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I can no longer count on her to do something she once did better than me...
I've been the head of a two-person communications department at a non-profit agency for the last six years, with the same woman as my assistant for the entire time. For many years, she did great work. However, her work has started getting sloppy over the past six months or so (after a good annual performance evaluation). Most notably, her proofreading skills, which were once impeccable, are becoming non-existent. Our department produces a large amount of written materials, so proofing and editing are key skills she needs to have. The mistakes I'm seeing are often repeated mistakes- not double checking the index/table of contents match the document pages if anything gets rearranged, old phone numbers that have not been updated, text boxes where not all the text is visible to the reader.
I have brought these issues to her attention and have shown her examples of simple things she's repeatedly missing and it basically seems like she's refusing to accept responsibility for her performance. Although she will acknowledge her errors, her latest response is, "I didn't do it on purpose." Looking at declining proofreading skills in isolation, it's not enough reason to let her go. Many aspects of her work are spot-on. But at the same time, it's now falling on me to edit everything to make sure there are no errors because I can no longer count on her to do something she once did better than me! Nothing I've tried so far has motivated her to try any harder in this area and it's really frustrating. Any suggestions?
Crazy by Typos
Crazy by Typos,
Franke James, MFA
Feedback from Driven Crazy by Typos,
Thank you... that was quick! She is 33 years old and already wears glasses. I don't think she has a vision problem, I think it's just attention to detail. She just got married last month and had been very distracted with personal concerns. As a side note, her wedding invitations went out with the wrong street number for the church, which she admitted to me by saying, "just as evidence of how bad my proofreading skills have gotten, I sent 300 wedding invitations out to the wrong address." I have just been operating on the assumption that she's preoccupied and maybe getting a little restless and bored with her work. She is on anti-depressants though, so perhaps medication is the culprit. I will ask about eyesight in our next conversation as a way to illustrate how concerned I am and how serious this really is. Thanks so much for the great advice.
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