I'm Not Your Battery

September 20, 2022

Brush to Canvas

My life experiences, skill tracks and creativity all culminate into a survival package that has developed over time, getting me past my fifty-year milestone. I look forward to a few more decades, given the fact that my last-surviving grandparent reached 91. In order to continue forward, I have cultivated a shift in my design philosophy: prioritizing myself.

I consider the aforementioned survival packet as a battery. Up until now, I have had many an entity tap into and garner from that energy source, with nary a benefit pour moi. So, over time I have trained myself to make sure I am getting as-much-if-not-most of my own juice.

Mutual agreements must be crafted and should not be rushed—unless it just happens that goals are clear and communication flows smoothly both ways—to insure both parties are in accordance. Over time, you learn to tell when someone is attempting a power-drain. There’s usually an anxious urgency, with a subtle or obvious nudge to skip steps during the negotiation stage. This has been a “red flag” I have often missed earlier in my creative career. I have finally learned to listen to my inner radar and unplug from the situation, before I get zapped.

Past zaps have included: getting stuck with a completed, custom-made garment, along with the required fifty percent deposit (no return)… an acquaintance upset at being presented with a proposal/contract for an extended graphic design project (because they were actually trying to treat me as a Partner, sharing in their business losses, instead of a true Contractor that gets paid, regardless)… and an agent that was representing me to design clients, but thought my seriously-undervalued quotes were too expensive to pitch (though the agent fee was definitely included). 

Like batteries, we all have a limited amount of that juice I spoke of earlier. Feel free to give it away as liberally as you feel… at your own peril, of course. As for me, I am prioritizing my self-interest and will be the primary user of my power sources. I am not your battery… I am my own.

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