Sunday, March 10, 2013

On Professionalism, Or Thank Jeebus That's Over

So, in case you didn't know, I'm kind of a nerd about costuming. I've recently gotten into the cosplay side of things, having found a means of doing so that doesn't involve shoehorning my 200+-lb carcass into spandex. No one wants to see that.

At any rate, I have an abiding love of taking something that was only 2-dimensional and bringing into reality. I am learning more and more how to more effectively do that, and it is pretty awesome.

There are times, though, that that love is tested. Such a test happened recently.

I have a friend (yes, I'm sure you're all shocked) whose mother runs a high school theater program. We'll call her The Director. That theater program is well known, and The Director has been given numerous prestigious awards for her work. She's good at what she does, and everyone know it.

Enter The New Principal. He-- that is, he doesn't-- Well, let's just say he's a bit of a micro-manager and refused to let The Director do her job. He cuts her budget, second-guesses design choices, and all-around makes life difficult.

Now, enter Me. The seamstress they had previously used got deported (awesome!), so they were in a bit of a bind for costume construction. My friend was like, "Hey! I know someone, and she's not doin' anything, so we can totes do that!"

The work, I loved. As I mentioned, I love makin' stuff. I was not, however, prepared for the scope of the project. I've made all kinds of things for myself, or other costumes that were just one costume at a time kind of things. Heck, y'all have seen the Victorian dress I made. That crap is involved, but it was still all just for one total piece.

This project...
Oh man.

And not just psychological stress either. The physical stress of being hunched over a sewing machine for weeks on end was exhausting. I think, all told, there were some twenty costumes I made, some of them with multiple layers. 
It was, quite literally, the single most ambitious project I have ever undertaken.

It was... Well, let's just say it was educational.
I found more efficient ways of doing some things.
I realized there are some things that aren't as important in the grand scheme of things and was able to let them go, while there were other things that I discovered were way more important than I originally anticipated.

I also realized what I can work with and what I can't.
I know now where I need to draw lines and set up my inner Gandalf.
Granted, it would've been difficult to do with this particular commission, what with the client being so very far away, but now I know.

These people are truly fortunate that I'm a professional and I have any pride at all or care for my reputation as a professional, else I'd have dropped the whole mess and had done. I mean, I also needed the money, but I might've been willing to abandon that as well. God knows they weren't paying me enough for the crap I had to deal with.

But now, I know.
And never again will I subject myself to such madness.


Boundaries will be established, contracts clarified, and needs met. I will not suffer under this manner of treatment again, especially for something that isn't my primary career. 
Granted, I'm good at it, and I love doing it.
But I don't need it.
It's not the course I've chosen for my life, and I have numerous other skills to net gainful employment.
That kind of crap I do *not* need.


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