Whether you're looking to break into the business world as a hired graphic/web designer for a company, looking to find another full-time gig as a graphic/web designer or you're out there working for clients as a freelancer, it's bound to happen to you sooner or later: you have to decide to work for a client/company that you're just not that interested in.
Over the years I've had the chance to work with: an online document company, insurance company, contact lens distributor, realtors, laundry mat chain, an auto garage and even a manufacturer of a hang-over pill (yes, you read that right). None of these businesses were all that bad to work with (well, maybe the hang-over pill); I just wasn't that into them.
I suppose a situation like this is kind of like dating a girl/guy that you're not all that into, isn't it?
Sure, you're with someone (which for some people is better than being with no one), but it's not all that fun.
Of course your list of "not-so-fun" businesses to work with will be different than mine, and that's cool - everyone is going to have a slightly different list. The question is, "Should you consider still working for a client/company that you're not all that into?" What do you think?
In looking at this dilemma from somewhat of a logical standpoint, here's what I am seeing:
- Money...good for paying bills and getting cool stuff
- Opportunity to add to, and diversify portfolio
- Opportunity for testimonial, referrals
- You're design, focus and effort might not be that good if you're not into what you're doing
- Borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring work, you'll often end up procrastinating / perhaps missing deadlines
- If this is a longer-term or permanent position (like a job), it really might start to suck after a while...whether you're getting paid or not. There's nothing worse knowing you've got a butt-load of work ahead of you that you're really not all that into.
Graphic Designers: Here's My Advice on Taking the Money and Running, or Moving On:
For me, there really was no concrete answer, although I'll tell you that more often than not, I often regretted, "sucking it up, doing the project and taking the money".
On a short-term basis I'd personally take the money and run, especially when the economy is rough. If it's not a permanent position and you feel that you'll probably only be doing one or just a few small projects for a client, I'd go forward, take the project and get paid.
Longer-term, which would include on-going/big freelancing projects and of course a full-time gig, I'd most likely pass. My logic here is that if I am totally not in to what my client/employer's doing, it's going to be challenging for me to design for them - I am not going to be nearly as effective, nor will I be providing my best work and effort. There's a good chance that I am going to be slower in delivering the project (since I won't be motivated to do it) and worst of all, I am not going to enjoy the experience.
I've found that I can stay with a client/company for a little while even if I am not into what they're doing (especially if I needed the cash), but I never found that over time that I became more interested in working with them. Longer-term, permanent positions never seemed to work out, so I've elected to just be honest with myself up-front and ask:
- "Do I really want to work with this client/company?"
- "Is this a long or short term gig, and can I just tough it out?"
- "Will I be able to deliver a great effort in spite of not really digging what they're doing?"
- "Are there other clients/companies I can work with instead of this one, or do I really need the money?"
If you've been in this situation before, how have you handled it? What questions do you ask yourself? How did it all work out?
PS - Give yourself a pat on the back if you recognized the Steve Miller Band reference in last subheading. If you recognized it you're probably cool but old :)