I don’t rant, much. I’m pretty easy-going. There are three rules in dealing with me. Don’t mess up Thanksgiving, don’t mess with my friends, and don’t mess with my territory. Steer clear of these and you’re the bee’s knees, baby.
So it is with great loathing that I face today. My working territory in being encroached upon.
Let me explain. I’ve been a graphic designer for twelve years. I’m the old-fashioned kind; I know how printing presses work. Don’t ask me to design a web site – not yet, at least. I’m a dependable old workhorse, happy changing names on business cards and whatnot; I’m not looking to redesign Coke’s logo any time soon.
My biggest client is a print shop. I’ve had a beautiful working relationship with this shop for eight years. I started with them working in-house, kind of a mitochondria in a one-celled organism. Then after the boyos were born, my in-house place was filled and I handled overspill and vacations, a satisfactory situation all around.
Time passed, and the woman taking my place moved on, and the spot was filled by another woman, one for whom I have a lot of respect. Our working relationship went on smoothly.
Then two things happened.
One, the shop absorbed another print shop, taking on the former owner in a salesmanship position, maintaining his old clients.
Now, this should have been good news to me. More work, right? Plus, I already had a past working relationship with the new guy, S. I had played musical chairs for his shop when his designer, L., took off to have a baby. I even found my own replacement when the time came for me to go on baby-leave.
I waited for the extra work to pour in. Nothing happened.
Then I found out that S. was telling the current designer NOT to send me work, but to funnel it to L. instead. Ok, fine…old loyalties. L. was his old graphic designer after all. The designer in place gave me the heads up, and said she’d send me work anyway, because she liked working with me, and L. was, in her words, “a dolt.”
But then she moved on, and guess who took her place.
Again, fine. I’m not ready to work five days a week out of the house. Have at it.
I subbed for her for a day a couple of weeks ago, and learned some interesting things.
The owner of the shop, Owner C., has asked L. to send me work because she’s falling behind, but she refuses. And on top of it, she wants to cut her hours, and take more vacations. But she won’t share the work. The shop’s falling behind.
Every time I tried to talk to Owner C. about it, S. was right there, eavesdropping. On top of that, it didn’t take me long to figure out that L. had changed the names of files she worked on the day before, things that needed completing, so that it took longer for me to find them in the system.
And, the thing that really infuriated me – when L. had asked me if I’d sub that day, she mentioned that she wanted to take a week off, but didn’t know when, and would I be able to come in and cover? I said, ‘Let me know which week, and I’ll see how much babysitting I can round up.’ When I came in that day, there were signs up in three places, saying that she’d be out of the shop on the week of the 27th, and I’d be there.
Not a word to me. Not a word to Owner C., either, apparently. The signs were just as much a surprise to him. So, I was put in a position of telling him I could only work two days for sure. He said he’d take care of it, but I still feel like I’m the one leaving him hanging.
So, L. called yesterday, and asked me to come in today, for half an hour or so, to “learn the system.” The same fucking system I put in place eight years ago! I of course, have no babysitting today, so I’ve got to schlep the boyos along (not a huge problem; since it’s a tight, baby-loving crew working over there) but still, unprofessional and distracting. To the hesitation in my voice, L. replied, “Boy, the enthusiasm is overwhelming!”
So I told her that I was not going to be subbing the whole week, but only a couple of days, and had Owner C. told her that?
No. He hadn’t.
I’m not sure where I stand. Owner C. implied that he was not happy with L. when I was subbing. But I’m not getting any extra work.
I’m frustrated. I don’t know how to approach the situation. I’d always had this hope that I’d be able to return when the time came, that the space would open by fate, and I’d step back in. I hadn’t bet the house on it, but I had hoped. Now, I can barely squeeze work out of them, and even though Owner C. is dissatisfied, he doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. And, I’m not even sure I want to go back, with Backstabbing S. working there. He got in a few snide comments while I was subbing.
I don’t understand. I helped out both L. and S. when the table were turned and L. was on baby leave. Never a complaint by anyone about my work or my attitude. And I never had a beef against them until now. I’m just feeling betrayed.
Ok, enough bitching. Gotta go.