Archive for May, 2015

Former Coworkers

You leave your office job to begin freelancing and learn that shortly after your leaving, the company went through a round of layoffs. And then another. Soon, the connection requests start coming through LinkedIn from the randoms you worked alongside but hardly ever with. Some include messages in their invites, most don’t.

But when you get a request from the 300 pound proselytizing lady, your hand stops clicking the accept button and you stop to consider the situation.

You don’t know if you want her in your network. You didn’t like how she tried to make her cube look like a living room, with the ceramic figurines and framed sears portrait family photos of her adult children, their drooling babies in red and green Xmas jumpers posed next to wagons. Family portraits with her standing behind everyone, just her head peeping over the other shoulders, or her hugging her adult son from behind to hide her plus sized body. Her obsession with comfort made you shiver. The multi-directionally tilting foot rest, the various back rests and ergonomic keyboards and jointed wrist holders. No wonder she was always snacking to stay alert, she was practically in bed. You felt like telling her to ditch all the ergonomic shit and get a balance ball to sit on, maybe even a tall desk to stand at. What she didn’t need was any more relaxing. And while you didn’t, you will be damned if her request gets accepted within a reasonable time frame. Better to make her wait a week. At least check out her resume first.

You observe her spotty work history and patchy education and try to piece together what she was doing while she wasn’t working. And then, there it is – the church work. Of course, this is entered and edited to read as though it were a paid gig. She has Project Manager and Social Media entered, presumably to cover those times when she sent out reminder emails to gather volunteers for the monthly Sunday ice cream social.

You wonder if all the others are padding their resumes with fake gigs and what they are claiming to be doing. You check their profiles and are incensed at some of the fabrications being made. Independent consultants. Entrepreneurs. Yeah right. You are the one who stepped off that boat into freelancing and consulting. They are merely looking for another job while collecting unemployment. A couple of them admit to being jobless and lost by posting their status as “exploring opportunities”, but they are the minority.

You decide to quit wasting your time and just accept them all. Who knows, maybe one or two of them might need a contractor when they get a new job.

You decide that next time, you will take full advantage of all of the potential health programs your next job offers. Crisis counseling, group therapy, bereavement leave and discounted lawyers fees. AA and performance improvement. Health sabbaticals and questionable religious holidays like Hoshana Rabbah, or Eid Al-Fitr. You will take them all.

But for now, all you can do is sign up for unemployment and try to figure out what to do next.


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POLL: Is freelancing really worth it?


Do you like freelancing? Would you rather work for a company? What is great and what sucks about it? Let me know in the comments below.


Graphic Designer vs Difficult Client

I don’t have much of a budget…


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Client Types: The Bully

I recently was referred by a previous client for some work elsewhere. The referring client was easy to work with, sang my praises and listened to my advice, so naturally I welcomed a referral. She sent my information on and the referral contacted me within ten minutes.

The new client suggested a Skype chat. I obliged and we were chatting within 30 minutes of first contact. And this is where it should have ended.

The first red flag came when she referred to our discussion about her project as an “interview”.

Let’s be clear: I am a consultant and practitioner. I was referred to this client as a peer who could assist, not as a subcontractor. I had already submitted a website full of samples, plus additional requested samples were emailed and reviewed.  This project was posed to me as a kind of favor for this client. But I went with this ‘interview’, assuming it was standard process or the like. We discussed fairly high level work, so I agreed to check it out and signed a nondisclosure agreement.

Then I received a Work Order. For 10 hours of work. On a project that, if done correctly, would take 40 – 60 hours in the real world. This is Skype the conversation that followed:

Me: This  work order is for one 15 minute module out of 6 that will be in a particular lesson, correct?

Bully: NO it is one storyboard with six 15 minute lessons. The course has thirty 15 minute modules total.  You are doing one piece of it with 3 other designers.

Me: So ten hours to develop 90 minutes of material? [Editor’s Note: 90 mins of storyboarding, even for a very simple training course, has a mean of 60 design hours]

Bully: Correct.
Me: …That seems rather short. Do you have any of these storyboards developed for this project? I

Bully: Each lesson is 10-15 minutes. Not sure where the confusion lies. You would be responsible for 6 of these mini lessons

[Oh now they are MINI LESSONS??]

Me: There is no confusion, I am trying to get a sense of how much research and rework of the material would be required, or if it a matter of using the existing information.  If there needs to be objective development and decision making style scenarios created, I don’t think I make a quality lesson in 1hr 40 per module.

Bully:There is no research. You copy/paste from the documents specified in the document for that lesson. So thanks again. great to work with another ID veteran. This is my 19th year.

[The fact she had to point out this is her 19th year should have told me – stay away!]

Later, after realizing she had not even looked at the very lengthy and detailed information that was in NO WAY ready for “copying and pasting” into a storyboard, I backed out:

Me: I’ve spent 3.5 hours on module 6 and I’m only halfway through. I can see that I will not be able to create 6 lessons in 10 hours.

Bully: [Seeing I had her switcharoo figured out and was about to back out of the whole thing, softens up] Sometimes it takes a while to get familiar with the content and template. Are you having trouble breaking the content down to make it short and sweet for the module?

Me: I’m not having trouble, I can absolutely create these, but the writing and interaction creation and image finding is too involved for the amount of content.

Bully: You should just be able to locate the topic from the outline and pull the information on that topic from the document. you only need a 1-2 sentence overall description.  would you like to schedule a call?

Me: No, we don’t need to have another call. I’ve spent too much time on this already and I see that perhaps you haven’t acquainted yourself with the material. I suggest you look over the very first lesson and reconsider your time frame.

Bully: Oh that is just f***ing great! You are just going to leave me hanging? And here I thought you were  a professional!

I didn’t answer her.  Bullet dodged.


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