Chronicles in Ordinary Time 39: Bruised Egos

I decided a long time ago, when I started writing stuff [as a Building/Planning Code consultant I send out a newsletter], that I would only write about things I KNOW, rather than things I’m guessing about. Consequently, I never provide suggestions about investments and financial matters. I had a lesson in this concept a long time ago; a time that now seems like a different lifetime. I accepted a challenge to ‘sit at the feet’ all night with an ‘expert’ in marketing and life. I went to work tired the next day, but energized. He had spent a few hours talking about how to make marriages work successfully–a handsome, well-groomed businessman who was married to a gorgeous and gracious woman. A few months later, they were divorced… After that an upline business associate embezzled some funds. A sad commentary on Free Will.

The only thing I know for sure about freelancing is that one’s ego will get painfully bruised. But this is a generalization, and like all generalizations, it’s not totally accurate. MY ego has gotten painfully bruised on a regular basis, ever since I took this gig.  One day I have people telling me how great my work is; the next day I have people skipping out on a payment.  Some days I lose out on work because as much as they liked my work, they found someone who can do it better. And they can…

I specialize in drawing, and digitally manipulating my drawings. While I can copy almost any style, I can’t create in multiple styles. I can copy cartoons, but I have trouble creating cartoons. I met a young woman one day who created amazing drawings on the spot, no visual references. I taught a drawing class at a middle school this last winter term. There were two girls in the class who were able to draw manga illustrations off the top of their heads, better than I could begin to imagine. One of the ego-bruising aspects of today’s technological age is that there is so much specialization. I’m a generalist who was once in sight of the leading edge of technology; now, I’m not even sure how far ahead the leading edge is. But it’s far. I have software I’ve barely used, specialties I’d like to have; but don’t have time to explore.

It’s all about Time. As in the clock above. A clock image I created from a guy’s artwork. An image along with others, for which, once again, I was never paid. A lot of time invested by me this year that proved about as successful as Wall Street’s management of the lending industry…

An ever-present dilemma for freelancers. The ‘logical’ solution is to always get a down payment before working, in order to at least get something for work done that turns out to have been a bad investment of time. However, there apparently a lot of dishonest ‘creatives’ out there who have cheated a lot of people in their time. Enough that there are a lot of buyers who won’t even consider giving a payment in advance. So what’s an honest freelancer to do?

What I do is to act as if I’m not going to be cheated this time; and act as if every client is going to be a client for a very long time. And hope that I don’t screw up the deal by not communicating well enough. The clock project was a year ago, and my brain is full…I don’t recall any of the details, and I apparently didn’t copy the email at the end of the interaction. According to the beginning of the email conversation, I supposedly was going to get paid $20/hr. Nothing in my billing records; and 1Gb of digital files in the client’s folder.

Time. The element of life I try to control, but cannot. I gave up on wearing a watch years ago; my watch was controlling my life. Of course, fewer and fewer people are wearing watches now. Cell phones track time and nearly everyone has a cell phone with them. Mine stays either in my office 98% of the time. The message on my cell phone directs people to call my land line, because my cell phone is probably in my closet. Having a computer in my pocket would have been a tremendous temptation years ago; since I now mostly live in my office, it’s an expense I can avoid.

Time. Do I make the most of my time? Probably not. I’ve spent too much time chasing a living, and too little time with my family. I have a granddaughter in another state; far enough away that we only see her about once a year. Since she recently turned 11, that means I’ve seen her 11 times, more or less. Twelve times–they came here last summer, as well as our going to Colorado. When she was an infant, and again as a pre-school-aged little girl, she lived with us for a few months… Skype. I could see her all the time, if I made the effort. These days, I’m weary, aching and tired most of the time; when I stop working, there’s little left for relationships. Fortunately my wife doesn’t require a lot of attention.

I have become my father, in spite of my best intentions.


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2 Responses to “Chronicles in Ordinary Time 39: Bruised Egos”

  1. Italamp Victor e Victoria Says:

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It is the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks for sharing!|
    Italamp Victor e Victoria


  2. Les Pontius Says:

    Wow cuz this is great work! Congrats and keep it up.|


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