A Medium mindset: Feedback is key

Shamontiel L. Vaughn
Sep 21 · 4 min read
Photo credit: Create Her Stock

Feedback is important to me. I knew that since the age of 16 when I got my first job at a radio research firm. We cold-called radio station fans to find out their views on the station and the songs. I sat there clicking “play/pause” until the end of each survey. And for two years, I made a handsome sum of money for a teenager’s needs, including paying for my entire prom. The radio station, in turn, personalized the playlists for their listeners.

Word of mouth is so impactful that 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from their own friends and family more than a company’s advertising methods. So when I had this conversation below with a dog sitting client, who I’d asked at least four times to submit a written review after being re-hired three times, I’d just grown tired of him altogether.

Photo credit: Geralt/Pixabay

Client: Will you be available to sit _____ on Sep 21-Sep 22?

Me: Hi ____, yup, I will. But will you PLEASE rate me? I got another job based on my ratings alone. I cannot be terrible if you keep hiring me.

Client: I’ll try to remember, and I know it’s important to you, but please don’t sweat me on that stuff if you want to be my first call.

Client: I’ll try to remember, and I know it’s important to you, but please don’t sweat me on that stuff if you want to be my first call.

Me: That is not small stuff. It gets me hired for several other jobs. The ratings are the entire reason I get hired. If you consider ratings to be “small stuff” I will pass. Your first call can be someone who could not care less what the owners think of her. Take care. I canceled. Good luck with your next sitter. [Dog’s name here] is the best.


Now some readers will say I overreacted to the client refusing to write a review. I loved the dog’s company enough to look past the fact that the owner never changed his sheets and his mattress was on the floor. (I opted for cleaning off his couch.) I enjoyed the dog so much that I got rid of all the owner’s popsicle sticks that were sprinkled on his computer keyboard. I brought my own fresh towels since the owner had none, and I remembered to pack a three-way outlet since his place only had two-prong outlets. Screw it. I wasn’t moving in. I was just dogsitting. In turn, all I wanted was to be paid promptly and get one written review. I had to be doing something right to be requested three separate times.

What’s the big deal with feedback?

I come from a culture where feedback is a necessity to not only get additional work but also to know what you’re doing right and wrong. It’s the reason I made a point of signing up for writing workshops at both colleges that I attended. It’s the reason Corporate America has annual evaluations. It’s the reason Yelp has been around for 15 years (and I’m an Elite member). Feedback is the reason Medium writers get paid more for claps than they do for clicks.

Feedback is the reason Medium writers get paid more for claps than they do for clicks.

That was the hardest part that I had to get used to when I joined Medium on Juneteenth. I wrote an artificial intelligence post for a flat rate and had no idea how significant claps were. Then I watched a post (without that flat rate) hit 900-plus clicks earn pocket change. Meanwhile a post with less than 400 clicks and a bunch of claps paid my light bill. I get it now. Anyone can hate-read or blah-read your post. That Medium clap is saying that they actually enjoyed the read. No clickbait here!

Anyone can hate-read or blah-read your post. That Medium clap is saying that they actually enjoyed the read.

Photo credit: Create Her Stock

My gripe with the “first call” comment was it basically told me that if I wanted to receive a professional evaluation of a job well done, then I had to never ask for it. And something about that rings hollow. On Upwork, clients that I have a healthy relationship with leave positive feedback before I can even ask for it. At every past job in Corporate America, every boss who I still enjoy the company of wasted no time agreeing to be a written or verbal work reference.

In turn, I’ve become that person who is extremely proud when someone is hired due to my written or verbal work evaluation. I always do the survey when the waiter/waitress comes over with the check. There are two restaurant owners who greet me with hugs, and correctly pronounce my real name, because of my Google+ and Yelp reviews. Just giving people a couple minutes out of your day to give them kudos for a job well done goes a long way. Remember that the next time you want someone to be your “first call.” And if not, find a worker who couldn’t care less about anything but being paid.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

14-year journalist; freelance writer/editor (Upwork); Wag! dog walker; Rover dog sitter; Toastmasters VPPR & member; cohost of Do Not Submit; Shamontiel.com

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