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  • Weekends? What are those?

    I was wondering, do others also work as much as I do? I love my job, but sometimes I just wish to have a day off.

    Which is impossible, if the e-mails aren't answered, phone starts ringing, and if the phone is off people get really upset.

    So, a day off? How do you announce it to clients? How about having a weekend off here and there? Last time I took a break was around New years.

  • #2
    Re: Weekends? What are those?

    Too much work is a good problem to have. Here's a few ideas off the top of my under caffeinated head:

    1. Have a separate phone for business and personal use.

    2. State your business hours on your business phone greeting, so when you don't pick up they know why.

    3. Enjoy your good run of business knowing the bottom could drop out at any time.

    4. Manage your client's expectations. Is there nobody who can wait one extra day to receive their work?

    5. Might be a good time to get into a cooperative situation with a fellow retoucher. Farm out some of your workload. You make final corrections (if needed) before delivery but they handle some of the grunt work.

    6. Raise your rates.

    Oh, and congrats.

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    • #3
      Re: Weekends? What are those?

      Long hours go with the territory. I tell clients well in advance the days I'm not available (which is appreciated) and they work around it. It's all negotiation and trust - clients are generally reluctant to change suppliers especially if their projects follow themes. I often say to newbies that the most important attribute of retoucher is stamina!

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      • #4
        Re: Weekends? What are those?

        Some times you just have to fire a customer. State your hours etc. very clearly and if they cannot follow that, is it worth the worry it causes you to keep them?

        Or I guess you could call them at 03 dark and announce that their work is done and they have to come get it within an hour or so.......

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        • #5
          Re: Weekends? What are those?

          Burnout is a constant threat, and one reason the young are favored in job interviews. If you work as hard as your employer (or client) wants all the time, you will burn out. And even when you recover you will find it easier to burn out next time (insert sports injury metaphor here).

          There's working hard, working smart, and working wise. The first two pay better in the short run, but it's borrowed money from the future.

          Repeat after me: "I don't do work on the weekends, that's my time with my family". It will turn off the people you really don't want to be working with anyway, and impress those that will actually help you rather than burn you for heat.
          Learn by teaching
          Take responsibility for learning

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          • #6
            Re: Weekends? What are those?

            "Or I guess you could call them at 03 dark and announce that their work is done and they have to come get it within an hour or so...…."

            Haha, great, I'm going to try that!

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            • #7
              Re: Weekends? What are those?

              The issue with retouching is that it's often a subjective thing, meaning you can't quite predict how many rounds of feedback you might get regarding a particular job.

              And that is precisely why u need a timeframe and boundaries because otherwise you're going to be stuck with extra hours and no time for the family / friends / leisure / put any meaningful social interaction hehre. I know it well both from my and my friends experience. The only reason I would sacrifice my "evening for the family" routine would be a project both well paid and a suitable addition to my portfolio. Othewise I'll say no.

              Now the problem is retouching puts a great stress on your eyes, it is really a tough job for our sight. You have to differentiate shades of color, patches etc. You dodge & burn for a long time and you start feeling the strain, because the local contrast on an image is not so gread - just a big screen of pixels zoomed in almost all the way up.

              I say - and I'm saying from my own experience - make your weekend free from work. Plan in advance to get (most of) the work done by friday evening and inform the cliens with either an autoresponder or a voicemail stating you're out of office and tehy should send an email.

              And the client who won't tolreate these terms is likely to be pain in the ass later.

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              • #8
                Re: Weekends? What are those?

                That's a good point; you can never be sure that the job is finished from a subjective viewpoint. The brief may be answered but anyone from account handler, art director or creative director can wade in at the eleventh hour with their opinions - it's quite common to hear those immortal words 'great, can we just try something….'
                You can burn a few hours that way so I make it clear there are cost implications. That normally put's off some of them! That said, it's important to grant graciously that which cannot be refused and so, if I can help I will, even if the homelife takes a hit.

                FWIW Since starting out I have rented an office to make a clear distinction between home and work life. A client can rationalise your absence from an office, out of work hours, whereas they will always expect you to be available if you work from home. I think you get a bit more respect in a small yet significant way.

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                • #9
                  Re: Weekends? What are those?

                  [QUOTE=FWIW Since starting out I have rented an office to make a clear distinction between home and work life. A client can rationalise your absence from an office, out of work hours, whereas they will always expect you to be available if you work from home. I think you get a bit more respect in a small yet significant way.[/QUOTE]

                  When I started I never had customers come to my 'office'. I worked out of a room in my home which had a door I could shut, my business telephone was in there (and not in any other part of the house) and my business address was my home address with 'Suite A' attached to it.

                  Worked for me.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Weekends? What are those?

                    Cool. I used to get loads of visitors; some art directors would like to sit in on the early or closing stages of a job and even bring clients along. IMO if you look like a business, they'll treat you like a business and I don't want lines blurred between home and work.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Weekends? What are those?

                      The office rent thing is a valid and a very good point alltogether.

                      The issue is, if the client know you're working from home upfront, you cannot say "I'm ouf of the office", "My office hours are" and so on. Yes they expect you to be available pretty much around the clock because, well, they assume it's much more fun working at home and much less fuss to start the working day, you don't have to commute, don't have to open the office and start up everything either. You just wake up, have breakfast, sit down and work.

                      So I second that - rent a space. I know there's a trend across the hip community to blur the lines between work and personal life because, they, say, there is no such thing as work and life balance, you live your life either way, so the only way to sort this out is to treat your life as a whole. This might be very well true, I for once find it reasonable, but even if you have a dream job, you need at least some kind of routine which would help you organize throughout the week. You might, of course, be a mad artist which does not sleep, eat or do any other things other than creative process, but chances are you're not and need some kind of a basic system.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Weekends? What are those?

                        One more thing; always add at least 30% time more than you expect the job is going to take, reason being you might have a different take on the subject and feel like the job is done and everything fits. Heck, you're probably right, but the client is the client. So, have that extra margin.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Weekends? What are those?

                          A long time ago I was working in a custom b/w lab. I was shocked to find a series of trays where we'd put our finished work. Each day the work was sorted from tray to tray, and only when it was rotated into its destination tray did it finally get removed and sent to the customer. I wondered out loud if we wouldn't be giving better customer service if we simply sent out the work as soon as it was finished. My manager explained that if we did that the customer assumed that was normal, and if we ever needed an additional day for quality redos it would then be judged as "late". This would actually penalize us for doing an exceptional job.

                          This workflow is now obviously obsolete, but I think the lesson still holds. Do as good as you can, as fast as you can. Share with the customer how good a job you did, but do not share how long it took. Finish early, but deliver only on time.
                          Learn by teaching
                          Take responsibility for learning

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                          • #14
                            Re: Weekends? What are those?

                            We used to call this "Under promise and over deliver"

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                            • #15
                              Re: Weekends? What are those?

                              That's a good story. And completely true because the ignorance of the client goes both ways. People who don't know exactly how hard is the actual process (whatever the discipline) ten to assume if it's good it took a long time to complete, which is obviously totally not true. Now, they don't like to take years of training, toolbox investments and many other spendings into the account.

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