Archive for July, 2015

My leadership rant

I have taken a lot of jobs for the novel experience, even if they didn’t pay much or seemed like a strange choice. I’ve served banquets and beers, been a diver on boats, taught horse riding lessons and cleaned rooms on cruise ships. I’ve also worked in offices for over ten years in a white collar capacity, after getting my MA in a business related field.

So it was inevitable that I would encounter some great leadership and some horrendous leadership.  Sometimes a terrible boss is at least good fodder for stories, especially when they have ridiculously outdated hair, or are just a plain idiots. Like when your boss asks what kind of soup zuppo di giorno is in an Italian restaurant, then says How do you know that? when you explain that it means soup of the day in Italian. Or when your boss sends a demanding email to you stating that your work needs to be in sink (rather than in synch) with so and so’s work, which would have you gnashing your teeth with frustration but for the fact that she copied the VP of the department in the email to try to intimidate you, but unknowingly presented herself ever more clearly as the fool she is to the rest of the company. Or when you tell your boss you don’t have a TV and they respond with “…well what do you do at night??”

But other other jobs with sucky leadership are run by mediocre people who are just paranoid enough to surround themselves with enough ass lickers to protect themselves. They are either of average intelligence or are otherwise threatened by ability and brains, so they keep half assed yes men as their protection and their pawns. And then there is nothing entertaining about them at all, so you just have to get out as soon as you can.

Don’t forget the plain clueless – the old school leaders who won’t keep up with technology or stay current in their field. They don’t even know they have fallen behind the eight ball because they operate in the old paradigm where you obtain your position and just keep doing it the same way forevermore. They are lost causes, and yet, companies still keep them around. I am guessing they were relevant at one point, then learned to be good ass lickers.

As freelancers we don’t really have bosses per se. But we do sometimes have to deal with leaders of companies, so this blog post is totally applicable, in a roundabout way.

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Heed the Crappy Client Red Flags

Folks, listen. I’m giving you a list of phrases that if you hear during your negotiations with a potential client are giant RED FLAGS that are trying to tell you something. That something is NO.

The following phrases universally signify that these clients will be the worst clients you’ll ever have the pleasure of working for 100% of the time.

 

Statement #1. This is an easy job.

Oh really, motherfucker? If it is such an easy job then why don’t you do it yourself? Why are there 189 files of unsorted support material that need to be sifted through to identify relevant information, images, and so on?  How does 29 pages of a transcribed lecture fit into 10 minutes of material?  Have you even looked at any of this crap?

Bottom line: It’s very likely NOT an easy job – they just don’t want to pay for a difficult job.

 

Statement #2. It should only take an experienced freelancer XXX amount of time.

An experienced freelancer…meaning someone experienced in producing sub-par work? Or do you mean someone so experienced in self loathing and desperation that they will work for 40 hours even though you are only paying them for 10?

Bottom line: The client doesn’t want to pay for good work OR they don’t care about good work, in which case, they still don’t want to pay for work done well.

 

Statement #3. Other freelancers we are used to using only charge half that.

That’s great, you should hire THEM!

Bottom line: You are probably going to be redoing the work of the cheap labor they hired the first time.And the client doesn’t want to pay for quality work.

 

Statement #4. Those terms are higher than we have a budget for, but we have lots of work so we can give you lots of hours!

If a client says you are out of their budget, you are out of their budget. Believe them and move on.

Bottom line: Your goal is probably to not work more hours for fewer dollars than what you are worth.

 

Statement #5. You’ll have to take on a test project for free first.

This is insidious of late because there are so many freelancers from all over the world who say yes, charge nothing, and then produce crap, so clients feel they need to protect themselves. But if you’ve shared your portfolio, references and CV, you shouldn’t have to put yourself through this.

Bottom line: You’d probably rather be paid for completing an entire project than completing half of a project for free.

 

You’ve been warned, kittens. Just remember, you have the right and even obligation to lose the losers. You have my permission.

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