Photos and Words of Patrick Calder

I live in Washington, DC with 1 cat named Pixel, 6 cameras, 3 computers, 158 movies, 286 books, and 1 bowling pin. I own the Design Foundry and pretend to be a graphic designer by day.

Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.

Work / February 14, 2005

I’m trying to find a way to tell the people I love–friends and family–that they really aren’t helping me. I’ve re-written this entry three times so far, starting from scratch with each attempt.
So I work for myself now. I’ve been at it for about two-thirds of a year, and things aren’t so bad. I have a little money in the bank. (Hopefully there will still be some left after I file taxes). I have a few new toys. I go out with my friends and have fun. I eat a little too much. At this exact point, I have taken everything good from my life before, and thrown out everything that was bad.
It doesn’t come without it’s share of hard work and mental anguish. I have several friends who tell me they have their own businesses. For most of them though, it means doing freelance projects in their off hours. I, myself, did exactly that for a long time. But even discounting the legal and regulatory differences, it’s really not the same. It’s kind of like going on a blind date versus getting married. The difference in dedication and responsibility is amazing. It’s impossible to even imagine before you go ahead and do it.
In the movies, this would be where I tell you how all my friends and family were wonderful; rallying around me. If only. In reality, the almost universal response* has been to question my decision, and openly wonder how long I could last. The short response, from me, to this is: I don’t need it. My own inner demons provide plenty of doubt and worry. I don’t need to hear you inquiring as to the likelihood of my failure as casually as you would critique my clothes.
Express ‘interest’. Ask me how things are going. None of you has enough details to criticize the actual business, and therefor to have any reason for worry. And even if you did… when has friendship and family been about anything other than unconditional support. If you really felt the need to intervene, there are intelligent, meaningful ways to do it. But in the meantime, if you glibly ponder wether I’m enjoying myself while it lasts, I may just tell you to go fuck yourself.
* I say “almost everyone” because, as always, one of my friends stands out different. They know who they are, and they’ve never been anything but what I need. While writing this, I also remembered one relative who also stood out; offering to help me whatever way they could.

I won’t deny that I like money. When a client sent me a payment for $10,000 a while back, I Xeroxed that fucker before depositing it. But I definitely think there’s got to be something more driving you, if you’re going to stick with anything like your own company. And nothing makes me feel better than making my clients happy. Not just satisfied… but happy. How often do you hear “God damn, you’re doing a good job!”? At my last job, it was just about never. In a good year, I might hear a single, rather Prozac-ian “We’re glad you’re here.” But since starting my own business, I’ve had a hell of a lot of messages from exuberant clients:
“that fucking rocks!” –J.G.
“I LOVE the second version! Let’s go with that one!” –A.P.
“Got the files and they look great” –R.C
“excellent!” –D.F.
“My husband loves the invitation.” –D.M.
“Got the banner yesterday…Looks great!!!” –R.C.
“Thanks….This looks great.” –J.B.
“Thanks….it looks beautiful. Great work! I’m amazed at all the links you found!” –S.M.
“That looks GREAT!” –R.C.
… and so on.

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