Friday, January 18, 2008

Project Yearbook Post Mortems

My life --indeed any human being's life-- can be described as a series of (sometimes bonehead) decisions and remorseful post-mortems after the fact. As another phase of this life comes to a close I'm feeling the need to make the requisite summations and evaluations.

Project Yearbook is almost practically done. So.

So. What have I learned?

Not much. They say one is doomed to repeat sitting through the lesson if it isn't learned properly. My lessons involve things like valuing the worth of your work by properly pricing it.

Everybody wants to get "a little something extra" for his money and it's only natural that people will haggle. Even if you're already bending over backward to give them something good. To expect others not to haggle right off the bat because you don't, is futile. You have to make that clear.

I can't price myself worth jack because I'm always thinking about the other guy. Because I'm in love with this person, or because the client is "family." It's not that favors shouldn't be done for the people you care about or out of simple human decency (a shock to some of you, I know). But if this is the rule and not the exception then I shouldn't be in business-- I should be a priest or a UN volunteer. In East Timor.

Nobody else gives a rat's @ss that you're risking your life and your investment when you take your equipment on the road or spend late nights on a project whose profit can be measured in peanuts. Nobody wants to understand the technical difficulties you're mired in-- it's too daunting and it's exhausting simply trying to explain why you need to shift file formats, or why you need the damned dummy last year and whythehellarewemakingthedummyjustnow?

Nobody gives half a damn. So you should.

This will be among the hardest lessons for me to learn. I can only say I've learned it after I can tell certain people "No" and not feel so bad that I wasn't able to help.

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