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Taking the high road [design management]
  • I was fired from a project last week. It's not a big or even important project, but the client was a friend first. I had some suspicions about her character but nothing to go on...

    I was fired in an email after I had asked to meet to get the project running again. I had been away on vacation and was back early - but I was stick with a stomach bug for a couple days. I was simply told that she was going to hire somebody else. Of course, I responded that that was really annoying to me...

    And then she called me wife to explain a few reasons why which wa a bit surreal.

    The project was a little stalled because the name was so close to another mulit-national clothing manufacturer I was absolutely certain that this was a huge red flag. So, a new name was found - and I came up with the final iteration of the name - but it took another week. Which meant it backed into two other larger (and more important) projects I had starting. And then, I was leaving for nine days in Mexico.

    I was fired for "having other priorities" and because I was "too busy". It had nothing to do with any design work I showed because I never showed any. We had no deadlines set, yet. But, before I left on my trip I told her that I was a bit backed up and that we would catch up when I was back - I told it was ok. Well, it wasn't...

    So, being fired on a friday evening really pissed me off. Ruined my weekend.

    But now I want to tell all of our common friends what happened - because her saying something like "it didn't work out" still makes me look bad. I also want people to know that I named the company - you know, because I wasn't doing anything to contribute.

    At this moment, it takes all my energy not to fire off emails bitching about this. I'm trying to find the energy to take the high road. This person has a problem. Sadly, I've seen this too much, well-to-do, entitled, diplomatic people (and I realize I'm technically one of these, too). In Mauritania, we tried to avoid these people because it's not like us to expect people to do everything for us.

    If I ever hear anybody talk about this like I did something wrong I'm going to lose it - and I hope that never happens. Anyways, taking the high road, you ever have a situation like this?

    I have my hunch that her husband is not cool with what she did. My wife grilled her on the phone about basic design project management - were there any deadlines established? did you send him a note with your concerns? etc., etc. Tonight I'm stressing this and can't sleep. I know it's not really important but this is so insidious in my opinion I'm really bothered.
  • Oh yeah, are we still friends? Nope.

    And it puts a huge strain on other in-common friendships. I'm super pissed about this.

    The person has no ethics or conscience. I could never fire a friend like this even if they were a terrible designer - I would work with them to make something good. But that's not the issue.

    Maybe I should add? She's worked in government for years - this is her first venture as an "artitst". Yeah, I know.
  • And, yeah, I do wonder what really happened.

    Probably a combination of getting so mad that I was "behind" schedule...and I think she met somebody else who could do the job. But, she claimed that she didn't have anybody else - and under the circumstances I don't know what to believe.

    Part of me wants to figure this out - demand to know. But when I start feeling like that I realize I don't care enough about this project. It's just that it was a friend who fired me while they thought I was still technically on vacation - without explanation - isn't that super cold?
  • Probably a mix of "why haven't you designered something amazing within ridiculously low budget and ludicrously short timeframe?" + "dude just DROPPED EVERYTHING and went to Mexico for NINE DAYS!!!", from her POV that is.
  • Sounds like you dodged a bullet, re: ethyxx & conscience
  • maybe. she was at my house for dinner three days before my trip and she said it was ok. i saw her at the airport (she was leaving for the weekend) and she said it was ok. but, i wasn't asking permission - i was letting her know how things were going. but yes, i think she changed her mind after that and never bothered to contact me about schedulding.
  • annoying as fuck. but... as slater said, it's probably for the best (for you, not her!). have strength, let it go, positivity wins the day, every day.
  • just has a dream that re-enacted this. i think i'll just go with the theory that she doesn't care about anybody (asshole).

    i think it's much easier to deal with that way.
  • it also seems the most likely reason, anyway. i mean, you can't not set a timescale, and then complain (she didn't even do that bit, i realise) that someone else isn't keeping to the timescale.
  • it's a lack of communication, but the abruptness of the breakup should go someway to making you feel more at ease with the situation - it could have been a lot worse had you invested more time / pushed other projects away.

    i totally feel the 'wanting the truth to out', though. shit-talkers are the worst.
  • i'm guessing she found someone else that "says" they can do it cheaper or for free. i say good riddance. who the fuck doesn't have their ducks in a row when it comes to a company name before starting a project?!?! and what type of person relies on a designer to come up with a company name. that's a new one for me. wash your hands of her and be thankful she is no longer your problem. :)
  • tbh, i've had a hand in naming quite a few products :)

    for others, i've certainly made it clear that product/company names shouldn't have numbers in them :D (jesus...)
  • i've named many things over the years. it wasn't a big deal to me.

    i think i feel a bit better today. she's just another asshole. i have plenty of work at the moment anyways...nicer work!
  • well, it just seems to me that a little more thought and research should be put into naming a product/business that shouldn't solely fall on the designer. they aren't as intimate with the product/business as the owner. just my 2 cents.
  • i agree, in a lot of cases :)

    it is nice to be involved from such an early stage of the product development cycle, though. also, i'm in-house where *most* of these namings have occurred, so definitely not the same scenario as you are talking about there.
  • @nimmot: i don't disagree.

    when you are a freelancer living in a place like this though...you get what you get. which isn't much.
  • believe me, i've name my share of products/businesses over the years. i just don't think some people understand the thought and research needed to go into it and just think that a designer has some kind of magical name generator at their disposal to whip of names. :D

    i also agree with getting what you can get when you freelance. sucks to not be at the point to be able to pick and choose your work. you're always going to run into clunts (client +cunt = clunt. got that from here but can't remember who to credit). most of the time they are family or friends. they always seem to be the hardest to deal with as they want everything under the sun for nothing. i sure as hell don't call up my lawyer buddies and ask for free legal work (or next to nothing pay) so why the hell do people think designers are any different?

    anyway, good luck vask. hope this wasn't that great of a friend or in the very least you can patch things up and still remain civil in the same social circles. :)