Good morning, my fellow patriots! This is a very special day and I hope you take a moment to remember & reflect. Moving on!
The audiobook “30 Rock and Philosophy”, is now on sale!
So, last week I got an email from a client I thought I’d never hear from again. Why was I surprised to hear from them? Because they cast me twice and took WAY too long to pay each time (4+months). They said next time they would pay me upfront which is usually code for “We’ll go find another talent to jerk around.”
NOTE: for those of you who are not voice talents, we do not get paid the 1st and 15th of every month via check like most people. Our pay rate, rate structure, form of payment, and billing cycle must be established for each & every client and sometimes vary wildly. I have some clients who pay via PayPal before I record and I have others who pay via check two months after I record. Fun to keep track of, right?
So anyway, they sent me the script and told me the rate, both of which were fine. I tell them that once I get the payment, I’ll record the script and send it to them. That’s when they ask if they can hear the recording before I get paid.
Now I have to make a decision: do I hold them to our agreement or do I trust them to pay me in a timely manner?
In other words: should I be a jerk, or a fool?
Now, this may sound like a harsh & pessimistic assessment of the situation, but unfortunately I have been put in this interpersonal “between a rock and a hard place” many, MANY times in both my professional and personal life.
Case in point: back in the day when I worked for your typical soul-crushing corporation as a cafe manager, I discovered that one of my employees was putting extra chocolate syrup in a regular customer’s drink for free and had been doing so for years. As insignificant as that may sound it is, in essence, stealing and it added up to a few hundred dollars. So I had to make a decision: be a jerk and potentially lose a regular customer or be a fool and condone stealing to keep a customer satisfied. So I wrote up the employee and apologized to the regular. You know what happened? I earned the eternal animosity of the employee, the staff thought I was a by-the-book sellout, and the customer wrote to the president of the company and said that I was a horrible manager and should be fired. Nice, huh?
Here’s another one: even further back in the day I was a head host for yet another soul-crushing corporation and on an evening where there was a 30 minute wait an old man comes up to me says, “I’m a veteran, can you put me on the top of the list?” So am I gonna be a jerk for saying no and sticking to restaurant policy or do I put him at the top of the list when literally twenty other guests are listening to this conversation and I know for a fact I will be reported to a manager for “playing favorites” or even worse, being called a racist (yes, I had been accused of that before because one of the servers put his white friends at his table out of turn when a black family was waiting for the table and I’m the one who got screamed at). So I apologized profusely to the old man and said he would have to wait like everybody else. His reply was, and I quote, “I hope you get cancer.”
Back to the situation at hand: I decided to be firm and hold the client to the agreement. They relented and paid me upfront. Everything was fine after that. Will they cast me again? I don’t know. If they do, will I make them pay upfront again? Probably not. Most likely I will trust them to do the right thing and hope that I don’t get hosed again. Does that make me a fool? Maybe, but no matter how many times I have been crushed in the past, I still want to believe in people, you know?
TIP OF THE WEEK: The one thing I hate more than anything else in the world is when a person forces you into a situation that no matter what you do, you’re wrong. This is what happened at the cafe, the restaurant, and with the client. Their acts of selfishness, inconsideration, and un-professionalism forced me to choose between being a jerk or a fool. I ask you to please be aware that your words, actions, and sometimes inaction can put other people in a really bad spot.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Going separate ways isn’t a sign two people don’t understand one another, but just the opposite. Anonymous
STUFF!: Sherlock Holmes 2 good. Bourne Legacy not very good. Behind Enemy Lines not good at all!
From Tom Dheere’s apartment, this is Tom Dheere: GKN News…