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What Molly Said

Steve Kaplan / November 5, 2014

Business SavvyWhy Union / no comments

Sent by a constant reader:

… Companies are not loyal to you. Please never believe a company has your back. They are amoral by design and will discard you at a moment’s notice. Negotiate aggressively, ask other freelancers what they’re getting paid, and don’t buy into the financial negging of some suit.

I’ve cobbled together many different streams of income, so that if the bottom falls out of one industry, I’m not ruined. My mom worked in packaging design. When computers fundamentally changed the field, she lost all her work. I learned from this. …

Don’t be a dick. Be nice to everyone who is also not a dick, help people who don’t have the advantages you do, and never succumb to crabs in the barrel infighting. …

Never trust some Silicon Valley douche-bag who’s flush with investors’ money, but telling creators to post on their platform for free or for potential crumbs of cash. They’re just using you to build their own thing, and they’ll discard you when they sell the company a few years later. …

Judging from her picture, Molly is young. But Molly is wise. It took me forty-plus years to absorb and process the lessons Molly already knows.

Many artists hope and believe that a company or power-individual will lift them up, help them, save them. This happens, I think, because many artists focus on their art, and all the energy and passion they pour into it leaves them open, vulnerable, and childlike in other areas.

Like, for instance, dealing with sharp operators in business. Lots of creators just don’t want to wrestle with the business crapola. They want to put their time and intellect into what engages them. This is understandable, but (sadly) wrong.

Because artists need to know the basics of protecting themselves, and how not to get fleeced. For that they need a base-line knowledge about earning a living in today’s fine, corporatist state. When they do, they have a fighting chance or surviving.

The days of a paternalistic workplace are way back there in the rear-view mirror. And the paternalism was mostly a mirage anyway.

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