else, they made sure that content and products were set up for SEO. Basically, they made sure that people could see what people were selling. And they asked Myrddin to help with this.
Now, they expected Myrddin to just plug away with manual entry and this would have taken a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters a thousand days so Myrddin did what Myrddin does: he figured out a better way. He automated systems until he was provided with the right data. Until he hit a snag.
For each product, they wanted him to list it in as many different categories as possible, which was 10. So, say for example this particular screw that they were selling worked on washers and dryers and fridges and dishwashers. They wanted it to be listed in each of those categories. Sure.
But then they wanted it to be listed for all the different manufacturers of those products…and so on, and so on, until most of those products simply could not be listed everywhere that they wanted them to be. So Myrddin did what any reasonable person would do, having exhausted every conceivable option and finding no possible solution; he asked his boss.
And his boss asked him to send them an email… which he’d already done. And they asked him to copy someone else on that email… who already knew about the problem. And when he did that, knowing full well that the solution would not present itself…they just sort of…carried on. Myrddin let them know that the project that they’d asked him to complete in an afternoon simply could not be completed using the data that they’d provided. And so they fired him.
Here’s what’s wrong with this picture. Myrddin identified a problem. He used every single tool at his disposal to try to solve the problem, informed his “superiors” of the problem, and so they fired him. Here’s what that company wanted. They wanted someone to do a half-assed job.
Too many companies just want someone to do a half-assed job. They have clients and they’re more concerned with just billing the hours and moving on than solving the problem. I get it. Productivity is a big deal and sometimes you’re bidding on a project with little or no room for error, but half-assed is not ok. Half-assed works out about as well as it sounds.
I would hire Myrddin for any position I had. Any. He’s intelligent. He’s a hard worker. And he wants to do the ACTUAL job. He doesn’t half-ass anything. He’s thorough. It takes him longer to do the job than it does some other people but the work is done RIGHT. Too many companies just want “butts in the seat”. They just want someone to do the job and don’t particularly care about the quality of that job. And that’s not good.
We’ve gotten away from the idea that there is value in workmanship. I know. I know. SEO isn’t exactly a field where we think about “workmanship”, but that doesn’t mean that it should be. Designers should create GREAT designs. They shouldn’t be ok with, “the client said it was ok” and the same should be true for developers, writers, carpenters, teachers, and so on. Every field SHOULD be led by people who actually care about and take great pride in their work. Every company should hire a Myrddin.