I was working on a set of projects for a client who works with a nonprofit organization that is known for exploiting artists. The form of exploitation involves guilt-tripping them to work for free. The client signed the contract and agreed to pricing, so I didn’t anticipate there would be any issues. The client was pleased with the designs. Then, right before finalizing them, this happened.
Client: I forgot to tell you, but you were supposed to use our logo for this project.
Me: Okay, that’s no problem. Go ahead and send that over so I can plug it in.
Turns out that the placement they wanted for the logo required a redesign from scratch. I also found out that they used drafts for print before the project was finalized.
We used to run a set of quarterly articles that required a whole marketing team, a set of designers, and three heads of department. When the global illness situation royally shafted us, we ended up losing around 30% of our workforce, most of which was marketing and design. This meant that articles became less of a priority, but the big boss of the company still felt it was vital we had them out at the usual time.
Big Boss: Where are the articles? They're due to go out this month!
Us: We're sorry, but due to lack of resources, the earliest we can get the articles out is in two months' time, unless you want us to compromise on the quality of the work.
Big Boss: Lack of resources? You should have everything you need; I've not revoked anything that you require to work. And the quality needs to be as high as possible. I won't compromise on this.
Us: People. You revoked people. We lost over half of our team, but the workload for the company has stayed the same, so it's increased for everyone. We can't keep up the same turnaround times when we all have three times as much work to do.
Big Boss: That doesn't count. You should still be able to manage the same amount of work.
An additional 10% of the workforce has left of their own volition. I wonder why.
I take short-term contracts as a job, however, I only take on one contract at a time since it is full-time. I took a huge pay cut coming onto my newest job because I liked the company and negotiated that once they had the money to increase my salary we would renegotiate. I live in Washington DC so the salaries are high because the cost of living is high. I took half the pay coming on to this job, like barely scraping by pay.
Client: So I’ve been thinking about the renegotiation coming up in your contract.
Me: Okay, what are your thoughts?
Client: Well I was just thinking about how my first teaching job I was getting paid what you're getting paid now and I went to work all day, worked for hours after school each day, and worked on weekends. If I don’t see the same dedication from you we are going to have to lower your pay.
Their first job was twenty years ago in the backwoods South Carolina. Good luck looking for someone to finish out the last two months of this contract...
I was asked to work on a studio-based show for TV with a fast turnaround of two days prep, one day edit, one day tidy up and get to air. Having worked on it the year before and ending up working 37 hours straight to get it done in time for broadcast even though the contract was for a max 8.5 hour day, I was hesitant, to say the least, but was assured by the hiring company my contracted hours would be stuck to by the client this time, and they did a LOT to try make sure that was the case.
But of course, I receive a call from the client at 11 PM the evening of my first day:
Client: So, what exactly are your hours on the show this year?
Me: I'll be doing 8.5 hours, which is my contracted maximum, but we have planned things out so well, the first day was on track, and I've arranged a shifted pattern with the other editor so you are always covered. To be honest, there's no reason we can't make this schedule.
Client: Oh wow, they are keeping you on a tight leash this year, huh? It really doesn't allow you to really be free with your time. Not like last year. It's not great, right? I'm concerned.
Me: Well, I'd prefer to stick to the hours, and like I say, we have planned meticulously and are on a very rigorous deadline, so as long as that's kept in mind, there's no reason for me sticking to the agreed hours should be an issue.
Cut to three days later, and I am once again a husk of an editor, having worked three times as many hours over the two days than agreed because some clients think plans, schedules, and contracts are totally optional.
Have you ever had a client assume that you just don't need to sleep?
I work for a highly visited news web portal that covers many stories in the region.
One of my "favourite" clients asks for the photographer to come and visit the opening of a digitally mapped and marked trail on one of the local hills (an hour's ride from our working space) that their company was sponsoring. It was considered urgent since the client said they didn't have any other photographer and someone had to cover the story.
Our photographer, in order to take the most beautiful sceneries and panoramas, makes an extra effort and during the event climbs up the hill without equipment, spends the whole day in the mountains covering the story, gets in a life danger twice, and brings us the best photo in the end.
Eventually, the client sends their own photographs and video content.
When asked why we don't use our photographer's content, they said "too much greenery and there were none of our managers."
Have you ever had to put in the work and not have it recognized?
I was working on a submission package for a client for a big government contract. The deadline, for some reason, was on a Monday. The client knew that, I knew that, we all knew that. We had two weeks to put together the application.
The client dragged their heels on everything - giving me source content to draw from, design materials, templates. I pulled together a full draft the prior Tuesday and pushed it to them to give me feedback ASAP.
They gave me major revisions... at 6 PM on Friday.
You know how sometimes in movies, a magic spell turns someone solid, and then they turn to dust which blows away in the wind? I felt like I saw that happen to my weekend.
I was working with a client who kept asking for revision after revision for a design (I'd made the mistake of not limiting the number in the contract, since I THOUGHT it would be a pretty simple job). I finally spoke up.
Me: Just so you know, after this revision I'm going to have to start charging you for my time. We're well past the initial scope of the budget at this point.
Client: Oh, okay. Let's just go with the third version, then. I liked that one best.
We were at revision seven. He was just trying to see what other versions would look like.
I received an "urgent" email from a client I'd done some design work for in the past. The body of the text read as follows.
Client: I have a design job that I need to talk to you about ASAP. Please respond immediately.
I was working on some other files for other clients, but I cleared time to make a meeting.
Me: You have an urgent project for me?
Client: Yes! It's a promotion for an event I will be hosting locally [...] in three months.
So... not urgent at all then. He just wanted to tell me about it right away.