I had a post in mind today but then something happened that I just had to write about, so there you go. *Names and certain details have been changed to protect me from losing the friends I’m talking about*
My handsome, wonderful, charming husband is a graphic designer by trade. He is incredibly talented and has worked with serveral big name clients. His specialties include print, web design and interactive media, (i.e. CD-ROMs). For some reason, everyone that knows us assumes he will just whip up a web site or do design work for free. I try and explain that professional designs are not only time consuming but usually expensive, especially from someone with his background. I might as well be talking to the wall: They don’t get it. “Oh yeah, I know, but it wouldn’t be anything major!”
Let me explain, my husband is a perfectionist. His motto at work is “I don’t do crappy design”. It’s personal with him. He doesn’t just snap his fingers and turn out a mediocre website. He pours himself into everything he creates. But do you think that matters to them? Heck no.
For example: My friend, *Sally*, mentions today that she really needs a website to sell a product she is making. I agree with her that a web site would be a useful marketing tool for her. Sally says, “If it wasn’t too much trouble, and I was willing to pay him a little bit, do you think (your husband) would be willing to make me a web site?” Where do I begin? First, the cost for a 4-page site would run around $1,500, and no, we will not do a layaway plan. Second, a web site doesn’t take a few minutes to create. We are talking a good 20 hours or more for design and development. Third, my husband works 40+ hours a week, occasionally does freelance work on the side, and enjoys spending as much time with his family as possible. So if something is going to take away from the precious little time we have together, it better pay well! Now, before you call me selfish, let me explain: I am always MORE than willing to help out a friend. I have often overextended myself trying to make others happy. The problem is, I am not the one doing the work, and I don’t feel comfortable obligatnig him for work that he may not have time for or even want to do! It puts me in an awkward position to tell them no. It is nothing personal (usually), but I am not getting in the middle of these things. Another problem is: doing work for friends NEVER turns out well! They feel weird complaining, feelings get hurt, friendships are strained — not a good thing.
To make a long story short, I said no politely: I explained that he had too much going on right now, and I didn’t think he’d have time (all true). I think *Sally* is a little peeved with me right now, but I would rather have her somewhat offended now than furious at me later!
Does anyone have any ideas on how to handle this situation? Until then, here’s a little cartoon to explain how this stuff feels, enjoy.