Working together? A short checklist

I am a passionate fan of co-working, since

  1. I believe that working with other people (especially if one works with always new people and not always with the same group) helps one becoming aware of one’s implicit presuppositions
  2. working with other people allows me to achieve more ambitious goals (in my case, an example are the volumes on the Reuse of texts in Classical Indian philosophy I edited for the Journal of Indian Philosophy—I would not have been able to achieve that target alone, since I lack the relevant expertise in many fields of Indian philoosophy)
  3. working with other people is more fun, and fun motivates one whenever one is stuck in a difficult situation

This being said, however, working with other people is also difficult —so much that serious workers often end up thinking that “it would have been easier to do all on my own!” (if you have been working with other people and this thought never occurred to you, you are either a saint, or an excellent co-worker with excellent co-workers… or you are the one everyone is complaining about:-)).

In this post, I want to explore the possibility of working with other people with mutual satisfaction. There must be a way, if we do not want only saints to co-work.

  1. Speak openly about your expectations
  2. In my case, in one case I discovered half-way that my co-editors did not think it necessary to read, correct, send to the authors, re-read, re-correct, re-send to the authors… all the articles of a volume we were editing together. For me, the opposite was so obvious that I did not even deem it necessary to say it explicitly —now I do.

  3. Speak openly about your editorial choices
  4. You will not anticipate how much time you will save if you decide to spend some time arguing about whether to use the Chicago or the Oxford Manual of Style before starting to write or edit articles. Also, decide whether you expect the book/article/… to have sections, numberings and the like.

  5. Speak openly about what you want to do yourself
  6. I am a big fan of delegation since I want to focus on more substantial issues than the position of footnotes. Thus, it makes sense for me to discuss well in advance about how much money we can invest in outsourcing proof-reading or the like.

  7. Speak openly about the time (and money, about which see above) you want to invest in the project
  8. Speak openly about realistic deadlines
  9. Speak openly about your rules
  10. For instance: Will any contribution to your edited volume be discussed by all co-editors? Will any comment to the author be previously read by all co-editors? If so, will all co-editors have the time to respond swiftly?

Do you have further suggestions? What works for you?

For a fuller discussion of some of these issues, see this post.

Comments and discussions are welcome. Be sure you are making a point and contributing to the discussion.

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