Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
OLC Student Community Coordinator

a guy running late carrying a suitcase

I should start this post with a confession: I love due dates. I enjoy being able to plan things in advance, and I hate being late. Whether it’s for a movie, or for a major project, I appreciate punctuality. Sometimes I’ll even set due dates for myself on open ended projects, otherwise it will never get done.

So with this in mind, you can see why missing deadlines can cause some stress. And one of the first things I learned about marketing is that nothing will ever be on time. Ever. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can learn to deal with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone involved in marketing is lazy or bad at their jobs. Quite the opposite. It’s just the nature of the beast that ensures that deadlines will constantly be changing. Offers change, different mediums have different demands and deadlines, and every single thing has to go through about a million rounds of approval.

At first, these sudden changes were exhilarating. It was exciting to have to drop everything and make a last minute switch to an entire campaign. I saw it as a challenge: Spot the points in your campaigns that will be effected, figure out exactly what needs to be changed, and how, and then do it as quickly as possible while still making sure everything stays error free.

Now, however, after I’ve been through a few less exciting delays, I’ve learned that delays aren’t fun for anyone. Most of the time it just results in twice the work, which may or may not be switched back again at a moments notice. Sometimes projects you’ve spent days on will get bumped once, twice, three times. Remember my first solo brief I was excited to work on? Well the project might not even mail out until after I’m gone – in August. For someone who loves their deadlines, this can be very stressful.

Another quick lesson I learned was that just because one department asks for a change by a certain day, doesn’t mean that the next group you talk to will think that it can get done. It’s one thing to rewrite some copy and send it out to be changed, but according to the technical guys who can make it happen, there’s no small thing as “one tiny change” in their world.

The difference in expectations on what can be done and how soon between different groups requires learning a knack for managing expectations and learning that it can be okay to create false deadlines. These buffer times let you handle late submissions while still having the time to do something about it. (Now that I think about it, maybe these self-imposed buffer times would be a good thing to use next time a big paper is due.)

That’s it for me this time, so I’ll leave you with a warning to take a breath and accept that your timelines may not mesh with the rest of the worlds, and the advice that sometimes you need to fudge some deadlines yourself.

If  you’re wrapping up a co-op term and have some tips to share, leave a comment or tweet me at @lizzmoffat or @SFU_OLC. Plus, make sure you check out the rest of my Diary of a Marketing Co-op series.


Beyond the Blog

  • Check out the Communications Co-op Blog, Communique, for more stories like Elizabeth's!


OLC Student Community Coordinator
visibility  136
Mar 17, 2012

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.


person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.


You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Skyscape of Tokyo
Ly's International Co-op Story

Ly Viet Vu recently completed his undergraduate degree in the field of Computing Science.  Ly shares how his term with Co-op Japan altered his career path, providing him with the confidence to relocate to Viet Nam and establish his own business.

Thompson Community Centre
My Fitness Journey

Kenneth Moy is a Kinesiology student who spent his co-op placement at Thompson Community Centre. Read on to find out what he learned after four months as a fitness professional.

Jeffery sightseeing
My Co-op Experience as an Introvert

Have a difficult time talking to people in the workplace? Are you worried about your upcoming Co-op experience? Jeffrey has some tips for you that will help you find success at your workplace!