This one is dedicated to Nikki, the first intern I ever took under my wing. If she's a better writer today, it's not because of me. I was still a junior myself, too unsure of my own talent to comfortably slag another's work. Worse, I confused criticism with rejection and reassured her when I should have encouraged her to do better.
Now, I still don't think you need to yell and tear someone to shreds under the guise of feedback. I simply try to be honest about what works and what doesn't, occasionally asking if they've tried this or that and always with the caveat that feedback is inherently subjective and the next person might love what I hate.
For his part, Jamie has a gift for impartial critique: he's a good judge of quality, is unfailingly polite and doesn't give a flying fuck what you think of him.
Letter of the week honours go to Andrew:
"Your cartoon today reminded me to tell you that you featured prominently in a dream I had the other night. I was part of a SWAT team assigned to take down a rogue former SWAT team member--you--but it all went down while you were hosting a Christmas party. Despite the hail of bullets flying both ways, you remained an impeccable host, making sure your guests had enough refreshments and recommending good books for the holiday break."
That was no dream, Andrew. I'm as deadly as I am convivial. Thank you for the mental image of me stabbing a commando in the eye with a candy cane while endorsing The Demon-Haunted World.
P.S. No debate this week, as Jamie's swamped with a special project for the senior partner. I'll count that as a win by default then, shall I?
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