Noping. Sucks.

A lot of the work that I do evolves around writing. And as the writing that I do is usually a main component of the tenders that we handle – these texts are under the harsh scrutiny of a lot of eyes and stakeholders, all with their own opinions.

This past year I have very quickly had to learn to work with different sorts of people and different types of criticism in a 1000-fold increased capacity from my previous occupation as a tester (which was mainly me telling others what THEY were doing wrong). These days….every text that I produce is reviewed, reworked, reviewed again and again and again until it is going to guarantee us the much needed wins that I’m doing the work for in the first place. Which, as a quality-minded person makes me happy, mind you. But as a human being – not so much. A wonderful opportunity (and necessity) for growth, though. I guess.

Now. I’ll have you know – that this is NOT easy for me. I suppose it wouldn’t be easy for anyone, to be fair, but for me especially, it’s been hard. My words are my babies, and my first and foremost response to anyone criticizing anything I do in any way is to go on the defensive. On the defensive for keeping my text intact AND on the defensive for the quality of my work. I take everything personal. Force of habit, I fear. Which in and of itself is not a problem. It is important as a team that we do challenge each other on input and decisions to reach the best possible solution. I get that.

But I have to get something off my chest. There IS a difference between constructive and destructive criticism. With a whole world of unhelpful criticism in between. And the worst of these is the ‘nope. nope. nope.‘ type of criticism that I have dubbed ‘noping‘.

A lot of times I work with people who, on average, do not enjoy writing. The mere thought of having to (start to) write a text like the ones I’m writing would send them into a flaming pit of despair. They wouldn’t want to (and honestly, most of them couldn’t because their strengths reside in other professional areas of expertise that I am totally lacking in). They have great ideas. They deliver input. They have a general concept of where a text should be going and ending up, but they couldn’t create one to save their lives. Which makes them 100% ‘nopers‘. People who know exactly what they DON’T want – without helping you figure out what they do want, only going ‘YES. THAT’S IT.’ when you do hit the sweet spot.

When it comes to ‘noping‘ it means that a lot of my days are spent creating text only to then see it shot down for a myriad of reasons. People will read what I’ve written and go full-on ‘Nope. That’s not it. That’s not what we should say. That’s not what we mean. That’s not what it should be.‘. Sadly. For the classic nopers – this is also where their input ends. They are fully comfortable expressing that something is imperfect without feeling the need to elaborate further on such matters or, more conveniently, provide suggestions for betterment and improvement of said texts.

We’ll have meeting after meeting after meeting to gather insights, see me taking notes to the best of my capabilities and then have me transforming those notes from hours-long chaotic brainstorm sessions to sensible texts that answer to a tee the questions laid on us by our clients. To then have a group of folks sit there and just be like ‘that’s not it‘. ‘Do it again. But differently’. With me then bravely venturing forth and attempting to do just that (working in ever crystallizing increments to hopefully grand results). There’s progress on every attempt – surely. Each time we get a little bit closer to understanding and our goals. But the process of it can be EXCRUCIATING.

Because when you only work with ‘nopers‘ – you have to read between the lines of everything they shoot down, and try to figure out what it IS that they DO want, because they’re sure as hell not going to tell you. It’s like playing Mastermind. You know you have the right colors of pegs (aka ingredients to a text) somewhere in your hands. But it’s the arranging them in JUST the perfect order that takes all the effort.

And with a mean game-dealer playing the opposite side, they’re not even going to give you the slightest hint as to what needs to go where. You need to figure that out. With attempt. After attempt. After attempt. Sometimes you’ll swing and miss. Sometimes you’ll find a match, but in the end – things only work when you get all the pegs in the right spots. And that’s effing hard. With nopers. Noping sucks. I hate noping.

75 thoughts on “Noping. Sucks.

  1. Bottom Top Lines
    Yes Life is
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    No KNoWS…🤯

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The phrase “constructive criticism” is a bit like a get-out-of-jail-free card sometimes.

    I have had people say: “Would you mind a bit of constructive criticism?”

    in a way that clearly comes over as: “I really wanna stick it to you, but I want you to feel I am doing it for your own good… so that you will look petty and oversensitive if you reply with anything but gratitude?”

    Sometimes, I have been tempted to respond: “Constructive criticism? Awesome. Would you mind a fluffy punch in the face?”

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Daily. Work. I hear far more “nope” than “dope!”.

    I’ve gotten to the point where redline edits are a clickfest of “change approved” just so I can move on and get to the next nope-fest. Occasionally, I plant my flag and stand my ground, but it often results in more work than it’s worth and I go back to approving changes.

    Come to think of it… Maybe I should get out of the writing business.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I hate the nopers too. I’ve discovered they are also huge time wasters. They are also the person in the front of the line at the ice cream store on the beach that can’t decide what they want. Everyone else has to wait in the hot sun for them to decide.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I think it all comes down to respect. It’s okay to have a difference of opinion on something in fact that make sometimes for fun discussions. But when someone just keeps saying nope and isn’t open for another point of view that’s the point where I guess I say: NOPE myself! 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I agree that there is a clear difference between constructive and destructive criticism. I don’t mind getting constructive criticism as I know it is done with a good intention and it can help me in the future. But getting destructive criticism can really hurt your confidence!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve found over the years that a good editor and a constructive review are gold. They make a piece better. I may twinge when I get the feedback, my personal pride may even take a hit, but the edits are invaluable. The nopers, as you describe them so well, and the reviewers who have issues with tone, but can’t really spell out their problem are soul suckers. They kill a writer’s creativity. You have to fix what you can and move on; you’ll never be able to solve all their problems. I started my blog in part, because it was the one piece of writing that I owned, that no one else could touch. I suspect you feel the same way about your writing. In any event, good luck and keep writing.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Soooo recognizable.

    I went through this 💩 the last couple of weeks. Again and again. Always ‘reaction’ but never any ‘action’ or suggestion.

    Just plain old: ‘nope’. So ‘easy’ 😦

    Loved your analogy “It’s like playing Mastermind. You know you have the right colors of pegs (aka ingredients to a text) somewhere in your hands.”

    Stay strong and be a ‘little’ stubborn: hold on to your own professional judgement. When the results start to arrive I expect they will ‘bend’ a little bit and start appreciating your style and the spin-off: succes. Earn their respect by respecting your own judgement! You will succeed!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “It’s like playing Mastermind. You know you have the right colors of pegs (aka ingredients to a text) somewhere in your hands. But it’s the arranging them in JUST the perfect order that takes all the effort. ”

    🤣🤣. I swear sometimes you had the same childhood as me! Lol. That is such a fucking perfect analogy. Right down to the give-nothing-away ‘nope’ you get from your opponent after every guessed arrangement 😆.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did a short course years ago with work. They gave you a cheat sheet so that when you figured out their basic personality style you spoke to that style to get results. Worked sometimes but obviously not totally as got laid off from that gig.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah – I’ve done at least 4 different variations of these types of courses. Sadly my own personality profile is one of those that adapts horribly badly to others XD

        Like

  10. I swear some of these people only reject stuff just because they can. Showing off their clout, so to speak. I myself just turn off my critical thinking and go with the flow when this happens. Usually it’s more of letting them know that their requests were heeded more than the actual product itself.

    So if I proposed a tagline that said ‘Come visit Malaysia’, and they noped it because it wasn’t aggressive enough, I can get away with ‘Visit Malaysia today!’ and tell them it’s aggressive now because of the exclamation mark i.e. the content doesn’t matter, placating them does.

    Or that could just be my way of dealing with them. Wishing you all the best!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I work in IT and often encounter the same sorts of people. Whenever I deliver something, there’s always someone for whom it’s not what they wanted and/or were expecting.

    They can never tell me what they do want and I’m sure that a lot of this is because they don’t really know what they do want.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nopers feel like they are contributing by saying NOPE. I’ve dealt with that in the military. I would give a suggestion and the other men would say nope until I put their back to the wall and demanded a real F’n answer. Then all of a sudden my idea sounded real good. (eye roll)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s such a frigging easy exit-phrase. You can say nope and most people pull right back to the drawing board. It’s unfair, but kudos on grabbin life (or them?) by the balls and taking that stand. Guess I should do that more often.

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  13. Oh god. I am laughing because my boss does this. I’m a recruiter – I spend time locating publicly posted resumes and send him one I’m all excited about for hard-to-fill roles that will report to him. The answer? “Nope” in an email. I’m like, “you know, I could do my job a lot better if you would give me more feedback than nope…”

    Liked by 2 people

  14. That’s a great post. It seems like that can apply to people in management positions. The ones that have never managed people before. Yet here they are your “chosen” one out there and a walking disaster. I have seen way too much. It just slows down progress way too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I find a lot of people, when asked to comment on a piece of writing, automatically assume that they need to criticise or change something in order to look like they’re contributing. I have no problem at all with criticism when it is actually constructive. But when all people say is “I don’t like it” and they don’t offer any indication of what they actually do want it makes me want to smack my head into the nearest wall.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The coining of the “noper” is a perfect way to describe these people. And I don’t know about all of your other works but this one really hit me in the sweet spot. It really made its point clear. Thanks for sharing🙂

    Like

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