The other thread on preferred work reminded me of a recurring problem in this industry when talking about the difference between marketing and graphic design, and when people drift out of their lanes.
In every job I take on, I never think of job titles as much as I think of job roles or skills and who is in the most critical position to lead, follow, or get out of the way of optimizing those skills. The most qualified people to utilize a skill in a group is often not the person with the most influence over that skill utilization. On the other thread B made a good point about siloed education causing problems in the workplace. I agree that education should be broad enough to teach the importance of other roles. But if you’re taught enough to respect a person from another profession’s role, it doesn’t mean you’re qualified to take on that other person’s role.
I’m not just talking about cut-throat jockeying for position climbing the corporate ladder or maintaining job security. The person that has the most influence is often unaware that they took on the role by interfering with the role. I’m talking about people who accidentally drift out of their role and interfere with other people’s roles while knowing too little to warrant their level of influence over those roles. I’m talking about people who are sitting in the driver seat and don’t even know it, staring at the other passengers while wondering why the car is stalled or drifting off the road.
As mentioned on the other thread, graphic designers make decisions about content type or media type that are marketing decisions in effect without the benefit of market research. Without a designated copywriter, copy is often an afterthought. Copy is sometimes written by the person with the least knowledge in the group about copywriting, or the least knowledge about the product or service being sold. The worst ads are the ones that start with interesting images without much thought about how to tie in copy with the marketing goals and messages.
It’s not just marketing problems either. Sometimes it’s job costs. It seems that more often than not, the person who’s selling the work is not the same person doing the work, and often fails to consult with the person who is doing the work before pricing the job. This causes problems for everyone. It drives up the cost of the job for the workers, the client, or both. Sometimes it’s a deliberate bait-and-switch tactic from the seller. It may work for getting more jobs from different clients, but I doubt it works for getting repeat business from the same clients. The workers might not be good at selling, but they should at least be consulted in the pricing of the job by the sellers.
Those who don’t understand creative direction often accidentally put themselves in the role of a creative director by over-specifying the content types. Those who don’t understand art direction often do the same by over-specifying layout and style. Sometimes a client will go as far as to send a graphic designer a layout that’s already done with no instructions on what can be changed. By doing that, they put themselves in the role of a graphic designer, reducing the real graphic designer’s role to an over-paid production artist. The real graphic designer must then choose between annoyingly returning to them with dozens of questions, timidly producing it as specified just to get it done quicker, or boldly making better changes made at the risk of upsetting the client and expanding the job. Some clients like the changes, but other clients will get mad about the increased cost or that their amateur ideas were corrected without permission.
What are your similar stories with role interference? How do you deal with these people?