Don’t Work Without a Contract
A rather ranty letter from me to past-Ryan Macklin:
You’re a fucking moron.
Thanks to your actions, I have four companies* that aren’t paying me for work we’ve done. I have a few thousand dollars in outstanding payments, emails to these people go into the ether, and I’m wasting a lot of spoons having to chase payments instead of, you know, be awesome.
And as much as I blame them, I also blame you. Let’s go through what was going on in your mind…
I’ll Get One Soon
Sure you will. Did you already start working?
Bam! Lost your leverage on getting a contract, buddy! *sigh*
But They’ve Got A Tight Schedule
Oh, I’ve heard that before! (Since, you know, I’m you.)
So you’ve been pressured to start working before getting a contract because of their schedule? Do they have a contract ready for you? No? Then how the hell should you expect them to have other things they need ready for you in order to keep to that schedule?
You can’t. Being pressured to work without a contract is a company’s way of saying two things: one, don’t expect that schedule to be held, because it’s too unrealistic for them; two, they don’t respect you.
And if they don’t respect you enough to give you a contract prior to starting work, they don’t respect you enough to be paid.
I’m Doing This For The Exposure
If I could go back in time to do any one thing, it would be to punch you-me in the mouth for saying that.
You’re saying that you’re okay with being taken advantage of “for the exposure”? See if you still feel like that now? No, you don’t. Why?
Because people who don’t give contracts tend to be people who don’t run their business well. And those people don’t actually finish making products that you’ve worked on. So that thing you did in order to “get exposure”? Dead project. You worked many hours for piss all. You can’t get exposure if no one sees it.
I’m Afraid If I Ask, They’ll Can Me
Then you’re doing yourself a favor by asking. Work with no one who will treat you like you’re an asshole for asking for a very basic thing.
You’re Being Unfair
I am? Okay, yeah, maybe a bit. I’m pretty angry.
No one I’ve worked with intended on screwing me over. But the lack of contract is an indicator that I’m working with a company that will disregard me and fail at their job of being a business. There are several opportunities I passed up because I was busy on one gig or another that to this day hasn’t paid. And I continually feel both the sting of non-payment and the sting of opportunities passed by.Sincerely,
The person who is dealing today with your naïveté
This is what it’s like to be a freelancer in this hobby, in software development, everywhere.
*To be fair, most of them aren’t in the RPG world. I’m also a freelance software developer. Still, with the situations I’ve dealt with in RPG-land, the lessons apply.
(Yes, this isn’t the post some of you were expecting. That post is in the works, and will be a much shinier, happier one.)