I am afraid that today’s post won’t be very exciting. Yesterday was a full day, but it was filled with much of what I would call everyday mundane tasks. I needed to catch up on some paperwork. And also I needed to write some letters to people to prod them for various answers to stuff that needed to be tended to. I am not particularly fond of that type of letter writing, as I feel as if I am pestering others to do the jobs they are supposed to do in the first place. I tend to be very patient when it comes to most things and usually wait until the last minute to follow up on the various information that I requested. I do this type of office work all at once, not only to get it over with, but because by the time I am at the point of having to prod them, I am not usually very happy and find it is good to get things over with and move on to other tasks.
One such letter was (again) to the editor of the magazine that published my skating pond without my contact information on it. As I stated in an early post, when I first called him and it was initially brought to his attention, he seemed genuinely upset about the mistake and I was promised that he would get to the bottom of it and get back to me with some sort of decision as to how to make it up to me. That was over a month ago. Since then, I have written him two emails and left two phone messages with no response. I feel that I am a patient woman, but I think in this situation my patience has just about run out.
The previous requests were quite mild, as I know that editors are very busy. I do believe, however that more than a month is a very long time and I am beginning to feel as if it doesn’t really matter and he has moved on to other more important things. As of today, I have had no response from him, nor have I received payment for the article (which was published the first week in November) or the return of the figures to me. It is customary to receive the project back sometimes even before the article is in print, as the photography is done long before that, and add to that the fact that I shipped the set to them in February, I feel that I have been patient enough.
I find that in situations such as this, I initially try to put myself in the person’s shoes. They are busy I am sure with far more important things to do and immediate problems that need their attention. However, I am learning that in business, it is sometimes not the best strategy to sit and wait for someone’s conscience to take over and for them to do the right thing. I usually try to follow the “do unto others” philosophy in my life and my business, but I have been burned so many times in the recent past that I am understanding that just isn’t the way to deal with people for the most part. I am not saying that i should not be honest and compassionate, but what I am saying is that in business, the goals of others above all is to make money. Now more than ever in these difficult times I find that to be the case. People may be ‘nice’ but business is business and there is definitely a direct correlation between how friendly people are and how much you can do for them at the moment. (And I thought that they just LIKED me!) It is obvious to me that (with a few exceptions) for the most part my business colleagues run on a “what have you done for me lately” mentality. I am not saying this in every situation, but certainly for the most part.
So the realization has come to mind that since I am no longer of use to this editor, I am quite a low priority on his agenda. I think this is supported by the fact that I haven’t heard back from him even once in the several attempts that I have made to contact him. So what to do now?
The letter I wrote was what I felt very professional and to the point. I stuck to the facts and tried to keep as much emotion out of it as possible. I didn’t attack him, but stated reasonable requests based on the conversation we had initially following the error. I was firm in stating that I wanted to know what was to be done about it and I was also firm in requesting my materials back. I believe that it will be my final effort to resolve the issue with him.
So what do I do if there is no response?
I try not to think in a negative direction (we follow where we focus) but given the lack of response up until now, the possibility does exist that I won’t hear back from him. In that case, I will go a step further to his ‘boss’ who is the publisher and owner of the company. I have had a long (15 year) history with the company and know the publisher personally and hopefully if I go that next step I will see some results. I hope it doesn’t come to that, as I would really like to see this resolved between the editor and myself, but I feel that I would have no choice. Someone needs to be accountable and I really don’t feel that I should just let it go. We will have to see . . .
On a positive note, I did hear from the Artist’s Club, which is the large distributor of painting patterns and surfaces that I had submitted my skating pond set to and it was a very encouraging email. They are very interested in running my skating pond series in their catalogs beginning next May or July when they introduce their Christmas stuff. This is the company that is geared for decorative painters and they send out 500,000 catalogs a year. They also offer the finished surfaces and although I haven’t spoken about the details with them, they want to run the set with next year’s projects. They need me to make them into subsets that are smaller would cost less initially to get others involved, but that is fine with me as we discussed here earlier. This will be a great opportunity to develop a relationship with them, as they also said that they would be interested in seeing any other painting work and projects that I would like to submit to them.
It is a great opportunity to get a new company under my belt and further diversify my company. Perhaps my patience will pay off after all. In the mean time, I will still do as many woodworking projects as I can and also work on the painting and finishing aspect of my business as time permits. I am certain it will keep me busy.
After my letter writing, I was able to work on my sewing box a bit. I nearly finished one of the teddy bears. Here is a picture of the initial base coating:
|From Diana's Sewing Box|
And here is the bear almost completed:
|From Diana's Sewing Box|
I still have some shading and glazing to do to give him some more depth and shaping, but the initial fur is pretty much done. I haven’t done many light colored bears before and it is kind of tricky for me to get the coloring correct. I have to think back to front (shadows, fur, highlights) and I have to imagine it in my head before doing it correctly. Add to that the fact that I haven’t painted a bear (or much at all) in quite a while and there is some warm up time involved. I am however getting a feel for it and it is starting to fall into place. I feel like the next bear will be a bit easier than this one was.
Today I need to run around a bit. The final changeover of my bank occurred this weekend and of course it had some hiccups that I have to straighten out. It is difficult to do my banking from another country and resolve problems that come up – especially when the entire system was being transferred to another institution. They are swamped and without being able to go in to see them in person, it is a much more difficult task to get matters resolved. I have a meeting with my own banker here to see what I can do to make things run smoothly.
All in a day’s work.
On a final note, I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” last night for the first time in years. I know, I know . . . it is quite a corny movie and has been overplayed to death, but I have successfully avoided it for the past ten years or so. I first saw it 26 years ago when my son was only a year old and before it became so popular. I remember the year because he was scurrying around in his little walker while we watched it. I felt I was due to see it again.
Anyway, it was fun to see and after my trip down memory lane yesterday morning I thought it would be appropriate to end the day with some more nostalgia. It worked because I went to bed with that warm fuzzy feeling that you get after movies like that. It’s the ultimate “pink cloud” living.
Remember . . . “No man is a failure who has friends”
Have a great day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"