I learned a really great – and tough – lesson when I was 24 years old. I was a young production manager for a group of magazines and newspapers. One Friday on deadline to make our final news close for the week, we had a problem with a page (these were the days before WISIWYG and when people actually read print newspapers). I asked – actually, I demanded –that the paste-up artist re-run a page of type, paste it up by hand, moving individual lines of type from one long column to another.
She asked me what I was trying to accomplish and I just told her it would take too long to explain and that she should just do it so we could get the page to the printer. She complied with my demands.
After deadline, she asked me again to explain what the problem was and why I wanted her to do something so manual. After explaining it, she nodded and turned to her Mac (they were new for us in production) and showed me how she could have filled the problem space with a ready black and white graphic in about two minutes, saving 20 minutes that the paste-up had taken. Then she said something I have never forgotten:
“When you were all upset and excited, you couldn’t stop to explain this to me and it wasted almost half an hour. But it only took you two minutes to explain and I had a better idea. Next time, don’t think you’re smarter than everyone else.”
I won’t, and all this time later, I hope that I haven’t. How about you?