Q: I work at a small publishing firm as a sub-editor. My colleagues are quite fast, and usually submit so many articles each week. However, their stories are usually filled with errors, and are often rejected by the editor. I prefer to be slow but thorough in my tasks, and I usually end up missing deadlines. Can this affect my career development?
It can be disheartening to feel that you are lagging far behind your colleagues in terms of the quantity of work they appear to produce within a given period.
The frequent rejection of your colleagues’ work by the editor is however testament to the idea that although speed is important, it is insular to use it as the sole metric for assessing people’s productivity. No level of quantity can substitute quality.
Being thorough and producing high quality work has benefits, and these include sustained patronage by customers, a positive reputation for the business, a better relationship with your supervisor, and better career prospects for those working on the publication concerned.
Consistently producing high quality work is a crucial factor for career growth and reward.
We, however, live in a world where few people are willing to wait. Speed has therefore become a basic expectation, rather than a cherry on the cake.
So yes, missing deadlines will undermine your career development. In a professional field where written material ought to be submitted for publishing by a given time, lateness can often be tantamount to non-performance, regardless of the quality of work produced.
Although it is not ideal, one would rather read material that bears some errors than stare at blank pages.
It is positive that you value and work towards producing quality work. While the editor may appreciate the quality of your work, you no doubt must have, at least on some occasions, been admonished for submitting your work late, just as your colleagues are chastised for producing error-strewn articles.
Both speed and quality are important, alongside other elements such as style and relevance. You need to work on your posture towards deadlines.
Time being finite, you can invest in building your capacity so as to improve your speed, preferably with the help of a coach or a mentor.
Is there a successful editor from whose story you might benefit? Is there pertinent training you could learn from?
What lessons could you draw from your faster colleagues? You already have quality on your side. Now learn how to dance more intimately with your deadlines.