Caller JAMMAAARRRRR~! *shakes fist* from Philadelphia, PA, the greatest city in the history of our fair planet and perhaps the entire universe asked me to write about the politics of being a fedhead and all the crap he/she has to deal with. I guess I'm the perfect candidate to do this seeing as I've come under some heat most recently of my FW.com fedhead brothers.
Being a fedhead is a very tricky proposition. It's not so much the ideas part of it, or matchwriting, long-term direction or even booking (even though that last one leads to the tough part). All of that is pretty easy in the grand scheme of things. Sure, one guy may come up with some shitty ideas to you, or they may write ghastly matches in your view, but we all see things in different ways, and that person's brainpower may be lauded by other people in other circles. We see it all the time, especially comparing the verily different worlds of A1, FW, the angle feds and PTC. What William "WillyMo" Morgan deems as trash may be Dan West's treasure. Dave Brunk and Dave Larkin may see things very differently.
The tricky part of it all is the ego juggling, the handling of your handlers. Some people just can't take it, and it requires major intestinal fortitude and stamina to take on the duties of a fedhead, if just for the people on AIM or in e-mail who posture themselves to get what they want through things other than roleplaying and developing compelling angles.
Now, we know that some fedheads resort to pushing their friends, and those are the feds that you stay away from. I'm not talking about that when I'm talking about external pressures. I'm talking about people who try to write matches for the sheer purpose of getting ahead in the fed rather than doing it because they care about the fed and want it to run smoothly. People who'll use their "prestige" and "standing" in the e-fed world to try and exert some stroke. People who are parts of major angles and threaten to quit if things don't go their way. The easy answer on how to deal with those people is to dismiss them immediately, but the truth is, it's not easy to let someone go, especially if they do put in an effort or they do have some kind of cache attached to them or if they're part of your longterm plans.
When more than one person starts doing that, then doubts start to creep in your head over whether you can keep your roster. You then start deciding matches on who's going to bitch the least or who the public would rather see win rather than who really should win. It's a tough place to be, and believe me, I've been there before. I can't say I've ever made a decision with politics only in mind, but the frustrations have caused the thought to cross my mind. However, this is also why I always try to get other judges, impartial, objective judges who don't have the drama queen tendencies that I show sometimes. I like to have fair results, and I like to have results that the most people can at least accept if they're not going to be happy.
Treading eggshells is not fun though. When you have to do that, then what's the point of having a fed? The handlers in this hobby MUST realize that there's a winner and there's a loser. If they come out on the latter side... so what. It happens, deal with it, get over it, if you don't like it, pull your character and rework it or just retire. However, I doubt that the people who need to hear this message are reading this blog, or if they are, they don't know that they're in that group. The dramatic contingient will always be around in e-fedding. That's not a comforting thought for any prospective fedhead, and I still haven't answered how a fedhead can deal with it.
Honestly, in my opinion... the best way to deal with it is to be up front, transparent, honest and at the very least civil. You win more flies with honey than with vinegar. Flipping out at the drop of a hat won't get you anywhere. Neither will allowing undermining of your calls in public. The best thing you can do is keep complaints private so that you don't have a public rift that may drive prospective handlers away.
But if you say up front what's going to happen if x happens, people will respect you. If you shoot straight with them, they'll respect you.
Being a fedhead will never be easy I suppose. However, it doesn't have to be hell.