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Follow the Directions

When you are submitting a resume or application for any job, please, follow the directions!

When you are submitting your work product, please, follow the instructions provided to you.

When you do not follow instructions, even if your work product is completely awesome, you may not be rehired. In some cases your inability or unwillingness to follow directions will result in your work being declined with no payment.

If you do not understand the directions ask for clarification. Most employers respect a person who is not afraid to ask questions.

I am writing this because recently I decided to outsource some of my writing requirements. I thought I was clear with the instructions. Submit your finished product in one .txt file with your total word count at the bottom, along with your PayPal email address. I also explained I would run each article through copyscape.

Now,  I’m not even complaining here about the rampant plagiarism, or the completely unreadable drivel I received, that’s another blog post.  Right now, I am frustrated that I have had to spend hours trying to wade through my email finding individual articles from each writer, instead of getting them all in one handy dandy file, ready to paste into copyscape, ready with the proper word count, and ready with the proper PayPal email address.

The lack of following a simple instruction just boggles the mind.

One thing I realized with the help of a colleague is that when I outsource, I am a project manager and this is business. I can’t be nice and worry about hurting feelings. I must take charge and demand my instructions be followed and promptly decline poorly written articles and call people out on plagiarism.  I’m sure you’ve heard of the Gritty Virtual Assistant? Well I’m the Sissy Virtual Assistant. I hate hurting people’s feelings, and I hate saying no. It’s a sickness, I know.

Finally I decided, no more Sissy VA, I won’t go through it anymore.

Either they submit it correctly after one or two attempts to explain it, or they just simply are declined. I outsource because I do not have time. If I had the time I would write the articles myself and make just that much more money. In the time it took me to figure out five articles that belonged to one person I could have written those articles myself.

I have need of close to 500 articles!

If I spent so much time wading through my email, sending emails to correct people on proper word usage, proper submission rules, plagiarism and OMG it goes on and on, this could become a full time job that I am not paid to do.

So forgetaboutit, call me a bitch if you will, but I am no longer putting up with this shoddy work.

You say you want to be a writer, you say you want to make money from home, you say you accept the pay, so do the best job you know how to do.

I teach my children that whenever they do any job, whether for pay or volunteering, they should always do every job to the very best of their ability. The job could be scrubbing a toilet, and it best be the shiniest cleanest toilet ever! Yet, grown people, who want to be professionals,  can’t do it!

You don’t have to be perfect, at the very least work towards the goal of following the directions.

About Stephanie Watson

Mom | Wife | Virtual Assistant | Content Strategist
Stephanie has been working from home for over 20 years as a virtual assistant, template bender, and content writer. She's currently transitioning to business coach. You can learn more about her at her website


  1. This is an an excellent article – very important information to understand and “feel.” If you are paying out your hard earned money, you deserve to receive what you agreed you’d pay for.

  2. Oh, and this is a whole ‘nother topic that could be a seminar or chat topic.

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