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fired from my first design job.. really sad

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by sadpotato, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. sadpotato

    sadpotato New Member

    Hi all. I'm just sharing my feelings here as a newbie, and I would like some consolation/advice, whatever you think will be useful for me right now.

    I picked up this design/art job about a week ago, designing a wedding card for 2 older acquaintances (they are pretty high-ranking professionals while I am a very young emerging artist). We met up for a drink, and I promised to show them something by the end of the week. That week, I actually had to fly off to another country for a family trip (grandfather passed away) and I texted them the next day that I had to extend the deadline by 2 days. I apologised deeply for that.

    However, their next reply was to fire me on the spot. They said that I could have told them that I was travelling, which I admit that I did not as I thought that the design could be done before I fly off (so why need to tell them anyway?), and they said i didn't see this task as important. That they can't rely on me as well.

    I thought it was very harsh, but it made me feel really bad because they had been fair and nice throughout. I apologised even further, admitting that I was overconfident, and underestimated the duration needed for the job. They said that they would be giving the design job to someone else, but their wedding is happening in three weeks!!! It would be difficult to find someone else to do the job for them in that short time span.

    So I offered a reconciliation, saying that I would still do the design and send it to them. That, if they liked it, we could work something out. But they maintained their stand and coolly told me "don't bother". From my standpoint, it was not a rational decision they were making.

    Anyway, I've decided to give up as well. I just wish that they can find someone who can do it for them. I didn't even offer a reconciliation because I wanted the money.. it was so that things wouldn't be as difficult for them. In the first place, don't you think it's rushed to have your wedding 3 weeks after you work things out with your graphic designer?

    I don't blame them, I know that I'm at fault for 1. not stating the terms properly, and 2. underestimating the time needed for the project. I'm also quite sad that whatever friendship we had, dissipated within 1 text message. They didn't even give me time to explain.

    Could you tell me your opinion of this, and other advice you can give me?
  2. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    My view.... unless your grandfather passed away (sorry for your loss) after the initial meeting then you should have told them about the trip and as such potential delays before starting the project, it does sound like you were aware of it prior to the meeting.
    I also wouldn't have texted (did you say it was for the funeral...) them over the situation, speaking to them would have come across better and they may have been more sympathetic.

    Communication goes a long way in our line of work and personally I'd never use a text message for important communication as to be honest in my view it doesn't come across as professional.
  3. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Send them an invoice for the meeting, how many hours the meeting was for, and multiply it by your hourly rate.
  4. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Lol Hank does not mess about!

    I agree with all of the above points made.

    Also, when you say you were fired from your job, were you actually employed by a company who fired you? As it sounds as if it was a private/personal commissioned freelance job? If so, you can't fire yourself lol and it's up to your clients whether they choose to continue using your services or not for whatever reason. As long as you are paid for your time, draw a line under it, learn from your mistakes and move on.
  5. sadpotato

    sadpotato New Member

    Hi CLHB,

    yes, it was a private commissioned freelance job. I felt fired... but perhaps that wasn't the right word to use haha. And I wasn't paid for my time, but thank you, yes I will draw a line under it. Currently i'm doing a lot of overthinking (who was wrong who was right) and it's driving me crazy. i'll be sure to learn from my mistakes.

    p.s. Thank you everyone above!
  6. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    From what you've said the original deadline was only three weeks?

    That's a very short amount of time for something like that.
    I'd be thinking something more like three months prior to the wedding.
    Three weeks to brief you, you come up with a design, any amends, do the artwork and then get them printed?

    To me it sounds like that was pushing the envelope a bit (might be a pun in there) with zero margin for error which is in fact, their fault if you ask me.
    I'm sure you didn't plan to lose your Grandfather (sorry for your loss) and they seem to have very little compassion going on.
    Two days is not a big thing to ask under the circumstances.

    You may be getting the brunt of their poor planning.
    I'm sure you'd have been able to pull out the stops and have come up with the goods in the end.

    As was said above, draw a line under it and learn from it.
    Don't beat yourself up over it. It happens.

    I'm sure they'll get some nice, generic ones from Vistaprint in time. ;)
  7. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    I wasn't joking.
  8. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    Neither was I @hankscorpio. I was just being polite.
    Oh well. I'll get 'the boys' together if you bring the van. ;)
  9. sadpotato

    sadpotato New Member

    Hahaha scotty, it wasn't three weeks... my time frame was 1 week. 1 week for briefing, coming up with a design, talking to them, and revising it (if needed). I really wanted to do it before my trip but since this is my first design project I severely underestimated the time needed for this :(

    To be fair, I didn't tell them about my grandfather passing away (when I mentioned that I'd be going on a family trip). But I maintained being polite all the way and apologising for the inconvenience I would cause them. They're super disappointed in me but at the same time I thought there was more to our client-designer relationship than to fire me on the spot in one text message.. without giving me the chance to clarify or make amends.

    What I've learnt from this is
    - Not to deal with unreasonable terms for a project (short time frame), and not to overpromise (that I could deliver)
    - Mentioning my circumstances to outline possible sources of delays
    - Better communication.

    I, too, thought that I could deliver the goods if I were given 2 more days. Even if I stayed up all night for it. It's such a pity, but oh well.

    Thank you so much for comforting me :) It really helped.

    Edit : I'm about 110% sure they can't find someone who would be willing to rush it out like I wanted to.
  10. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Forget about it and move on. You'll learn quickly which jobs to avoid and which you can comfortably take on. I personally avoid anything wedding-related. Typically they're B2C transactions, the deadlines are normally too tight (non-professional planners not knowing how long something takes) and you're at the mercy of a client who may claim you've "ruined their big day".

    Going forward, be honest with clients, reply promptly and professionally (avoid text messages where possible unless you have a good working relationship) and if you agree to a deadline, you should try and stick to it. In the past I've finished a job for a client hours before boarding a plane to leave the country for two weeks because I simply couldn't extend the deadline.

    On the flipside don't give clients too much control over your life, or they'll come to expect it. Be indispensable but set clear boundaries – for example don't answer calls or emails at weekends unless it's urgent, or you'll find clients ringing at all hours.
  11. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I don't mind doing this if I'm at home but I won't 'work' at the weekend or super late at night without charging a late night/weekend rate which is higher than normal. Now it's not to say I don't work over weekends or at night, because I do, but it's through choice or to catchup with loss of work time during the day/week (say I had a 'day off' due to an appointment etc).
  12. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    I know how important this only too well as I'm stuck in that horrible cycle!!

    I have a client who loves to be 'involved' in the projects they commission me to undertake, meaning that regardless of the time of day or night, if they have a good idea, they'll call me! It's as though they think they own your life until that project has been completed. In addition I'm working with an agency in California on a project for a client in Virginia, so the agency is 8 hours behind me but the client is 3 hours ahead of them which makes home life a real mess for everyone!!
  13. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    One of my clients calls me "The King Of The Shitty Shift" because I'm known for taking on some insane deadlines and I get them done.
    I once worked 38 hours straight with no sleep and actually started to hallucinate.
    I was driving home and I saw a car coming the other way and it had arms. o_O

    I also work for clients in the US and Australia so I have some pretty late Skype calls too.

    One of my gigs is working with a graff/mural company which means working some unusual hours on site when things are closed or streets are quiet.
    Saturdays @ 2am on a town High Street can be an interesting place to be.

    We once worked in a Premier League football stadium through the night which was WAY cool.
    We had the run of the place. Got some beers in, ordered pizza and plugged our tunes into the grounds PA.
    God knows what it must have sounded like outside.
    Can't listen to Paper Planes by M.I.A without thinking about that one. ;)

  14. AlanNunez

    AlanNunez Member

    If you are going to take on design jobs as a freelancer you need to deliver. I would have maybe done one of the following:

    1. Found another designer to do the work based on your brief.
    2. Got on my laptop and completed the work on the flight.
    3. Referred them to someone I trust and agreed with the other designer that they charge the rate that I agreed with the client.

    When I have problems that inhibit me personally to deliver on a job I always try and find a solution for the client and when I contact them I lead with the solution.
  15. sadpotato

    sadpotato New Member

    Yes, I learnt the weight of being a freelancer and the need to deliver now. I'll definitely keep this in mind so I can be a better and more reliable one :)

    Thing is, I did tell them that I would be working on my trip. I brought sketchbooks and my laptop, as well as other drawing materials. Sad to say, they still thought that I "would not be able to do anything on my trip" (as quoted) even though I had said clearly that I can send them progress shots.

    Thank you for the advice. I think the way I phrased things wasn't very solution based. oh well no point crying over split milk..
  16. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe you shouldn't have said anything at all and just delivered the project on time as agreed then?
  17. Jspam1

    Jspam1 Member

    sorry for you granddad. I always think it's best to keep in contact with any client. though it does seem a bit OTT. Next time in the future always keep in touch

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