Never Use the C-word in Mixed Company


You know what I hate? Clients. Not the individual people or the companies. I hate the c-word. It’s just not a good word.

So I was wrapping up a nice week of freelance work at this little ad agency. Busy, complete with the expected learning curve where I try to figure out what the hell the Creative Director wants and he tries to figure out why the hell I suck at taking creative direction. And then you get past that and get stuff done. Headlines come out your ears, he inevitably picks the worst of the lot, and I get paid to wax poetic, or wax boring depending on what spins your buttons, and it’s a good week. Nice people, doable deadlines, creative-ish loft space with tables that kinda say, “I wish I’d gone to architecture school” and bottomless coffee. Two thumbs up.

Enter the C-word

It was Friday, and we’re chatting about next week- his work flow, my availability, deadlines I have with another “client,” blah blah blah. I guess this guy’s technically a client, cause I’m freelance, but normally I’d think of him as the CD or creative boss man and the client’s the brand I’m working on.  But the c-word’s a slippery, slimy little bugger. And that other client? I consider him a writing partner. A full on, equal on equal collaboration team of surprisingly well-matched spectacular.

Creative Director Client: Well, I don’t have much coming in, so you can fully focus on your other client, blah blah blah client blah client blah blah client client client. If I have any emergencies roll in can I give you a shout?

Me: Yeah, perfect.

And I suddenly wanted to grab the nearest rubbish bin and heave like I did that one time when I ate two cookie sheets worth of coconut macaroons (I was probably eight).

When we call someone that — “client,” I mean — we’re making them the automatic anonymous enemy. [Read more…]

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