CAREERS: Pandora's Problem Page

Q: The boutique agency I work for was acquired by a huge

multinational firm last month, and I am already dreading the future. Our

agency is small and tight-knit, without a restrictive hierarchy and all

the logistical complications that go along with being part of a giant

network. Now everyone is scared they are either going to be laid off, or

that the our great company culture will change drastically. Should I

start looking for a new job?

Mr. J, Atlanta

A: It's disturbing that no one in your agency has addressed these

worries. Ironic, isn't it, that the very industry that lectures clients

on the importance of internal communication so often ignores its own


Run to your supervisor right away and share your concerns in a

thoughtful, constructive way. Don't scream, cry, brandish blunt objects

or threaten to leave. You need a benchmark on which to base your

expectations for your future. If those expectations are not met, then

you have some leverage.

But don't assume that all will be lost when the cultures converge. You

may find many exciting new opportunities and the chance to offer your

clients a more dynamic range of services that will make your job even

more satisfying. Bigger can sometimes be better.

Q: I'm fairly new to the agency side, and one of my most daunting

projects is making media lists, primarily because I never know who is

the best type of editor to select when given titles that include

associate editor, editorial director, managing editor, editor-in-chief,

online editor, assignment editor, assistant editor, deputy editor,

department editor, editor at large, etc. How can I get a better idea of

the responsibilities of each position? Is there some guide I can


Ms. R, San Francisco

A: To answer your question I consulted my friend Kevin Walker, VP and MD

of Dittus Communications, whose clients include the Magazine Publishers

of America. "Figuring out what various journalists do from their titles

can be tough, especially because titles mean different things at

different kinds of publications," he said. "The managing editor at a

daily newspaper is usually the No. 2 in the newsroom. The same title at

a magazine belongs to the top manager in charge of the production of the


"In general," he added, "you are after the kind of folks with titles

like 'assignment editor,' 'department editor' or 'associate editor.'

Those folks will often be responsible for getting the right information

to the right reporter. Also, check out the size of the publication. You

will never reach the editor of The New York Times, but the editor of a

weekly local newspaper will often field pitches."

Q: I work for a mid-size financial services company. Last week I made a

big mistake in one of our press releases and the CEO screamed at me for

over an hour. Now she wants to see all my final releases before they go,

when she used to just check the draft. The trouble is we send out about

three or four releases a week, and getting her to check everything will

take forever. How can I convince her to give me another chance?

Mr. Z, Philadelphia

A: Suck it up, sugar. You blew it. What you fail to realize is she is

giving you another chance by not putting you on the next bus to Jobless

Junction. Do what you're told, don't complain, check your work

thoroughly, and never give her anything that isn't perfect. In short,

prove yourself. There's no shortcut, I'm afraid.

- Got a problem that no one else can help with? Try Pandora. E-mail her

at pandora@

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